By Tonya Hillukka, Yahoo! Contributor Network
I used to enjoy the smell of commercial cleaning products, mainly because it felt good to have a house that looked and smelled clean. Recently, I have been learning more about the harmful effects of using these products, especially the thought of breathing in the fumes they give off. Not only are they dangerous to the environment, but they are not very healthy for my friends, my pets, or myself.
Green cleaning products have no harmful chemicals, and you might even find them in your kitchen cabinets (or the refrigerator). An added bonus--they only cost pennies to make yourself. The most common natural cleaners are baking soda, washing soda, lemon juice, table salt, white vinegar, and olive or vegetable oil, among others.
Here are my five favorite recipes for homemade green cleaners:
2 gallons hot water
¼ cup white vinegar
Directions: Combine the water and vinegar in a bucket. You may also add ⅛ cup washing soda, a tablespoon of vegetable oil-based liquid soap, and a squeeze of lemon for added scrubbing power. Use the mixture for mopping floors and wiping surfaces. You can pour some of it into a spray bottle for quick spot cleaning later.
Natural Dish Scrub
Coarse table salt
Directions: Use a little bit of coarse table salt to scrub last night's crusty casserole from pans and baking dishes. Rinse well and dry with a clean cloth.
Tile and Grout Scrub
1 cup water
3 cups baking soda
Directions: Mix the water and baking soda to form a paste. Rub the mixture over the tile and grout, using an old toothbrush to scrub the grout lines. Let stand for a few minutes and rinse well.
Natural Furniture Polish
1 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
Directions: Mix the ingredients together and lightly apply to furniture using a soft cloth. Let it sit for a couple minutes. Then buff the furniture using a soft, dry cloth.
Streak-Free Glass Cleaner
1 quart warm water
¼ cup white vinegar
Directions: Mix the water and vinegar in a spray bottle (or divide into a couple bottles). You may also add one tablespoon cornstarch or ½ teaspoon plant-based liquid soap if you like. Spray and wipe clean with a crumpled newspaper or a coffee filter for a streak-free shine.
*Hint : Add a couple drops of yummy-smelling essential oils to your natural cleaners, and give them to friends in decorative spray bottles as cute, yet practical, gifts. You will not only save money on buying presents, but you will also help protect the environment from harsh chemical cleaners.