Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Last weekend I hosted a workshop for our local parents' group called "Greening Your Spring Cleaning". It was a great workshop if I do say so myself. I had a recipes and tips sheet with all sorts of green cleaning ideas, I got My Organic Market to donate $30 worth of commercial green cleaning products for people to sample and which were then given away as door prizes, and everyone who came made a green cleaner to take home.

Sound good?

The thing is that only 7 -- yes 7 -- people came! It was so disheartening. I had about 13 solid RSVPs and many more who said they hoped to stop by. Grrrrr....

So, my dear internets, in honor of Earth Day, and to make me feel less like I did all that work for nothing, I'm pleased to share with you several of my tips and recipes!

Here's my spiel -- green cleaning is CHEAP and easy. Studies have shown that many homes are actually more polluted that the outdoors because of all the chemicals we use to clean our homes. Since Lucas was born, I've been using mostly white vinegar and baking soda to clean my kitchen and bathroom. It works! It's cheap! And, I feel good that my cleaning is safe for all of us.

Here are the basic ingredients for green cleaning:

Naturally cleans like an all-purpose cleaner; disinfectant and deodorizer; safe to use on most surfaces; very cheap!; do not use full strength vinegar on tile grout as it can eat away at the grout; never use vinegar on marble surfaces; the smell disappears in minutes, as soon as it dries.

Uses for Full Strength Distilled White Vinegar
Pour in toilet, scrub with toilet brush (you can also add some baking soda)
Spray on stovetop, appliances, countertops
Add ¼ to ½ cup to the laundry rinse cycle to soften clothes and reduce cling; also helps break down laundry detergent to help those with sensitive skin
Use full-strength to remove mildew in your bathroom or to remove carpet stains (especially effective on urine stains when toilet training kids and pets!!)

Baking Soda
Use to scrub surfaces in much the same way as commercial abrasive cleansers; great deodorizer

Uses for Baking Soda
Sprinkle on a damp sponge as a gentle non-abrasive cleanser for counter tops, skins, bathtubs, ovens and fiberglass (for larger jobs simply make a paste of baking soda and water)
Can remove crayon marks from walls (!!!!)
Add ¼ to ½ cup to the laundry as a fabric softener
Sprinkle on carpet before vacuuming to deodorize

Lemon Juice
Dissolves soap scum and hard water deposits; cleans and shines brass and copper; mix with vinegar and or baking soda to make cleaning pastes

RECIPE: All Purpose Cleaner (This is what we made at my workshop)
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
Several drops essential oil (optional)

Combine in a spray bottle and use for cleaning practically everything in your home!

RECIPE: Drain Opener
First, try using a drain snake to remove clogs.

Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down drain, follow with 1/2 cup vinegar, cover and let sit, flush with boiling water.

Happy Green Cleaning! Oh, and please write a comment if you have any other green cleaning ideas to share!


  1. I swear to God, Aimee, I will never do or even THINK about doing half of the things you do. Holy Cow. Amazing!

  2. It sounds like it was great and I totally would have come! Thanks for the additional green cleaning recipes to add to my arsenal!


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