Growing awareness of the climate crisis has many households making adjustments to lessen their environmental impact. If you find yourself in this group, you've probably noticed the overwhelming number of products claiming to be green. If you want to skip the added cost of green products but still do your part for the environment, give these six simple DIY green cleaning hacks a try.
1. Make Your Own Disinfectant Spray
The one cleaner many people reach for the most is a basic disinfecting spray. Since it gets used so much, changing to a greener cleaner here can have a big impact. Luckily, a basic spray cleaner is one of the simplest to make on your own. Start by mixing one part hydrogen peroxide with four parts water in a spray bottle. You can also add in your favorite antimicrobial Young Living Essential Oils blend to boost effectiveness and make it smell nice.
This basic disinfectant can be used on most surfaces, but you should probably do a quick spot check on more delicate ones like stone, fabric or wood. However, if you are feeling ambitious, a quick internet search will reveal dozens of recipes that use other, less common ingredients.
2. Use Baking Soda for Stubborn Stains
Virtually every house has a box of baking soda in it somewhere, so there's a good chance you have one tucked into the back of the fridge or mixed in with other common baking ingredients. That's great news if you have a stubborn stain that your go-to cleaner isn't taking care of. That's right: Besides helping muffins get fluffy and delicious, baking soda is also an excellent cleaner. It is also exceptionally easy to use.
Simply mix it with water to make a paste. Apply that to the stain and rub it with a sponge or cloth. It can be used on most glass, ceramic, and metal surfaces, but you'll want to be extra careful with softer surfaces like wood or marble.
3. Add Vinegar To Clear Slow Drains
Other than baking soda, vinegar is your top go-to item when it comes to DIY cleaners. It can be used to wipe streaks off glass, remove pet urine odors and for blasting through clogs or buildup in drains. It reacts when added to a baking soda, creating a bubbling action that helps force through clumps of hair, soap and oil buildup.
Before you get too far into celebrating, take a moment to think about why those things were in your drain in the first place. There are very few items that can safely go down household drains. For the most part, they include water, human waste, and toilet tissue. Food scraps, coffee grinds, and wipes — even flushable ones — should go in the trash to avoid clogs.
4. Swap Out Kitchen Paper Products
Paper towel use in the U.S. is almost unbelievable. About 13 billion pounds of paper towels are used by American households each year. When you consider that every ton of paper towels made pollutes 20,000 gallons of water and kills 17 trees, you can start to see the magnitude of this problem. Luckily, swapping to kitchen towels, dish rags or old t-shirt scraps is simple and relatively painless.
5. Use Microfiber Instead of Dry Cleaning Cloths
While you are swapping out paper products in the kitchen, it might be a good time to look at some other disposable or single-use cleaning products you purchase. Dry cleaning cloths are a perfect example. You can easily use a reusable fabric pad on the same head you used dry cloths on before. Plus, with a few spritzes of cleaner, you now have a scrubbing pad for tough spots.
6. Hydrogen Peroxide Effectively Cleans Mold
If you have noticed the slight discoloration that indicates mold growth, now is a great time to head for the medicine cabinet. Most households have a bottle of hydrogen peroxide on a shelf in there, and it is a great treatment for surface mold.
Keep in mind that you should not use hydrogen peroxide on porous surfaces like drywall or carpets; however, it is a useful tool for small spots on bathtubs and vanity tops.
Green cleaning is more accessible when you use common household items. Vinegar, baking soda, and kitchen towels are all excellent tools at your disposal in the fight against climate change.