Home Clean Home: Your Tips

April 20, 2011

If this post doesn’t inspire you to get green + clean, then I don’t know what will! May I present a collection of green tips from YOU!

Green Cleaning

Beth:

Freshen your home naturally. Instead of using store-bought air fresheners (which are made with harsh chemicals to make them last longer), make your own potpourri. Boil cinnamon and cloves, then combine with dried flowers or oranges stuck with rinds.  Enclose the mixture in a bottle or drawer and wait for a delicious, “homey” smell.

Mary:

My MIL taught me how to best clean any glass or mirrored surface… and the best part is that it’s GREEN!  …and she would know bc she is the cleaning masta. She mixes 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water.  Yep, that’s it.  Most glass cleaners leave streak marks bc of the soap like chemicals they use (which really irritates her HA!).  So by using the vinegar/ water mixture you are being a green and saving tons of cash by not buying things like Windex and you get a totally streak free surface.  My MIL would want me to add that if you’re planning on cleaning dirty windows (on the outside), you should use warm water.

Ashley:

Homemade Cleaners

Ashley2

[See DIY instructions here!]

As far as home cleaners go…I haven’t purchased one in almost a full year.  I rid our house of bleach and all toxic cleaners last spring, and have been so happy + pleased since.  No more insane headaches and light-headedness from cleaning the house!  These super simple at home products work SO WELL.  Also, they are extremely cheap!

The most important ingredient is distilled white vinegar.  You can make a basic household cleaner with 1/2 water + 1/2 distilled white vinegar.  I also add peppermint or orange essential oil for scent.  At first, the vinegar is a bit strong, but I got used to it quickly.  Adding in about 10-20 drops of oil, helps immensely.  I reused old bottles from Method products I used before.

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • 1/2 water : 1/2 distilled white vinegar
  • ~10-20 drops essential oil, depending on how much you’re making

I posted about these when I first made them, which you can reference here.  I was even able to make a super easy glass cleaner!

Glass Cleaner

  • 1/4c vinegar
  • 1/2t Dr. Bronner’s castile soap
  • 2c water
  • ~10 drops essential oil [not totally necessary since Dr. Bronners is very pepperminty!]
  1. Add everything to the bottle and shake to mix.

You have to make sure and wipe the surface until it’s completely dry, but if you do it leaves no streaks!!

Tubs, Countertops, + Sink Cleaner

  • ~1T baking soda
  • ~1T Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap
  • ~6-8 dropped essential oil [optional]
  1. Add enough soap to make the mixture thick but spreadable with a wet sponge. 
  2. Mix well.

To use:

  1. Spoon some onto a wet sponge or dip sponge into the bowl.
  2. Spread around counters or sink.  You might need to add a little more water to the sponge to help spread. 
  3. Let sit for a minute or two and rinse off.

This works fabulously and is a great alternative to products like Soft Scrub.

DIY Laundry Detergent

  • 1c baking soda
  • 1c super washing soda
  • 1c borax
  • 1.5 bars of Dr. Bronners pure-castile soap
  1. Grate the soap boars with a cheese grater or similar, so it’s all in big flakes.
  2. Mix with the other ingredients.
  3. Use 2T per load of laundry

This makes about 4-5c, which equals 32 – 40 loads of laundry.

Ashley

Deva:

I do my best to use as many green products as I can for cleaning, but I am a work in progress. Two of my favorite green(er) cleaners are baking soda and vinegar! I use baking soda to clean my stainless-steel kitchen sink and it leaves it sparkly and clean. I follow with a vinegar rinse to make sure everything is clean – especially the drain. I also love adding vinegar to my towels to keep them smelling fresh. We also use baking soda when vacuuming to freshen our carpets, and I keep a box in the fridge, too.

Sara:

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this all-purpose cleaning solution…I adapted it from a recipe that was in Good Housekeeping a couple years ago.  I believe they called it "Green Goddess Cleaning Solution".  I never measure so mine turns out slightly different every time, but here’s an approximate recipe:

In a 32oz container, combine:
-1 1/2 cups white vinegar
-1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
-3 drops tea tree oil
-3 drops lavender oil (or lemon/orange/any other oil that smells good to you)
-1 Tbsp liquid baby soap, or Dr. Bronners soap

Fill the rest of the container with water, and pour into a spray bottle.

I’ve used this on corian countertops, my glass-top stove, the front of my stainless steel appliances, toilets, sinks, bathtubs, tile floors, wood floors, and even mirrors and windows.  It cuts grease, and dries without streaking, and I feel much better using this around my kids vs. a chemical and perfume-laden cleaner.

Laura:

One thing I love to use around the house to clean is BAKING SODA.  We have stainless steel pans, and sometimes, the dishes don’t get done every day, causing last nights dinner to become cemented to the pans.  Rather than scrubbing them to death, I just sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda inside and a tiny bit of water – enough to make a paste.  This can sit for 10 minutes or 10 hours, then just wash them in the sink as normal.  Everything comes off so easily!

The second new find we have found for baking soda is to clean the soot off of the brick front of our fireplace.  I dumped a box of baking soda in a bucket, add water until it was soupy and then scrubbed the front of the fireplace with a rag until it comes off – which didn’t take long at all!  The best part of all of this is that a box of baking soda cost like 50 cents.

Something Pithy

Regular white vinegar will clean almost anything.  To clean mirrors, simply wipe down the mirror with vinegar and then once again with water.  Allow to dry and it will come out spotless.

Pouring boiling water on soap scum will loosen up the crud.  Then you can use baking soda paste to scour and more vinegar to get the last bits up.

Clearly, I love vinegar.

Kaitlyn

Distilled Vinegar! It cuts through grease and is a great deodorizer for the garbage disposal. Another great tip is using it to clean out the coffee maker or removing soap buildup in the dishwasher. To make it smell better use half a lemon or your favorite essential oil.

Melissa

I use this cleaner in the kitchen (sink, countertops, stove) and the bathroom (tub, shower walls, toilet, sink, tile floor).  You may also be able to use it on carpet, walls, and some upholstered surfaces — test a small area first.

All Purpose Cleaner
2 c. hot water
2 T. vinegar
2 t. Borax
1-2 T. Liquid soap (like dish soap — I use Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap)

A few drops of an essential oil of your choice (optional)

Heat 2 c. water in a glass measuring cup, or other microwave safe container.  Add vinegar and Borax, and mix until Borax is thoroughly dissolved (important to prevent Borax from clumping when you add the soap!).  Then add the liquid soap and your essential oil, if using.  Mix well and pour into a reusable spray bottle.

Chelsie

The project that I have been working on recently is making my own dishwasher detergent.  We moved into our first apartment last January and were blessed with a dishwasher that works like a charm.  I went out and bought a "eco-friendly" detergent (it certainly was not cheap) and we went through the bottle in about a month running the dishwasher once a day.  Recycling a plastic container once a month for eco-friendly detergent seemed to cancel out each of my intentions.  Recycling is good, but never buying is better.  I set to work to find a dishwasher detergent that I could make at home.  I found a recipe, made a few mistakes and would love to share what I learned.  

The recipe: (use about 1t each load)
-1/2c Dr Bronner’s Sal’s Suds (fair trade and organic)
-1/2c water
-1t lemon juice
-3 drops tea tree oil
-1/2c white vinegar

It is a little bit of an investment to buy the sal’s suds and the tea tree oil, but both will last you for a very long time.  One batch of this recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of detergent.  If you are only using 1t each load that is about 72 dishwasher loads with just this one recipe!    

Lesson #1-
No Substitutions for Sal’s Suds
When I first wanted to make this I had Dr Bronner’s Castille Soap on hand and thought that I would substitute that instead of the Sal’s Suds.  It turned into a gross curdled mess.  At this point I was using about 1T of detergent.  For some reason I continued to use it to wash my dishes for a few days and it really left things feeling greasy.  It also left my dishwasher covered in a grime that required a full dishwasher deep clean, something I never want to do again.

Lesson #2- Do no use too much!
Once I got the mixture correct I continued to use 1T of detergent.  I usually turn my dishwasher on and walk away, so one day when my husband was home he stopped the dishwasher cause it was sounding funny.  Here there was so much soap suds that the spinner arm on the bottom rack was not able to move, we took out some suds and decided to experiment with smaller amounts.  We found that using about 1t works just perfectly for our dishwasher, but you might have to add a little more or a little less depending on the size of your machine.

A few days after finally feeling satisfied with my final result I found this blog post entitled "A Word of Caution About Vinegar and Castile Soap" I was so happy to find this to learn the science behind what happened in Lesson #1.  I would also recommend looking around the rest of her site- Going Green with a Bronner Mom– for some other good ideas.  She does not post very often, but what she does write about is worth it.

Sara:

I like to make most of my own cleaning solutions because it’s cheaper and easier than buying them all the time.  I got most of the recipes from The Green Mop, which is a Green Cleaning service in DC. I bought some spray bottles from Target to hold the solutions.  I generally have an all purpose cleaner and tub/tile cleaner made, but sometimes I just use a little diluted vinegar. It smells a bit strong but is super effective.

If I do buy a product I like Method and Seventh Generation brands. And I adore this lavender hydrosol spray from Pelindaba Lavender. It’s kind of expensive, so I use it sparingly and make a bottle last the whole year.

The one thing I couldn’t figure out  until about 2 weeks ago was how to dust without using something like Pledge. The answer> seems to be microfiber cloths. The dust clings to them without the use of any product, and they are washable and reusable. I’m looking into a microfiber mop for cleaning hardwood floors, which I think will be a lot better than using a regular mop, which gets kind of yucky.

Amelia

The three big players (for me) are Bon Ami powder, distilled white vinegar, and Borax.  I use the Bon Ami to clean the shower, sinks, and water fixtures, as well as kitchen countertops in places I’ve lived where they were lighter-colored and got stained.  It also works on the discoloration you can get in stainless steel pots and pans.  I use a mixture of half a bucket or so warm water, 1/2-1 c vinegar, and 1/3-1/2 c Borax to clean toilets and mop floors.  The vinegar cuts the dirt, while the Borax softens the water a little bit.  Note: according to Bon Ami’s website, they’ve recently changed their formulation.  I haven’t tried the new version, but it might be worth Googling responses before trying it out!  I hope it’s just as good.

For dish soap, I use Seventh Generation, and I find it’s perfectly able to cut grease.  Some other natural brands I tried didn’t seem concentrated enough. I don’t have a dishwasher, so can’t speak to that.  

For laundry, I’ve been very happy with Seventh Generation concentrated liquid and with Biokleen All-Temp Citrus powder.  I keep Fels Naptha bar soap to rub into stains–very useful (but I also have a Stain Stick for the tough stuff).  I tried making my own laundry detergent, following a "tried and true" recipe, from washing soda, Borax, and Fels Naptha, but it did not seem to get my clothes clean, no matter what I did (extra soaking, etc.).

For windows and mirrors, I use Biokleen Ammonia-Free Glass Cleaner.  It doesn’t evaporate as quickly as the Windex-type stuff, so expect to rub for longer.  But I’ve always been pleased with the results.  I also used to use Biokleen’s concentrated all-purpose cleaner that came in a purple container (it was citrus) for general things like mopping floors.  I don’t think they make it anymore, and I’ve moved to all vinegar/Borax for that, but I’d guess their new general cleaner is still solid.  Their enzyme drain cleaner has always worked for me, too.

Vinegar is good at cutting mold, so you can pour it full strength down drains, etc.  However, I lived in a place that had mold issues, and I ended up reverting to bleach–a true sterilizer. 

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Cleaning Schedule

Erin:

I like to clean a little bit each day, so my mess never gets out of control.  It saves me having to deal with one massive day of cleaning, and my house usually always looks presentable for any unexpected visitors. :)

Some of the tasks that I do daily are: make the bed, manage clutter, sort the mail and throw away junk mail, clean as I cook (which means wiping countertops, cleaning spills while they are fresh, washing the dishes, putting away ingredients), and sweep the kitchen floor (even though my dog usually handles most of that clean-up process for me).  Each week, I make sure to clean the toilets, shower, and sinks, dust, and change our bed sheets.

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The Kitchen

Maria:

When life gives you lemons! My tip for kitchen sinks:

We use a ton of lemons in my house. Instead of immediately composting the juiced rinds, I use them to clean our stainless steel kitchen sink. I rub a used lemon half all inside the sin basin, then give a quick rinse. For heavy-duty cleaning, I add a little coarse salt. The residual oils and pith from the lemon keep the sink shiny, clean and smelling great!

Rochel:

I have a good dish washing tip:

Hate scrubbing pots and pans to get stuck-on food off? Immediately after cooking, boil a few cups of water in a tea kettle and pour into pot, let it soak during your meal. By the time you are done eating, all the caked on food should rinse right off.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Beth:

Use reusable materials like cotton washrags and choose natural bristle brushes instead of supermarket sponges which only last a few uses.  Cut old t-shirts into squares and keep them on hand for dusting.

Shop smarter. I commend those brands that are making an effort to use environmentally friendly ingredients in their products, but as consumers we have to know what to look for.  Just because a product is marketing itself as “green” doesn’t always mean it is.  Read the packaging on products and look for some key words like nontoxic, biodegradable, chlorine-free, phosphate-free, vegetable oil based, fragrance free and no dyes.

Eileen

As a mom of three, I know how fast kids grow out of socks. AND, nothing picks up dust like an old sock. So, I feel no guilt at all about turning my kids’ outgrown socks into little dusters. It helps pare down their dresser drawers and helps me clean the house. :)

Liz:

- Use reusable rags (or torn old t-shirts) instead of paper towels for cleaning. I use microfiber cloths and they are awesome. 
- Use Baking Soda as a scrubbing agent (like Comet). You can put it in a stainless steel Parmesan container to make it easy to dispense. 
- 1.5 tsp Castile soap + 3 ts white vinegar + 4 cups water is a great all purpose cleaner 
- Clean floors with rags instead of disposable swiffers

Melissa:

Reuse: save old toothbrushes for scrubbing hard to reach spots; worn out t-shirts, socks, and underwear make great cleaning rags.

Don’t be afraid to use a little elbow grease — sometimes green cleaners have fewer of the harsh chemicals (which you really don’t want to be breathing anyway) to do the work for you — that’s okay, extra scrubbing is a great way to get in a little extra physical activity.

Prevention: take your shoes off at the the door to avoid tracking dirt and chemicals into your living space; clean spills and other messes right away to avoid staining or sticking.

Microfiber cloths are great for dusting, no aerosol sprays required!

Don’t waste water — turn off the faucet while scrubbing the sink or shower; run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.

Marie-France:

I don’t have many tricks that are ‘green’, except for one that I got from my mother: use old t-shirts, flannel sheets and pajamas, etc as rags for things like washing windows, dusting, and picking up pet messes.  I had always seen my mom do that, but never had personally until a pair of my flannel pjs ripped.  I figured, why not?  Just wash first, then cut along the seams and try to keep them in fairly square pieces, the size can vary between a wash cloth and a hand towel.  When I clean my whole apartment, I use the bunch I have, usually with an all purpose cleaner (I’m sure I could do greener there), and then wash them all in the same load.

My second ‘trick’ is to almost never use the dryer.  Just plan ahead so that you don’t wash all your clothes without anything else to wear the next day.  I have a fairly small apartment and I still manage to find space for my two drying racks.

Finally, I save any kind of junk mail or print sheet that is still blank on one side and use them for printing things where it doesn’t matter what the back is like recipes (the backs will face nothing when glued in a scrapbook or put in clear plastic sheets in a binder) or lecture notes or practice exams when I study.  This might not be cleaning per se, more organizing.

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Get Organized

Kate:

Living in San Francisco, maximizing our space is a big challenge for me and my boyfriend. Here are a few of my favorite tricks:

  • Instead of having a filing cabinet, we have financial binders — typical three-ring binders that you find at an office-supply or variety store. Each category — medical bills/copays, student loan information, credit card accounts, etc. — has its own section in the binder (indicated by a tabbed divider). We typically keep financial documents around for five years or so; the binder is a much more attractive (and space-saving) option than storing the documents in a box, in a drawer, and so on.
  • Owing to our scarcity of cabinet space, we only allow ourselves to buy one (or two) varieties of any type of dry good at one time — this includes cereals, crackers, pastas, and snacky foods. While we’d sometimes like to have a wider variety of snacks and cereals, having only one type on hand prevents staleness and motivates us to finish whatever food it is — that way, we can move on to something different!
  • As a motivator to do laundry at least once weekly, my boyfriend has exactly one week’s worth of underwear and of pairs of socks. (I, sadly, haven’t made quite the commitment to minimalism — soon, though!)
  • Sunday is our cleaning day. I’ll tackle what dishes are dirty and throw in the laundry, while Aaron gets the bathroom and vacuums. We clean the fridge together :) As commonsense as it sounds, having a set day and general time to do household chores ensures that those tasks actually get done.

Sabrina:

Our linen closet is in the bathroom. I have hand and face towels in the highest shelf you see (sheets and bonus towels for beach are out of the photo- above), then our daily towels, then guest towels rolled up. The guest towels are extra large and oh-so-cozy.

Sabrina (3)

I didn’t know where to put my hairdryer so I hung a hook on the left wall of the closet where we had some bonus space. It stays out of the way. We added baskets to use up that small bit of extra space on the right. My hair straightener and curling iron are in the bottom basket, then all other hair tools, then miscellaneous toiletries, and finally in the top basket we have all of my husband’s travel stuff.

Sabrina (2)

In the bottom of the closet is a bucket filled with all of the bathroom cleaning supplies.
Under our sink we have my lotion (too big to fit anywhere else), my makeup, and all of our bonus toiletries for when we run out.

Sabrina (1)

***

Ahhhhhh. There’s nothing like a neat linen closet!!!

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{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chelsea April 20, 2011 at 11:07 am

It is true…there is nothing better than a clean and organized linen closet. I really appreciate everyone sharing their Green Cleaning habits, I have to say that I have really slacked on this one. Mainly because last year I almost lost my husband to MRSA so I in my mind bleach is the only way to go. Even though I secretly know bleach may not even kill that bug! I really should focus on green cleaning more especially before I have children.

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2 Ashley April 20, 2011 at 11:14 am

Yay!! I feel cleaner just reading this. :)

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3 Holly @ The Runny Egg April 20, 2011 at 11:14 am

I love all of the cleaning tips. I am a baking soda and vinegar lover — they work so well on so many surfaces (plus they are cheap!).

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4 Angie @ Eating-Made-Easy April 20, 2011 at 11:16 am

There is nothing that is more satisfying than a truly clean house! I love my steam vacuum. It only uses water and steam, and the floor looks amazing!

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5 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table April 20, 2011 at 11:17 am

These are great tips! I’m planning a big clean this weekend, so it’s also well-timed! :)

I especially Maria’s tip about using lemons on stainless steel sinks. I use a ton of lemon too and will definitely be putting the rinds to use.

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6 Nicole @ Yuppie Yogini April 20, 2011 at 11:17 am

Wow—I’m impressed by the number of people who are making their own cleaning products. I really want to move in that direction and I’ve already discovered the greatness that is white vinegar. One other use for white vinegar–pour a little in a load of stinky workout clothes and all scents are neutralized!

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7 lynn @ the actor's diet April 20, 2011 at 11:19 am

gah! so much info in this post! bookmark!

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8 Chelsea April 20, 2011 at 11:19 am

This is so good! I am BOOKMARKING this post.

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9 Amanda April 20, 2011 at 11:25 am

Great post! I love cleaning with vinegar and just made the switch to homemade laundry soap. I love all the tips!

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10 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday April 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm

How do you make your homemade laundry soap?

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11 Amanda April 20, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I used the Duggar’s recipe with lemon essential oil. It works great, but you don’t have the perfume smell when the clothes come out of the washer. I use vinegar as fabric softener which works SO well and then hang dry the clothes on my clothes line. I love the fresh dried laundry smell!

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12 Cait @ Beyond Bananas April 20, 2011 at 11:45 am

Wow, what great tips! Thanks for putting them all together, Kath. I think I am going to become a mean, green, cleaning machine! ;)

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13 Angel7 April 20, 2011 at 11:49 am

Thanks for the awesome tips!!! Harsh chemicals in certain products are not good, especially if they are in the closet for an extended period of time, because the smell penetrates throughout the house, and can be potentially harmful.

http://faithfulsolutions.blogspot.com/

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14 M April 20, 2011 at 11:51 am

Does anyone else find that vinegar ( and also lemon juice) attract those
pesky fruit flies in summer weather? They swarm to vinegar (and fruit) I find!!!
How do you avoid those flies and still use these items to clean in hot months?

Thanks.

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15 Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) April 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I’ve been using the water/ vinegar method for a few years now and have never had that happen… so weird ! I wonder why ??

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16 Jessica April 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I have had lemon juice and other fruit products attract bugs but NEVER vinegar.

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17 Krissy @ Shiawase Life April 20, 2011 at 3:52 pm

That sounds counterintuitive to that phrase “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

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18 M April 20, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Hmm-maybe it’s just in Canada, but where I live we have food compost bins that get picked up by the city ,and they attract fruit flies like crazy.
So to get rid of them, we make a “trap” by putting vinegar in a little dish and cover it with saranwrap and poke holes in it….the fruit flies are drawn to the vinegar BIGTIME and get stuck in dish….but it still doesn’t get rid of them all.

Anyways that’s how I knoe they LOVE any type of vinegar….and lemons etc etc!!

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19 TC @ Pride & Lettuces April 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Oooo, this was a great post! I can’t wait to go home and clean my sink with a lemon!!

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20 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat April 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm

These tips have got me so excited to clean it’s over-the-top nerdy!! One of my roommates and I usually do the house cleaning at the end of the week, but we also do all the little ‘maintenance’ things throughout. Makes it easier to get things done and STILL have a weekend left!

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21 Alayna @ Thyme Bombe April 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm

There is so much helpful information here! A neat trick I’ve learned for cleaning the garbage disposal (which can get really smelly) is to toss a couple of lemon wedges dipped in baking soda in there and grind them up. Rinse with hot water for a clean and lemony fresh sink!

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22 Hannah April 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Wow! Apparently I need to buy some vinegar!

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23 Hope April 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm

This is a really great post! I am always looking for more ways to become more green in our house. I hate the smell of chemicals. I always use Greenworks products but it would be even better to create my own products using things from this post! I feel like cleaning now! Too bad I’m at work! :)

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24 Melissa @ HerGreenLife April 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I enjoyed reading all the other homemade cleaning tips other readers sent to you. I’m pretty happy with my homemade cleaner, though I must say your post on the Shaklee products has me curious.

We’re getting ready to move, and our place needs some scrubbing, so I’m sure I’ll be referring back to this, though it feels kind of silly getting it all cleaned up just to leave. My goal is to keep our new apartment better in the first place, so we can enjoy living in a clean, green space :)

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25 Stacey (The Home-Cooked Vegan) April 20, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Love all of these tips! I’m trying to be a bit more green with my cleaning and the products that I buy, this post is so useful! Bookmarking it! :)

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26 Johanna B April 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm

This is an outstanding post. It’s just what I’ve been looking for and all in one place. I’m new to the green cleaning world and you provided answers for questions I hadn’t even though of yet. Thanks.

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27 Katherine April 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I’m curious if anyone has found a green (non-bleach) solution to getting rid of mold and mildew that forms on the caulk around the tub. It’s the only thing I use bleach for, but I’d love to find a better alternative.

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28 Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) April 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Holy useful tips post Batman ! …and thank you for including my tip ;D I’ll have to tell my MIL her method is now ‘famous’. She will get a huge kick out of that ! Love your idea of adding some essential oils to it. Anything to improve the smell!

PS Dough boy smoothies are SO GOOD! Why did I wait so long ??

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29 Amy April 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I was just wondering if anyone had any good ideas for drain de-cloggers… I live in a pretty old condo that has very small pipes that get clogged easily. They’re pretty old, so I don’t want to damage them with harsh cleaners. Plus, I just want to be kind to Mother Earth and not pour all that nastiness into the water =) I saw some people suggested baking soda and vinegar as a cleaner, does anyone know if that works as a de-clogger as well??

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30 KathEats April 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm

We got one of those Zipper things from Lowes, and also some enzymes. They seems to be more earth friendly than the harsh drain-o type things. Both the manual labor (eww) and the enzymes worked really well and we haven’t had to re-do them in months.

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31 Amy April 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Thanks! Apparently I shed worse than a dog, so we’ve had to call our plumber every few months to snake our tub drain and it’s so expensive! I was going to buy a snake, but I’ll definitely give the enzymes a try, thank you!

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32 JennieM April 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Amy – I also shed like a dog and have the same problem. Our plumber told me to brush/comb my hair really well before showering – this gets all that loose and ready to “shed” hair off and thus out of the drain. We haven’t had to call the plumber since….

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33 Annalisa April 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I use a lot of these tips all ready! Good catch-all to bookmark.

Amy – to de-clog a drain, try baking soda and HOT (boiling) water.

I love cleaning my microwave by chopping up and squeezing the juice of a lemon into a cereal bowl, add water, microwave for 8-10 mins. Let cool for a few minutes, and wipe down the surface. I’ve also used an orange in a pinch.

Vodka (cheap!) is great for cleaning and sterilizing sinks. Makes them nice and shiny too!

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34 Emily G. April 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm

heh! Call me crazy, but I don’t want to waste precious Vodka on cleaning ;) lol

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35 Carrie April 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I love this!! Thanks for putting this together for us Kath!

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36 Emily @ Savory and Savage April 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Great green cleaning tips. I need to switch over to green cleaning because the last time I used bleach it aggravated my asthma :-(((

Time to break out the gallon jug of white vinegar!!

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37 R @ Learning As I Chop April 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Wow, thank you for this post. Definitly going to try the vinegar trick!

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38 Kate April 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I will also be bookmarking this page: kudos on the comprehensive Green Cleaning List :)

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39 M. Carter @ the Movies April 20, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I sincerely wish that I had 1/16 the amount of enthusiasm you do for cleaning, Kath. Can you bottle some up and send it to me?

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40 Lucy @ The Sweet Touch April 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Ha, me too! It’s fascinating, really!

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41 Miranda @ Working Mom Works Out April 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Bookmarking! AWesome post!!

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42 Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope April 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm

These tips are incredible! Thank you so much for putting this together!

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43 Cathy April 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm

wow, thanks, kath! this is the ultimate GREEN cleaning resource! i am now officially inspired to STOP procrastinating and START cleaning!
already a big fan of vinegar, but now i’ve got some fresh ideas to add in!

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44 RhodeyGirl April 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I totally forgot I sent you those pics. I’m such a dork.

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45 RhodeyGirl April 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm

PS- I just recently learned that the best cleaner for your hardwoods on a weekly basis is simply… WATER! They really don’t need more weekly… then once a month use one of the greener solutions. That’s my new plan and it works SO well!

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46 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) April 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm

What an amazing collection of tips and tricks. WOW!

Thanks for taking the time to organize ALL those tips, Kath!

And thanks to everyone who shared some gems. I love natural cleaning methods and whenever possible, try to use natural over chemicals!

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47 J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) April 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm

This is a wonderful post! I love white distilled vinegar and baking soda for cleaning! I have been wanting to make my own cleaning products, including laundry detergent and shampoo/soap/lotion for awhile now, this inspired me to buy some squirt bottles. YAY! :D Can’t wait! There is nothing better than a clean, organized room, closet, drawer, or floor!

I have a tip: to freshen your microwave, put a bowl of water with lemon or orange peels in for 30-60 seconds. Takes the stinkies out! :)

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48 Melissa @ Journey to Marvelous April 20, 2011 at 2:10 pm

So many great tips for green cleaners! Thanks everyone! And thanks Kath for posting all of this!

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49 Beth April 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Thanks for the shout out Kath :) I’ve made this homemade potpourri, and I’m telling you the smell is heavenly!

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50 Kat @ Big Apple Little Kitchen April 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Spring cleaning, here I come! My apartment thanks you for the post!

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51 natalie (the sweets life) April 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm

This was a great post—definitely made me want to get cleaning! I have to agree with everyone who said vinegar is a great cleaner–we’ve been using it to wash our floors and it always works wonderfully. Really excited to try some of the other tips :)

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52 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) April 20, 2011 at 3:07 pm

These are great tips! A lot of the cleaners look really easy to make, and probably a lot cheaper too!

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53 Amanda (tomboy that wears makeup) April 20, 2011 at 3:16 pm

This post totally rocked! I am definitely linking back to this on my post today. FANTASTIC!

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54 Gemma April 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Is it really a 1:1 ratio for Ashley’s all-purpose cleaner?

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55 Lyn @ Life Lyn Style April 20, 2011 at 3:26 pm

This is the week to stock up on vinegar. Many stores will have it on sale for Easter. Some drug stores don’t carry it year round, but will have it on clearance soon as well.

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56 kate@ahealthypassion April 20, 2011 at 3:28 pm

thanks for all of the fab tips I love natural cleaning methods and am always looking for new ideas!

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57 Simply Life April 20, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I am definitely saving this post – thanks!

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58 Tina April 20, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I haven’t seen Bon Ami in C’ville. What stores carry it?

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59 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife April 20, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Love the tips–so going to use them-thanks!

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60 Christine April 20, 2011 at 6:04 pm

This will be a great resource as I (hopefully) move soon. I hate the idea of what chemicals do to our bodies, earth, and possessions.

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61 Erin April 20, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Do these homemade products sanitize as well as clean?

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62 KathEats April 20, 2011 at 8:21 pm

I don’t really know the answer to that. I think they do somewhat at least

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63 Angela April 20, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Love this post! I had been searching the net for this info months ago! I had been using vinegar/water as a cleaner for a while but the smell of vinegar was a little irritating; now I’m motivated to try it again with these suggestions!!

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64 Elizabeth April 20, 2011 at 8:29 pm

My stainless steel fridge has all kinds of spots on it from my 2 year old and our dogs. What a good, green way to get rid of them?

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65 Katherine April 20, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Believe it or not, a little olive oil on a soft cloth is excellent for stainless steel. Give it a try!

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66 Jessie April 20, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Kath, can you save this post so it’s easy to find again?! SO much valuable information and ideas I don’t want to forget it all!

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67 KathEats April 20, 2011 at 8:53 pm

It’s always on the Home Neat Home page! Accessible from the sidebar

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68 Dalai Lina April 20, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Holy Cow this is a lot of great information! You all are some industrious women – I am so impressed!

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69 Alaina April 20, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I love a clean and organized apartment/house. These tips are wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing!

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70 Fancy April 21, 2011 at 6:46 am

These are great, thanks Kath! Anyone have any advice on cleaning stainless steel appliances so they always look clean and not dusty or streaky?

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71 KathEats April 21, 2011 at 6:52 am

The Shaklee products are amazing at shining stainless, but a reader said above that some EVOO works too.

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72 Allison @ Happy Tales April 21, 2011 at 9:01 am

Ahhhhh all of these tips are AHH-mazing! Thank you so much for compiling them all! I’ll be referring to this quite a bit :)

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73 Diane July 29, 2013 at 3:58 am

The wonders of baking soda and other natural products that you can find in your kitchen!Just how amazing and effective they are!

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