Tips for Green Cleaning Your Home

Recipes and Tips For Cleaning Like A Green Goddess

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

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Several weeks ago I posted my blog Organize Like a Goddess: 7 Decluttering Tips for Spring, where I mentioned, among other things, Marla Cilley’s, technique for shining your sink.  Some of you were concerned about chemicals.  And, as I mentioned in my responses, I assure you that I don’t promote dumping harmful chemicals into our water supply.  In fact, I am an advocate for having municipal water systems remove all of the harmful chemicals they use, including fluoride, among other things. (To learn more about the dangers of fluoride please visit the Flouride Action Network Website.)

Experts say that the average home has roughly 62 toxic chemicals lurking about. That’s pretty significant!  Government regulations regarding labeling of toxic chemicals are pretty lax. Rather than a list of ingredients, what you see instead are those little pictures, like a flame or skull and cross bones, or even dynamite.  But what those pictures don’t show you is how all those chemicals effect even a healthy person over time.

Nothing could be more Goddess-like than using products that are safe for your family and the environment.  And, it’s really not as hard or expensive as it seems.  In fact, cleaning like a green Goddess can be just as easy and less expensive than cleaning with chemical-laden products.  All you need are every day items from your grocery store.

Here are some basic ingredients to keep on hand so you can clean just about anything like a green Goddess:

baking-soda-lemon_74452183

  1. White Vinegar – Has antifungal properties
  2. Baking soda – Eliminates odors and can be used as a gentle scouring powder
  3. Lemon Juice – Non-toxic bleach, grease cutter, and stain remover
  4. Borax (sodium borate) – Eliminates odors, removes dirt and acts as a disinfectant.
  5. Hydrogen Peroxide (3% concentration) – Non-toxic bleach, stain remover and disinfectant.
  6. Liquid Castile Soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s)
  7. Club Soda – Stain remover and polisher
  8. Corn Meal – For carpet spills
  9. Olive Oil – Furniture polish
  10. Essential Oils – Scent, antibacterial properties. (Always follow safety instructions as they are highly concentrated.)

Here are a few basic recipes and techniques to get you started:

All Purpose Cleaner

  • 2 cups white distilled vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • Essential oil (optional)

You can use this on hard surfaces such as countertops and kitchen floors, even windows and mirrors.

Glass Cleaner

  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 quart water

Mix together in spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe with lint-free cloth. (Great for sweaty yoga mats too!)

Soft Scrub

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • ½ cup to 2/3 cup liquid castile soap
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable glycerin (preservative)
  • 5 drops antibacterial essential oil (optional)

Mix together and store in a sealed glass jar for a shelf life of two years. 

Use this on kitchen counters, stoves, bathtubs and sinks.

Laundry Soap

  • 1 cup soap flakes
  • 1 cup washing soda (1/4 -1/2 if you have soft water)
  • 1 cup baking soda (1/2 cup for soft water)
  • 1-2 tbsp. oxygen bleach (optional for extra whitening power)

Mix all ingredients together and store in a glass container.

You only need one tablespoon per load, but you can add two tablespoons for more soiled laundry.  Use in warm or cold water and it is safe for HE machines.

Note: You can make your own soap flakes by grating your favorite pure vegetable soap with a cheese grater.

Tips: Add distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle to make a great fabric softener.  It also removes odors.  Hydrogen peroxide is a great whitener and, when used directly on clothes prior to washing, can be used in place of bleach to remove stains.

Furniture Polish

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 20 drops Lemon essential oil (or 2 teaspoons lemon juice)

Shake well

(Note: If you use lemon juice in place of lemon oil, you must store in the refrigerator)

Tips: Dip a clean, dry cloth into the polish and rub wood in the direction of the grain. Use a soft brush to work the polish into corners or tight places.

Some other easy ways to clean and disinfect without harsh chemicals include:

  1. Sprinkle a toilet brush with baking soda to scrub you toilet clean. To disinfect your toilet, you can occasionally use borax instead. To clean the outside of your toilet, just wipe with vinegar.
  2. Wipe away mold and mildew with straight vinegar.
  3. Sprinkle essential oil on a cotton ball and place it in a room to give it a fresh scent. (You can even do this in your car!) Experiment with different oils.  Lavender is great for bedrooms to help you relax. Citrus oils smell wonderful for the rest of the house.  Be sure to place out of reach of children and pets.

What green Goddess cleaning habits work for you? Do you have any tips or recipes to share? 

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.

Comments

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  1. Lauren Woodley
    1 year ago

    Thank you for sharing such a thorough list on products you can use to clean your home in a more effective and eco-friendly way. That being said, you talk about how White Vinegar has antifungal properties and Baking soda eliminates odors and can be used as a gentle scouring powder. Additionally, you talk about how these can clean just about anything, so I was wondering if you think that these two ingredients together can help to clear and clean clogs effectively? I have heard that this is a great way to regularly maintain your home’s plumbing, but I wanted to hear if you would agree? Thank you for the help!

  2. Dyson
    2 years ago

    If that’s the case, you should consider hiring a professional duct cleaner — this is probably not a job you can safely do on your own. Your basic vinegar and water solution is really the perfect choice for cleaning most types of bare floors in your home.

  3. Amatul Wadood Nazli
    2 years ago

    Thank you very much for all these green ideas. I have very successful experience with soap nuts. We boil them and put the liquid in the bottles. For half an hour I soak the clothes in the liquid. The clothes becomes clean. sometimes I brush the clothes if needed.

  4. Renee
    2 years ago

    Use ordinary table salt to soak up and eliminate red wine spills on carpets or table linen.

    Sprinkle liberally and leave overnight

  5. Kimberly
    2 years ago

    using olive oil is far better than anything you can buy in the store. with bees wax 3T wax to 6T oil in a double boiler and the wax helps seal the wood so you don’t need to polish as often

  6. Radmila
    2 years ago

    You can also use your own rose vinegar. It´s very easy to make it by yourself.
    Just take a small bottle (250 ml) and fill it with about 2/3 with dried rose petals. Add organic apple vinegar.
    Leave it at least for 2 weeks at and filter the amount you need. you can use it in salads, for cleaning or even also to rinse your hair after shampoo. It is great multi-purpose vinegar. I always have some.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Oh I love this idea!! We have Rosa Ragosa bushes all over so many beaches here in Maine. And the petals are fragrant and wonderful. So thank you. I’m trying this!!

  7. vidisha kaushal
    2 years ago

    There is a wonderful thing called Soapnuts which do so many wonderful things.
    1) I put 4-5 in a lill pouch for my laundry and my clothes come out lovely.
    2) It is a natural softener for clothes especially wollens and silks and washes even carpets!!
    3) It is used in every Paraben free hair/ body wash in India.
    4) It washes jewellery wonderfully and lastly – I soak my veges and fruits in it – they come out free of any chemicals , pesticide that might be there on the skin.
    5) Oh yes- it is a natural and healing berry so works beautifully for people who need to go detergent free!

  8. Jean S.
    2 years ago

    I’ve used a drying rack for years instead of my clothes dryer. I hang everything on there regardless of the fabric. The next day I throw all the clothes (in smaller fast drying portions) in the dryer to fluff up just for a couple of minutes. I then either pull them out of the dryer and hang on a hanger or fold and put away. I also use my cloths line outside weather permitting. I love it & it has saved me a lot of money over the years. Saves on the life of my dryer too!

  9. kathy
    2 years ago

    Where can I get “oxygen bleach”, “washing soda” and “soap flakes”/

  10. Jkang
    2 years ago

    I’m so grateful for all your tips and advice thank you!
    Jkang

  11. Sharon
    2 years ago

    I’m trying to make as much as possible at home. For all the common reasons. I will be using your site. Thanks so much

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      So glad you like these ideas. I also love all the others that are being shared here!!!

  12. Sharon
    2 years ago

    THANK U FOR SHARING!

  13. katalin
    2 years ago

    Green cleaning is so important. Have you heard of e-cloth yet. No chemicals at all!!!!
    I have just discovered it and am ahhhhed at how well it works on everything with just water.
    Check it out.
    Thank you for all your wonderful help in all areas of my life.

  14. Julie P
    2 years ago

    Cleaning glass coffee pots
    When I worked as a waitress, they had us clean the coffee pots every night with a scoop of semi-crushed ice and some salt. Swish it around and rinse! You can add a slice or two of lemon for a fresh scent.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      This is fantastic!!! I have run diluted vinegar through my coffee maker. And it works. This is also really good! Thank you.

  15. Mary Ann
    2 years ago

    I live in Southwest Florida and am as green as I can be for several reasons. But, I cannot get my shower clean without bleach. Straight vinegar does not work on the mold and mildew we have down here. It even grows on my shower curtain – in a few hours. Any other ideas – I know bleach isn’t great for the environment or for humans/pets, but I’m at a loss. I’ve already tried food grade peroxide and that didn’t work either.

    1. Christina
      2 years ago

      I wonder if a stronger concentration of hydrogen peroxide would do the trick Mary Ann?

    2. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Good old bleach is actually non-toxic. And is easily broken down organically. I researched this after our last blog on cleaning products.

      1. Leslie
        2 years ago

        I have never heard of bleach being non-toxic.

    3. Pamela K
      2 years ago

      I have very successfully used baking soda and hydrogen peroxide mixed in a paste for mildew in my tile grout. Apply this directly to the grout lines, leave on for 5-10 minutes, then scrub. For severe mold problems, bleach may be required. It can be diluted in a spray bottle and the shower sprayed after every use.

  16. Noëlle
    2 years ago

    How about the oven? I’ve been inquiring about a safe and EASY way to clean it and never found.
    Thanks

  17. Debi
    2 years ago

    Thankfully, I learned about all of these from my grandmother. I’ve used them for the past 30 years when I noticed that I got awful headaches after using a popular commercial “disinfectant”.

  18. Emily
    2 years ago

    My godmother used to polish up her sink with good old velvet soap on a little steel wool. It shines up like a mirror. I love doing this.

  19. Kelly Pasholk
    2 years ago

    I use distiller vinegar and baking soda as s fabric softener in the rinse cycle. And eco minded, hang the clothes on an outside line. Haven’t had a dryer for years.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      If I did this, half the year, the clothes would be FROZEN on the line!! But love the idea!

  20. phyllis
    2 years ago

    Involved, teaching and doing with Astrology charts for about 50 years…Old pro they call it. You got it exactly right, the stars do not compel.
    We all have free will, but astrology is all about timing and you, inside. We are all connected even to the stars.
    Thanks for recognizing.
    Phyllis G
    ps..have always loved you, and watched everything you have done on PBS

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Thank you for this wonderful post!!!

  21. Corey Johnson
    2 years ago

    Great read! I’m bookmarking it for future use. Thanks.

  22. Sue P
    2 years ago

    when u return from the market fill your (clean) sink with cold water toss in your fruit and veg and add 1 tsp hydrogen peroxide to the water. Leave for abut 20 mins. It is not necessary to put things like bananas as the skin is not likely to be eaten but if u have a birds nest plant, toss the skin into the center of it and watch it thrive. Meanwhile your food will be cleansed from pesticides and other unwanted chemicals.

  23. Joan Willis
    2 years ago

    Mix in sink or bathtub: In a gallon jar or larger bucket, combine 2 cups white vinegar, 1/2 cup baking soda….fill with water (after dramatic fizzing) and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. In a small 1qt plastic or glass container, place 3 or 4 sponges cut in half and fill with prepared liquid. Place 3 or 4 of the sponge halves in your dryer with clothes. When done, place dried sponges back in container.

  24. Karen Malay
    2 years ago

    To get rid of toothpaste residue in your bathroom sink or ring around the bathtub try this trick to give your baking soda a little “oomph”. Spray down the sides of the tub/sink with the vinegar and water solution. Sprinkle baking soda over that so it sticks to the sides. Then use the cut side of a lemon as a “scrub brush.” Leaves everything squeaky clean and lemony.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      I am SO doing this. Thank you!!

  25. Robyn Mancell
    2 years ago

    I became more aware of how we clean our homes when I went back to school to get a degree in Environmental Studies. I was educated on this matter when raising my 3 sons but now that I have a granddaughter, I’m much more aware. I’ve even started a business to help people detox their homes. I was also inspired by so many people with or recuperating from Cancer that had never thought about changing their habits. I’m finally doing something with purpose. The Green Makeover Team. Thank you so much for all you do to hep women know their strengths and to stay on “Goddess mode”.

  26. Marilyn Evans
    2 years ago

    Many people these days have granite or marble counters in the kitchen and bath. Vinegar is acidic and will etch the stone over time, unless the sealing coat is good (and sealing need to be redone every few years). We discovered that on the marble counter in the bath when a bottle of vinegar left a nasty white ring. I now use this formula for my stone:
    2 cups distilled water
    1 1/2 to 4 tsp liquid castille soap
    1 tsp tea tree oil
    essential oil for pleasing scent

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      I have marble countertops in my kitchen and bathroom. So thank you for this!

  27. Charlotte Fulton
    2 years ago

    Thank you so much for stating the importance of getting rid of the over use of chemicals. I have promoted natural living for a long time but your fame and recognition make your words carry a greater impact. I know my health is improved by eliminating so many of the products that people don’t even think about. Thank you, again

  28. Christine Imbs
    2 years ago

    I’ve used vinegar to clean sinks and counters with great results. I even remember my mother using a vinegar and water solution to wipe down her sofa and chairs. But I did have a problem using vinegar as a cleaner myself. Vinegar will take the color out of fabrics. I kept wondering why my t-shirts had large sections where the color was faded out. And it was always in the same area! Then it dawned on me. The spots were right where I leaned against my kitchen counter when preparing meals. I also ruined a set of beautiful bath towels by placing them on a bar that had been wiped down with a vinegar and water solution. Again, the color was removed right where the towel and towel bar met. Yes, I did dilute the vinegar and the area was dry. It may have been that I didn’t dilute it enough. Still, please tell everyone to be careful!

  29. Yvonne D'Angelo
    2 years ago

    Here is an easy, economical and eco friendly way to shine up your stainless steel sink using mineral oil.
    Clean sink throughly (using whatever method suits you)
    Dry sink
    Shine sink with a moistened towel (handi wipes work well) using mineral oil. VOILA’
    (Slip towel into a zip lock bag and re-use)

  30. Jean
    2 years ago

    thanks for the cleaning recipes. I really needed a laundry detergent.
    I am still looking for a non-toxic drain cleaner for slow drains. Any ideas?

    1. Angella
      2 years ago

      Try a cup of baking soda and a 1/2 gallon of white vinegar. It works great.

    2. Maria
      2 years ago

      For slow drains, put 1/2 cup baking soda in the sink and then pour 1 cup vinegar over it. It will fizz like crazy. Let sit over night and in the morning pour a tea kettle full of boiling water down the drain. It works great!

    3. Raewyn
      2 years ago

      I did read somewhere to remedy a slow drain required dropping several spoonfuls of baking soda down the drain. As much as you want, depending on how slow it is. Then pour white vinegar (from bottle) down the drain. It will froth up like a volcano. Quite fun actually! It worked for me.

      1. Christiane
        2 years ago

        This is something that the adolescent boys ( of all ages) in my life would LOVE. Thank you!!

  31. Claudia
    2 years ago

    A great way to a clean cast iron skillet is to pour some table salt into the skillet, rub it around with finger tips, add a small amount of olive oil, rub with fingers. Rinse out skillet, wipe dry with paper towel.

  32. Heather D.
    2 years ago

    Throw out your Dryer Softening sheets and use wool balls that help the clothes dry faster and add a softness to the clothes. To scent the balls, add a few drops of a high quality essential oil much as lavender. I purchased my wool balls on Amazon.

    1. Trudi Thomas
      2 years ago

      I do my clothes washing in the washing machine – then I hang it all on a dryer rack – next morning it’s all dry and some of the clothes nee fluffing up I put them 5 min. into the dryer and most of it I don’t even need to iron – just fold immediately.

    2. Debi
      2 years ago

      I too use the wool dryer balls and love them. I don’t use any laundry detergent in the washer because I have a Pure Water system which adds oxygen and negative ions to the water to clean the clothes. Love it. If you don’t want to spend the money on that look for soap nuts. They work great in the washer, too and are safe and natural. They even come in a capsule form. So great for travel, too. You can also make a multi-purpose cleaner from the soap nuts.

    3. Christiane
      2 years ago

      I use organic hair conditioner –about a dime size_ on a wet garment before turning on the dryer. Works GREAT!! But I also love these other ideas!!

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