Selecting Green Cleaning Products

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh
July 20, 2007

There's two ways to add green to your cleaning routine, save money and save the planet. Get rid of those harsh and expensive chemical cleaners and look at a whole new way of cleaning the house. Start with what's probably the first room that comes to mind, the bathroom. Bathroom cleaners are expensive at nearly $5 a bottle or more.


With one product for tub and tile, another for toilets, drain cleaner, shower head cleaner, and air freshener, you're looking at $30 or more for cleaning products in one room of your home. (Not to mention a cabinet full of cleaners.) Try mixing up your own batches of cheap, enviro-friendly cleaners that are light on the wallet.

Tile, Tub, and Sink



Lime Stains

Clogged Shower Heads - only use on metal shower heads

Hard Water Rust Stains

You've probably guessed that vinegar is a key ingredient in cleaning most everything - my grandmother's been telling me this for years. Clear the clutter of your cleaning supplies and replace it with a bottle of vinegar, baking soda, and a few other kitchen ingredients and you'll have an environmentally friendly, hard working collection of cleaning products all for under $5 total.

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Good stain removers include hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and laundry soap bars, such as Zote, Lirio, and other brands available at Latino or Afro-Carribbean stores and on line.

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I have been buying a lot of products to clean the bathroom, kitchen, laundry, and my stove. The problem is everything, makes me have coughing fits. Does anyone know of something that I don't have to wear a mask to use, and that I can use to clean all these items? It is costing a fortune to use them once and then I can't use the product any more. Thank you. Rose

By rose from Melbourne, Victoria


June 22, 20090 found this helpful

Hi Rosa, Homemade cleaners might work better for you. You can use readily available items that are ultimately less expensive and healthier for you because you know exactly what is in them. Here is a link for a huge list of "recipes" for homemade cleaners from University of Missouri Extension and Michigan State University Extension. (It is a PDF file.)

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June 22, 20090 found this helpful

I'll repeat the old mantra here: Baking soda! Bicarbonate of soda is great for cleaning all kinds of surfaces. Sprinkle some in a bowl and mix with a dollop of liquid dish detergent to make a non-scratching soft scrub that deals with greasy messes no problem. Plain soap and water works great, too.

Somewhere along the way companies convinced us that we weren't really cleaning unless we piled on enough chemicals to disinfect an operating theatre. I used to get headaches all the time from cleaning products (especially bathroom cleaners) but since I went 'natural' I haven't had any problems. If you do want store-bought products you might look into what eco-friendly cleaners are available at your supermarket. They generally have less irritating ingredients than standard cleaners.

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June 22, 20090 found this helpful

I use baking soda or/and vinegar for sinks and fixtures. If you don't want to make your own cleaner a company called Method makes great non toxic products. They are environmentally friendly as well. We use their hand soap and my sensitive child does not break out. Good luck.

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June 23, 20090 found this helpful

I use a product called Simple Green that cleans everything and smells great. It is non toxic and cleans everything from clothes to stoves to tires on cars! You can check out all of the uses on their website! Hope this helps.

Wendy, Texas

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June 23, 20090 found this helpful

Go to the Thrifty Fun Index and look up January 9th, 2009. There is a post called Saving Money on Cleaning Products with LOTS of green ideas for cleaning.

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June 23, 20090 found this helpful

All-Purpose Cleaner:
Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc.

Bathroom mold:
Mold in bathroom tile grout is a common problem and can be a health concern. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two parts water in a spray bottle and spray on areas with mold. Wait at least one hour before rinsing or using shower.

Dishwasher Soap:
Mix equal parts of borax and washing soda, but increase the washing soda if your water is hard.

Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water. For stronger cleaning power add 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use non-aerosol spray bottle. (This is not an antibacterial formula. The average kitchen or bathroom does not require antibacterial cleaners.)
To disinfect kitchen sponges, put them in the dishwasher when running a load.

Drain Cleaner:
For light drain cleaning, mix 1/2 cup salt in 4 liters water, heat (but not to a boil) and pour down the drain. For stronger cleaning, pour about 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain, then 1/2 cup vinegar. The resulting chemical reaction can break fatty acids down into soap and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water to clear residue. Caution: only use this method with metal plumbing. Plastic pipes can melt if excess boiling water is used. Also, do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener--the vinegar can react with the drain opener to create dangerous fumes.

Furniture Polish:
For varnished wood, add a few drops of lemon oil into a 1/2 cup warm water. Mix well and spray onto a soft cotton cloth. Cloth should only be slightly damp. Wipe furniture with the cloth, and finish by wiping once more using a dry soft cotton cloth. For unvarnished wood, mix two tsps each of olive oil and lemon juice and apply a small amount to a soft cotton cloth. Wring the cloth to spread the mixture further into the material and apply to the furniture using wide strokes. This helps distribute the oil evenly.

Laundry Detergent:
Mix 1 cup Ivory soap (or Fels Naptha soap), 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax. Use 1 tbsp for light loads; 2 tbsp for heavy loads.

Marks on walls and painted surfaces:
Many ink spots, pencil, crayon or marker spots can be cleaned from painted surfaces using baking soda applied to a damp sponge. Rub gently, then wipe and rinse.

Mold and Mildew:
Use white vinegar or lemon juice full strength. Apply with a sponge or scrubby.

Oil and Grease Spots:
For small spills on the garage floor, add baking soda and scrub with wet brush.

Oven Cleaner:
Moisten oven surfaces with sponge and water. Use 3/4cup baking soda, 1/4cup salt and 1/4cup water to make a thick paste, and spread throughout oven interior. (avoid bare metal and any openings) Let sit overnight. Remove with spatula and wipe clean. Rub gently with fine steel wool for tough spots. Or use Arm & Hammer Oven Cleaner, declared nontoxic by Consumers Union.

Rust Remover:
Sprinkle a little salt on the rust, squeeze a lime over the salt until it is well soaked. Leave the mixture on for 2 - 3 hours. Use leftover rind to scrub residue.

Scouring Powder:
For top of stove, refrigerator and other such surfaces that should not be scratched, use baking soda. Apply baking soda directly with a damp sponge.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner:
Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into basin and let it set for a few minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse. A mixture of borax (2 parts) and lemon juice (one part) will also work.

Tub and Tile Cleaner:
For simple cleaning, rub in baking soda with a damp sponge and rinse with fresh water. For tougher jobs, wipe surfaces with vinegar first and follow with baking soda as a scouring powder. (Vinegar can break down tile grout, so use sparingly.)

Window Cleaner:
Mix 2 teaspoons of white vinegar with 1 liter (qt) warm water. Use crumpled newspaper or cotton cloth to clean. Don't clean windows if the sun is on them, or if they are warm, or streaks will show on drying. The All-Purpose Cleaner (above) also works well on windows. Be sure to follow the recipe, because using too strong a solution of vinegar will etch the glass and eventually cloud it.

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June 27, 20090 found this helpful

I use Vinegar, water and essential oils for simple wiping down counters, mirrors, surfaces. I also use baking soda, washing soda, borax, and salt. When you combine baking soda with vinegar for scrubbing, it makes an excellent all purpose soft scrub. If a little more grit is needed, add some salt to scrub with. If you need to go "green" for laundry products there are many on the market today that are non toxic and there are homemade laundry detergent and fabric softener recipes all over the internet.

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August 19, 2010

How do I check to confirm that an, advertised as green, cleaning product like this one:, is really green? What ingredients shouldn't be there in order for it to be environmentally friendly?

By dreamclean from NY, NY


August 24, 20100 found this helpful

Google each and every ingredient, one at a time, and read exactly what each of those ingredients are. Company's can call their products 'Green' or 'Natural' willy nilly because there are not yet strict enough federal governmental controls for the advertisement of these products.

Oh! I was just going to look up exactly what ingredients are in that product you're asking about and when I tried to check out the link you mentioned (by copy and pasting in to search engine) McAfee has a question mark for every single link regarding getwipeout. Guess I would say at this point not to buy it. ;-)

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