Friday, January 22, 2010

Cleaning Up/Cleaning Green

1 cup white vinegar + 1 cup hot water + 1 teaspoon borax + 10 drops essential peppermint oil, mixed well and poured into a spray bottle. This variation of a recipe I had downloaded from Women’s Voices for the Earth really works! I put this formula to the test yesterday on a really dirty wooden floor, finished with polyurethane.  So dirty that I rinsed afterward.

I have empirical evidence to back up the Women’s claim that vinegar would cut through the accumulated mineral deposits and grease. When I was finished with my task, the floor was shiny and without film or residue, and the room had a wonderfully pleasant smell. (I had added the peppermint at  the suggestion of a friend who told me that Dr. Oz had added it to his brew on Oprah.) The cost — less than 15¢/ batch, with generic vinegar bought by the gallon. Sold for aromatherapy, the optional oil is the biggest investment. Choose your fragrance, and it will run you about $4/.5 oz. At 10 drops a batch, .5 oz. will last a long time.

The book I mentioned a few posts ago, Green Cleaning for Dummies, is a great resource. It offers many safe, home-brewed alternatives for brightening laundry, washing windows, removing stains — virtually any cleaning task — as well as many other suggestions for running a Green home. The main required ingredients are vinegar, baking soda, and borax — all available at the supermarket. I’m not sure I’m ready to make my own laundry detergent; the machine is too expensive for me to take such a chance. But I am ready to try almost anything else.

If you want to make your own cleaners, but are not ready to purchase a book just yet, you can find many recipes at the Women’s Voices for the Earth site. Just be sure to invest in an industrial strength spray bottle, not a plant mister. It is worth the extra change to get one with strong walls, and a durable spray trigger.

And if you want to embrace the concept of cleaning Green, but aren’t ready to make your own, the Consumer Reports site can help you verify the environmental claims, as well as the effectiveness, of most commercially available products.

For real savings, follow the advice in Green Cleaning for Dummies. You will be rewarded for being Green by getting some extra green for your wallet. A perk for doing a good thing. Who can argue with that?

1 comment:

  1. If you want to save on the Mint Oil, grow or buy fresh mint and steep it in the hot water, then drain & add the scented H2O to the mix. Alternatively, you could just put a bunch of leaves in the jug of vinegar itself to scent it.