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Green Tips: Healthy Spring Cleaning

As winter comes to a close and spring arrives, we think about rejuvenating ourselves and our homes with a good thorough spring-cleaning.

As winter comes to a close and spring arrives, we think about rejuvenating ourselves and our homes with a good thorough spring-cleaning. However, you want to make sure you use non-toxic cleaners. Indoor air pollution, partially caused by the use of chemical based cleaners, is a much more serious problem than people realize and one of the reasons for increased cases of asthma and allergies.

Fortunately, there are many non-toxic cleaning supplies, which can be found at Whole Foods and . Seventh Generation, Mrs. Myers and Bi-o-kleen are a few good brands. Many of the traditional brands are now making a less toxic product. Be sure to read the ingredients though. Some products claim to be “natural” when they really aren’t. 

Making your own cleaning supplies with everyday kitchen products is fun and easy to do using baking soda, salt, vinegar and lemon juice. Baking soda cleans nearly everything from stained kitchen sinks to mildewed showers to tea stained coffee mugs to flatware to fruit or even teeth, and it’s cheap.

White vinegar works great on hardwood floors. Leslie Reichert, a green cleaning coach, presenter and enthusiastic speaker for the green cleaning industry, has recently published a book called The Joy of Green Cleaning. A wonderful resource book for green cleaning and filled with simple recipes for making your own kitchen, metal, bathroom, floor, furniture, laundry and nursery cleaners. She even has rust removing recipes using coca cola

Below are a couple of Leslie’s recipes. Don’t be fooled into thinking that if there is no “clean” smell, then it’s not effective - fragrances are part of the chemical danger. There are some organic cleaners containing safe, essential oils as a fragrance.

Enjoy your clean “green” home and know you are doing the right thing for your family and the earth!

Leslie Reichert’s Multi-purpose Cleaner

1 teaspoon borax 1⁄2 teaspoon washing soda 2 tablespoon vinegar 1⁄2 teaspoon liquid castile soap* 2 cups very hot water

Warm up the water in the microwave for 45 seconds. Add each of the ingredients in small amounts into the hot water. Mix while adding these ingredients. Add the soap last and don‘t mix it a lot (you don‘t want a lot of foam.) Rinse thoroughly.

Tools to use: Microfiber cloths, microfiber mop or sparkle sponges

Daily Counter Cleanser

1 cup white vinegar 1 cup water 8 drops essential oil in lemon scent

Mix the vinegar and water together. Add the oil for a fresh scent. To make the mixture stronger, heat it in the microwave. Use the mixture in a spray bottle.

Tools: Microfiber cloths

Daily Anti-bacterial Spray

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup club soda

1⁄4 cup hydrogen peroxide

8 drops Tea Tree oil for disinfectant

Mix liquid and put into spray bottle. Add oil for disinfecting properties. Use a dark bottle and store in a dark area. You can add more hydrogen peroxide before using this spray. The peroxide will break down in light.

Tools: Use microfiber cloths to pick up bacteria. Wash them in hot water, whether in the dishwasher or laundry after cleaning to remove bacteria and dirt. If they are high quality microfiber cloths, you can place them in the microwave wet for 2-3 minutes to disinfect.

For more green cleaning recipes or other green tips, visit greenwithbetsy.info.

Constance Stolow March 26, 2011 at 12:12 PM
Great article. I would love to find out the best product to use on my outdoor porch furniture when I take off the plastic covers that have been on all winter. I believe they are powder coated metal frames with plastic woven seats. They are white and show all the dirt. Thanks.
Georgie March 26, 2011 at 07:46 PM
Constance, have you tried a vapor steam cleaner on that furniture? I clean just about everything with mine. It does a better job and it is so much safer than chemical cleaners. Everything looks like new and it’s so easy. Here’s a link on how they work better than bleach: http://bit.ly/9m1A6T
Betsy Wild April 04, 2011 at 03:04 PM
Constance - forgive me for not responding sooner, but I just found your comment. I 'm glad you like my column and find it helpful. I did a little research on non-toxic cleaning for powder coated metal outdoor furniture and have listed a recipe below. Hope it works - please let me know. You will need: Mild soap (like dishwashing liquid) Warm water Lemon juice or white distilled vinegar Clean sponge Bucket Steel wool (optional) 1 Add some mild dishwashing soap to warm water plus a natural acid like lemon juice or white vinegar. 2 Apply the mixture with a clean sponge and scrub aluminum furniture thoroughly. This should eliminate any discoloration and get rid of dirt and debris build-up from being outside. 3 Polish any rough spots on your powder coated aluminum furniture with steel wool. 4 Rinse thoroughly using the same warm water plus dishwashing soap and lemon juice (or vinegar) mixture to clean the polished areas. If you don't get all the steel wool off of the furniture, it could rust and stain the furniture. 5 Maintain this ritual every season and your powder coated aluminum furniture will live up to its name and truly last a lifetime. From ehow.com Read more: How to Clean Powder Coated Furniture | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_4899759_clean-powder-coated-furniture.html#ixzz1IZCeGvZT

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