Green Cleaning Tips: Reuse What You’ve Got

by heather

I love love love using green cleaning products. Now that I’ve made the transition to all-green, all the other cleaning products smell harsh and unpleasant to me. Never a good sign.

What am I using? Well, I’m a huge fan of baking soda, lemons, and vinegar.

I use baking soda to clean my sink and bathtub (just sprinkle it on and scrub), and I use baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water to clean my drains (goodbye, Drano!).

You can also use baking soda and vinegar to clean your toilet (sprinkle baking soda in first, then pour in one cup of vinegar and scrub).

I also love Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products for cleaning my countertops.

Using eco-friendly cleaning products not only help the environment, but they also save money (especially when you use homemade products, or add water to the commercial cleaners to make them go further).

While searching online for some more homemade, green cleaning solutions, I stumbled upon some great tips from Green living guru, Danny Seo.

Danny Seo has written numerous books on green living, and currently writes a blog for Better Homes and Gardens. You can also check out his personal green living blog here.

Anyway, he had some great green cleaning tips that I just loved (there were featured on the Early Show on CBS). Here are a few:

Green Cleaning Tip #1: Invest In Microfiber Towels

Danny claims that we use 27 million trees worth of paper towels each and every year. But by investing in a few microfiber towels, we can drastically reduce that number. Not only will using fewer paper towels help keep more trees alive, it will also save money. Unlike paper towels which are used once, microfiber towels last for years. You simple wash them once you’re done and then they’re ready to go again.

I have a microfiber towel I bought from Target a few years ago, and I love it. They’re especially great for cleaning windows.

I also found these microfiber towels online at Lean Green Products for $2.50 each.

Green Cleaning Tip #2: Use Alcohol To Disinfect

When I read this tip I was struck by the sheer simplicity.

Danny says that if you want to disinfect your cutting board after chopping meat or fish, just use a cotton ball soaked in alcohol. Doing this will kill 99.9% of the germs on the board, and save yourself some bleach (or other harsh cleanser).

Green Cleaning Tip #3: Don’t Spray Your Shower Everyday

This tip comes from yours truly, and I’m bringing it up because this is a topic that thoroughly irritates me.

You’ve probably seen those commercials for shower sprays that claim if you hose your shower down every single day with their fantastic product, you won’t ever have to “clean it”. Wow, what a time saver!

Um, when did we jump off the crazy bridge and buy this one? Not only is this a huge money waster (think of how much product you have to buy every month to do this) but it’s also bad for the environment. If you listen to these companies, you’re now putting 7 days of cleaner down the drain versus just one or two.

It’s just a wasteful practice all around. Ten years ago no one hosed down their shower everyday. People still survived. If you want to go green and save money, skip this hype from the cleaning companies.

Green Cleaning Tip #4: Make Your Swiffer Work Overtime

This green cleaning tip comes from EcoMail.com.

Here’s the situation: Swiffer has managed to convince most of the country that traditional mopping is unsanitary and time consuming. And to give them credit, they’ve got a great marketing department that worked hard to get this done.

The problem is that their products are 1) expensive and 2) bad for the environment. I mean, you have to keep buying them over and over to keep your house clean! One use and into the garbage those mopping wipes go.

EcoMail offered some pretty clever ideas on how you could still keep using your Swiffer mop, but in a more eco-friendly way.

First of all, if you want to save money and go green, then stop buying the Swiffer mopping pads. People have been mopping their floors with regular soap and water for hundreds of years. It works.

You can still use your Swiffer mop, though. EcoMail’s advice is to use it for a duster. Cut half a leg off an old pair of pantyhose and use it to dust walls and ceilings. It’s lightweight enough to make this chore easy

Green Cleaning Tip #5: Reuse Your Dryer Sheets

If you didn’t read my post on “The Dangers of Dryer Sheets“, do so right now.

If you are still whole-heartedly committed to your dryer sheets, however, then make them do double-duty. After you’ve used them in your dryer, they make wonderful dusting cloths. You get a two for one when you use them to clean your house too!

Last Word…

Since I’ve started using green cleaning products and eco-friendly homemade concoctions, I can honestly say that my house is just as clean as it used to be with commercial cleaners. In fact, it really feels cleaner to me simply because I know that I’m not breathing in any harsh chemicals, and I’m not sending those harsh chemicals down the drain.

And without a doubt, I’m definitely saving money. It’s a win-win situation!

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Bart December 6, 2008 at 10:29 am

Great Tips, I’m amazed to think just 3-4 years ago and compare it to now… the green movement has definitely exploded and sites like this are definitely a huge reason why…

Sharing green tips exposes people to a lot of different things they can try to do their part for the environment :) I’ll definitely will be visiting more often… There is a huge list of green tips (http://www.aboutmyplanet.com/category/daily-green-tips/) here too, check them out if you can and remember spread the green word.

Scordo.com December 12, 2008 at 7:37 pm

Great, great tips! I posted an article on cleaning recently, though not Green focused it may contain some good advice:

http://www.scordo.com/blog/2008/10/why-i-like-to-clean-and-some-t.html

Vince

arent March 25, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Why use dryer sheets ? They are a waste. Especially if you dry your cloths on a clothline.

ocha June 1, 2009 at 9:13 pm

The Swiffer idea is good but one other way you can use the swiffer is to use the microfiber cloths in place of the swiffer pads. Simply wash them once they get dirty. There are plenty of green cleaners you can mix into a spray bottle and spray the floor (same principle as the “wet jet” swiffer) then mop. People just need to think a bit and they can come up with all sorts of ways to reduce dust and allergens flying around.

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