USA Today had a nice article today about Green Cleaning, highlighting that there is a growing trend with people making their own cleaners at home. Parents, including myself, are going green with their cleaners due to the toxic chemicals typically found in traditional cleaners.

I use plain ole vinegar to clean just about everything and even use it in the rinse cycle when doing laundry. It is a fantastic glass cleaner — something I learned from my dad decades ago. You can use it straight, but even diluting with water works well. Add a little vinegar to water you have a cleaner to mop your floors, wipe the counters, wash walls, etc. And vinegar is cheap!

Baking soda also cleans very well. It’s great at scouring tubs, helps absorb odors and interestingly enough, helps soften clothes in the laundry! Just add a half cup or so to the laundry. Baking soda is also cheap.

For dusting, we use a simple microfiber cloth which is a fantastic cleaning cloth requiring no additional cleaners. For heavier dusting, we use a damp cloth — no cleaners. Most microfiber cloths are roughly a dollar each.

I do not make my own laundry detergent, but many do using Borax. I have not gotten that adventurous. And I like my Charlie’s Soap which does not require any extra softeners or otherwise. See my review here. If you are interested in giving the make your own detergent a try, here is a great article telling you how to do it, for about a penny a load!! Hmmm, maybe I should give this a try…

Some Green Cleaners Are More Effective

And most are just as effective. The article states that doctors say even the simple act of scrubbing is usually enough to kill the germs and cleaners like bleach, are an overkill. They say bleach is needed for messes if blood or other bodily fluids are involved. I stopped buying bleach after my daughter was born 3 years ago. I found it is not needed and I certainly do not miss it.

We had some mold on our bathroom ceiling last year and I mixed a few drops of tea tree oil with a cup of water and sprayed on the mold. It killed the mold and has not been back. Previously, my husband had sprayed water with bleach on it but it always came back. One treatment with tea tree oil  kept it away.

Gotta green cleaning do-it-yourself or frugal tip? Please share your tips below.

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3 thoughts on “Green Cleaning: Do it yourself

  1. Good tips.

    We haven’t gone to using baking soda (but will suggest it to my wife; we do share the cleaning). We have been using vinegar a lot, including in the laundry with towels and other items (esp after the dog gets a bath!).

    It’s amazing the number uses some products (like vinegar) has. Though, it does seem strange that I can clean with something that I also can use with food and cooking.

  2. I love your article and agree that more people are making their own. Since the companies that manufacturer the cleaning products don’t have to disclose what is in them, it’s really the only way to know what you are spraying in your home. I have written a book : The Joy of Green Cleaning, which is a collection of all those green homemade recipes. In these tough economic times – it seems to be a big hit. Oh the money you can save!! Check it out at
    Happy Cleaning!

  3. I am a huge fan of bicarbonate of soda, white vinegar with a few drops of an essential oil, like lime or rosemary. I put some bicarb in a plastic spray bottle, slowly add a bit of vinegar (it can be rather explosive) I then top up the bottle with water. I then have a spray bottle of my own cleaning spray and it is great for stains, absorbing smells (as you say) and just for general cleaning of our home. It is cheap and most importantly safe.
    My frugal tip is from a great friend of mine who uses the plastic stringy bags that fruit sometimes comes in. She ties it in little knots and uses as a cheap scouring pad. It is a pretty cool frugal tip, saves buying a scourer if one eats oranges!

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