Aunt Julie’s Green Home Cleaning Essentials:
- BAKING SODA (sodium bicarbonate): An all-purpose cleaner; cleans, deodorizes, removes stains, softens fabric, cleans silverware and glassware.
- BORAX (sodium borate): A natural mineral that kills mold and bacteria, deodorizes, removes stains; an alternative to bleach.
- CASTILE SOAP: Cleans everything.
- CORNSTARCH: Starches clothes, absorbs oil and grease.
- HERBS and ESSENTIAL OILS: Mostly used to add fragrance. Some oils may have antibacterial properties (particularly Lavender and Tea Tree oil).
- HYDROGEN PEROXIDE (3%): A disinfectant.
- LEMON/LIME JUICE: Cuts grease, removes perspiration/other stains from clothing (a bleach alternative), also used to clean/polish wood.
- SALT (sodium chloride): An abrasive; removes rust (alongside lemon juice) and cleans copper.
- TOOTHPASTE (white, plain): A mild abrasive; can remove water stains from wood, replaces silver polish.
- WHITE distilled VINEGAR (acetic acid): An all-purpose cleaner; cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, kills mold/mildew, removes dirt from wood.
Home Cleaning Recipes
1/2 cup vinegar (or ¼ lemon juice)
4 tbs Borax
4 cups hot water
Mix ingredients in spray bottle or bucket. Apply and wipe clean.
No-Streak Glass Cleaner
½ cup vinegar (or lemon juice)
¼ tsp castile soap
2 cups warm water
Mix ingredients, apply with a sponge or spray bottle. Wipe dry with newspaper.
Citrus Floor Cleaner
1 gallon hot water
2 tablespoons castile soap
15 drops orange essential oil
8 drops lemon essential oil
(or ¼ cup lemon juice)
Mix together and get to work!
Wooden Furniture Polish
1 cup olive oil
½ cup lemon juice
Rub on wood with a soft cloth
Tub and Tile Cleaner
1 ½ cups Borax
½ cup of castile soap
½ cup water
2 tbs vinegar
Mix ingredients, apply and scrub.
½ cup baking soda
1 cup vinegar
1 gallon boiling water
Pour baking soda down drain/disposal, follow with vinegar. Allow the mixture to foam for several minutes before flushing the drain with boiling water.
Back to the top.
Easy Composting - Helpful tips for starting an outdoor compost bin.
Greener Deck Cleaning
Bring new life to your deck without harmful chemicals!
Try this method (field checked in our Green Living "test lab"): Mix 1 cup of oxygen bleach powder (sodium percarbonate) per gallon of hot water.Mix well until fully dissolved. Apply to deck surface and let soak in for a few minutes and scrub a bit. Leave mixture on for up to 6 hours for heavily stained areas. Protect your skin with gloves (the solution will dry your skin). Important: rinse off the deck with water or you'll get a white residue. Mop up any puddles, let air dry. (Conservation, 2013)
This link will direct you to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation:
- Hang clothes outside to dry.
- When possible, use an Energy Star qualified ceiling fan instead of an air conditioner to cut your cooling costs.
- Purchase Energy Star qualified outdoor lighting. LEDs and CFLs provide great outdoor light and will last much longer than incandescent bulbs.
- Use a timer on your pool pump so it will run only when needed.
- During the hottest part of the day, close your shades or drapes to keep out the sun, which will reduce the amount of air-conditioning needed.
- Purchase an Energy Star qualified dehumidifier. It's an easy way to save money while removing mildew and moisture from your utility room or basement.
- When cooling, set your programmable thermostat not lower than 78 degrees F. Each degree above 78 degrees F will save you 3% of the energy used to cool your home. When not home, set your programmable thermostat higher for the hours you are away.
- A four kilowatt photovoltaic (pv) system will provide about 4,600 kilowatt hours of electricity per year and can provide about 75% of an average home's electricity needs.