Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Green" Household Cleaner Alternatives (For Cheap!)

Why Make Your Own Cleaners?
There is an ever-growing number of "green" cleaners available on the market, but you have to read the labels closely. Some of them are not quite as 'green' as they would lead you to believe, and until regulation catches up with the eco-friendly market, its uo us, the consumer, to weed out the good from the bad.

In addition to poor regulations and marketing gimmicks, you have to consider your costs. If every cent you spent towards your home is looked at as an investment of sorts, you can get much better performance of your money by making your own cleaning supplies and buying the ingredients wholesale or bulk.Even with coupons and sales, cleaning supplies can really add up over the course of a year.
The costs add up fast
Plus, the health concerns of these chemical based products can be long term, like asthma or allergies. Treatments can be costly, but studies have shown that reducing synthetic chemicals in the home environment lessens symptoms (US National Center for Health Statistics).  I, myself, was told I have mild to moderate asthma a few years ago...with absolutely ZERO family history on either side. I relied on my inhlaer daily, until I started making some simple changes - one of which was the cleaners I use in my home.
Safe Alternatives 
There are many inexpensive, readily available and easy to use alternatives that are much more natural, and can safely be used in substitution of commonly used chemical products.

Soap - unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Avoid using soaps which contain petroleum distillates.

Borax - (sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.

Washing Soda - sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral. Washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans tiles, sinks and tubs. Use care, as washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum.

Castile Soap - made from pure oils and comes scented with essential oils or unscented. Use mixed with tea tree oil and water in a spray bottle for a great and 'green' multipurpose cleaner.

Baking Soda - cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.

White Vinegar - cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up.

Cornstarch - can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs.

Lemon - one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria. Citrus can lead to sensitivity with people who are chemically sensitive, so test it out before making a huge batch of citrus cleaners.

Micro-Fiber Cloths - great at picking up dust, dirt & hairs, investing in a set of these can eliminate many of the cleaners and they can last for years.

Another tip commonly overlooked is OPEN the windows to your home now and then. Let fresh air whisk out the bad germs, air out your home and your health (and nose!) will thank you.

Happiness is a Clean, Healthy Home (and $$ Saved!)
In one year, I have saved over $250 by making my own cleaners, AND I only need to get 1-2 inhalers in a year, vs. one per month. I would certainly call that an improvement you can see...which is great, because I am one of those "I need to see it to believe it" kind of gals. :)