Cleaning with natural ingredients helps you and your family in a multitude of ways. You save money by using inexpensive household products already in your pantry. You keep your family free from potentially toxic chemicals -- especially important if your kids are allergy-prone. And you take a big step in terms of making your entire household earth-friendly.
Baking soda works best on proteins, grease, and animal messes. Because it's only slightly abrasive, it can be used for scouring surfaces without fear of scratching. Baking soda is also a natural deodorizer.
A mild acid, distilled white vinegar works on alkaline substances by dissolving scale, inhibiting mold, and cutting soap scum. White vinegar is terrific for stains such as coffee, rust, and tea.
Try castile soap, made with olive oil, or a vegetable-base soap. Both attach to soil at the molecular level, so you can rinse dirt away with water.
Soft Scrub Add enough soap to 1/8 cup baking soda to make a thick, creamy mixture. Apply to grimy surface with a sponge to clean; rinse the surface well. Dry with a clean cloth. Discard mixture after use.
Appliance Cleaner Dry baking soda shines up small appliances and even removes bread wrappers burned onto the toaster. Try rubbing a teaspoon onto your grubby blender or food processor with a clean flannel cloth.
Toilet Cleaner/Deodorizer Sprinkle the toilet bowl with 1/4 cup baking soda. Drizzle with 1/4 cup vinegar, then scour with a toilet brush. Flush toilet to rinse clean.
Oven Cleaner Sprinkle oven with 1/2 cup baking soda (more if needed) and spray with water. Let sit for several hours or overnight before scraping off stains and spills. Rinse thoroughly with water. Wipe dry with a clean cloth.
Hardwood Floor Cleaner In a pail or bucket mix 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar in 1 gallon warm water. Mop wood or laminate floors, then rinse with water, making sure not to leave large pools to dry.
These green cleaning recipes are from the book Green Clean by Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin (Melcher Media, 2005).