Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Go Green & Save Some Green Tip of the Week #3

As promised, I'm letting go of my plastic bag obsession this week and moving on to... *drumroll* earth- and wallet-friendly cleaning products!

Many cleaning products on the market contain phosphates, bleach and other corrosive or harmful substances that can be bad for the environment - and a potential danger to your health. Sure, there are plenty of "green" cleaners coming on the market now, but they're all more expensive than the regular cleaners - sometimes much more so. The good news is you can make your own effective cleaners right at home with inexpensive ingredients - many of which you probably already have on hand.

A couple of notes before we get started:
1. Some cleaners are meant to be sprayed on. You can reuse a thoroughly cleaned spray bottle you have or buy an expensive one (or 2) at Target, the dollar store, etc. Be sure to clearly label your spray bottles and store them away from kids, pets, etc.

2. Many of these cleaners call for vinegar. Don't worry - your house won't smell forever. The vinegar smell goes away when it dries.

OK - here we go!

Toilet bowl cleaner: Sprinkle the bowl with baking soda. Then spray with white vinegar. Let sit for a minute and scrub with toilet brush.

All purpose household cleaner (for cleaning counters, tile floors, etc.): In a spray bottle, mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 cup of water. Spray on surface and wipe with cleaning cloth.

Tub cleaner/soap scum/rust remover: Make a paste by combining a few tablespoons of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water. Apply to sponge or cleaning cloth and scrub surface. Rinse with water.

Glass cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray on window or mirrors & wipe with crumpled newspaper for a streak-free shine. (Flatten the newspaper out when you're done and recycle it!!)

Disinfectant: Plain old isopropyl alcohol makes a great disinfectant. Be sure to wear gloves and keep the area well-ventilated. Then just spray on and let dry.

Silver polish: Apply toothpaste (regular white paste - not gel) and rub with clean cloth. The tarnish will come right off.

Furniture polish: Mix 1/2 cup olive oil with 1/4 lemon juice. Apply to soft cloth and wipe down furniture.

Drain cleaner: Pour 1 cup baking soda into drain, followed by 1 cup white vinegar. After bubbles die down, flush the drain with hot (preferably boiling) water.

There you go - 8 green cleaners you can make for cheap. Happy cleaning!

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