Monday, July 29, 2013

Going Green - Homemade Household Cleaning Products

In the process of making our home more eco-friendly we stopped using commercial household cleaning products and make our own instead.  In this post I will share what we use to clean our home and help keep it free of chemicals and harmful VOCs.  

For years I was using "green" cleaners thinking they were safe, but after reading the ingredients and doing some research, I discovered even these so-called "green" cleaners are toxic!  Household cleaners are one of the top indoor air pollutants.  They also leave behind a harmful residue.  Think about it...a toxic residue all over the kitchen counter you just cleaned, and now you are preparing food on it!  Another example is this residue on your newly mopped floors that your baby is crawling all over.  Nobody wants that!  It is so easy (and cheaper) to make your own.  I can now clean my house with 4 common ingredients: vinegar (distilled or apple cider), hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and coconut oil!!

For an everyday cleaner we use distilled white vinegar with several drops of essential oil.  This helps mask the vinegar odor and makes your home smell amazing!  You can use whatever essential oil you prefer.  Right now we are using peppermint oil.  I simply pour vinegar into a spray bottle and add about 20 drops of essential oil (until I can pass the spray bottle under my nose without smelling the strong vinegar).  I also use this mixture for our hardwood floors (I alternate distilled white vinegar and apple cider vinegar).  For our tile floors I fill the mop bucket with hot water, add 1 cup of vinegar (either distilled white or apple cider) and several drops of essential oil.  Vinegar also makes a great grout cleaner.  Simply spray the grout with vinegar and scrub with a toothbrush.  Your grout will look new!

Bathroom: I use baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.  For the shower and tub I sprinkle baking soda over the surfaces, spray them with hydrogen peroxide and let them sit while I clean the rest of the bathroom.  Then I come back, scrub and rinse.  I use my everyday cleaner (vinegar) for the counters, toilet and mirrors.  The mirrors will look streaky at first, but they will dry streak-free simply by using vinegar.

Laundry: We use Dr. Bonners Pure Castille Soap for laundry detergent.  You only need a couple of tablespoons.  We use hydrogen peroxide as a stain remover and white enhancer.  Of course, no dryer sheets in our house.  They are full of VOCs and toxic chemicals.  We are happy without dryer sheets, but I have heard you can either add vinegar to your rinse cycle or wet a washcloth with vinegar (and essential oil if you want) and throw it in the dryer with your clothes as a dryer sheet substitute.  We also hang dry a lot of our clothes.

I use coconut oil as a furniture polish.  This is also a great place to use those socks with missing mates.  :)

Check out our other posts in the "Going Green" Series:

Enjoy and healthy regards!!



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