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Eco-Friendly & Green House Cleaners - Cleaners Safe for Kids and Pets

Updated on September 18, 2009

Fresh Smelling Home

When you want to have a sense that your home is clean, you want it too smell good, too. All too often, though, we cover up the odors in our homes with sprays and chemicals that quickly mask the smells, but that endanger the surroundings by leaving a film on surfaces. Or the products themselves may contain harmful aerosols.

There are so many odors in the home that can be overwhelming at times and truly make you feel like your house is not clean. Here are a few simple tips to maintaining a fresh and clean-smelling home.

  • Natural essential oils can help keep your home smelling fresh. Use these solutions as a refresher, after you have done your deeper cleaning. Simply place a few drops of any of these in a pint of water, fill a spray bottle with the solution, spray onto a cotton cloth, and give your surfaces a quick once-over, just to add a refreshing fragrance to the air.

Essential Oils: Citronella, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Grapefruite, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Mint, Orange, Pine, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Wintergreen

  • Simply place a few drops of lavender essential oil on the inside of the cardboard toilet paper tube. Each time that you spin the tube, it will release the fresh, relaxing scent of lavender into the room. You can also use eucalyptus, rosemary, or any essential oil that you prefer.
  • Hang some cut branches or eucalyptus, rosemary, or lavender inside the shower. The steam will allow the branches to emit their natural scent more strongly than usual.

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaners

The alternative to seeking out safe and effective cleaners is to make them yourself. Here is a list of the various areas of your home and how to clean them safely for you, everyone, and everything in your home.

Window and Glass Cleaner

Mix 3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice, 1 tablespoons white vinegar, and 3/4 cup water into a clean spray bottle. Apply to windows, then wipe clean and dry with paper coffee filters or newsprint, which will help reduce streaking

Liquid Cleanser and Scouring Powder

Mix vinegar, salt, and water in equal amounts makes an effective liquid cleanser.

Mixing equal parts of coarse salt and baking soda with enough water to make a paste for an effective scouring powder.

For either recipe, apply the solution with a damp sponge and wipe or scrub away until clean.

Drain Cleaner

Pour 1 cup baking soda follwed by 2 cups of boiling water down the drain to freshen any odors.

To unclog, pour 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup hot vinegar down the drain, cap, and let stand for 5 minutes. Flush with hot water.

Toilet-Boil Cleaner

Pour 1/2 cup white vinegar and 3 tablespoons baking soda into the toilet bowl. Let stand for at least 30 minutes. Scrub with a brush or a scouring pad, then flush.

Oven Cleaner

Scrub the inside of the oven with a mixture of equal parts of baking soda and coarse salt with enough water to make a paste. Then place 1/4 cup lemon juice in the oven and leave overnight. The next morning, wipe away any remaining grease. Be sure to have adequate ventilation, as the lemon scent may be quite strong.

Stove-Top Air Fresheners

Place any of the following ingredients, either alone or in a combination that appeals to you, into a pot of water, bring the water to a boil, and simmer on the stove for one to two hours.

  • Allspice
  • Bay
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Eucalyptus leaves
  • Juniper berries
  • Mint
  • Orange, lemon, or lime rinds

Air Fresheners and Deodorizers

  1. Set out open dishes of vinegar to absorb odors.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda over carpeted areas, let stand for at least 30 minutes, then vacuum.
  3. Spread lavender buds on the floor before vacuuming.

Natural Odor-Absorbers

  1. Keep an open box or container of baking soda in the refrigerator, closets, laundry hampers, diaper pails, trash cans, and any other space where odors can easily get trapped.
  2. Leave uncovered bowls of lemon juice, vinegar, or charcoal throughout your house to capture odors.
  3. Leave a few slices of white bread, uncovered in the refrigerator.

by ntr23
by ntr23

Floor Cleaners

The floors of your home are probably the most important area to focus on, since this is where your kids play and your pets hang out most of the time when inside. Floors hold dust and dirt, so it's important to clean them as often as possible before your toddler grabs his toy from the floor and starts chewing on it, or your pet licks himself, and puts any toxins in your child or pet's mouth.

  1. Wall to Wall Carpet should be removed whereever possible because it collects all types of dust and debris, including hair, footprints, and pests (fleas, ticks, etc). While it may not be possible to remove all of the carpet in your home, it's possible to freshen and clean it, as well as large area rugs, by mixing equal parts baking soda and borax and sprinkling the mixture lightly over the entire carpet. Let the powder sit for about 1 hour before vacuuming.
  2. For tile or vinyl floors, a mixture of 1 gallon hot water and 2 tablespoons castile soap works well. These types of floors should be cleaned in small sections at a time with a well-wrung-out mop. As this solution is nontoxic, it is not necessary to rinse the floors after mopping once.
  3. Wood floors are cleaned best with a mixture of 1/2 cup of white vinegar to 1 gallon warm water. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and apply it to a small section of the floor, then dry-mop as you go.


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    • Gruene Steam profile image

      Gruene Steam 6 years ago from Austin, TX

      Excellent hub. Those homemade cleaners for floors are good options to replace the harsh household chemicals. However, steaming is even more environmentally friendly. The money saved on not having to buy cleaners will pay for the green floor cleaner in no time.

    • Michael Wong profile image

      Michael Wong 8 years ago from Hong Kong

      Natural cleaners are good for home especially for those with childrens! If we have the choice, why choose chemical ones! Nice hub! Blessings!