Green Up Household Cleaning With Homemade Cleaners

January 12, 2010 by Amy Clark

Kick off the New Year with a greener and safer cleaning routine. Create your own household cleansers, and make sure you’re saving energy and staying warm in the cold winter months.

Safer, Greener Cleaning

At our house, when a new year rolls in that means it’s time to get out the deep cleaning tools. I know a lot of dirt and bacteria can escape your normal cleaning routine during the year, so I’d like to share with you some deep-cleaning ideas and energy-saving tips that can help make your home green, clean and healthy.

Homemade Cleaning Tools

We’ve traded store-bought cleansers for homemade versions that are free of harsh chemicals, yet strong enough to tackle the mess. These cleaning tools save my family money, are safe to use around children and won’t aggravate my asthma.

All-purpose cleaner
Mix two tablespoons of mild dishwashing soap and two cups of water in a spray bottle. Give it a shake and use anywhere you’d typically use a commercial all-purpose spray, like countertops, bathroom surfaces, highchairs and plastic outdoor furniture. You can watch the video above to see how to make your own cleaners, too!

Glass cleaner
Mix one part white vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle. Use on mirrors and windows.

Scouring scrub
Mix one cup Borax, one cup baking soda and a quarter cup of salt. Use one tablespoon as a scrubbing agent in toilets, tubs and sinks. I use it to make bathroom surfaces gleam.

Reuse as mirror and window wipes. It’s a good lint-free alternative to cloth or paper towels.

Old toothbrush
An old toothbrush sanitized in boiling water cleans small crevices. I keep one in my cleaning caddie.

The cloth system
Replace paper towels with microfiber cleaning cloths or rags recycled from old towels and clothes. If you use several cleaning cloths, try a color-coded system. I use pink cloths as baby wipes and yellow cloths for general housecleaning.

Rid cleaning cloths of bacteria using the sanitize cycle on your washer. The Steam Sanitize cycle on Kenmore Elite® high-efficiency washers eliminates 99.9 percent of certain bacteria.

Natural fabric softener
Replace liquid fabric softener with white vinegar. A quarter cup in the washer dispenser is a natural way to soften fabrics without a vinegary smell.

Small Steps to Help Green Your Home

  • Clean or change your HVAC filters. A dirty filter makes your system work harder and use more energy.
  • It’s a good idea to have your HVAC unit serviced annually for efficient operation. And you can trust the Sears Blue Crew at Sears Home Services for assistance and maintenance.
  • Clean your dryer’s vented air duct for efficient operation.
  • Check the temperature on your water heater. To save money and energy, set it between 115 and 120 degrees.
  • Turn your thermostat down at night and when you’re not home. Even a one-degree decrease can make a difference in your energy bill and the environment.
  • Make sure windows and doors are properly sealed. If not, fill in edges with caulk to prevent air from seeping in or out.
  • Recycle what you toss. Put glass, plastics and paper in recycling bins, and give away clothing, furniture and other items that someone else can use.

Homemade Cleaning Safety Tips

The next time you’re running low on a commercial cleaning product, try replacing it with a homemade version. Test it and see – you may want to add more and more natural products as your comfort level grows. Be sure each cleaner is clearly labeled and store them out of reach of children.

What are some of your most helpful cleaning tools and tips? How do you go green and clean your home?

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark has been the driving force behind MomAdvice since 2004. In addition to running a successful community for women and running after her two kids, she has appeared on The Early Show, and in Parents magazine, Redbook, Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, MSN Money and The New York Times.