'Green' ways to clean without toxic chemicals

July 28, 2015

The cure for a dirty home can be worse than the problem. Many cleaning products contain chemicals which can cause irritation, allergies and in some cases, cancer. Here's what "green" experts recommend.

'Green' ways to clean without toxic chemicals

Use borax

  • Keeping a box of borax around for extra-tough cleaning jobs is a good start.
  • Borax is a natural product made of sodium, boron, oxygen and water, and it's unbeatable for tough cleaning jobs, as a bleach substitute, or mixed with water as a disinfectant.

Dust with old wool socks

Wool creates static when rubbed on a surface. One wipe can keep your furniture dust-free without polish or spray.

Polish silver with toothpaste

  • Some silver polishes contain petroleum distillates, ammonia or other hazardous ingredients.
  • Instead, dab on toothpaste with your finger or rub it on with a cloth.
  • Rinse with warm water and polish with a soft cloth.
  • For larger trays and bowls, use a paste made of baking soda mixed with water on a wet sponge.

Non-toxic drain cleaner

  • Chemical drain cleaners are extremely corrosive.
  • Even the vapours are harmful. Instead, pour a pot of boiling water or toss a handful of baking soda followed by 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) of vinegar down the drain weekly.
  • Also effective, particularly in preventing blockages, are many brands of enzymatic cleaners found in pet stores.

Clean windows

  • Try this homemade solution: Add 75 millilitres (five tablespoons) distilled white vinegar and a spoonful of dishwasher detergent to one litre (four cups) of distilled water.
  • Soak the window with suds, rather than a spray bottle, wetting the windows thoroughly.
  • Let the solution soak for five minutes then squeegee the window completely to dry.

Sanitize your toilet bowl

  • Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar. Pour a capful into the toilet; spray the sides of the bowl.
  • Also, sprinkle baking soda in the toilet, wait 15 minutes, and scrub with a bit of baking soda sprinkled on the brush.
  •  To disinfect, wipe all surfaces with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol or with some of the alcohol-based hand cleaner available in stores.

Disinfect your chopping board

To get it clean, run it through the dishwasher or spray it with five per cent vinegar and let it set overnight. Alternatively, microwave on high for 30 seconds or swab it with alcohol.

Microwave kitchen sponges

Nuking on high for 30 seconds will kill many of the opportunistic bacterial pathogens which could be transferred from the sponge to your eyes or mouth and make you sick.

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