Happy first day of Spring! Spring break is here or on it's way, the Spring holidays are just around the corner, and with all this Spring merriment comes a host of Spring chores. It's time for spring cleaning!
This year, why not skip pricey, potentially toxic cleaning supplies and test a few DIY recipes? For this week's Tips Tuesday, we're breaking down how to make cheap and easy green cleaning supplies for different rooms in your house. (Not in the mood to DIY? Don't worry! We have a few bonus basic tips at the end to reduce toxic chemicals in your home.)
Stock Up: To make your own cleaning supplies, you'll need a few key ingredients and tools.
- Baking soda
- Distilled white vinegar
- Castille soap: Check the label when you’re buying liquid castile soap; Women’s Voices for the Earth recommends avoiding sodium lauryl (laureth) sulfate (SLS) and Diethanolamine (DEA).
- Lemon juice
- Rags: Recycle clean old cloth, like worn out towels, sheets, or clothing.
- Containers: Stock up on glass jars for scrubs and polishes, and glass spray bottles for cleaning spray. You can clean and rescue glass jars from your recycling bin.
- Toilet bowl cleaner: Women’s Voices for the Earth recommends sprinkling your toilet bowl with baking soda, then drizzling distilled white vinegar in the bowl, and letting the mixture soak for at least 30 minutes. Then scrub the bowl with a toilet brush.
- Tub cleaner: Try this recipe from Healthy Child, Healthy World– Mix 1 2/3 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup liquid soap and 1/2 cup water.
- Glass spray: My favorite easy recipe, from Alexandra Zissu: Just mix equal parts water and distilled white vinegar. You can use this for mirrors and windows.
- Garbage Disposal Cleaner: Try this recipe from the Smart Mama–Combine water and distilled white vinegar in ice cube trays and use the frozen cubes as a homemade disposal cleaner.
- Sink cleaner: Use Savvy Brown’s sink cleaning solution by scrubbing a dirty sink with a simple mix of vinegar and baking soda.
- Oven/ Microwave cleaner: A simple paste made from baking soda and water is an excellent cleaner for your oven and microwave. Follow these steps from Healthy Child, Healthy World to clean your oven the non-toxic way.
- All Purpose Cleaner: Combine equal parts vinegar and water. Women’s Voices for the Earth recommends warming the cleaner in a glass bowl in the microwave for tough cleaning jobs.
- Furniture polish: DIY Life recommends combining the juice of one lemon with a teaspoon of water and a teaspoon of vinegar.
- Bleach: Try this tip from Women’s Voices for the Earth! Substitute bleach with hydrogen peroxide; Soak your dingy white clothes for 30 minutes in the washer with 1/2 cup 20% peroxide.
- Laundry detergent: Baking soda, castille soap, and water are all you’ll need for this DIY detergent recipe.
- Fabric softener: Healthy Child, Healthy World recommends replacing your fabric softener with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of baking soda.
The Basics: No time for major cleaning? Don't worry about it! These two simple (and free!) tips will reduce toxic chemicals in your home, and reduce dirt, dust, and stale or musty scents in the process.
- Lose the shoes: Lower your toxic chemical exposures by leaving your shoes at the door. Lead-contaminated soil from the outside creates the majority of lead dust inside our homes. Leaving your shoes at the door can cut your lead dust levels by 60 percent, and also reduce your exposure to pesticides, dust mites, and more.
- Open a window: Open a window for five minutes every day. This simple action significantly lowers levels of indoor air pollutants. Try to do this daily, and not just at home: If you can, open a window at work for a few minutes too.
Shop smart: No time to DIY, but still in the market for cleaning supplies? Download free apps to help you make safer, non-toxic choices when it comes to everything from cleaning supplies to food to sunscreen. Visit Healthy Stuff, the Good Guide, and the Environmental Working Group to find handy on-the-go-tools.