Monday, April 5, 2010

D.I.Y. green cleaners

Check out this month's column in Abode magazine here or on their website!

Mix up your own green cleaners

Time to spring clean! This month Betty gives you simple recipes to save greenbacks, and our green planet. These phosphate- and petroleum-free, biodegradable cleaners outshine harmful and unnecessary specific cleaning products. All you really need is baking soda, mild detergent (Dr. Bonner’s), lemon, kosher salt and (optional) tea tree oil.

Basic all-purpose cleaner: 1 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1 gallon of water (many spray bottles are this size) and a lemon’s squeeze for aroma and anti-bacterial benefits. Use this in bathrooms (on tub and tile) and all countertops and appliances. For tougher stains sprinkle baking soda and kosher salt and apply elbow grease.

Natural disinfectant: 2 cups water, 3 T liquid soap, 20-30 drops of tea tree oil.
Clogged drains: ½ cup baking soda followed by 2 cups boiling water (unless you have plastic pipes). Still clogged? Add ½ cup of vinegar and watch it fizz, set, then flush.

Bathroom mold: 1 part hydrogen peroxide (3 percent) with 2 parts water. Spray; wait an hour before rinsing.

Carpet spills: If club soda fails, pour corn meal or corn starch, wait 15 minutes, and vacuum.

Hardwood floors: Local hardwood expert Will Rainey says you really don’t need to use anything special on hardwoods, just warm water (optional: a splash of vinegar).

Windows: 2 T of white vinegar per gallon of water. Wipe with newspaper (no need for paper towels).

Stubborn clothing stains: After a red wine stain on new white linens, I discovered this trick: hydrogen peroxide. Let it pull the stain off, then wash.

Happy green cleaning!

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