Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cleaning Green

It makes sense these days to budget your money and live as frugal as possible. I am sure we all have that little voice in our heads telling us to do this but then the convenience of the prepackaged life takes over when our schedules seem so full and we feel tired and need shortcuts. I am one of those with three children and they all lead busy lives making my life busy as well. But, I find that I like to be as frugal as possible when running my household. My interest in living a green life has increased more and more as people are making it easier to do so with products and services. I am thrilled that so many have joined the "Green Living" bandwagon and its filling up quickly.
I thought I might share some of my ways of trying to lesson our stamp on the environment.
First, the other day I shared my obsession with vinegar which is the gods gift to us in all forms of life. Also, Baking soda, corn starch, salt, club soda and olive oil as well.

To create your own cleaning products I have a few recipes that I use that you may find helpful for the environment as well as for your wallet.

Home made Furniture Polish

1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice

Mix in spray bottle. Spray liberally on wood surfaces and wipe dry.


Fertilize plants

Don't throw out those old coffee grounds. They're chock-full o' nutrients that your acidic-loving plants crave. Save them to fertilize rosebushes, azaleas, rhododendrons, evergreens, and camellias. It's better to use grounds from a drip coffeemaker than the boiled grounds from a percolator. The drip grounds are richer in nitrogen.

Deodorize a freezer

Get rid of the smell of spoiled food after a freezer failure. Fill a couple of bowls with used or fresh coffee grounds and place them in the freezer overnight. For a flavored-coffee scent, add a couple of drops of vanilla to the grounds.

For homemade laundry starch, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 pint cold water. Place in a
spray bottle. Shake before using. Clearly label the
contents of the spray bottle.

Carpet Deodorizer
I use a cheese shaker and fill with baking soda and a bit of cornmeal I add put a broken cinnamon stick or a few orange peels in the shaker and leave them and sprinkle liberally over the carpets and sofa leaving to sit for awhile before vacuuming.

Scouring Powder:

Salt and Baking soda mixed in a shaker make a great scouring powder

Vinegar and Lemon Juice Wipes
I mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of lemon juice to about a quart of water then place in a container that I have folded brawny paper towels so they will soak. Now I have a handy WIPE for quick messes or wipe downs.

Air Freshener

A spray bottle with vinegar with a bit of lemon juice for fragrance sprayed into the air will absorb odor and freshen the room.

I also keep decorative bowls here and there with a bit of vinegar and lemon with rose petals floating for a decorative look. This keeps my kitchen odor free especially with the use of a lot of onion.


If you have a spill on your carpet or upholstery pour a large amount of salt over the spill and leave it to dry then just vacuum or sweep up. Great for wine spills

Lemon powdered drink like Kool-aid with water and baking soda makes a great all purpose cleaner. DO NOT USE anything but UNSWEETENED lemon powdered drink or you will have quite the mess!

Heres a great article by Michael Bloch on uses for Orange peels. I love orange oil and was very excited to find his recipe to make my own.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

A couple of denture cleaning tablets dropped in your bowl leave for awhile then brush clean with ease. You can also use alka seltzer tablets you need about 6.

Club Soda takes out a lot of stains in carpet and clothing blot quickly then launder.

Liquid Laundry detergent:

3 Pints Water
1/3 Bar Fels Naptha Soap, Grated
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax
2 Gallon Bucket
1 Quart Hot Water
Hot Water

Mix Fels Naptha soap(Or grated Ivory soap) in a saucepan with 3 pints of water, and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 Quart Hot Water to 2 Gallon Bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket with hot water, and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load.

You can use a 1/2 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle to freshen clothes and clean the washer of any soap residue.
(This is not a green recipe because it includes borax which is not all natural but it is frugal if you are looking for ways to lessen the cost of laundry expenses.)

Homemade Fabric Softener
1 cup glycerin
1 gallon water
20 drops essential oil of your choice (Optional)

Dishwasher Detergent

Mix equal parts Borax and Baking Soda, and add 2 Tablespoons per load. Increase proportion of soda for hard water. Use vinegar in the rinse cycle like the jet dry and you will have sparkling clear glasses.
(This is NOT so green as borax is not a natural item but it IS frugal if you are looking to lessen the cost of commercial dish washing machine detergents)

I hope that some of these ideas and recipes are helpful to you, they are to me! Not only does it save me a great deal of money when shopping for cleaning products I know that my pets and my children are not exposed to toxic chemicals that could cause them harm. The best part is that I know that when I am cleaning and pouring things down the drain I'm not hurting my septic system or the earth!

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