The Best Green Cleaning Products For Your Home

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Everyone enjoys a clean home, but using harsh chemicals with pungent fumes and potentially dangerous ingredients can be health a risk to your family, not to mention the environment. Many green alternatives to common household cleaners are just as effective and eco-friendly, without the unwanted side effects.

Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the most effective natural cleaning products, and can be found in nearly every home. Inexpensive and easy to make, vinegar cleaning solutions can be used to as a deodorizer and disinfectant on a variety of surfaces. To make vinegar cleaning solution, mix one part vinegar with one part water and pour into an empty spray bottle. Some of the many ways vinegar can be used:

  • Polish chrome fixtures
  • Clean counter tops
  • Clean drains
  • Clean garbage disposals
  • Disinfect microwaves
  • Clean the refrigerator
  • Reduce the smell emitted when a newly cleaned oven is turned on
  • Clean a dishwasher
  • Remove cloudy film on glass
  • Remove mineral deposits in coffee makers
  • Clean plastic food containers
  • Clean grills
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Baking Soda

A classic household cleaner, baking soda can be used in its original powder form, or mixed with water to clean and deodorize around the house. It can even be used for personal care, and can be added to shampoo, face wash or used as toothpaste. Some of the varied uses for baking soda cleansers include:

  • Cleaning oral appliances like retainers or dentures:Soak them in a mixture of baking soda and water.
  • Cleaning brushes:Soak the brush bristles in a mixture of baking soda and water.
  • Cleaning bathroom surfaces:Scrub bath tubs, sinks and fixtures with a mixture of baking soda and water.
  • Cleaning and deodorizing sponges:Soak sponges in a mixture of baking soda and water.
  • Cleaning coffee pots:Wash coffee mugs and coffee maker with one-quarter cup baking soda in one quart of water.
  • Freshening floors:Mop floors with a mixture of baking soda and water.
  • Aiding laundry detergent's cleaning ability:Add one half cup of baking soda to your laundry.
  • Removing oil stains from driveways:Sprinkle baking soda on the stain, then scrub.
  • Deodorizing your refrigerator:Set an opened box of baking soda in the back of your refrigerator.
  • Keeping shoes smelling fresh:Sprinkle baking soda inside shoes while they are not being worn.
  • Clean Produce:Scrub fruit and vegetables with a sponge lightly sprinkled with baking soda. Rinse the produce well after scrubbing.

Lemons

Lemon juice is a good option for dissolving mineral deposits and soap scum around your home. It can also polish a variety of surfaces, and has a naturally fresh scent. Sliced lemons can even be sprinkled with baking soda and used to scrub surfaces clean. Some of the many ways to clean with lemons include:

  • Polish copper:Slice a lemon in half and scrub copper pots of fixtures with it.
  • Clean Countertops:Pour lemon juice on countertop stains and let sit for several minutes. Wipe clean.
  • Freshen the garbage disposal:Grind a lemon peel in the garbage disposal. The ground peel will release a fresh scent.
  • Bleach:Lemon juice can be used to bleach white linens when left in the sun to dry.
  • Clean wooden boards:Remove discoloration from wooden chopping boards by rubbing lemon juice on them.
  • Deodorize microwaves:Place a slice of lemon in a bowl of water and microwave on high for three minutes.
  • Remove mildew:Combine lemon juice and baking soda to form a paste. Set on mildew for two hours, then rinse.
  • Clean shoes:Clean dark leather shoes by rubbing lemon juice on them, then buff off.

Tea Tree Oil

Also great for personal care, tea tree oil can be an effective cleaner around the house. Naturally antibacterial, this essential oil can be used to scrub and deodorize various surfaces around the home. Tea tree oil can typically be found at health food stores and vitamin shops. Some of tea tree oil's best uses include:

  • Household cleaner:Combine tea tree oil with vinegar to form a solution to spray on surfaces.
  • Air freshener:Mix tea tree oil with a small amount of water in a spray bottle. Mist the room.
  • Clean humidifiers:Add several drops of tea tree oil to your humidifier to clean and disinfect the machine and air.
  • Freshen laundry:Add several drops of tea tree oil to laundry to freshen and disinfect laundry.

There's no need to fill your home with dangerous chemicals when easy and safe natural cleaning products may already be sitting in your cupboards. Simple mixtures like baking soda and water or vinegar in a spray bottle can freshen and disinfect nearly every surface of your home, all without damage to your family or the environment.

Last Updated: August 2, 2011
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About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

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