New Years Resolutions for Your Home, Part 2: Detoxifying

There are few better gifts you can give yourself, your family and your pets than a toxin-free environment to come home to.  In this post, I’ll give a rundown of common, conventional household cleaning products and all-natural, non-toxic alternatives. You probably already have most of the ingredients to make these all-natural, green cleaning products in your house, and all of these recipes are much less expensive than their toxic, conventional counterparts.  So do yourself, your home, and your loved ones a favor and make your home free of harmful chemicals!

Conventional Product
Non-Toxic Alternative
Instructions for Use
3 quarts water + 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice + 1 cup hydrogen peroxide
Keep some in a spray bottle for cleaning kitchens/bathrooms, or use it as you would bleach in your laundry. (1-2 cups per load of whites. To use on colors, replace peroxide with white vinegar)
Window Cleaner
¼ cup white vinegar + 1 quart warm water

Add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil to cut the smell of the vinegar
Put in a spray bottle and use the same as you would conventional window cleaner. For an ultra green effect, consider using a smooth cotton cloth instead of paper towels to wipe your windows and mirrors clean.
Kitchen Degreaser
Use a non-chlorinated scouring powder (like Bon Ami)
Scour with a scouring pad or the rough side of a kitchen sponge. Rinse with warm water. Repeat if necessary.
Hardwood Floor Polish
Combine vegetable oil and vinegar in a 1:1 mixture
Apply to floors and rub in well.
Bathroom Cleaner- (for disinfecting surfaces)
Use the bleach alternative above
Spray solution onto surface, let sit a few minutes, then wipe up with cloth or paper towel.
Bathroom Cleaner- (for scrubbing toilets)
½ cup baking soda + 10 drops of tea tree (melaleuca) oil, + ¼ cup white vinegar
Pour ingredients directly into the toilet bowl, saving the vinegar for last.  Scrub with toilet brush as the vinegar and baking soda combine in a foaming action that will loosen yucky stuff from the bowl.
Bathroom Cleaner- (for tub and shower)
Pure white vinegar
Tip - Hydrogen Peroxide will bleach white grout white again (only use on white grout!)
Spray on areas affected by tub scum and/or mildew.  Let sit 30 minutes, then scrub clean with rough sponge, rinse with warm water.

That should get you started.  If there are other chemical laden cleaning products that you use frequently and need an alternative for, the Internet abounds with great, easy-to-make recipes for green cleaning solutions.

If you’ve decided to rise to the occasion and accept the challenges contained in the first two posts in this series (Click the link to read the first one, on "Decluttering"), then be sure to check back next week for the final post in the series, where we’ll be talking about ways to green your home (and save money!) in terms of energy usage.