Thursday, August 26, 2010

Clean and Green: Making Your Own Cleaning Products, Part 1

Everyone’s “going green” these days. Recycling bins show up in nearly every business and home; schools and workplaces go “paperless”; hip boutiques carry purses and accessories made of everything from old license plates to juice boxes to recycled newspapers; and, families everywhere toss their harsh commercial cleaners in favor of natural, homemade concoctions that save the planet--and their pocketbook.

Well, I may be stretching it a bit with the last one, but we could all benefit from considering how we can “green” up our cleanup. If you’re like I was, you probably haven’t thought too much about what’s lurking under your kitchen sink or in your bathroom cupboard. But what if you could replace the plethora of commercial cleaning products—many harboring caustic, or even potentially toxic, chemicals—with a few simple, time-tested basic cleaning supplies that are all-natural?

Think pantry staples like baking soda, lemon juice, olive oil, and white distilled vinegar. Add in the aromatic world of essential oils for heavenly scents and extra disinfecting power. Mix. Repeat.

That’s just about how complex homemade, green cleaners are. In fact, for earlier generations this won’t be big news. Just ask your grandma. She probably didn’t buy a different cleaner for every day of the week; many of today’s products weren’t even on the market when she was young. She knows that mildly-abrasive baking soda is safe enough to eat but also can clean your oven, tub, and more. No doubt, she could tell you that vinegar and water mixed in a spray bottle (or club soda) will make your glass, mirrors, and metal shine like never before.

I began making my own cleaning products nearly 10 months ago, and haven't looked back. Tune in for Part 2 tomorrow when I share my tried and tested tips and homemade cleaning recipes.

Image: Arvind Balaraman /

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