Green Cleaning 101

A crash course in cleaning the natural way

Many household cleaners we use every day contain toxic chemicals that linger on household surfaces and in the air we breathe.   From air fresheners to all-purpose cleaners to handy wipes, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find natural solutions for keeping the home clean.

Luckily, there are many “do-it-yourself” cleaners that you can make at home, which are safe and effective alternatives to the chemical-ridden options we often purchase. So where can you begin? Start with acetic acid, or white vinegar, which is a great natural cleaner for every room in the house.

Below are four ways you can make cleaning green:

1) Try Vinegar as your go-to, all-purpose cleaner

Acetic acid, or white vinegar, is a powerful natural disinfectant, safe for use on most surfaces. It also acts as a deodorizer, beats hard-water deposits, cuts grease and is completely biodegradable.

Vinegar all-purpose cleaner recipe

1 cup of water

1 cup of white distilled vinegar

25 drops of essential oil (optional, such as thyme or tea tree oil)

Combine ingredients into a jar or spray bottle.  Gently shake to mix.  Clean like the lean, mean, green machine you are, confident in providing a safe, natural (and spotless!) environment for your family. Better yet, get your kids to help!

Note: For even more cleaning power, or for tough jobs, increase the amount of vinegar-to-water ratio of 2:1

Here are some additional ideas about how you can use vinegar to clean at home:

  • Make dishes streak free: Fill the rinse-agent dispenser of your dishwasher with plain white vinegar.
  • Combat pit stains on white T-shirts: soak clothing in about 60 millilitres of white vinegar and enough water to cover the stain. Leave overnight and then wash with eco-friendly laundry soap.
  • Deodorize the toilet: pour 125 millilitres of white vinegar into the bowl. Let sit 15 minutes and then flush.
  • Remove hard-water deposits on the tub and glass shower doors: Heat 250 millilitres of white vinegar in a pot. Then, spray warm vinegar onto surface, let sit 15 minutes and wipe clean.

2) Try Borax-free liquid laundry soap

Use 1/2 cup per full load

7 l hot water

1 cup baking soda

1 cup liquid castile soap

1/3 cup coarse salt

Dissolve dry ingredients in hot water. Add soap and stir.

3) Try a Natural Furniture polish

2 cups warm water

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp white vinegar (or lemon juice)

4) Try a Natural Stainless steel cleaner

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp white vinegar

Drizzle olive oil on one side of a cloth. Rub all over oven, kettle, fridge or other appliance. On the other side of the cloth, drizzle white vinegar. Wipe over the same area and let dry.

Other recipes and amounts for the above can be found at: