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Make it greener and cleaner

Your indoor environment can be as green as it is clean.  Start by making your own green cleaning recipes. Many common household products—such as baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar and liquid dish soap—can make effective and inexpensive cleaners.

Here’s an easy all-purpose green cleaner recipe. You can find this and other specialty green cleaner recipes for wood floors, laundry detergents, etc. here: Green cleaning recipes (PDF) .

All-purpose green cleaner

Use this cleaner to remove grease and grime from hard surfaces such as countertops, appliances, sinks, and tubs. Spot-test cleaner on a small area before using.

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp. non-antibacterial liquid dish soap
  • Water

In a 16 oz. spray bottle, add the vinegar and fill with water. Add dish soap last. Add lemon juice if desired.

Properties of the green cleaner ingredients

Vinegar is the attention grabber of this recipe. Acetic acid is responsible for the pungent smell of vinegar, which might be a deal breaker for some. You can mask the smell with lemons or scented oils. And remember: Clean is not a smell. The power of vinegar lies in its antibacterial properties. It eliminates bacteria, mold and germs.

Non-antibacterial liquid soap is key to getting rid of the grease and the grime. Look for non-antibacterial soaps—the compounds used to make dish soap antibacterial are toxic and bad for the environment (unlike those of vinegar’s antibacterial qualities). Note about castile soap: Some people find it leaves a residue, so make sure to test it out to see if it works for you.

Making safer choices

If you choose to purchase cleaning products instead of making your own, you can reduce exposure by purchasing less hazardous household products.

Look for environmentally friendly certifications:

  • Green Seal certification: Products have been assessed for meeting rigorous performance, health and environmental criteria. www.greenseal.org
  • U.S. EPA Safer Choice: Each ingredient in the product been screened for potential human health and environmental impacts. Based on currently available information, the product contains ingredients that pose the least concern among chemicals in their class. www.epa.gov/saferchoice

Learn more about the products you buy