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GREEN CLEANING RECIPES

Green Cleaning Recipes That Really Work

Pauline Susman, Soap Alchemist Extraordinaire

25 June 2016

I love making my own earth friendly cleaners!

My cupboards are full of bicarb, washing soda and of course good old vinegar!   Over the years I’ve built up a repertoire of reliable green cleaning recipes that everyone in my household is familiar with.  I no longer shop for cleaning products at the super market.  Why bother with hormone disrupting, allergy-causing chemicals when I can make my own earth friendly ones.

But I am not here to preach to the converted!!  I am sure you know that green is the way to go.

Here is the thing… I can come a long way with vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.   They do the cleaning well and never let me down.  However, its also nice to try out a few new cleaners every now and then.

For instance, I was recently looking for new green cleaning recipes for things like wood and linoleum. Try finding a natural way to really get those sparkling.  Vinegar and Bicarb just ain’t gonna do the trick.  Furthermore, I just love spending time on Google and finding new recipes that are worth trying.   So…off to the drawing board I went – for a hunt of some nifty recipes to add to your household repertoire.   I’ve put together a list of some new green cleaning recipes you can experiment with for a thorough house clean.  Read on…

green cleaning recipes for citrus cleaner

A fresh and chemical free cleaning product that is simple to make!

Photograph by Pauline Susman

Green Cleaning Recipes For You To Use

1. Glass

Make a mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar and you have yourself a great glass cleaner.  However, there is always a better recipe lurking around the corner and this time I located it!   THIS recipe, ladies and gents, beats every other one I’ve ever tried hands down.  It leaves your mirrors and windows sparkling like diamonds..

What you need:

  • 1/4 c. rubbing alcohol
  • 1/4 c. white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp cornflour
  • 2 c. warm water

Combine everything in a spray bottle, and shake well. I recommend you shake well each time you use this cleaner, as the cornstarch might settle at the bottom (and subsequently plug the spray mechanism if it’s not mixed in well).

“WHAAAT?!?!…Cornflour?!?!’  Yes, cornflour is absolutely, without a doubt, the secret ingredient to clean, shiny, amazing mirrors (and windows, I’m sure). I kinda freaked out a little at the effectiveness of this one.  Use good old fashioned newspapers to dry the glass/mirrors with.  Lucky for you, newspaper makes glass gleam in a way commercial window cleaners only dream about!  Furthermore not only is this a nice way to recycle, it’s (almost) chemical-free.

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

Vincent van Gogh

Cleaning with citrus and soap

2. Grease

What you need: Lemon or orange juice

Grease…it gets everywhere when you are using your kitchen regularly.  As it turns out, there are several ways to tackle the grease monster.  Some digging around unearthed some more green cleaning recipes!

Firstly, you know about all the citrus cleaners. They’ve taken over the market with their superior cleaning powers.  Go one step better: just squeeze some real orange, lemon or lime juice on the grease. You might have to let it soak a bit in some sudsy water, but the acid in citrus can clean it like you wouldn’t believe. Chemical free, delicious smell, and your dog can lick it!

Second. A great way to clean with citrus is to fill a bottle with orange or lemon peels and then fill it up with vinegar (the cheapo kind).  Allow it to sit in the sun for a couple of weeks and hey presto you will have a bottle of beautifully smelling multi-purpose cleaner.  Now did you really need all the chemical stuff?!

Third.  If you have a really dirty, greasy oven – adding some bicarbonate of soda to your vinegar will help sort it out quick!  Sprinkle the bicarbonate of soda on the dirt and grease in the oven and spritz it with some vinegar in a bottle.  Leave it to bubble and do its thing for a few minutes and voila another green cleaning recipe to the rescue!

green cleaning recipes for linoleum floor

Tea bags steeped overnight can make a fantastic tile cleaner!

Photograph by Wikipedia

3. Tile & Linoleum

What you need: a handful of black or green tea bags

Soak six or seven green or black tea bags in a big bucket of scalding water overnight (obviously it will cool well before morning).  Tea is a natural cleanser that is wonderful for sanitizing.  Who would have thought that I would be adding TEA to my green cleaning recipes ingredients…not me!!!

For really dirty floors try the following:

  • 1/4 C Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 7.5 L of hot water
  • 1/4 C Vinegar
  • 1 Tbs dish washing liquid
Dissolve baking soda in hot water and once almost full add 1 T. dish soap. (If you add it too early it can make the mixture very sudsy)
Add the vinegar when it has all dissolved together and you are ready to mop!

4. Wood

We like to keep wood looking nice, but we don’t always think about the fact that what we put ON the wood should feed it.  Most aerosol wood sprays just cover the wood in a layer of chemicals that make it look ridiculously shiny.  I’ve researched the web to find some green cleaning recipes for you that will nourish and feed your wooden furniture.

In the first place, something for your floor..

What you need:  olive oil,  warm water and lemon juice

To simultaneously clean a wooden floor and keep a healthy luster, add 1/4 cup of olive oil to warm water and mop to your soul’s content. Olive oil contains natural antibacterial and antimicrobial power. The Romans used it as a body cleanser and lotion (you can, too).

Olive oil and lemon polish

What you will need: 1 1/2 C olive oil, 1 C of lemon juice or several drops of lemon oil, 2 clean cloths, spray bottle (optional)

Blend the olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl or add them to your spray bottle and shake well.  Spray some of the mixture onto a clean cloth and gently apply to the wood in a circular motion.  Let it sit for five minutes and buff off with your other cloth.  This mixture will feed your wood and make it gleam!

Beeswax Wood Sealant and Polish

For the most part wood doesn’t like too much moisture and that’s why this sealant is so ideal.  A little of this goes a long way to protecting the wood from moisture.  In addition, this lovely blend locks in the existing moisture and thus keeps the wood from drying out.  The wood will exude a healthy glow when this is rubbed on it so it doubles as a polish.

What you will need: 1/2 C of grated beeswax or pastilles, 1 1/2 C of olive oil, several drops of essential oil (optional), a glass container for storage

Melt 1/2 C of the beeswax bits in a double boiler.  Alternatively, you can put it in a pot set inside another pot with water at the bottom.  Stir in the 1 1/2 C of olive oil and add the drops of essential oil for a nice fragrance.  Pour it into the glass jar and let it harden.

Before using, clean the area you are going to polish with a soft cloth.  If the wax is very hard, you can microwave it for a few seconds before using it.  Then, dab some beeswax sealant on to a clean cloth and apply in a circular motion.  When it is dry, buff in the direction of the grain with another (preferably lint-free) cloth for a lovely glow.

Finally, if you really are not in the mood to make anything, neat coconut oil will work just fine!  Rub on with a clean cloth and polish going against the wood grain to get a beautiful warmth to the wood.  Take a teaspoon of coconut oil yourself to make your skin gleam as well!

green cleaning recipes for wood
green cleaning recipes for laundry
green cleaning recipes for DIY surface cleaner

5. Carpet

Would you wear a pair of socks for six years without cleaning them? And yet, we love our carpet. Carpets get incredibly grimy and dirty especially if you have pets.  Getting them deep cleaned every six months is a good option, but what if you need to quickly clean up a spill or stain?

Vacuum FIRST!

It is important to vacuum your carpet regularly as this will keep the largest amounts of dust, fur or dander to a minimum.  Us the change of seasons as a reason to deep clean and vacuum all those hard to reach spots you usually skip.  Under the furniture, around furniture legs and behind cupboards.

Get Rid of Stains

While we all do our best to deal with carpet stains as they happen, there are always those pesky spots we didn’t have time to tackle or that take several treatments.  One of the coolest spring cleaning tips I came across last year helped me get rid of stains I thought I was stuck with forever – and all you need is an iron.

  • Mix a solution of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water into a spray bottle and spray the stain.
  • Place a damp rag on top of the spot.
  • With your iron on the steam setting, iron the rag for about 30 seconds.
  • Voila!

Depending on how long the stain has been there, you might have to repeat these steps, but it’s an impressive transformation!

Keep it Fresh!

Between deep cleans, you can prolong the freshness of your carpet by creating your own carpet freshener. I use this regularly in my own home and am always impressed at how it freshens the house.

Mix the below ingredients and store in a shaker:

  • 1 cup of bicarbonate of soda
  • 10-20 drops of your favourite essential oil
  • If you have pets, add ½ cup of borax to keep fleas at bay

Before your subsequent vacuuming sessions, lightly sprinkle the mix onto your carpet, let it sit for 10-15 minutes and vacuum as per usual. (Just make sure to do this on a dry day so the baking soda doesn’t pick up any moisture.)

Who knows? After taking these spring cleaning tips for a spin, you might even enjoy cleaning your carpets! (Okay, that’s probably a stretch.)

I hope I’ve given you some ideas for green cleaning recipes of your own.  I don’t know about you, but I had lots of fun sharing these with you.  Please take the time to share what does and doesn’t work for you – we have plenty to learn from each other!

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