Green Cleaning

With the holiday season in full swing, many homeowners are busy cleaning their homes in preparation for company. Unfortunately, many household cleaning products are laden with harmful chemicals, including harsh cleansing agents and artificial dyes and fragrances. These chemicals produce indoor air pollution, which is dangerous to both human health and the environment. Additionally, our over-use of many antibacterial products is actually making some strains of bacteria stronger, and more resistant to antibacterial drugs. Read on for some effective, natural, and safe green cleaning ideas.

Baking Soda
Baking soda is easy to use and a versatile natural cleaner, which can be used in nearly every room of your house. A sodium bicarbonate, baking soda neutralizes both acids and bases, fully eliminating odours rather than simply covering them up. Sprinkle baking soda anywhere there is an unpleasant smell – ideas include at the bottom of the garbage can or litter box, in the fridge, or when cleaning up a spill. In addition to combating odours, baking soda is an excellent cleaning agent as well. A mild abrasive, it can be used to remove stubborn stains and grime. Use baking soda on its own, or combine with water to create a scouring paste. For those extra tough stains, add some kosher salt.

Vinegar is a multipurpose cleaner and deodorizer. Pour white vinegar into a spray bottle and effectively clean surfaces, glass, stainless steel, and carpets. Because it is acidic, vinegar can dissolve mineral deposits from glass, coffee makers, and more. Best of all, it has strong antibacterial properties for disinfecting. Effectively clean windows and mirrors using vinegar and newspaper (to avoid streaking) – you’ll be amazed at this simple cleaning solution.

Ketchup is an unexpected natural cleaner. Use it to remove tarnish from copper and brass cookware. Squeeze ketchup onto a cloth and rub liberally – in just minutes your cookware will be brighter. Rinse and dry.

Corn Starch
Corn starch is great for those persistent greasy or oily stains. Use 3 parts corn starch to 1 part water to create a paste, and then apply to counter tops, stove tops, vent hoods, or other places where grease has gathered. To remove those stubborn grease stains from your clothing or fabrics, first blot as much as you can with a cloth, and then sprinkle cornstarch over the spot. Let it sit for several minutes, then remove. Dab the stain with white vinegar and launder as normal.

Lemon juice, whether freshly squeezed or in concentrated form, is a powerful disinfectant able to kill most bacteria in your home. The acidic cleaner has the added benefit of leaving your home with a refreshing citrus aroma. Lemon juice can be used on its own or mixed with vinegar or baking soda for double-duty cleaning power.

Baking soda, vinegar, ketchup, corn starch, and lemon are just some of the many versatile natural cleaners you can use around the home. This season, as you invite friends and family over to celebrate, make your home a healthy one. The planet (and your wallet!) will thank you.