One of the biggest buzzwords of the last five years is “green.” And for good reason. We are understanding more and more the effects of pollution on air, water, and land; we’re also getting a better grasp of how we are contributing to the problem.
That part of the “green” movement has led to a boom of foods, products and services designed to appeal to to our environmental conscience. We can buy organic produce, dairy, eggs and meats; we can buy green cars and energy efficient windows and appliances; and we can shop for a wide array of eco-friendly cleaning products. After all, no one wants to dump harsh chemicals on their family with the products designed to clean their surfaces, dishes and clothing.
The problem is that green cleaning products tend to cost more. So your choice is this: be frugal and put chemicals on your family, or spend more and be green, right? Fortunately for all, it’s not that simple. After all, what did our grandparents and great-grandparents use to clean house? They didn’t have half a dozen brand names to choose from, that’s for sure. The secret to safer, greener cleaning with a budget is easy: vinegar, lemon and baking soda.
This is a fantastic all-purpose cleaner. A simple mix of half vinegar, half water can be used to clean windows or glass (wipe with newspaper or cloth); stains or spills on carpet; and kitchen surfaces like stoves, refrigerators, microwaves, counters, wooden cutting boards etc.
Leaving a bowl of vinegar in a room overnight can help remove odors; adding it to laundry can help remove tough stains and odors like smoke. It can even help prevent colors from running in the wash. In the shower it helps prevent mildew and can be used to remove soap and chemical build up.
Lemon juice can be used to remove soap scum and hard water deposits, as well as clean brass and copper. Putting a whole lemon peel through the garbage disposal will freshen the kitchen and help with odors. You can remove stains from laminate counter tops and cutting boards by squeezing on the juice of a lemon, letting it soak and scrubbing with the lemon itself. The juice can also be used to get rust stains out of clothes.
Baking soda is, of course, a great deodorizer; that’s why so many people keep an open box in their refrigerator or freezer. It can be sprinkled in the bottom of the garbage pail for a similar result. But it can also be used to clean and scour surfaces, removing odors and stains.
Burnt-on food in pans can be loosed with a baking-soda-and-water soak overnight. Remove scuffs and grease spots on floor with a sprinkle of baking soda and a wipe with a damp cloth. A paste of baking soda and water, in varying ratios, can be used to clean a variety of surfaces and objects in the kitchen and bathroom.
The key to using these methods successfully is to keep a few tips in mind. Anytime I want to clean something with vinegar, lemon or baking soda, I go online to get some tips on how much to use and how to apply it. Getting multiple sources that recommend a certain use or ratio is always comforting.
Just as you would with any cleaning chemical, you may want to test a small area before cleaning an entire object or surface. You are using these products in a concentrated form, so proceed with due caution. Although they can each be found in your home normally, remember to keep them out of reach of children. After all, large doses of almost anything aren’t good for you!
The next time you’re thinking green, just remember vinegar, lemon and baking soda. They can keep your home safe and clean, and save your wallet, too.
Category: Eco Friendly