These eco-friendly tips (and some elbow grease) will help you clean your home inexpensively.
- For fresh-smelling clothes, hang laundry on an outdoor clothesline and let the sunshine dry it. (To prevent fading, turn garments inside out.)
- 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.
- Nix stains from whites by dabbing spots with a mixture of one part borax and six parts water.
- 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.
- "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.
- Add 4 tablespoons baking soda to 1 quart warm water for a nontoxic, all-purpose cleanser that can be used to scrub countertops.
- Remove indoor air pollutants without expensive electric filters. Houseplants such as chrysanthemums, English ivy, spider plants, and Boston ferns naturally freshen the air.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.