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10 From GEM: 10 Super Easy Ways To Green Clean Your Home

Creative Commons/NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Creative Commons/NASA Goddard Photo and Video

10 From GEM:
10 Super Easy Ways To Green Clean Your Home 

Have you ever noticed how cleaning your home sometimes leads to breath-holding, window-opening, and kid-shooing? Even with that, you might still end up with headaches, peeling skin, stinging eyes, and burning lungs. Not good. We’ve come up with 10 super easy, environmentally friendly, and cheap ways to clean your home and save your family from harsh chemicals. The good news is, you probably already have the ingredients—vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, lemon, and an essential oil. The even better news?  Even if you don’t have these items, you’ll end up paying what amounts to pennies to buy them and create your own green cleaners. So here we go..

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Creative Commons/Jennifer Hulse

Creative Commons/Jennifer Hulse

Sprinkle counters with baking soda, then scrub with a damp cloth or sponge. For stains, make a paste with baking soda and water and let it set before you scrub it away. For even more cleaning power, use vinegar instead of water. This also works very well for stainless steel sinks, cutting boards, containers, refrigerators, and oven tops.

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Creative Commons/RoyalOakBungalow

Creative Commons/RoyalOakBungalow

Get a box of baby wipes—any brand will do, including the dollar store variety—and pour rubbing alcohol over the wipes. Store it underneath the sink. When you need to do a quick wipe down, grab one of the baby wipes and clean your counters, fixtures, toilet, and toilet handle. Perfect for when guests drop by at the last minute.

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Creative Commons/.angels.

Creative Commons/.angels.

Give germs a one-two punch by mixing 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap, and 20-30 drops of tea tree oil in a bottle. Spray the solution on high chairs, counters, and any other surfaces you want to rid of germs.

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Creative Commons/KCanard

Creative Commons/KCanard

By far, the easiest and cheapest way to mop your kitchen and bathroom floors is to mix vinegar with warm water in a bucket. That’s it! Even if the smell of vinegar bothers you, it will be gone by the time the floor dries.

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Creative Commons/Chugy

Creative Commons/Chugy

If you have mysterious sticky spots on surfaces around the house, you can easily remove them with a drop of lemon essential oil and a soft cloth or by rubbing lemon rind (where essential oil comes from) on the spot.

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Creative Commons/radimersky

Creative Commons/radimersky

Windows and mirrors are two surfaces that simply don’t ever need to be disinfected and don’t need expensive, harsh chemicals to come clean. Combine 1 tablespoon of vinegar with ½ gallon of water. Put it in a bottle such as your used bottle of commercial window cleaner. Spray and wipe down with newspaper. Newspaper won’t leave behind streaks or fibers like paper towel will.

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Creative Commons/lee.eel

Creative Commons/lee.eel

There is some controversy as to whether borax is safe. Although it occurs naturally, it does have some toxicity. However, it isn’t carcinogenic. If you decide to make it part of your green cleaning routine, you should know that it does have natural germicidal properties. Add a ½ cup of borax to the wash cycle, especially if you’re cleaning towels, socks, undergarments, or other “germy” laundry. You can eliminate the need for fabric softener by adding either a cup of vinegar or ¼ cup baking soda to the final rinse cycle.

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Creative Commons/Chiot's Run

Creative Commons/Chiot’s Run

Here are a few methods you can use to freshen your home:

  • To remove microwave smells (and soften stuck on food for cleaning) cut up a lemon in a microwave-safe bowl of water and turn it on for 2-3 minutes.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet, let it sit for 30 minutes and vacuum.
  • Put houseplants in every room. They are the world’s first and best air cleaner.
  • Make your own potpourri with dried flowers, herbs, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

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Creative Commons/valstar2011

Creative Commons/valstar2011

When drains clog up, the first thing people usually go for is a bottle of commercial clog remover. Try this first: pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain followed by ½ cup of vinegar. Cover the drain with a small glass dish and let it sit overnight. In the morning, run boiling hot water down the drain and the clog should be broken up and gone.

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Creative Commons/dailymomshoots

Creative Commons/dailymomshoots

If your garbage disposal smells funky, pour ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of vinegar in there and let it work its magic for a few minutes. Then run the water and switch on the disposal. For even more freshness, I sometimes follow this with chopped up lemon.

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There are hundreds of green cleaning methods and recipes out there. Share some of your favorites below.

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picmonkey alexis

Alexis Trass Walker lives in Gary, Indiana, with her husband and four children. She is a stay at home mom and writer who loves all things chocolate. Read more about Alexis on her blog, email her at, or follow her on Twitter @LillieBelle5.














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