Many alternatives have been proposed for cleaning a home or business, in ways that are easy on the environment in terms of what it takes to create or dispose of products. Some folks are also looking to minimize health or safety risks to pets and humans, and to save money as well.

Some folks cannot use bleach, especially if there is a septic system in use in their area.

Here are a few environmentally friendly cleaning tips found on the Internet. Notice how often familiar, versatile products like baking soda tend to come up.

According to WellnessMama.com:

Baking soda for oven cleaning

A paste of baking soda and water cleans ovens without the chemicals or the hassle of the self-cleaning cycle. Make a paste on the bottom of the oven, leave for a few hours and wipe off for a shiny, chemical-free oven.

Make your own scouring powder

For soap scum on tubs and showers, make your own scouring powder with two parts baking soda, one part salt, and one part borax.

Citrus-infused vinegar

Fill a jar with organic citrus peels and pour undiluted white vinegar over them. Leave for a few days (but not more than two weeks) and strain out the vinegar to use as a natural cleaner. It works as a window cleaner — diluted with water — for mopping floors, or for disinfecting surfaces.

Avoiding toilet-cleaner chemicals

Dump a cup of baking soda into the toilet and let it soak for at least an hour. Pour in a cup of white vinegar, leave for five minutes, and then flush. Unless the toilet is really dirty, this will clean it without scrubbing.

According to Ecolife.com:

Make your own cleaning products

Many common cleaning problems can be solved with natural cleaning products you can make using safe ingredients like baking soda, salt and vinegar.

Stay away from bleach: Chlorine bleach (hydrochloric acid) is highly toxic and very environmentally-unfriendly so you should try to get it out of your home if at all possible. You can disinfect and whiten fabrics and surfaces in your home with bleach alternatives, such as hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice.

Maintain wood without toxins: Whether it’s hardwood floors or wooden furniture, there are eco-friendly ways to maintain the wood so that it functions for many years to come using natural furniture polish and nontoxic wood floor cleaners.

Maintain good indoor air quality

With regular vacuuming (using a “green vacuum”), dusting and other green cleaning techniques, and staying away from toxic cleaning products, you’ll be able to protect your indoor air quality from becoming polluted and contributing to health problems like allergies, headaches and asthma.

Window washing

Save yourself the time and expense of trying every “streak-free” window cleaner on the market. Instead, mix one part vinegar to two parts water in a spray bottle. Wipe off using black-and-white newspaper or a lint-free towel. 

A few grains of salt

Treat fresh grease stains in the oven by sprinkling them with a handful of salt. When the oven cools, wipe it clean with a cloth.

Furniture polish

Give an

antique dresser a makeover with a couple of cooking

staples — two parts olive oil and one part lemon will make it gleam.

Basil as fly repellant

Basil is a natural fly repellant that can replace powerful manufactured anti-insect products. Grow it in pots on windowsills and in doorways to deter flies during the warmer months.

All-purpose cleanser

Lemon and vinegar are two of the best natural cleansers, so why not combine the two? Make your own all-purpose cleanser by soaking citrus peels in white vinegar for two weeks. Once you strain out the peels, this cleanser can tackle almost any surface.

Lemons

The acid in lemon juice removes dirt and rust stains. It’s especially effective when mixed with salt, which makes an excellent scouring paste.

Lemons can be used to clean:

Countertops — Dip the cut side of a lemon half in baking soda to tackle countertops; wipe with a wet sponge and dry. Don’t use on delicate stone, like marble, or stainless steel (it may discolor).

Cutting boards — To remove tough food stains from light wood and plastic cutting boards, slice a lemon in half, squeeze onto the soiled surface, rub, and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing.

Dishes — To increase the grease-cutting power of your dishwashing detergent, add a teaspoon of lemon juice.

Faucets — Combat lime scale by rubbing lemon juice onto the taps and letting it sit overnight. Wipe with a damp cloth.

Garbage disposal — Cut a lemon in half, then run both pieces through the disposal. The lemon both cleans it and deodorizes. 

Grout — Add lemon juice to one or two teaspoons cream of tartar (an acidic salt that acts as a natural bleaching agent) to make a paste. Apply with a toothbrush, then rinse.

 Laundry — To brighten whites, add one-half cup lemon juice to the rinse cycle for a normal-size load, instead of using bleach.

Plastic food-storage containers — To bleach stains from tomato soup and other acidic foods on dishwasher-safe items, rub lemon juice on the spots, let dry in a sunny place, then wash as usual.

Oatmeal

Use it to: Scrub very dirty hands. Make a thick paste of oatmeal and water; rinse well.

Rice

Use it to: Clean the inside of a vase or a thin-necked bottle. Fill three quarters of the vessel with warm water and add a tablespoon of uncooked rice. Cup your hand over the opening, shake vigorously and rinse.

Cornstarch

Use it to: Clean grease spills on carpets. Pour cornstarch onto spots and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes before vacuuming.

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