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Green Spring Cleaning! DIY household cleaner recipes for a healthy home

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DIY Chemical Free HousecleanersHave you spent any time looking at the shelves and shelves of cleaning products recently? it's incredible the number of products that are available - specific for cleaning toilets, cleaning counters, cleaning stove tops, and on and on. But those cleaners are loaded up with chemicals and when you read the labels it's a little frightening to think of using them in a kitchen where you prepare food. I think we have been so conditioned to be fearful of bacteria that we have ended up filling our house with poisons. But if you go back to basics you can not only keep the bacteria at bay but you can have a healthier, safer home.

Here are some of my favorite tips, along with some links to other websites with great tips.

First off - here a few key ingredients to keep on hand:

  • white vinegar (I buy it in big jugs at Costco)
  • baking soda (again - a big bag at Costco is cheap)
  • Essential  oils (orange, tea tree and lavender are my go-to choices)

Now, for the tips and recipes. Keep in mind, there are literally endless ways to clean your home using natural ingredients. I am only highlighting Baking Soda and Vinegar ideas but there are many many more. At the bottom, I have included links to other sites that have even more options.


  • Scouring Powder Baking soda, when mixed with salt, is also an effective stain remover and scouring powder. Mix one cup of baking powder with one cup of salt. Then use this mixture the same way you would any other scouring powder. Again, an effective mixture that is less harmful to the environment.
  • Carpet Freshener Sprinkle some baking soda on your carpet and let it sit for 10 minutes. When the time is up, vacuum away any stale odors that may have settled in your carpet.
  • Dishwasher Detergent Booster Add a little baking soda to your dishwasher the next time you’re loading it. The baking soda will give your cleaner an extra boost to get your dishes sparkling clean.
  • Laundry Powder Booster Making an equal mixture of baking soda and laundry detergent will stretch your detergent and make your laundry smell fresh.
  • Silver Tarnish Remover Line a pan with aluminum foil and sprinkle with 1/4 cup baking soda, a couple teaspoons of salt and then pour in 1 quart boiling water. Add clean tarnished silver and watch the magic happen. Easiest silver polishing ever!!
  • Drain Clog Remover You can use baking soda as earth-friendly alternative to unclog your drain. It’s simple to do, less expensive than the store bought product, and just as effective. Here’s what you do: Pour one cup of regular table salt, one cup of baking soda, and half a cup of plain white vinegar down the drain. Leave it alone for 15 minutes and then pour two quarts of boiling water into the sink. Follow this by running the hot water into the sink for at least one minute. You’ll be amazed how effectively this combination works. The drains will be clean and you won’t have added anything toxic to the drain system. For tough clogs you may need to repeat the process.


  • NOTE: Never mix vinegar with ammonia as it can cause a harmful vapor
  • All Purpose Cleaner This is my go-to household cleaner. In a clean spray bottle, add 1 cup vinegar and about 3 cups of water plus a few drops of natural dishwashing liquid. Add a few drops of essential oil if you'd like to scent it. Shake well. Some reports have indicated that it doesn't clean as effectively as castile soap-based homemade cleaners, but I have had great success for many years. And don't forget, if you have a professional house cleaner, you can have them use this as well.
  • Window Cleaner Use the All Purpose Cleaner but add a tablespoon or so of rubbing alcohol to the mixture.
  • Coffee Pot/Tea Kettle Cleaner Run a cup of white vinegar through your coffee maker to freshen the system, then run again with regular water to clean and freshen the system. To remove hard water deposits from teapots, boil a cup of vinegar with a cup of water. Let sit for 15 minutes then rinse. 
  • Fabric and Air Freshener Ditch the Febreze. DId you know that Febreze air freshener has 89 (or more!) chemicals in its formula? Think about it for a minute - for them to come up with something that neutralizes scents, it has to have a ridiculously long list of chemicals. Instead, fill a spray bottle with a cup of vinegar, a few drops of essential oil, and water. Use that to gently mist on fabric or in the air (always test fabric first). The vinegar scent will dissipate but fabric and the air will be fresher.
  • Laundry Fabric Softener Add full strength white vinegar to the fabric softener cup. I have been doing this for many years. It freshens and softens laundry without that chemical smell.
  • Hard Water Deposit Remover If you have calcium or lime buildup on your shower heads, soak a towel completely in vinegar and wrap around the shower head. Leave overnight then brush gently with an old toothbrush.
  • Weed Killer lt is becoming more and more evident that Round-Up and other weed killers are not good for our environment or our health. Skip the chemicals and spray full-strength vinegar on weeds instead.


Vinegar-based cleaners http://www.thenewhomemaker.com/cleanorg/vinegar.ht...

Tons of great recipes for all kinds of cleaners http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2013/06/homemade-al...

Another great list of tips and recipes http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/20-diy-green-clean...

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