Welcome to Little Lake County’s Green Guide to Spring Cleaning Series where we will share our favorite green cleaning tips, ways to simplify your home, and ideas for the kids to help. Follow us room by room to transform spring cleaning from a dreaded annual chore to a healthy and productive family activity.
We started yesterday with laundry and a giveaway for eco-friendly home made laundry soap. Today we’re moving into the kitchen.
When I first began my own journey into green cleaning, I was overwhelmed and stocked up on a plethora of various expensive and supposedly green products. If only I knew that it could be so much more simple. Armed with some empty spray bottles and the following common household products, I can clean any area of the home easier and cheaper than any of the store-bought alternatives:
- Distilled white vinegar
- Baking soda
- Castile Soap (an all-vegetable based soap, a popular brand is Dr. Bronner’s)
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Essential oils (if you like things to smell pretty)
Green Cleaning in the Kitchen
Sink, counter tops, refrigerator shelves, cooktop… I clean them all with my homemade all purpose cleaner. Really, just about every area of my home can be cleaned using my basic all-purpose cleaning spray.
Kristy’s All-Purpose Cleaning Spray– 1/2c (roughly, I never measure) vinegar– a few squirts of castile soap
– add water to fill the top of the bottle
Basically, it’s a ratio of about 10:1 water to vinegar with the soap added in for extra oomph! Worried about that vinegar smell? Have no fear, it dissipates once it’s dry and leaves your home with the smell of clean.
Note: If you have natural stone in your kitchen, (i.e. granite countertops, etc.) you will want to avoid using vinegar or any kind of acidic cleaner as these will etch the stone. Loralie has a homemade recipe she uses for her countertops and spot cleaning floors:
Loralie’s Granite & Natural Stone Cleaner(using a 32 oz. spray bottle)– approx. 2 cups Rubbing Alcohol (she doesn’t measure either!)– 2 cups water– 5 drops liquid dish soap
Depending on what size spray bottle you’re using, it’s a 1:1 ratio of water to alcohol but you could probably get away with using much less alcohol. Experiment and see what works best for you.
Start with a warm oven then sprinkle everywhere with baking soda. Follow by spraying the above all-purpose cleaner all over. For the window, I sometimes find I need to make a good thick paste mixing baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice then scrubbing it all over. Let it all fizz with the door open and wait a few hours. When you think you’re ready, scrub with a good brush, wipe several times with wet rags, then do one last spray of your cleaner and wipe dry to shine. Sometimes I find that I can run the self clean cycle after doing my own deep cleaning to really get that last bit of grime off.
Slow drain or stinky disposal? No problem!
Putting the eggshells and lemon rinds down the disposal keeps the blades sharp and the stink at bay. Sometimes, you still may end up with a stinky disposal or a slow drain. Who’s taking bets that this involves baking soda and vinegar? Ding ding, we have a winner! Pour some boiling hot water down the drain and a good amount of baking soda, followed by a cup of vinegar mixed with a little more hot water. Wait 5-10 minutes and rinse with more hot water. Your drain should work like new!
Put the kids to work
Having help from little ones doesn’t always make a cleaning job easier; but at least when you are using natural products you can rest assured that the job will be much safer! A few things particularly suited for little ones include setting them up with a stool at the sink to scrub your refrigerator drawers or letting them takeover spraying and wiping counter tops. It’s a great way to allow them to contribute and feel a sense of accomplishment! And you will feel better knowing they aren’t exposing themselves to toxic cleaners.
Check back tomorrow, when we take on the bathroom…Disclosure: Some links provided in this story are affiliate links. A small percentage of purchases made through those links are earned and used to cover the expense of running the site. Thank you for clicking!