One of the easiest ways to green up your home is to start in the kitchen. Whether it is trying to cut down on food waste, include more organics in your diet or supporting a local community supported agriculture cooperative, your kitchen habits offer a great place to begin going green.
Another easy way to go green is to rethink your kitchen cleaners, and for that matter, any cleaner you are using around your home. Most commercial cleaners do not list the chemicals they use, and many are not so great for the environment or for your family. Especially if you have a child that suffers from asthma or another breathing issue, homemade cleaners may be just what the doctor ordered.
There are a number of natural options for cleaning, but one of the least expensive and easy to use if plain ole' white vinegar. Made from alcohol, vinegar is a natural cleaner and sanitizing agent. We use it for all sorts of cleaning, from counter cleaners to cleaning the booster seat and even the windows too. Don't like the vinegar-y smell? Add a few drops of lavender oil or just wait for the vinegar to dry, as the smell fades as soon as the vinegar evaporates.
So normally I do food recipes, right? In honor of Earth Day, I present to you some of our favorite recipes from kitchen cleaners:
All purpose cleaner: Equal parts white vinegar and water. Shake well to mix. Add a few drops of essential oil (lavender oil has antiseptic qualities, for added cleaning punch) if desired. Use as you would any all purpose cleaner.
Counter or Sink Scrub: Use Baking soda and/or salt with a bit of liquid soap (Murphy's Oil Soap is available in most stores and all natural). Add the soap to the baking soda and/or salt until the desired consistency is reached.
Microwave Cleaner: Simply place a microwave safe dish full of water in the microwave and bring to a boil. Do not open the microwave for 10 minutes. The steam from the water will make cleaning the microwave a cinch.
Garbage Disposal Cleaner: Place ice, a couple teaspoons of baking soda and citrus peels in the disposal. Turn on and add more ice. The ice will sharpen the blades and the baking soda and citrus peels will neutralize any smells.
Garbage/Room Freshener: Mix 4 teaspoons of baking soda to one cup of water. Mix well and spray lightly wherever you need to neutralize a smell. Alternatively, you can pour a bit of baking soda into a garbage can that has a lingering smell.
Drain Cleaner: Pour a few tablespoons of baking soda down your drain. Heat 2 cups of vinegar in the microwave until very hot. Pour the vinegar down the drain and then add a few more cups of boiling water. This removes many clogs.
One final note: while these cleaners are natural, please treat them as regular cleaners and keep them out of young childrens' reach.
Happy Earth Day All-