Green Cleaning Basics

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Everyone is talking about trying to “green their cleaning.” In theory, this sounds great, but how do you really get started and what do you use? I’m going to share with you the four basic things you need to make green cleaners that really work.

To make your own cleaners you need to know what each ingredient can do for you. This means understanding their cleaning properties. Once you understand these properties, you can clean most anything.

Distilled White Vinegar – Vinegar is a natural acid that kills 98% of the bacteria on surfaces. It is a great disinfectant and can be mixed with other liquids to clean kitchens and bathrooms. You can boost the power of vinegar by heating it up in the microwave.

Baking Soda — Everyone knows that baking soda absorbs smells, but it is also a great “lifter.” Adding baking soda to a hot liquid causes the baking soda to react and lift the dirt off the surface of what you are trying to clean. If you have burned food in a pot, just put a teaspoon of baking soda and an inch of hot water in the bottom of the pan and return it to the stove on a warm setting. You’ll see the baking soda lift the burnt food right off.

Salt — Salt is a perfect scrub that not only lifts dirt and grime off a surface, but also makes water work better. Salt softens water, which means it changes the minerals in the water and lets cleaners work better. You can use larger granulated salt such as sea salt or kosher salt if you’re cleaning heavy build up or dirt.

Borax or oxygen bleach — Borax has been around since the late 1800s. People usually remember seeing the box in their great-grandmother’s laundry room. Any cleaner can be made more powerful if you add just a teaspoon of borax to it. If you want to use something even more natural, you can use oxygen bleach in your recipes. Oxygen bleach uses oxygen to help clean by boosting the power of the other ingredients.

There are many other natural ingredients you can use to make cleaning products, but these four will get you started. Here is one simple recipe that you can mix up and try yourself. Once you see how well it works, you’ll want to try others.

Simple Green Scrub Recipe
1-cup baking soda

1-cup table salt

1-cup borax or oxygen bleach

Mix all three ingredients together and place the mixture in a shaker container. Use it just like you would any other powdered scrub in your kitchen sink. You can add a few drops of an essential oil to give it a nice scent.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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