"Green" cleaning is good for the environment, but even more importantly it is good for you and your family. Chemicals used for cleaning aren't good for us. They can cause a lot of health problems and many of them can even build up in the system. However, there are great alternatives, with great cleaning power, that are all natural and good for you and the environment. They are even less expensive and easy to make!

Distilled white vinegar is a great option for cleaning a wide range of locations in your home. It is acidic giving it cleaning strength and killing bacteria naturally.
  • All purpose cleaner- Simply mix 1/2 water with 1/2 vinegar. To make it smell better add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and let it sit for 24 hours. This will give it a pleasant smell. All purpose cleaner can be used for counters, cupboard fronts, tables, sinks, toilets, tubs, and even the floor. To use it on the floor spray the floor down and wipe it up with a cloth or mop. This also works as a glass and mirror cleaner!
  • Carpet cleaner- You can use distilled white vinegar in your carpet cleaner or steam cleaner instead of the harsh chemicals that are normally used. Simply fill it to the fill line normally used for the chemicals and add your hot water. Use as you normally would for equally good results without harsh chemicals. This will smell of vinegar, but after it dries it will leave a fresh scent.
  • Spot cleaner- You can make a spot cleaner used for upholstery and carpet by mixing 1/2 cup of salt and 1/4 cup of vinegar. Stir well and spoon onto your spot. Let it sit for a few minutes and then use a soft bristled brush to scrub the spot up.

Baking Soda.
Many people know that baking soda has some great uses. A good portion of us have a box in our fridge and or freezer to help absorb odors, but that isn't where its power ends.
  • Deodorizer- When it comes to smelly jobs baking soda is definitely your friend. Add a cup to a dish or bucket of hot water and use it to wash locations like the fridge, freezer, or trash cans.
  • Carpet freshening powder- Take baking soda and add a few drops of essential oils to it. Mix well with a fork and sprinkle the carpet. Allow it to sit for an hour or more and then vacuum it up. It will leave the carpets fresh and smelling good.
  • Scrubbing powder- You can use baking soda as a scrubbing powder. Sprinkle on skins, counters, stove tops, and tubs for some scrubbing power. Need a little boost for a really messy job? Spray down the baking soda with vinegar all purpose cleaner and get great even more power.
  • Drains and disposals- Sometimes drains and or garbage disposals have smelly odors. Baking soda can be your friend. Pour a box down the drain (you can use one that spent a few months in therefrigerator ) and then pour a bottle of lemon juice or vinegar down the drain. This will bubble up and leave behind a cleaner and fresher drain.

Lemon Juice.
Lemon juice is also acidic. It can be used as a cleaner and mixed in a similar way as vinegar. You can also add some lemon juice to your vinegar all purpose cleaner for a fresher scent. Lemon juice makes for a great floor cleaner (add 1-2 cups to your mop water) that leaves a wonderful scent behind. You can use it where ever you need fresh scents as well.

Lemons can be used in many of the same situations as lemon juice. You can also use it to help scrub. For pans add a little bit of salt and use a lemon wedge to scrub up nasty messes. For other situations, use baking soda and then use the lemon wedge to scrub the mess.

Hydrogen peroxide.
We know that hydrogen peroxide kills germs (after all we have been using it in first aid for years), but it can also be used as a mild cleaner, disinfectant, and it can even help get rid of mold and mildew.
  • Disinfectant- Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide and one part water in a spray bottle. Add essential oils as you desire for fragrance. You can use this as a disinfectant cleaner for mild messes and for killing germs (replace your Lysol). You can also use this near food without a problem.
  • Floor cleaner- Hydrogen peroxide is often recommended as a floor cleaner. Add a cup or two to your mop water for clean floors that are also disinfected.
  • Mold and mildew killer- No one likes mold or mildew. Spray or pour peroxide directly onto the mold or mildew. Let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub it with a brush or scouring pad. Works wonders, but it should be noted that it can bleach material and carpets.

Salt can be used as a great scouring agent. It will help scrub up all sorts of messes. However, it should be noted that it is coarse and can scratch sensitive surfaces.

Listerine mouth wash was created to use as an antiseptic for surgery. Later it was marketed as a mouth wash and has been sold that way for nearly 100 years. However, this product kills germs, has a powerful mix of essential oils, and leaves behind a fresh scent as well. Mix 1 part water with 1 part Listerine. It works wonderful as a bathroom cleaner and can be used on the sinks, toilet, and tub. It is also a great mold and mildew killer.

You don't need a whole bunch of harsh chemicals to get your home looking and feeling great. All you need are a few household items that are inexpensive and can clean your house just as well (or better) then the harsh chemicals without the danger. Don't kill the earth or pollute your home any more!