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10 Green Cleaning Tips

These eco-friendly tips (and some elbow grease) will help you clean your home inexpensively.
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  1. For fresh-smelling clothes, hang laundry on an outdoor clothesline and let the sunshine dry it. (To prevent fading, turn garments inside out.)
  2. There's no need to polish wood furniture every week, says Ellen Sandbeck, author of Organic Housekeeping (Scribner). Dusting with a dry, lint-free cloth will do. Polish with butcher's wax once or twice a year.
  3. Nix stains from whites by dabbing spots with a mixture of one part borax and six parts water.
  4. Table salt is all you need to remove baked-on food from inside the oven. Cover the area with salt while the oven is still warm. After it cools, scrape the food away and wipe with a damp sponge.
  5. "Floors are the dirtiest surfaces," says Linda Mason Hunter, author of Green Clean (Melcher Media). Her floor plan? A no-shoes-indoors policy and damp mopping once a week with 1 gallon water mixed with 1/8 cup liquid soap and 1/8 cup white vinegar.
  6. Add 4 tablespoons baking soda to 1 quart warm water for a nontoxic, all-purpose cleanser that can be used to scrub countertops.
  7. Remove indoor air pollutants without expensive electric filters. Houseplants such as chrysanthemums, English ivy, spider plants, and Boston ferns naturally freshen the air.
  8. To make windows sparkle, spritz glass with a solution of 3 tablespoons white vinegar and 1 gallon cool water. Avoid streaks by wiping panes with newsprint.
  9. Prevent mold and mildew from becoming a growing problem in the bathroom; keep a spray bottle filled with 1 cup water and 1 drop tea tree oil handy for zapping stains.
  10. Disinfect and deodorize the toilet bowl in a flash. Sprinkle the sides with baking soda, let sit for a few minutes, then drizzle with vinegar. Scrub with a toilet brush and flush.

Copyright © 2007. Used with permission from the September 2007 issue of Family Circle magazine.

 

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