Not only are commercial cleaning products expensive, but it is a well-known fact that many of them contain harmful chemicals. There are over two million chemicals now known to man, but only a few hundred of them have been properly tested for their potential to cause such serious ailments as cancer, kidney and liver damage, and birth defects. For some people with allergies, even small quantities of some of these chemicals can be fatal.
There are many old-fashioned recipes for home made cleaning potions, but a lot of them still contain some dangerous chemicals, such as chlorine, ammonia and lye. As both commercial cleaning products and these granny remedies may also be harmful to the environment, there is no better time than now to go green; and this article therefore offers some cheap, natural and green cleaning solutions without any dangerous-to-man or harmful-to-the-environment ingredients. Not only will you be spending less on brand name products – and getting equally good results, but you will be helping to limit the number of bad elements being released into the air we breathe.
Top of the list of economical and healthy cleaning agents are essential oils. These oils are naturally antiseptic, and they do just as good a job as brand name cleaners – if not better – of disinfecting and destroying bacteria. An added benefit of these essential oils is that they have lovely aromas. Essential oils are sold in small bottles, but one only uses a few drops in the preparation of cleaning solutions, so they are very cost-effective.
Try mixing 10 drops of mandarin essential oil and 15 drops of ylang-ylang essential oil with 2 cups of purified water in a spray bottle for an air freshener that causes no damage to the ozone layer.
10 drops of frankincense essential oil together with 15 drops of patchouli essential oil – which has strong antiseptic and anti-fungal properties – and 2 cups of warm water make a strong all-purpose cleaner. Just dab some on a soft cloth to clean your counter tops, kitchen cupboards, walls and floors.
Another kitchen cleaner can be made from mixing together 10 drops of lavender essential oil (also a strong antiseptic and anti-fungal agent), 15 drops of lemon essential oil, which has antibacterial properties and also dissolves grease and oil, two cups of warm water and 1 teaspoon of ordinary baking soda. Ensure that the preparation is mixed well, and it will remove all your tough grease stains, as well as disinfecting your whole kitchen. Bear in mind, though, that heat and light tend to reduce the potency of essential oils, so only make as much of the above solutions as needed, and store the bottles in a cool and dark place.
There are other green and natural ingredients for cleaning – but without essential oils, such as a paste made from vinegar and salt, which is great for polishing brass and copper.
Salt is also good for cleaning your oven – just pour it on to spills while the oven is still hot and by the time it is cool, you will be able to remove all the burnt-on deposits.
Mix white vinegar with warm water for a very effective window cleaner – and polish with newspaper for a super shine.
One tablespoon each of ordinary baking flour, salt and white vinegar mixed to a paste makes a very good metal cleaner when applied with a sponge. Rinse well and buff up with a soft cloth. This is a suitable polish for brass and bronze, as well as copper and pewter, but do not use on silver or silver plate.
To clean an oil or liquid spill on a carpet, first blot up as much of the oil as possible, sprinkle either dry baking soda or cornstarch on the stain, leave for an hour or two and then vacuum up the powder which will have absorbed the liquid, thus leaving no mark. On the subject of carpets, if your puppy has an accident on your carpet, clean and blot up as much as possible, then pour ordinary soda water on the mark. It removes the smell and mark almost instantly.