Quick, name two hot topics in recent home living magazines

If you came up with “green living” and “saving money”, you’re right. If you didn’t, perhaps it’s because you don’t think the two go together naturally. After all, we’re always being told about the “latest new biodegradable cleaning products for only a few dollars more”. If you’re on a budget, those few dollars count!

Luckily for those who don’t have a lot to spend yet worry about their impact on the environment, there is an alternative: making your own green cleaning products. It’s very simple and doesn’t take too much time either.

1. Glass and Surface Cleaner

Mix together equal parts of water and vinegar to be used for a multipurpose cleaning solution. It’s recommended you pour this into a clean spray bottle so you can use it effectively. This concoction serves as a glass cleaner for your windows and mirrors; use it with old newspaper for wiping it clear.

It can also serve as a surface cleaner for counters, tables, door handles, and almost anywhere else. For the hardest-to-clean areas, add a teaspoon of dish soap and shake it a little first.

2. Surface Cleaner

If you want a slightly more heavy-duty mixture that’s more suited to surfaces (but not recommended for use on glass), try mixing together 1/4 cup of vinegar, and 1/8 cup baking soda, then adding about 30 oz, or one liter, of water. You can spray or squeeze this onto surfaces like bathroom tiles, the shower walls, sink, and counters.

3. Bathroom Cleaner

For this Mount Vesuvius-style mixture, stir together half a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar in a bowl or jar, but make sure it’s large enough to contain the fizzing! While it’s fizzing away, pour it into the toilet bowl and leave it for ten to fifteen minutes. Once you come back, it will probably have settled, and you can scrub the bowl with a brush like normal.

4. Fabric Softener

This cleaning product doesn’t even require any preparation. Simply sprinkle a small handful of baking soda into the washing as fabric softener.

5. Carpet Deodorizer

Baking soda will also work wonders if used as a carpet deodorizer. Carefully spread it over the area of carpet you want to clean, leave it for fifteen minutes and then vacuum it up.

6. Stain Remover

If you have a pesky stain in your carpet, use pure white vinegar instead of expensive cleaners to get it out.

7. Air Fresheners

Instead of spraying canned air freshener, boil a pot of water with a cinnamon stick or two and the house will smell more natural.

Houseplants are another (literally) green alternative to consider; they help to keep the air in your house fresh and clean.

Tip: I have small dish of plain vinegar (yes, that magic fluid again) set in discreet places around the house which needs freshening and I leave it there for few hours or the whole night. The vinegar helps absorb bad odors.

It’s easy to use green cleaning products and save money at the same time!

Multipurpose Uses for Vinegar
Credit: Moira Gallaga