Green is the new thing. I see it everywhere; it is printed on clothing, listed on cleaning products, and advertised on TV. As I read more about a specific product, I am often disappointed to find that it isn’t so green after all. What exactly makes a product green? Most products are considered green if they reduce waste, conserve energy, save water, decrease pollutants, improve air quality, or are created naturally. Others products are marked green when they are created with recycled materials or decompose easily; this helps the environment by decreasing waste.
Slapping the green label on something is easy if it helps the environment in any way. Unfortunately, many products benefit the environment in one way but hurt it in another. If you are grabbing green products off the shelf without reading the ingredients, you might be the one who isn’t benefiting from a “green” claim. The only way to ensure that you are cleaning your home with the safest natural cleaners is by creating them yourself. Here are four green ingredients you can use to make your own cleaning products that won’t emit harmful toxins into your home.
That little orange box holds a powder with a powerful punch. Not only is baking soda non-toxic, but it is an affordable way to do green cleaning around the house. Starting in the kitchen, open an entire box and place it in the refrigerator to deodorize any stinky smells. Then, sprinkle a little across the counter surfaces and scrub them down with a wet cloth. Walk to the bathroom to use baking soda on surfaces and in the drains and to clean combs and hairbrushes. You can even put it on the carpets to lift out stains and vacuum out smells.
That strange-smelling bottle might turn you away, but it is liquid gold in the green cleaning world. Vinegar is awesome. It is my favorite cleaning product, and it is stored right in my food pantry next to the animal crackers and bottles of water. It is green, safe, and used inside and outside of the home. Counters in the bathroom and kitchen can be wiped down with vinegar so they shine and are stink-free. Grease stains are easily wiped away by combining vinegar and baking soda and applying this to the area. Sinks can be free of soap buildup and grime by scrubbing them with a rag dipped in vinegar. A vinegar and baking soda mixture works great on shower heads, toilets, and bathtubs. This green product can even be used on your precious car; wipe down leather, wash away water stains on the outside, and polish the plastic with vinegar.
Most cleaning products found on the shelf are diluted with large amounts of water. It helps weaken chemicals, cuts the cost in half, and gets more life out of key ingredients. The same idea applies to green products. Adding water to vinegar will help it last longer and save you money, but it is also the most natural ingredient you can add to your DIY cleaners. Water soaks tricky areas so food and grime can be wiped away easier. It can be combined with vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils to create the cleaners you need around the home.
Essential oils have grown popular over the past few years, and it is no surprise why; these yummy oils are safe and still serve many purposes. Lavender can be added to any green cleaning product for a fresh and relaxing scent. What most people don’t know about lavender oil is that it is an antiseptic and antibacterial substance. My other favorite oils are lemon and peppermint; they improve people’s mood, boost alertness, and work as an antiseptic. Essential oils make it fun to create your own cleaning products, so you can know exactly what is being sprayed in your home.
Image Courtesy of go_greener_oz (Flickr)