Hi I'm Patty Kim from the Green Guide for howdini.com.
So what's in your cleaning closet? Well, in most homes the answer is a giant chemical stew of bleaches, detergents, disinfectants, polishes, the whole nine yards. And there's no doubt that a lot of these products work to keep our homes clean and sweet-smelling, but a lot of them also contribute to indoor air pollution, they're poisonous, and can be pretty harmful if inhaled or touched. In fact some cleaners are among the most toxic products you'll find in your house.
Put your home in enviromental rehab by replacing store bought brands with an ample supply of these: the eight basic do-it-yourself cleaning ingrediants. Baking soda is great. It provides grit for scrubbing and reacts with water, lemon, or vinegar by fizzing which helps clean up those cleaning times. Borax, every household should have a little bit of Borax. Borax disinfects, bleaches, and deodorizes. Very handy at laundry mixes too. And you can find it usually pretty easy in the laundry aisle. Distilled white vinegar: cannot live without this stuff. It also disinfects, it breaks up dirt, but you want to choose white vinegar over apple cider or red vinegars which might stain surfaces. Hydrogen peroxide disinfects and bleaches.
Lemons, I love lemons, lemons cut grease. Bottled lemon juice also works really well, although you might need to use a little bit more to get the same results. Olive oil: it picks up dirt and polishes wood. It's great for that. The cheaper grades work well too. This is vegetable based liquid castille soap which is a non-petroleum, all-purpose cleaner and that's kind of handy to have around.
And last, but not least, washing soda. It's a stain remover and generally cleaner and it helps unblock pipes. The only thing you have to watch out for is that it's caustic so you do need to wear gloves when you're using it. And you can find washing soda fairly easily in the laundry aisle of your grocery or drug store.
Don't forget to pick up an empty spray bottle at the local hardware store. And keep those rags and toothbrushes handy for wiping up and scrubbing. Trust me they really do come in handy. You know the Green Guide offers a whole host of simple do-it-yourself recipes for all kinds of household cleaners.
And just to give you an idea of how easy it really is, let's make an everyday glass cleaner that's just as good as the store bought brand. All you have to do is add a tablespoon of lemon juice or a quarter cup of vinegar to about two cups of water. So we're going to that right now [adds lemon juice]--that's good. Take our empty spray bottle that we got at the local hardware store. Fill this right up to the top and all we have to do is take our rag, give it a good old spray, and I'm going to give the windows a nice, big wipe. And voila! Do it yourself home cleaner. You did it.
Of course not everyone wants to make their own cleaning supplies. There are some effective, safer products on the market today made without harmful ingrediants. If you want to start small, try switching out just one product for something less toxic. Maybe use a cup of hydrogen peroxide in the wash instead of bleach to brighten up your whites. You can also do something greener by doing something as simple as switching from liquid to powder detergents for your laundry or dishwasher. It'll save lots of plastic bottles and no doubt it will save you money in the end.
And don't forget to check out the links on our website for greener, cleaner recipes and product suggestions. Hey we're all in this together. I'm Patty Kim from the Green Guide for howdini.com.