When it comes to spring cleaning, the only way to do it right is to go green. Not only are non-toxic cleaning products better for your health, there’s another bonus: This is one of those times when going green also saves you money! Not only are the following five ingredients good for your health and your home’s cleanliness, they also cost way less to keep on hand than commercial cleaners.
Ready to start scrubbing? Read on to learn about the only five weapons you’ll need in your cleaning arsenal:
1. Baking soda
This simple white powder is as versatile as it is cheap – a 16-oz. box costs only about a dollar, and you can use it in all sorts of ways around the home. For example:
- On your carpet: If your pet or kid had an accident on the rug, just sprinkle baking soda over the area and let it absorb the moisture. Vacuum the carpet when it’s dry. If a spot remains, gently brush a baking soda and water mixture into the carpet, let it dry, then vacuum.
- On your walls: Remove marks from walls by wiping with a damp sponge dipped in baking soda.
- On your stainless steel appliances: Sprinkle baking soda onto a damp sponge and wipe down your appliances. Then rinse the sponge and wipe again to get rid of the residue.
Read more: 17 Cleaning Essentials for Your Apartment
When it comes to green cleaning, vinegar is your go-to wonder product. Here are just a few ways you can use vinegar to clean:
- For your windows: Mix vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio in a spray bottle. For extra shine with no streaks – plus cut down on waste — wipe with a microfiber cloth instead of paper towels.
- For your floors: Mix one cup vinegar, one cup hot water, and a couple of drops of dish soap in a spray bottle. Just spray it on the floor – hardwood, tile, linoleum or any other non-carpeted surface will do – and mop. No rinsing needed!
- For your sink drains: If you have a clogged drain, remove the stopper and pour half a cup of baking soda into it, followed by a cup of vinegar. Let it bubble away for about half an hour, then flush the drain with boiling water.
A gallon of vinegar will cost you less than $10.
3. Castile soap
When you’re cleaning hard surfaces, sometimes you need some suds. Paired with some water and a stiff-bristled brush, castile soap will be your best friend for bathroom cleaning.
- In your tub: Combine water and castile soap in a 2:1 ratio in a spray bottle. Spray liberally in your tub, then scrub with the brush to get rid of mildew and soap scum. Rinse with warm water.
- In your sink: Spray the same mixture all over the surface of your sink, then scrub with the brush until the sink shines.
A 16-oz. bottle of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap costs about $10.
Read more: Clean Green: Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
4. Hydrogen peroxide
A brown bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide is a green alternative to bleach – it has all the whitening power without harming the environment. And, at less than a buck for a 16-oz. bottle, it’s ultra-cheap as well.
- In your toilet: Pour about half a cup of hydrogen peroxide into your toilet bowl and let it sit for about 20 minutes, then scrub clean with a brush.
- On your grout: If you’ve got moldy or discolored grout, first dry the surface thoroughly, then spray with hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit for about half an hour and then scrub with an old toothbrush. Depending on how much mildew you have, you might have to repeat the process several times to get white grout again.
- In your kitchen: Because it’s non-toxic, you can use hydrogen peroxide to clean the surfaces around your food. Use it to wipe out your refrigerator and dishwasher, disinfect cutting boards, and clean your sponges.
Tip: If you’re pouring hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle, make sure the bottle is opaque – exposure to light will kill the solution’s effectiveness.
Read more: How to Clean Your Kitchen Appliances
5. Wood cleaner
Your furniture needs cleaning, too, but not all cleaners are easy to DIY. To avoid damaging or leaving a residue on your wood pieces, we recommend buying an eco-friendly wood cleaner.
- Method’s Wood for Good cleaner costs about $7 for a 28-oz. spray bottle.
- Seventh Generation’s Wood Cleaner costs about $5 for an 18-oz. spray bottle.
Your turn! What are your favorite green cleaning products?
Photo credits: Shutterstock / Gita Kulinitch Studio, Daleen Loest