A few green cleaning techniques will do more than just protect the aquifers, soil, and planet from pollution. You will save money and reduce your family’s exposure to abrasive and sometimes harmful chemicals by using mild, green cleaning supplies.
Basic Green Cleaning Arsenal
Reusable cleaning cloths
Thread and needles
Dusters and brooms
Organize: Of course, organizing your household inventory gets any cleaning spree into motion. In the course of your organization, you’ll find odd clothing articles and other gadgets you just don’t need. Organize a yard sale to get rid of some of your old stuff, and then donate other unneeded goods to nonprofit organizations. By selling or donating old things to other people, you’re taking a green approach to recycling things that could otherwise end up in landfills. When you are cleaning up and find trash that cannot be refurbished or sold (old papers, little pieces of junk), use trash bins without the plastic bags to reduce your use of plastics.
Clean top to bottom: Go around your ceilings with a broom or duster. Clean air vents with a duster, then use a moist reusable cloth. You can put a bit of lemon juice in some warm water as a cleaning solution to add a fresh lemon scent and to brighten brass and copper fixtures. Clean off any ceiling fans by using the same method. There is no need to use special cleaning solutions to remove built-up dust deposits on ceiling fixtures.
Wipe down walls and doors: You can use a little baking soda on a sponge to remove hand prints and dirt from doors and walls, but for most of the general cleaning, a wash cloth or sponge with warm water will work just as well.
Clean windows and glass doors: Vinegar mixed with an equal part of warm water works well as a glass cleaner, though the smell is less then floral. You can put the solution in a spray bottle, or you can dampen a cloth and wipe down the windows and doors, then dry them with a soft dry cloth.
Clean kitchen appliances: Use either the vinegar solution or a mixture of warm water and lemon juice with a good sponge to wipe down and clean appliances. The lemon solution is especially good for the inside of the refrigerator because lemon is good for reducing bacterial growth. Use baking soda and water to scrub caked on food stains in the refrigerator and in the oven. To freshen your garbage disposal, put some lemon or orange peels into it and run it. The acid will help to clean it, and the fresh scent will help to deoderize it.
Clean kitchen cabinets: Wipe wooden cabinets with a cloth that is slightly moistened with warm water and lemon. Dry the cabinets immediately then use a bit of olive oil on a dry cloth to polish them (or any wood surface).
Clean the bathroom: To clean the toilet, sprinkle baking soda into the bowl along the sides and scrub. Pour vinegar into it to help dissolve some of the stains. Porcelain sinks and bathtubs can use a good warm water bath with white vinegar. Use plain white vinegar to clean out the sinks, and then rinse them with cold water.
Clean floors: Sweep or vacuum all your hard flooring, then use a floor steam cleaner to get up stains and sticky dust patches. While the floor is still slightly moist, you can use an old towel to clean up some of the loosened debris to ensure the floor is well cleaned. Steam cleaners do use electricity, but they are great for sanitizing and cleaning many types of surfaces without your having to use any type of chemical or disposable mop products. White vinegar and warm water makes a good solution for getting stains out of carpets; however, you should test a small area of your carpet before using this solution to see if the vinegar will bleach the color of your carpet.
Going green in your cleaning routine can save you money in cleaning solutions. You shouldn’t have to buy replacement mops or cleaning wipes if you just use reusable clothes and a nice steam cleaner.