Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Clean it Green (and CHEAP)

Green cleaning

Green cleaning by Jelitan on

Confession: I love cleaning products. Not so much the cleaning itself, but the products - those are great.

Lately, the Hus and I have been experimenting with homemade, green cleaners and I wanted to share the ones that we have tried so far.

I did a ton of web research and I chose the specific products that were the simplest (if you're like me, you don't have various essential oils on hand), most economical, most popular, and had the best reputation for effectiveness. I spent way too much time on this - enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Dusting - Shake up 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1 tsp olive oil (or completely fill up your spray bottle using this ratio). This works so well, it's shocking. All my wood furniture is gleaming, but there is no oily residue. Vinegar smell completely dissipates within minutes. Remember, your dusting will last longer if you use a dusting solution instead of just a dry rag.

Ovens - Coat the grimy parts with liberal amounts of baking soda and let it sit overnight. Wipe off with general disinfectant. I haven't tried this, but I have testimony from my friend Ben that this works. You can also try salt, I have heard that works too.

General Disinfectant - Straight vinegar, or add a little Castille soap. I have to admit that I haven't tried this yet. I have been using GreenWorks cleaner and want to use it up so I can steal the spray bottle.

Wrinkle Releaser/Clothing Freshener - the biggest money waster ever if you buy it, but the most convenient thing to have if you are not fond of ironing and have to dress up for work (like me!). Here's the hint for a cheap, at-home fix - use a little capful of your favorite fabric softener in a spray bottle and fill up with water (distilled or filtered, preferably). This works really well and makes your clothes smell freshly laundered.

Fabric Refresher - same as the wrinkle releaser, but you probably want to use a smaller ratio of fabric softener to water if you are using this on upholstery.

Copper polish - A paste of lemon juice and salt. This is the only place where I will tell you to go ahead and use lemon juice. Some suggest that you dust with it (combined with olive oil), but I don't like the fact that you can't have any spare dusting solution left over unless you refrigerate it - and even then, it can go rancid. When polishing copper, you can just mix together some lemon juice and salt in the quantities desired. Rub on copper pot with a clean cotton rag and a little elbow grease. This works incredibly well.

Jewelry cleaner - soak in baking soda and water, scrub with an old toothbrush. For an especially stubborn piece, use toothpaste. I use this on my wedding and e-rings all the time.

Dishwasher rinse aid - just use straight vinegar in the little spout meant for jet dry. This works really well.

Dryer sheets - soak cotton rags in fabric softener, let dry - can be used for several dryer loads, then throw it in the washing machine and start over.

Fridge - keep an open box of baking soda in there to absorb smells (I'm sure that you've seen that one before!). Don't use it for anything else (especially cooking, gross!!)


Vinegar is magic and a natural disinfectant - Don't be afraid of the smell, it dissipates really quickly. Also, you can buy it in big jugs. Trust me - you will use it!
Lemon juice - anything you put this in, you have to refrigerate. Check that it isn't rancid before use.
Spray Bottles - use the ones you already have after your current cleaning products have run out

Baking Soda - Buy the economy-sized box for green cleaning. Don't use your fridge box for anything else but fridge duty.
Fabric Softener - make sure you have one that you really like the smell of, because a little goes a long way so you will be stuck with that scent for a while.


  1. Good call on the wrinkle/clothing refresher - I'll have to try that!

    And yeah, the oven/baking soda thing worked WONDERS. (Our oven was seriously gross - meat loaf spillover is not pretty. Granted, I don't think meat loaf itself is all that pretty (or tasty) either.)

  2. I totally recommend the castille soap. We bought Dr Bronner's liquid castille for the baby, and I've started using it everywhere -- mixed w/ a little water in a pump as hand soap and face wash, and mixed w/ considerably more water plus a bit of vinegar in a spray bottle as household cleaner. Very gentle (doesn't even sting the eyes as face soap), but it cleans very well.

  3. For the record, "sprinkle" is a massive understatement when it comes to using baking soda as oven cleaner. You want a big thick LAYER all over the bottom of the oven. If you haven't used up a whole box or two, you're doing it wrong.

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  5. Great post! I have been looking for stuff like this to replace my eco-unfriendly products. Thank you!

  6. Great tips! I'm definitely going to try the jewelery cleaner sometime.


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