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A Greener Charlottesville: "Green" Cleaning

By: Myles Henderson Email
By: Myles Henderson Email

Cleaning your house... It's probably not your favorite chore to do. You have to lug out the vacuum, muster up some elbow grease, and the chemicals are the worst. Commercial cleaning products often contain chemicals that can irritate your skin or eyes, can aggravate asthma sufferers, and some are even toxic. Betsy Dance an Environmental Consultant with One Clean World says, "Your skin is like a big sponge and when you come into contact with those chemicals or breath them in, they are just going inside your body."

If these chemicals can harm your body imagine what they can do to the environment. But with a little creativity and maybe some extra elbow grease we can clean green. Lucille Weakley, Superintendent of One Clean World says, "We're trying to make it safe. Safe for our crews, safe for our clients, safe for there pets, safe for our earth." Dance adds, "Our products don't leave any toxic residue behind. So little paws or little baby feet don't walk around on residue and it's not trapped in the house with closed windows."

Here are a few green cleaning recipes for you. To clean your linoleum floor, instead of using ammonia, try mixing 1 cup of white vinegar with 2 gallons of warm water. How about the bathroom tub or tile floor? Half a lemon and dip it in borax to create a handheld scrubber for those tough scrubs. Finally cleaning glass, mix 1/4 cup vinegar or 1 tbsp lemon juice with about 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Spray, then wipe clean with a cloth or old newspaper.

So the next time you have some cleaning to do... think "green".

Green Cleaning Recipes
All-Purpose Cleaner
1/2 cup borax
1 gallon hot water
Mix in pail, dissolving the borax completely; wipe clean.

Wood Floors
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 gallon warm water

Linoleum Floors
1 cup white vinegar
2 gallons warm water
Mix in mop bucket, rinse.

Furniture Polish
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
Mix and apply with a clean rag to dust and polish. Reduce the olive oil if wood looks too oily.

Toilet Bowl
Baking soda
White vinegar
To clean and deodorize, sprinkle toilet bowl with baking soda, add white vinegar and scrub with a toilet brush.

Tub and Tile
1/2 lemon
Dip the face of the lemon half in borax to create a hand-held scrubber for dirty areas. Rinse and dry the surface afterward.

Marble: Mix one Tbsp castile soap with a quart of warm water, rinse well, then dry with a warm cloth.
Other surfaces: Half lemon dipped in baking soda to scrub off residues. Follow up, by spraying with glass cleaner mix (below).

1/4 cup vinegar or 1 Tbsp lemon juice
2+ cups water
Fill a clean spray bottle with water and either white vinegar or lemon juice; wipe with cloth or old newspaper.

1/2 cup Baking soda
1/2 cup White vinegar
Hot water
Pour baking soda down the drain first, then vinegar. Let it fizz for a few minutes. Flush with hot water. Repeat if needed.

Laundry Detergent
1 oz. liquid castile soap
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
1/4 cup baking soda or 1/4 cup white vinegar
Using the liquid castile soap as a base, combine with washing soda, borax (for stains and bleaching), and either baking soda (reduces static and softens fabrics) or white vinegar (softens fabrics, reduces static and bleaches clothes). If you feel like your clothes aren't clean enough, play around with the amount of liquid castile soap, using from 1 oz. to 1 cup.

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