Friday, May 11, 2012

Eco Clean

I'm pretty sure this is an ugly, unfortunate occurrence that most of us have experienced....

It's food shopping day. In addition to running out of anything edible, you've also managed to run out of glass cleaner, bathroom cleaner, furniture polish, paper towels and floor cleaner (a double whammy if you use Swiffer Wet Jet and you used up all the cleaning pads AND solution). You're now looking at around an extra $30 tacked onto your bill. 

After one such experience of my own, I decided enough was enough! Not only was I draining my bank account, but I was also introducing unnecessary, albeit lovely smelling, chemicals into my home. I pride myself on being eco-friendly, but hypocritically was having a love affair with Clorox wipes and Pledge Furniture polish wipes. 

I turned to good 'ol Mother Nature for some solutions and have been quite pleased with the outcome thus far.

1. Furniture Polish 
Combine 1 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice. 

The lemon juice breaks up any dirt and grime and leaves a nice fresh scent while the olive oil makes your wood nice and polished. 

2. Glass Cleaner / All-Purpose Cleaner
Combine 1 cup white vinegar and 1 cup water. You can also use apple cider vinegar, which I tend to use a lot.

The vinegar dissolves dirt, grease and soap scum and is a natural deodorizer. Also works beautifully on glass!

3. Window Cleaner
Combine 1/4 cup vinegar with 2 cups water and about a tablespoon of dish soap. 

You could just put this mixture in a spray bottle for quick cleaning, but if you're spring cleaning, make a big batch in a bucket. I just did this two weeks ago and the results were great!

4. Floor Cleaner
Combine 1 cup vinegar with 1/2 gallon hot water and a few squirts of dish soap. If you've got a tough job, add about a 1/4 cup borax.

I usually wash the floors the old fashioned way on my hands and knees, but for quick in-between clean-ups, but the mixture in a spray bottle. Grab your old swiffer handle, and attach a terry cloth towel instead of the pads. Spray, mop up and done!

5. Paper Towel (Partial) Replacement
I can't totally give up paper towels. BUT, you can certainly cut down on them by using terry cloth towels for a lot of your cleaning. The best value around is at Walmart. You can buy an 18 pack of white terry washcloths for $4! 

As you can see, you can clean most of your house with just a few inexpensive products, that really do work... better than some of the name-brand stuff I think. And there are so many uses beyond what I've listed above. Here's a few:
  1. Have a steam cleaner? Use a little borax and vinegar instead of the commercial cleaner... works awesome!
  2. Got a mild case of fleas in your house? Gross for sure, but don't jump to bombing your house with incredibly harsh chemicals. Sprinkle borax in your carpets and on furniture working into all the cracks. Let sit for as long as you can, ideally 12 hours, then vacuum up. The borax dries out any of the nasty critters including any eggs, and in the case of a few fleas, should rid you completely!
  3. Have ants? Mix a 50/50 solution of sugar and borax and sprinkle where the ants are coming into the house. The ants eat the sugar and are killed by the borax. Be careful if you have pets. 
  4. Extra dirty laundry? Skip the OxiClean and sprinkle a little borax into the washing machine along with your usual detergent.

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