Friday, May 15, 2009

Meet: Mr. Morris and Green Cleaning

Yesterday I expounded on cleaning green to help asthma and allergies. It also helps skin irritations as I learned with my son Morris.
Morris, age 6 months

My little man has sensitive skin. I learned this when he began crawling around on our wood floor. I quickly realized that I could no longer use traditional cleaners. If I did, he would get road rash on his belly. Not cute. As I ran out of my toxic cleaners, I replaced them with healthier, environmentally friendly products or made homemade recipe cleaners. I must admit, at first I was bummed. I liked my Lysol and Comet. I can't remember exactly why, now--but change is always hard for me.
Then I realized something. One day I smelled some Pledge, promptly got a HEADACHE the size of Alaska and just about tossed my cookies.

I also learned that it doesn't have to be more expensive to go green when you clean. Homemade recipes are extremely affordable--or if you'd rather buy, when you shop at your health food store, check out the cleaning aisle and shop the sales.

Links: Biokleen, Seventh Generation

Homemade recipes
THIS website has many fantastic recipes for healthy cleaning.

Some of the basics-

BAKING SODA (sodium bicarbonate): An all-purpose, non-toxic cleaner. Cleans, deodorizes, removes stains and softens fabrics.

BORAX (sodium borate): A natural mineral that kills mold and bacteria. An alternative to bleach, it deodorizes, removes stains and boosts the cleaning power of soap. Please note safety precautions on the box.


CORNSTARCH: Starches clothes, absorbs oil and grease.

HERBS and ESSENTIAL OILS: For disinfecting and fragrance.

LEMON JUICE: Cuts through grease and removes perspiration and other stains from clothing.A bleach alternative.

SALT (sodium chloride): An abrasive.

VINEGAR (acetic acid): Cuts grease, removes stains and is an excellent water softener.

-My Favorites-

All Purpose Cleaner:

For a general, all-purpose cleaner, make a paste from baking soda and water or mix salt and water with a little vinegar.

Disinfectant :

2 cups water and 20 drops thyme oil. Mix in a 16 oz. spray bottle, shake well before each use.

Plain soap and water kills many bacteria

Mix a half-cup of borax with 1 gallon hot water. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary or lavender. Steep for 10 minutes, strain and cool. Or add essential fragrant oils instead of fresh herbs. Store in a plastic spray bottle.

Glass Cleaner:

1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 quart warm water

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Liquid castile soap and baking soda or Borax, scrub with a toilet brush.

Tub And Tile Cleaners: Cream of Tartar. To clean porcelain surfaces, rub with cream of tartar sprinkled on a damp cloth. Vinegar and Baking Soda. To remove film buildup on bathtubs, apply vinegar full-strength to a sponge and wipe. Next, use baking soda as you would scouring powder. Rub with a damp sponge and rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Rust Stain and Hard Water Deposit Remover:Apply full-strength vinegar or lemon juice and let stand until spot disappears, rinse. Repeat if necessary.

Carpets/Upholstery: A great non-toxic carpet stain remover is club soda. Soak spot immediately with soda and blot until the stain is gone.

Sprinkle cornstarch onto carpet, vacuum.

To remove grease spots from carpets, first sop up the liquid with a sponge, then rub a liberal amount of baking soda into the spot. Let it absorb overnight. Next day, remove the excess and vacuum the area.

Miscellaneous Cleaners:

Candles/Wax:Sponge with a piece of cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Decals/Gummed Labels/Price Tag Remover: Use vinegar. To remove non-slip appliques and strips from bathtubs, saturate a cloth or sponge and squeeze hot vinegar over decals. Vinegar also removes stick-on hooks from painted walls. Saturate a cloth or sponge with vinegar and squeeze the liquid behind the hook so that the vinegar comes in contact with the adhesive. In addition, vinegar can be used to remove price labels and other decals from glass, wood, and china. Paint the label or decal with several coats of white vinegar. Give the vinegar time to soak in and after several minutes the decal can be rubbed off. (NOTE: Use these methods only on washable surfaces and washable paint)

Grease Cutters:1) Use lemon juice, vinegar, or sprinkle with borax and scrub with scrub brush.2) 1/2 tsp. washing soda, 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil-based liquid soap, 3 tbsp. vinegar, and 2 cups hot water. Mix in spray bottle, spray and scrub, wipe clean.

Paint Brushes:Soften hard paintbrushes in hot vinegar for a few minutes. Then wash paintbrush in soap and warm water and let dry.

Rust Remover:1) To remove rust from tin-ware, rub with a peeled potato dipped in a mild abrasive such as baking soda or salt. 2) Aluminum Foil. Briskly scrub rust spots on car bumpers with a piece of crumpled aluminum foil, shiny side up.

Concrete Grease Spot Remover: To remove grease from concrete flooring sprinkle dry cement over grease. Allow it to absorb the grease, then sweep up.

Tar Remover:Food grade linseed oil. Wet rag with linseed oil and rub hard

Vinyl Cleaner: 1 tsp. to 1/4 cup washing soda, and 1 cup boiling water. Dissolve the washing soda in the boiling water. Apply with sponge, wipe off with a damp cloth.


Kara said...

You have got the greatest info, Em. I have totally switched over all my cleaners but windex, which is like the worst one. I will have to try your recipe.

I have really been working on switching over all my skin care items with natural formulas made with coconut oil, baking soda and essential oils. Any tips?

Emily Ruth said...

Awesome Kara! I have been working on a natural skin care post. I'll get crackin and finish it up; )