How Do I Make My Own "Green" Cleaning Supplies?
By Nancy Sleeth
June 24, 2012
After a spiritual and environmental conversion experience, Nancy Sleeth and her family radically altered their footprint, reducing their electricity use to one-tenth and their fossil fuel use to one-third the national averages. Along with her husband, Matthew, Nancy now travels throughout the U.S. speaking and writing about faith and the environment.
Sleeth is a graduate of Georgetown University and holds a masters degree in journalism. She is the author of several books including Almost Amish: One Woman's Quest for a Slower, Simper, More Sustainable Life and Go Green, Save Green: A Simple Guide to Saving Time, Money, and God's Green Earth, the first-ever practical guide for going green from a faith perspective.
People of faith who care about God’s creation face a confounding factor: How we do we tend our homes without hurting the planet? Fortunately, it is getting easier than ever to care for our homes while caring for the planet. The bonus of homemade and green cleaning products? You’ll save money while exposing yourself to fewer harmful chemicals.
Here are a few tips for making your own "green" cleaning supplies:
My universal (and cheapest) cleaning solution: Fill a spray bottle with 1 quart warm water mixed with ¼ cup vinegar. This can be used in the kitchen, bathroom—just about everywhere.
Baking soda is another must-have cheap and green cleaning product. Use it to scour toilets and bathtubs, scrub nonaluminum pots and pans, deodorize the refrigerator and clean the kitchen sink.
- If you don’t have a compost pile, start one. Our family used two inexpensive ($20) flexible containers made from recycled tires. We filled one pile and let the other sit. Every few months, we had a new crop of “black gold.”
An easy recipe for laundry-detergent:
1 cup washing soda (such as Arm & Hammer) 1/2 cup borax 1 bar soap Approximately 3 gallons water
You’ll also need a container to mix this in, such as a five-gallon bucket, a large wooden spoon, another pot to boil soapy water in, and a box grater to cut up the soap. Put about four cups of water into the pot. Turn on high until it’s boiling, then lower the heat to a simmer. While it’s heating, take a bar of soap and cut it up into little bits using a grater. When the water is boiling, start adding the soap a bit at a time, stirring until all the soap is dissolved. Divide into containers.
Green cleaning may seem like a small thing, but a lot of little acts by millions of people add up. The average American home has 63 synthetic chemical cleaning products in it, which amounts to a whopping 10 gallons per household. Picture 10 milk jugs filling your refrigerator—would you to drink 10 gallons of toxic chemicals? But in a very real sense, that is what we are doing—every single ounce will some day end up in the water someone drinks or the food we eat. When it comes to toxic cleaning products, there is no magical “away.”