When I walk down the cleaning aisles of the supermarket, I can’t help but notice the extensive variety of ‘green’ cleaning products. In recent months, I have also noticed that there seems to be fewer of the traditional chemical alternatives. It looks like ‘green’ is taking over from ‘chemical’ on our shelves.
Now, I think this is a good thing. I mean, some of those cleaning products were downright dangerous! Some of the ingredients have been proven to cause all sorts of health issues. My sister-in-law’s sister suffered from nerve pain really badly and the cause was finally narrowed down to one ingredient in the cleaners she was using. I’m happy to report that, once she stopped using the offending products, she started to slowly improve.
It’s not only our health that’s at risk with many cleaning products on the market either. Many contain chemicals that have been shown to be toxic to the environment, with plants, animals, waterways and soils being affected. I guess that’s nothing new to most people as we hear news reports on this issue often.
The question is, how can you do your bit to help protect the environment and your family’s health by changing to green products and save money at the same time?
My time spent in the cleaning aisles of the supermarket also showed me that many so-called ‘green’ cleaning products are more expensive than their chemical counterparts. I find this is very discouraging; I mean, you’d think they’d want us to use the greener cleaners and would price them to make this choice easier for more people.
Many people want to do the right thing by the environment but few can afford to do so if it means a higher cost. Things are tight enough financially for millions of citizens.
So why not make your own green cleaning products and save money? This is the solution and a sound solution it is too!
What do you think our grandmothers used to clean the home, a hundred years ago when there just wasn’t the plethora of cleaning products we have now? Did she have a specialist product for every different surface to be cleaned and type of stain to be removed? I think not!
You can make effective, inexpensive cleaners for every household application from products you probably already have in your pantry, just like your grandmother did.
Firstly, I want you to add up the cost of all the cleaning products you regularly buy as well as ones that sit on your shelf waiting for the one job they are designed for. How much do you spend each week?
I did this exercise and discovered that I spend between $15 and $25 a week to clean the house and clothes, depending on what needs replacing each time I shop. That adds up to around $1,000 a year! Maybe you spend less, maybe more, but it’s interesting to do the exercise.
Now let’s look at the cost of a few of those items I mentioned you can use to make your own cleaners:
- Bi-carbonate of soda or baking soda – a 1 pound box – $3 – $10
- White vinegar – 1 gallon – $2 – $3
- Borax – 76 ounce box – $3
Sometimes these are used neat, sometimes diluted, so their cost per application will vary. Either way, they compare extremely favorably with those expensive chemical-based cleaners. Other green cleaning products include lemon juice, washing soda and cornstarch.
So, how do you use these simple ingredients?
Use the baking soda to clean and deodorize carpets by sprinkling it onto stains, leaving for a while and then vacuuming up. It also cleans counter tops, sinks, refrigerators, cook tops, ovens, tiles, grout, pots and pans really easily by sprinkling a little onto a damp cloth and wiping or scrubbing away. Wipe over with a clean damp cloth to leave a sparkling surface. Baking soda makes a great alternative to powders in the dishwasher; no rinse aid will be needed. Sprinkle onto damp stains before putting into the washing machine where it will also freshen and deodorize the clothes; just add ½ cup to the machine.
White vinegar is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and dissolves grease and grime, making it a great stain remover and deodorizer in the toilet bowl, shower and walls of bathrooms and kitchens. Use ½ cup in the wash instead of fabric softener. Dilute vinegar with water in a spray bottle to make an effective all-purpose spray for kitchen surfaces. Like baking soda, it can be used as dishwasher detergent for streak-free dishes.
Borax acts like a disinfectant, bleach and deodorizer and is useful in laundry applications. Lemon juice is a great degreaser and leaves the room smelling lemony fresh. A few drops of lavender oil, on a damp cloth, make an effective insect repellant when wiped over door and window surrounds.
These are just a few simple ways these cheap, organic, natural substances can be used to clean your home, while protecting the environment and saving you money. There are loads of other applications and recipes for just about every cleaning job you will encounter, so do some research. You’ll also have more cash to buy the commercial green products that you don’t want to make yourself.
So, how do you clean?