Friday, February 15, 2013

6 Easy DIY Green Cleaning Recipes That Will Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

6 Easy DIY Green Cleaning Recipes That Will Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
By Sharon Delia

We can help you easily and simply transform your home into a non-toxic and healthy haven with these six DIY recipes to improve your indoor air quality.

David Lang, MD, head of Allergy/Immunology at the Cleveland Clinic says children, people with asthma, and the elderly may be especially sensitive to indoor pollutants, but other effects on health may appear years later, after repeated exposure.

Indoor allergens and irritants have become much more important in recent decades because we're spending more time indoors, Lang says. And because modern homes are airtight, these irritants can't easily escape. "We're all exposed to a greater degree than we were three or four decades ago," he says.

Green cleaning can give you a deep feeling of satisfaction in knowing that your family's health is protected and that your home is a place for your bodies to rest and recuperate rather than advance harm, and as an added bonus, ounce for ounce homemade cleaning formulas cost about one-tenth the price of their commercial counterpart.

Here are some top reasons for choosing green, non-toxic cleaning methods over traditional cleaners.

1. Non-toxic cleaners are perfectly safe around children.

2. Non-toxic cleaners keep the air you breathe clean.

3. Non-toxic cleaners are much, much cheaper.

4. Non-toxic cleaners don't harm the environment.

Clean is important, but so is your health and the health of your family. Try these all-natural green cleaning recipes to improve your indoor air quality while avoiding harsh chemicals.

DIY Cleaner Basic Ingredients

If you're starting a DIY green cleaner's kit, the following are the top ingredients you'll want to have around. Some combination of these ingredients will be in almost all of the recipes you find below!

• Baking Soda

• White Vinegar

• Borax

• Essential oils, like tea tree oil, lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, or lemongrass oil

• Castile soap (like Dr. Bronner's)

• Fresh herbs, citrus, or citrus peels

• Olive or vegetable oil

• Water

(1) Microwaves are an efficient, but they can be really unpleasant to clean. We've got a green method that works well, and all you need is water and a little bit of baking soda.

1. Put one or two cups of water in a large, heat-proof glass or ceramic bowl, and add one tablespoon of white vinegar.

2. Microwave until about half the water has evaporated.

3. Wait about 10 minutes and don't open the door. This lets the water cool off a bit and the steam penetrates any baked-on crud in the oven. Remove the bowl carefully; the water will still be hot enough to burn, so wear hot mitts.

4. Scrub the walls of the microwave with a sponge sprinkled with a bit of baking soda; baked on stains should come off with relative ease.

5. Wipe down the microwave with a cloth dampened in clean water and the oven will be sparkling clean and free of odors.

(2) Kitchen Cleaning Spray

  • water
  • white vinegar
  • essential oil (citrus or tea tree oil)
  • spray bottle
  • funnel
  • permanent marker

A little water, vinegar, and essential oils are all you need to make an effective, non-toxic kitchen cleaning spray.

1. Gather your ingredients.

2. Pour 2 cups of water into your spray bottle

3. Add 1 c of white vinegar

4. Choose which essential oil you'd like to use to scent your spray. The ones we listed, along with lavender and peppermint, have antibacterial qualities to aid in cleaning.

5. Add a total of 20 drops of essential oil(s). Shake well.

(3) Cleaning Sinks

Sprinkle baking soda, about 1 tablespoon, in a wet sink. Add 1-2 drops of essential lemon oil. Scrub the sink with a damp (not wet) sponge or cloth. Rinse thoroughly.

This is easy for the kids to do and you don't have to worry about them getting it on their hands or breathing it. They love the smell of citrus and it's antibacterial! You can also clean adhesive off nearly anything with lemon essential oil.

(4) Carpet and Rugs

Club Soda:Lift off any solids, and then liberally pour on club soda. Blot with an old rag. The soda's carbonation brings the spill to the surface, and the salts in the soda prevent staining.

Spot Cleaner: Make your own by mixing: 1/4 cup liquid soap (Dr. Bronner is a good one) in a blender, with 1/3 cup water. Mix until foamy, spray on, and then rinse with vinegar.

To Deodorize: Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the carpet or rug, using about 1 cup per medium-sized room, vacuum after 30 minutes.

(5) Furniture Polish (General Dusting)

Because household dust can be full of harmful substances like flame retardants, allergens, pesticides, and plastics chemicals, it's important to keep your home as clean as possible. However, many dust cleaners contain air contaminants and hormone-disrupting chemicals. Keep it safe by mixing up your own and using it to dust furniture and other surfaces where dust collects in your home.

Combine in a 16 oz. spray bottle:

2 T. light olive oil

20 drops or more of lemon essential oil

� c. white vinegar

Enough distilled water to fill rest of bottle. Shake. Spray a bit onto dust rag.

(6) Clogged Drains

A stopped up sink or tub is a real hassle, but pouring toxic chemicals like Drano on them isn't so wise. Not only will that pollute our waterways, but the products can cause chemical burns and are highly dangerous if ingested.

You Will Need:

2 cups baking soda

4 cups boiling water

1 cup vinegar

Directions for Homemade Drain Cleaner

Remove all water from the sink or tub and pour about 1 cup of baking soda down the drain. Make sure that baking soda makes it down the drain.

Next, pour about 2 Cups of boiling water down the drain. The baking soda mixed with boiling water dissolves the sludge and gunk in the pipe, even if you don't see it happening. Wait a few minutes.

Now, pour anothercup baking soda down the drain then add 1 cup of white vinegar and plug the drain immediately. If you're unclogging a double sink, plug both drains. You'll hear sizzling coming up from the drain and see bubbles foaming up.

When the bubbles have died down, add the remaining boiling water down the drain.

Repeat this process if necessary.

We hope these recipes will be a big help to you.

Here's an interesting quote we found:

"... as things stand we're all being used as guinea pigs in the great test of new product safety."

-Mark Bittman, The Cosmetics Wars, The New York Times, Feb. 6, 2013

Sharon Delia is a writer and researcher in the field of environmental health. She has co-authored a website with Richard Cocchia on the subject of environmentally safe home cleaning. To learn more about creating a healthy home for your family visit: and

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