Clean, Green, and Almost Free

Clean and green. Who wouldn’t want that? And almost free? Even better! If you’ve often thought of going green as either too expensive or too much work, take another look! Yes, there are a lot of costly green products on the market, and a lot of messy, complicated recipes for making your own. But clean and green does not have to cost a fortune or take a lot of time! 

But first, let’s examine the term going green.

Gong green is a pretty generic term meaning: to pursue knowledge or practices that are more environmentally friendly and ecologically sustainable. In light of this, manufacturers can basically slap on a ‘green’ label on almost anything. After all, that particular product may be a bit ‘more green’ than similar products. Get the picture?

Aim for organic and sustainable. I certainly don’t claim to be a green expert, but I do try to research my choices, and it irritates me to feel I’m falling for marketing gimmicks. And I have learned that the preferable labels to look for are: organic and sustainable. With that in mind, I usually only buy ‘green products’ as a last resort, when unable to find a truly organic alternative.

Cleaning or disinfecting? Many of the DIY cleaning recipes, on the other hand, include essential oils with disinfectant or other special properties. And essential oils are not cheap! But according to WebMD, it’s not always necessary to disinfect. First, because getting rid of every germ is neither possible nor necessary. In most cases, clean is good enough. Germs grow wherever dirt and gunk are. Get rid of those, and you shouldn’t have a germ problem. Hot water and soap are usually (except in cases of illness or special problems) sufficient.

But there are economical alternatives that are organic and sustainable!

Liquid Soap Nuts

Soap Nuts liquid can be used to clean and disinfect almost anything, as it’s antimicrobial. It cleans, degreases, shines, and disinfects! Pour the liquid into a spray bottle or add 1 tbsp to a bucket of hot water; does not need rinsing.

  • Laundry: machine or hand wash (also shoe cleaning).
  • Dishes: machine or hand wash.
  • Cleaning: Formica, countertops, appliances, bathroom fixtures, ceramic, china, windows, glass, crystal, pvc, plastic, stainless steel, chrome, metals, floors, wood, leather, silver, copper, brass, brick, marble, and granite.
  • Plus many other purposes: body wash, jewelry cleaner, pet wash, and insect repellent, among others!
Baking Soda

Which I call my scouring powder, even though Hubby insists it’s not a scouring powder. But I say, “It’s a powder and it scours. That makes it a scouring powder!”

  • Sprinkle on sinks, bathroom fixtures, and grout. Scrub, rinse, and polish dry. No fuss, no mess.
  • Pour into drains to freshen them.
  • Sprinkle on carpets to freshen them, then vacuum up.
  • Dissolve 3 tbsp in 1 quart warm water as a surface cleanser. Wash, rinse, and polish dry. (Safe even on marble and sealed granite.)
Citric Acid
  • Removes stains from stainless steel.
  • Disinfects and cuts grease on countertops, floors, and tables. 1 part citric acid to 9 parts water.
  • Descales washing machine: add 2 tbsp to a long, hot cycle.
  • Toilet cleaner: sprinkle ¾ cup into toilet, leave overnight, brush, and flush.
  • Descales shower doors and taps: spray on a solution of 2 tsp in 1 liter warm water. Spray on, let sit 5 minutes, then rinse.

White vinegar can be used to clean most surfaces, and needs no rinsing. (But I find soap nuts both shine and degrease better.) Either pour into a spray bottle or add ¼ cup to a bucket of warm water.

  • Use on formica, countertops, appliances, bathroom fixtures, ceramic, china, windows, glass, crystal, pvc, plastic, stainless steel, chrome, metals, floors, wood, leather, silver, copper, brass, brick, acid-aged marble, and non-sealed granite. Test first on a hidden area when in doubt.

I find that if we keep up with cleaning, these are more than enough. But if you’ve got built-up dirt and grime to fight, you may need stronger solutions.

But for normal everyday cleaning these simple products should do an organic, sustainable job — and do it frugally!

[Image by qimono/Pixabay, cc0]

Author: Sheila

American born, Italian at heart. Happily married over 40 years, living in Italy almost 30. Mom of two, nonna to 9 grandkids, and missionary in Italy.

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