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It’s not very hard to make some very simple changes to your home cleaning products that can save you some money and the environment at the same time.

Here are 8 Great Homemade Cleaners that can help and should be in every natural cleaning product kit.

1. Baking Soda – Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is an abrasive cleaner and deodorizer with dozens of uses. It scours sinks, pots, pans, tile surfaces, stainless steel, fiberglass and more. It a safe green cleaner. Because it’s an alkaline, baking soda reacts with acids like lemon juice or vinegar; use this to your advantage if your drain needs un-clogging. Pour some baking soda down a drain, add a splash of vinegar, then cover the drain to let the foaming action push out the clog. If your carpet needs deodorizing, sprinkle baking soda on it before vacuuming.

2. Vinegar – White Distilled Vinegar is an acidic liquid that’s a natural disinfectant. A 50/50 mix of vinegar and water in a re-purposed spray bottle is a great way to clean glass, cutting boards and other surfaces. Do not use it on marble or other polished stone, as it can leave an indelible mark. It’s also useful as a deodorizing green cleaner for mildewed bathroom surfaces. The smell of vinegar dissipates quickly, leaving a clean, fresh bathroom behind. Vinegar diluted with hot water can clean most hardwood floors quickly and easily.

3. Washing Soda – Washing soda or sodium carbonate, is a somewhat caustic green cleaner (wear gloves) if you are using this to scour out stains and mildew in your shower, sink or other wet tiled places. This powerhouse green cleaner can beat up just about any household crud you can throw at it. It cuts through grease and oils, it pulverizes waxes like lipstick, and can even strip wax off wood surfaces. It also removes stains, disinfects, and boosts the cleaning power of laundry and dish washing soaps.

4. Lemon – Lemon juice and fresh-cut lemons are a good way to clean with a strong acid that leaves a fresh scent behind. Cut a lemon in half and rub it on a barbecue grill, or dip it in salt to remove stains from metal surfaces like copper and brass. It also breaks up soap residue and mineral deposits from hard water. A natural deodorizer and green cleaner, use it anywhere you need an acid that smells better than vinegar.

5. Castile Soap – There are times when you need a foaming cleanser, and all-natural castile soap, made from vegetables like olives, coconuts, palm, hemp or other plant-based ingredients, does the trick. Diluted, it’s an ideal green cleaner for wood surfaces and can double as a body cleanser and shampoo for you and your whole family, pets included.

6. Borax – Another strong alkaline, Borax is an all-purpose green cleaner and disinfectant that cuts through grease, removes rust stains, whitens and deodorizes. It makes detergents more effective and is a favorite additive to laundry soaps and dish-washing liquid. Try it the next time you do a load of whites in your laundry – it makes a big difference and it much safe and better than bleach.

7. Olive Oil – Plain olive oil is great for cleaning and polishing wood surfaces, though you can use a cheaper grade than what’s used for cooking. Most green cleaning recipes call for some combination of olive oil, lemon or vinegar. The ratio of vinegar, oil and water will vary depending on the type of wood and finish, for example if your hard wood floors have a polyurethane sealer, there will be no need to use any type of oil on it because it will not absorb into the wood. But, for wood furniture, start with 1 cup of vinegar with 1 teaspoon oil.

8. Salt and more – Some folks swear by tea tree oil, just a few drops as an additive to plain water to deodorize and wipe out mildew and fungus. Ordinary table salt can help to scour out oven residue, and remove iron-based stains like red wine, blood and chocolate. Reuse old cotton clothing as cleaning rags, since few fabrics are more absorptive. You can store homemade cleaners in old spray bottles making sure they’re labeled and carefully stored away from kids and pets, since even green cleaners aren’t safe to ingest.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Today, in most super markets you can find green products as well.  Look for Mrs. Myers, and Method to name a few.

Links: Tea Tree Oil, Green Works, Eco Concepts.

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