Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Clean and Green

Blogging about cloth diapering yesterday got me thinking about being green in general.  Most of us with small children have those annoying cabinet latches to lock up our chemicals and cleaning products.  Eventually the kids outsmart us and our childproofing.  Plus, some of the latches are just as adult-proof.  But if you think about it, isn't removing the dangerous chemicals the best way to child-proof?  Most of us have separate (costly) cleansers for our kitchens, floors, bathrooms, surfaces, etc.  Is that really necessary?  Are we making things worse with this war on germs?  Is dirt really that bad?

You can go to the health food store and buy "green" cleansers, but do you really need to?  Here are a few non-hazardous ingredients that will clean just about anything that you'd buy a specialty cleanser for:

Kosher Salt
Liquid soap

And here's what to do with those things:

Instead of using bleach, make your own disinfectant for kitchens and bathrooms using 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap, and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil.

Clean your windows and mirrors with vinegar, water, and newspaper.   Mix two tablespoons of white vinegar with a gallon of water and pour it into a spray bottle.  Use newspaper instead of paper towels which cause streaking.  (I wonder if you can use a rag rather than newspaper.  Doesn't reading a newspaper defeat the point of being green?)  

For tile and porcelain, sprinkle on some baking soda and then wipe with a damp sponge.  For tough grime, add some kosher salt into the mix.  Lemon juice or vinegar works for mildew, stains, or to cut grease.

Instead of Drano, try baking soda and boiling water.  Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into the problem drain followed by 2 cups of boiling water.  If the drain is still clogged or slow, try chasing it with 1/2 cup of vinegar and watch the volcano erupt.

Smelly garbage disposal?  Shove half a lemon down there and turn the disposal on.  Turn the water on, of course.

Shine your silver with aluminum foil, boiling water, baking soda, and salt.  Line your sink or a bucket with the foil and put your silver in.  Pour in the boiling water, one cup of baking soda, and a dash of salt.  After sitting for a few minutes the tarnish will transfer to the foil.  Voila!  Now doesn't that sound better than spending hours polishing your silver?  If you're so inclined, you can polish using a paste made from three parts baking soda and one part water and a soft cloth.

Freshen your carpets by sprinkling on baking soda and then vacuuming.

To naturally bleach out your laundry, hang it outside to dry.  Sunlight is an excellent sanitizer.

Using natural cleansers is something that I'm really interested in learning about and I am by no means an expert.  I care about the environment, but my family's health is a more important reason for me to be green when I can.  Plus, I'm cheap thrifty.  

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