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Cheap, Safe, Green House Cleaning Supplies

There are many reasons why you might want to switch to natural, non-toxic cleaning supplies for your home: Maybe you’re selling your home, and want to make sure that every potential buyer, even those with chemical sensitivities, feels comfortable when they come by for a showing. Maybe you or a family member is sensitive, or you’d like to be extra careful what you use around your children or pets. Maybe you’re concerned about the effect your house cleaning has on the environment. While buying ready-made natural cleaners will probably cost a bit more than buying standard synthetic ones, going green can even save you money if you make your own. Here are some simple ways to get started:

Inexpensive, Easy Recipes Online

To learn how to go green in any aspect of your life, Greenpeace is a great place to start. This post on their web site gives very simple solutions for cleaning, polishing, disinfecting, and deodorizing most of your house using easy-to-find ingredients, including lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, table salt, and old-fashioned, basic soap.

  • Real Simple magazine shows “66 All-Natural Cleaning Solutions” using lemons, essential oils, liquid Castile soap, cooking oils, borax, vinegar, table salt, baking and washing soda, and whatever toothpaste you have on hand. Most of these ingredients are available at supermarkets, though you may have to go to a health food store for essential oils and Castile soap.
  • For an in-depth introduction to safe, green, homemade house cleaning supplies, visit the web site of Mother Earth News for the article, “Green Cleaners,” which originally appeared in their July/August 1990 issue. Here, author Ann Larkin-Hanson tells how to gradually replace your regular house cleaning standbys with green supplies. She gives deeper explanations of how and why baking soda, washing soda, soap flakes, oil soap (such as Murphy’s Oil), vinegar, borax, and ammonia can clean up almost any mess. Her best bit of advice: When in doubt about how to get clean and green, ask someone who’s been cleaning house since before World War II. Back then, simpler, cheaper, natural cleaners were all that was available.

Books Full of Ideas

If you’d like more ways to make your house cleaning supplies safer, greener, and cheaper with ingredients you control, check out these books:

  • The Naturally Clean Home: 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning by Karyn Siegel-Maier will tell you how to make specialty cleaning products, including wicker cleaner, soap for automatic dishwashers, and insect repellant, all boosted and beautifully scented with herbs. Siegel-Maier promises that, even with the herbal extras, these cleaners will still cost you far less than commercial cleaners would.
  • Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living by Annie Berthold-Bond offers recipes for natural house cleaning supplies, then goes above and beyond that to explain how you can make green, inexpensive, homemade face and body care items, wood stain, house paint, and more.
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