Green Cleaning

Healthier Cleaning
Have you ever walked down the aisle of cleaning products at your local store? It seems like every year the amount of cleaning products grows and grows. Cleaning supply companies try to convince us we need a different cleaning product for every thing in our house. This simply isn’t true.
Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers kept their houses cleans without all the benefit of these cleaning products. How did they do it? Soap. Just good old-fashioned soap and water will clean and kill germs without all the worry of what chemicals might be lurking in a product and what kind of ill effect they could have on the health of our family members. I use a lot of just plain soap and water on a rag to clean most things.
I try to have my children help out with chores around the house, and that often involves cleaning. I don’t want my children to get cleaning products all over their skin. Your skin is your largest organ and can absorb toxins placed on the skin. So I make my own cleaning products out of simple house hold products that don’t have the health risk or the price tag of many commercially made cleaning products.
Just plain white vinegar is great for cleaning. I use it mainly to clean windows and mirrors. It does a good job, but honestly it is a little harder to use than the bottled blue stuff. It takes a little more diligence to keep the windows from streaking, but its worth it to me. I also mix equal parts water and distilled white vinegar in a plastic spray bottle. I use it to spot clean my walls, clean bathroom sinks and toilettes. It is a good general cleaner.
Vinegar can also be used as a fabric softener and as a rinse agent in your dish washer. Put straight vinegar on your cutting board to disinfect. It can also help take the mildew stains off of house siding.
Homemade furniture polish can be made simply by mixing equal parts of vinegar and olive oil (or vegetable oil) in a plastic spray bottle. Just add a few drops of lemon essential oil to the mix. The bottle needs to be shaken often while in use to the oil and vinegar in suspension. Be careful not to spray on windows or fabric. I don’t recommend allowing your children to use this mixture as they can make a mess.
To clean my shower, I spray it with the vinegar and water mixture. If I have built up soap scum, I use a scrubbing sponge that are used to scrub dishes. I keep a separate one, of course for the shower. It works great with a little elbow grease.
The product I hate the most is oven cleaner. I hate the smell. For those of us not blessed to have a self-cleaning oven, you can make your own oven cleaner. Just mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar, 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap, I teaspoon of borax ( in the laundry soap aisle), and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to 1 quart of hot water. Let it sit on the grease or the crusted on burnt black stuff in the bottom of your oven for 30 minutes. Then use a dish sponge scrubber. I put on old towel or newspaper under the crack of my oven door to catch any spills.
Vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda can be used to clean almost any mess and any surface in your house or laundry. A search on the Internet will give you plenty of information on any cleaner you could need, like a laundry stain remover. One web site is devoted entirely to vinegar. It’s very informative.
Remember your skin is an organ too and needs the same care as we give the rest of the body. Not only should cleaning products be a concern to you, but beauty products too. I don’t want to put stuff on my skin that might have harmful side effects.
Happy Cleaning.
written by Shannon Ulrich


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