By Priscilla Alarcon

With the array of eco-friendly products that are now on the market, you may be wondering what you should do to lead a greener lifestyle.  Making the switch to green cleaning in your home does not mean purchasing expensive specialty products. For about one-tenth of the cost of commercial products, you can make you own eco-friendly home cleaning kit and improve the environmental health of your home. It’s easy to get started by making cleaning solvent recipes from things that you already have around the house.

Getting Started

As you start to run out of commercial cleaning products, save the empty containers and spray bottles to re-fill with homemade solutions. Don’t forget to label them and write measurement lines on the sides.  Designate a rag-bag to keep old t-shirts and socks to use as cleaning cloths. You might also want to try re-usable, biodegradable, microfiber clothes instead of paper towels. Brands such as Skoy and Mu make biodegradable cloths that that will last for years, reducing paper and water waste with their super-absorbent qualities.

You can begin making some basic non-toxic cleaners by using a few ingredients that you already have. The elemental compounds of salt, vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda and olive oil can be combined in a variety of useful ways around the house.

Basic Equations for Everyday Chores

Furniture Polish = 1 cup of olive oil + 1/2 cup of lemon juice

Glass Cleaner = 2 tbsp white vinegar + 1 gallon of water

Floor Cleaner = 1 cup white Vinegar + 1 gallon of water

Stain Removal: For tough stains on carpet or clothing combine water, vinegar and baking soda until it turns into a paste. Brush the paste into the stain. You can also combine natural salt with baking soda for whitening or bleaching.

Lifestyle Recipes

Remove Red Wine Spills

Blot the spill and sprinkle the area with salt. Let set for 15 minutes to absorb the wine. The clean with a mixture of 1/3 cup vinegar and 2/3 cup water.

Polish Metal

Combining equal parts salt and lemon juice to make a paste.

Fruit and Vegetable Wash

To remove pesticides from produce, put a few tablespoons of baking soda into a bowl of cool water and soak vegetables for five minutes.

Uses for Detergent, Vodka and Essential Oils

As you grocery shop, you may want to purchase more ingredients to expand the potential of your cleaning kit. Liquid detergent, vodka and essential oils have many uses.

For liquid detergent, I recommend Dr. Bronner’s Magic Pure Castille Soaps. The ecological formulas are available in eight scents and can be used as laundry detergent or added as a boost to your glass-cleaning recipe.

If you’re going to use vodka, leave the good stuff in your liquor cabinet, and buy a small bottle of an inexpensive brand for your cleaning kit. Spot treat stains by blotting the area with pure vodka. Diluted vodka is an ideal disinfectant for bathroom surfaces and effective at removing mold and mildew. A vodka spray can also deodorize air and fabrics, if you can wait for the smell of alcohol to evaporate.

To make a natural air freshener, add your favorite essential oil to a spray bottle filled with water. Lemon, lavender and tea tree oils are natural antiseptics and a few drops can enhance your liquid detergent, floor or glass cleaner.

If you opt to buy pre-made commercial green-products, be sure to examine the list of ingredients first. Because there are no regulatory definitions for advertisement word such  “natural” and “eco-friendly”, many so-called “green products” actually contain petrochemical ingredients.

More Resources

Reuseit.com: On-line retailer of re-usable products for every part of life.

TheDailyGreen.com:  A consumers guide green from Good Housekeeping.

Eco-me.com: Family and pet safe products, and DIY cleaning kits at affordable prices.

This article is part of Atlanta INtown’s partnership with the freelance writing class at SCAD-Atlanta. Students are contributing articles, video and photos for our website and social media portals.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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