Green Corner: Making Your Own Green Cleaner
Vol. 11 No. 7
This article was originally published on sparklepeople.com
Using harsh chemicals around children, especially young children, can be harmful to their health. But you don’t have to run to the local organic store or shop online for organic solutions. Your Facilities Manager can mix her own cleaning solutions with items you most likely already have stored in your school’s closets.
The basic supplies you’ll need to make your own green cleaners include:
- Distilled white vinegar
- Baking soda
- Olive oil
- Borax (found in the laundry aisle)
- Liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner's brand, found in most natural foods stores)
- Essential oils (super concentrated natural plant oils found in natural foods stores, usually in the cosmetics section)
- Microfiber cleaning cloths
Here are a few basic “recipes” and techniques to get you started:
- To clean glass: Mix 1/4 cup vinegar with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe clean with old newspaper or a lint-free cloth.
- To clean countertops and bathroom tile: Mix 2 parts vinegar and 1 part baking soda with 4 parts water. Apply with a sponge, scour, and wipe away.
- To clean floors: Mix 4 cups of white distilled vinegar with about a gallon of hot water. If desired, add a few drops of pure peppermint or lemon oil for a pleasant scent. After damp mopping the floors, the smell of vinegar will dissipate quickly, leaving behind only the scent of the oil.
- To clean wood furniture: Mix equal parts of lemon juice and olive oil. Apply a small amount to a cloth, and rub onto the furniture in long, even strokes.
- Toilet bowl cleaner: Sprinkle a toilet brush with baking soda and scrub away! Occasionally disinfect your toilet by scrubbing with borax instead. Wipe the outside of the toilet clean with straight vinegar.
- Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar, 3 cups hot water, and 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use a spray bottle. Wipe clean.
- To eliminate mold and mildew: Wipe with straight vinegar.
- Air freshener: Sprinkle essential oil on a cotton ball, and stash it in a corner of the room. If you have kids, make sure it is out of their reach as essential oils are very strong and could irritate their skin. Lavender is a relaxing scent that is great for bedrooms, and cinnamon, clove, and citrus oils are great for the rest of the house. You can stash a few in the car too—try peppermint, which may help you to stay alert.