You can save money and be environmentally friendly at the same time with a few simple supplies you probably already have in your home. Your windows will sparkle and your floors will shine. You’ll keep potentially harmful chemicals out of your home. Best of all, your budget will stay “green” and healthy too!
Here are several earth-friendly supplies you’ll need in your budget-conscious cleaning caddy:
1. Baking soda. Baking soda is nature’s no-scratch abrasive. You can use it mixed with a little water as a paste for scrubbing stovetop stains or for scouring pots and pans. Use a light touch on non-stick cookware. A paste of baking soda and water also cleans kitchen sinks, outdoor deck furniture, and countertops.
There are dozens of other uses for this versatile product. (Note: Don’t substitute baking powder for baking soda. They are different products.)
2. Common table salt is slightly more abrasive than baking soda. Salt will scour any metal or porcelain surface. In a paste with baking soda and water, it’s a cheap, heavy-duty scouring cleanser.
Make a chemical-free, budget-wise oven or gas grill cleaner that’s completely fume-free. Spread a paste of baking soda, salt, and water on the surface, and spritz the paste well with white vinegar. Close the oven door or grill top and let it sit overnight. In the morning, wipe the surface down and scrub remaining baked-on areas with a salt-soda-water paste as needed.
3. Inexpensive white vinegar helps you balance your household budget in a variety of ways besides cleaning your oven and grill. A quarter-cup of white vinegar in a quart spray bottle filled with water makes a budget-savvy glass cleaner. Wipe with newspaper or a lint-free cloth after spraying, and you’ll be amazed at how much light shines through!
White vinegar also dissolves grease. It’s a natural workhorse for cleaning hard floors and surfaces. A half-cup of vinegar in a bucket of warm water is all you need to cut dirt and grease to make your vinyl floor sparkle.
4. Hydrogen peroxide. Unlike baking soda, salt, and vinegar, hydrogen peroxide is for external use only. You’ll want to keep that in mind especially if you have small children in the home. It’s completely nontoxic once it dries, and it’s much safer for the environment than bleach. The cheap 3% solution available as a first-aid supply is ideal.
Hydrogen peroxide is applied with a sponge or from a spray bottle. It removes many carpet and clothing stains (test in an inconspicuous place first). Used in combination with white vinegar, it disinfects fruits and vegetables as well as food preparation areas in the kitchen.
Vinegar and peroxide quickly lose their cleaning punch in storage, so mixing them in one bottle to keep on the shelf isn’t a great idea. For maximum power on a budget, use two spray bottles at the same time, one containing white vinegar and the other containing hydrogen peroxide. Your fresh, cheap, germ-killing cleaner will be ready whenever you need it!
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