Going green is all the rage nowadays, and it’s begun to steep itself into all industries regarding daily life. From eating, to automotives, and now into cleaning, our lives are getting more and more concerned with going green—and for good reason! With loads of marketing and information going into environmental awareness, it’s no wonder that over here at Westside Maids, we’ve compiled a list of essential “green” cleaning suggestions.
Our Green Cleaning Tips:
1. Furniture Polish: Furniture polish is generally made of petroleum distillates and solvents which are extremely hazardous to both humans and the environment, and leave noxious fumes and odors—there are plenty of earth-friendly ways to polish your wood items anyways. One extremely effective wood polish is a mixture of two parts olive oil, one part lemon juice and applying that to your furniture using a soft cloth. The combination gives your wood a nice shine and leaves it with that lemon smell accustomed to most cleaning supplies.
2. Glass and Mirrors: Almost all glass cleaners are ammonia-based solutions and, like most furniture polishes, are poisonous and harmful to the environment and to people. The windows and mirrors in your house can instead be effectively cleaned and sanitized using four tablespoons of lemon juice mixed with a half gallon of water. Then apply the cleaner through a spray bottle or a wet rag, and wipe. Another efficient glass cleaning substitute is rubbing alcohol.
3. Metal Polish: Most metal polishes are a mixture of ammonia and acid, along with a list of undisclosed ingredients that are potentially harmful for the earth, as well as your family members. Using a mixture of salt, vinegar, and flour making a paste using equal parts of the three ingredients; rub the paste onto the brass or copper item with a soft cloth. Cover the entire surface and let the whole thing dry out—this will take about an hour. Wipe off the dried paste with a clean, soft cloth. A lemon is also a great cleaning device to use as a metal polish for brass or copper that has been lightly tarnished. Slice a lemon in half and dip one side into salt. Then rub the salted lemon over the item; afterwards you’ll need to rinse and dry thoroughly. This solution also works great on pots and pans! One other great green metal polish for lightly tarnished copper is a spray bottle filled with vinegar. Spray the copper with the vinegar and then sprinkle the area with salt. Wipe thoroughly with a sponge or cotton cloth. Be sure to remove all of the salt or it will turn your copper green. Repeat as many times as necessary.
4. Cleaning Bare Floors: Mopping any areas of your home with hard, bare floors is often times one of the most hazardous to the environment due to most of the cleaning materials and chemicals used and the disposal of these—because the mop bucket is simply seen as “dirty water” after mopping and cleaning the floor, it is generally dumped down the drain, down the street, or in the yard. The most efficient and safest way to clean your hard floors is a combination of 1 cup vinegar into 1 gallon of warm water; make sure it’s warm. Mop this mixture onto your floor. There is no need to rinse either, so it is also very time-efficient. If you have vinyl or linoleum floors then you may want to mop over the floor after this mixture has dried with straight club soda—this will give the floor a sleek shine. This solution is also great on bathtubs, creating a 60/40 mixture in the tub with warm water and vinegar and scrubbing with a brush will greatly clean and disinfect your bathtub or shower.
5. Cabinets and other Woodwork: Using a mixture similar to the one used on your bare floors, cleaning your cabinets and other wooden décor around the house is recommended with a concoction of equal parts white vinegar and hot water with a few drops of olive oil. After soaking a soft rag in the mixture, you can wipe down all of your cabinets without having to go back over and rinse. The white vinegar cuts grime and grease while also disinfecting. The olive oil added leaves a nice shine to the wood.
6. Hard Water Stains in Dishwasher: For extreme hard water stains while washing dishes in the dishwasher, add 1 cup of distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle. Simply open the door and pour it in; not only does this correct old spots, but it also prevents new ones from appearing. It also helps keep the mechanics of the dishwasher free from deposits or buildup.
7. Granite Countertops: A great way to clean your granite countertops would be mixing together water and lemon juice. Applying this with a soft rag and then rinsing with warm water will clean your granite counter tops efficiently and affordably. Also, to get the shine back that you had when you first bought your countertops go over them with a second coat of equal parts rubbing alcohol and water. A great way to keep your shine up is to keep a spray bottle of this solution and to wipe a coat over the countertops once or twice a week.
8. Drains and Garbage Disposal: One amazing and inexpensive way to clean and declog your drains and garbage disposal while maintaining a green cleaning habit is to create a solution of equal parts vinegar and baking soda. To unclog drains, pour ½ to 1 cup of baking soda and then ½ to 1 cup of vinegar down the drain—make sure that the parts remain 50/50. After pouring the vinegar down, cover the drain with a small glass dish plate or saucer. In the morning, run hot water down the drain and the clog will be broken up. Likewise, this solution works for cleaning and declogging the garbage disposal as well, however you should plan on using 1-2 cups of each ingredient for the garbage disposal. Also, this solution is great for scrubbing away the ring that manifests around your tub or sink drain with minimal effort.
9. Coffee Pot and Maker: Cleaning your coffee pot has never been easier or cheaper. Special solutions are created to clean your coffee pot and they are almost always extremely expensive, and generally hazardous to the environment once poured down the drain or discarded. However, for a green-friendly—environment and money!—use vinegar. The active ingredient in almost all of our homemade green cleaning suggestions, vinegar will help sterilize, disinfect, and clean all stains and buildup in your coffee maker. Simply mix vinegar and water and run that through the coffee maker as if you were making a cup of coffee. The vinegar combined with the heat will leave your coffee maker and coffee pot sparkling clean, and will also make your coffee taste better due to cleaning out residue left by previous batches. A great bonus or suggestion is to use this when using your coffee maker to make things other than coffee like hot cocoa or hot water.
10. Recycle and Reduce Clutter in Your Living Space: Often times giant cleaning binges can lead to a massive un-cluttering of your home and leave you with piles of items you no longer need intermittently strewn around the house. If any of the items are still in working condition and it comes down to the fact that you simply do not use them, you may want to consider donating them. The website Recycle the World is an Internet community that promotes the benefits of reusing, recycling, giving and sharing. Their website is 100% FREE to use and promotes the donation of your unwanted items instead of just throwing them away. The Recycle the World community operates through localized chapters by allowing anyone willing to donate their items to search for local recycling shelters, as well as post their items online for other users to see and request. Similarly, you may also want to look into giving other outdated items you no longer use to community charity centers such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Red Cross, or the Disabled American Veterans. Many different venues and organizations also accept donations of old electronics such as an old computer or cell phone, printer cartridges, tires, eyeglasses, sneakers, and most other items in your home; a simple internet search for the item you are willing to donate will generally turn up with where and how to donate those items in your area.
Contact us today:
Hopefully these tips have made an impact on you to start caring about the environment with your cleaning products and supplies. Every ingredient we’ve included in our homemade green cleaning products can be bought at virtually any grocery store. We’re always open to more suggestions when it comes to cleaning solutions, so if you would like to give us one of your techniques or you’d like to inquire about one of our cleaning service packages, please contact Westside Maids by phone at (281) 855-9212 or request a cleaning here.