Basic Floor Cleaner
Works well on all floor types – sealed wood, tile, laminate and linoleum – for regular cleaning.
Mix equal parts of white vinegar and hot water, and mop. There’s no need to rinse, and the vinegar smell dissipates once the floors have dried. The vinegar is a mild disinfectant and leaves a nice shine.
Wood Floor Cleaner and Polish
1 gallon of hot water
3/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
The hot water and lemon clean the floor, and the olive oil leaves wood floors with a nice, natural sheen. Apply it with a mop that you’ve wrung out fairly well; let it dry on its own. No need to rinse. Once dry, floors look great!
Disinfecting Floor Cleaner
For bathroom and areas of that need disinfecting.
1 gallon of hot water
1/4 cup of Borax
Mix water and Borax in a mop bucket. Borax is a great disinfectant! You don’t need to rinse.
Clean Your Towels – Stinky towels aren’t a result of using too much detergent and fabric softener. More isn’t better and over time soap residue accumulates in the fibers of towels and not only do they fail to absorb water as they can but they don’t dry like they should. When towels get a funky smell immediately upon getting wet again, failure to dry completely thanks to soap residue is usually the culprit. Run towels through the wash 2 times in hot water. DO NOT use detergent or fabric softener. In the first load use one cup of vinegar and in the second load use one cup of baking soda. The goal is to strip the softener and detergent residue from the fiber of the towel.
Clean silver – Clean ALL of your silver at ONCE! Line your sink (or pan) with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Pour 1/2 c. baking soda 1/2 c. salt into the sink. Fill sink two-thirds full with almost-boiling water. Submerge silver for about 2 minutes. Rinse with hot water, and then immediately dry with a soft cloth – Good as new!
Naturally Renew Wood – With Vinegar and Canola Oil.
3/4 cup of canola oil
1/4 cup vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar)
Mix together in a jar and rub into the wood.
You don’t need to wipe it off; the wood soaks it in.
A Check for Toxins in the Home
Dryer Sheets – The substance used to soften clothes is often derived from animal fats. The fragrances used can be toxic. Use dryer balls and essential oils for a fresh laundry smell.
Bleach-based Cleaners are highly corrosive to the skin and lungs. Mixed with ammonia (found in urine), it creates a deadly gas. When mixed with wastewater, it forms carcinogenic compounds. Use white vinegar and baking soda for disinfecting.
Oven Cleaners are full of toxins that release butane (a neurotoxin) when you spray them. Switch to a paste made from baking soda and water, and line the bottom of the oven with foil to make clean ups easier.
Carpets are treated with toxic chemicals, from flame-retardants to stain repellents. Bare wood or tile floors are best. Natural-fiber carpets can make a big difference.
Scented Candles – Commercial candles contain tiny metal wires in the wicks that can release lead into the air. Most fragrances contain plasticizers and solvents that shouldn’t be inhaled. Even beeswax and soy candles release hydrocarbons into the air, which can cause respiratory problems. Experts suggest limiting candle burning to special occasions.
Art Supplies – Dry-erase markers top the list for toxicity because they usually contain xylene, a neurotoxin.
Particleboard usually contains formaldehyde glues that give off toxic fumes. Upholstered furniture made with polyurethane foam can contain brominated and chlorinated flame-retardants that give off toxic vapors. Your best choice is solid wood furniture.
Pressure-Treated Wood has preservatives forced into it under high pressure that help repel insects and prevent rot. The chemicals used can be very toxic. Look for wood that’s been treated with the less-toxic borate preservatives.
Fertilizers and Pesticides can be very harmful to pets and children, who are the ones most likely to be rolling around in the grass. Use organic lawn treatments.
Spring Cleaning Household Helps
Clean Washing Machine – Pour some vinegar into the drawer for washing powder, and set it to a wash. When finished, the washing machine will sparkle. Add 1/3 vinegar to amount of washing powder to boost cleaning power.
Clean Bathtub – Heat some vinegar in the microwave (warm). Mix vinegar with a soapy solution in a spray bottle (ratio of 1:1). Gently stir the substances together. Spray on the bathtub; leave for 30 minutes, and wipe it away with a sponge.
Cleaning the Microwave – Place half a lemon in a cup and add some cinnamon. Place the cup in the microwave for 5-10 minutes at the lowest power setting. This will help clean and disinfect, and the cinnamon will help rid unpleasant odors.
Wipe Away Dust – Apply a few drops of oil to a paper towel, and wipe across dusty areas. Then wipe again with a clean paper towel. A thin layer will be left on the surface, which helps to keep the dust from accumulating and gives the furniture an attractive sheen.
HERBY SOFT SCRUB
½ cup baking soda
½ cup Castile soap
15 drops antimicrobial essential oil
Mix ingredients in a 12-ounce glass jar until you have a nice consistency like cake frosting. If you have leftovers, add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to keep the blend nice and moist. Put a lid on the glass jar between uses.
ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP SPRAY – Use to disinfect your bathroom.
Mix ingredients together in a 16-ounce spray bottle.
14 ounces water or rosemary hydrosol
3 Tablespoons castile soap
15 drops tea tree oil
15 drops oregano oil
REFRESHING LINEN SPRAY – Refresh the mattress, pillows, bed linens, couches, and fabric-covered chairs, or spritz clean winter blankets before storing them for the year. It makes a wonderful ironing spray! Mix all of the ingredients together in a 16-ounce spray bottle.
3 ounces unflavored vodka
12 drops lavender, ylang ylang, or other essential oil
12 ounces organic hydrosol of your choice
LEMONY WOOD-FLOOR MOP FORMULA
½ cup distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
20 drops lemon essential oil
Mix all the ingredients in a 20-ounce spray bottle.
MOP-IT-UP FORMULA – Liquid cleaner for tile floors, vinyl, or linoleum.
¼ cup castile soap
½ cup distilled white vinegar
20 drops tea tree essential oil
20 drops sweet orange essential oil
Mix solution with 2 gallons of hot water and mop away dirt and grime.
Mix 4 tablespoons vinegar and 12 drops lemon essential oil in a 22- to 32-ounce spray bottle. Fill with water, and spray dirty windows. Wipe dry with well-crumpled newspapers for extra shine.
TUB SCRUB –Mix 1cup baking soda, 24 drops tea tree essential oil, and 24 drops grapefruit essential oil. Rinse tub, sprinkle powder over the surface, and scrub with a brush. Rinse well.
Destroy MoldPure Tea Tree Oil
An Open Window (Where Possible)
Sponge, Cloth and towel
The first step to eliminating mold is to prevent it from growing in the first place. If your room has a fan, use it. If it doesn’t, open a window in the bathroom, or open the bathroom door to keep air moving. This is very important and a very effective way to prevent the growth of mold. Mix 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil with two cups of water and add it to a spray bottle. If you’re using this in the bathroom, spray surfaces regularly. To actively remove mold, spray the solution directly to the mold and leave for an hour before using a scrub brush to remove the debris. A toothbrush can be used to reach those fine areas. Spray your chosen green cleaner on affected areas and let sit for several minutes up to an hour. Using a scrub brush or a sponge, wipe down the walls of the shower. You might need to put a little elbow grease into it, but don’t resort to bleach, which only temporarily makes the mold disappear. Toothbrushes work great on the mold joints. Spring Cleaning Recipe for the Grout 7 cups water, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup vinegar – throw in a spray bottle and spray your floor, let it sit for a minute or two… then scrub. LIGHT YOUR FIRE – Use dried orange peels instead of newspaper to start a fire. Orange oil is flammable and lights easily making it an excellent fire starter. Burning orange peels in your wood burning fireplace is supposed to remove any creosote that’s inside your chimney. Orange Peel Cleaner – Put orange peels in a quart jar cover with vinegar and let sit for 10 days or so. Strain out the liquid and use as all-purpose cleaner. Easy, cheap, natural and smells good. Powdered Laundry Detergent (3 cups = 40 loads) 1 Fels-Naptha Soap Bar, Ivory, or Dr. Bronner’s Bars 1 c. Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 1 c. 20 Mule Team Borax Grate bar of soap or put it in a food processor until powdered. Combine the three ingredients in a large container. For a small load use 1 tablespoon. For heavy or very dirty laundry, use 2-3 tablespoons. Liquid Laundry Detergent (2 gallons = 64 loads) 1/3 bar of Soap 1/2 c. Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 1/2 c. 20 Mule Team Borax Grate bar of soap and put it in a large pot with 6 cups water. Pour in washing soda and borax and stir until completely dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in 2 more cups of hot water. Pour into a container and add an additional 1.5 gallons of water. Allow the soap to sit and gel for 1 day. Shake well and use 1/2 c. per load of laundry. Depending on what you choose, the cost is between 1 and 5¢ per load! STORE BOUGHT DETERGENT prices ranges from 4¢-20¢ per load with coupons & sales.
Silver expert Jeffrey Herman notes that those chemical dips work by dissolving the tarnish on an object at an accelerated rate, and they take the silver along with it. They quickly remove factory-applied patinas if left in for even more than a few seconds, or they will eventually if dipped in very quickly each time the item requires cleaning. They strip the shine from silver too, leaving it with a dull, lifeless appearance, and can also cause pitting in the surface. Herman adds that those dips are often made of a strongly suspected carcinogen known as acidified thiourea, which is a corrosive that will damage silver. A green cleaning method for making old silver shine is a much better idea.
1. Aluminum Foil
This aluminum foil solution is like a magic cleaning wand that makes tarnish disappear right before your eyes.
Aluminum or glass baking dish
1 cup boiling water
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp sea salt
1/2 cup white vinegar
Soft cloth for polishing
Tongs to remove silverware from the boiling water
Bring cup of water to a boil in a pot on the stove. When the water is mixed with the other ingredients, it will activate the baking soda to start the process of transferring tarnish to the foil. Add your dry ingredients to a pot and then slowly pour in the vinegar with caution, as it will result in a slight reaction. While vinegar isn’t an absolutely necessary ingredient in the process, it will help speed it up significantly. Pour the boiling water in after the vinegar. Place silver into the pot so each piece is touching the foil. Pieces should all be spaced apart slightly. Leave them in for 30 seconds, or a few minutes if the pieces are heavily tarnished. Using tongs remove the silver and rub off remaining spots by buffing with the soft cloth.
2. Ketchup can actually clean tarnished silver. Add a little bit to a paper towel and then gently rub it over tarnished areas of the silver. For tough objects you may need to allow the ketchup to stay on them for 15 to 20 minutes and then rub the tarnish off with a soft cloth. For objects that have textured details like fancy silverware, use a toothbrush to get into those hard to reach areas.
3. Baking soda – Completely cover tarnished pieces in baking soda using a generous amount and covering the objects until they’re totally immersed. Allow it to sit and perform its magic for about 30 minutes. Dampen a soft cloth with hot water and buff the baking soda into the piece using the cloth to rub off the tarnish. Rinse the object thoroughly in hot water.
4. Rubbing alcohol – For mild mineral spots or residue, you can mix together 4 parts water and 1 part rubbing alcohol in a bowl. Simply dip a clean, soft cloth into the mixture, and then rub it over your silver. Afterward, wipe it dry using another clean cloth.
5. Cornstarch – Mix up a paste using water and cornstarch, which works similar to baking soda. Apply the paste with a damp, soft cloth and allow it to dry. Once it’s dried, rub off the tarnished areas using cheesecloth.
6. Banana peels – Toss three banana peels into your blender and add just a little water to make a paste. Use this paste to clean the silver by dipping a toothbrush into it, and then working it around your silver. Dip the piece into water to rinse off any residue that remains.
7. Toothpaste works on silver similar to how it removes plaque from teeth. Squeeze out a bit of toothpaste onto a cloth and then use that to polish your silver. If piece is heavily tarnished, let it sit for a minute or two before polishing with your cloth. Rinse.