It really wasn’t that long ago that homes were cleaned using inexpensive, non-toxic, common household ingredients. Now we’re lead to believe that only synthetic, pre-packaged products that are loaded with chemicals can do the job. The average American home contains roughly 63 synthetic chemical products, the majority of which are cleaning agents. Many of these products use chemicals that are extremely toxic to both the environment and human health. In fact, the very products that you use to make your home clean and safe for your family could actually be harming their health.

The good news is that it is actually easy to wean yourself from this chemical dependence. I have found that by doing so, my home is not only cleaner, but safer for my children. Here are a number of do-it-yourself green cleaning options that even the busiest parents with the messiest kids will appreciate.

All-Purpose Disinfectant

Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar, and 3 cups hot water in a spray bottle. Need to cut through kitchen counter grime? Add 1/4 teaspoon liquid soap to the mixture.

Floors

To get floors good and clean without harmful chemicals, add 1 cup of vinegar per pail of hot water. For linoleum floors, combine ¼ cup washing soda, 1 tablespoon of liquid soap, ¼ cup vinegar, and 2 gallons hot water. This will work on everything from muddy footprints to greasy spills. But do not use this formula on waxed floors.

Furniture Polish

Mix a one-to-one ratio of olive oil and vinegar to clean and polish wood furniture.

Oven cleaner

Oven cleaning is the bane of my existence, so I typically try to avoid it by placing a cookie sheet on the bottom rack of the oven to catch spills. But for delicate recipes, this is not always an option. You can steer clear of toxic chemicals by using good old baking soda to clean the oven. Simply make a paste using 1 cup of baking soda and water. Apply to grimy spots and let stand. Lift off large deposits with a spatula and scrub surface with a scouring pad.

Toilets

Make your toilet sparkle by adding ½ cup vinegar to the toilet bowl. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes and then scrub with a toilet brush. Alternatively, sprinkle a little baking soda inside the bowl and scrub. To clean the outer surfaces, sprinkle a wet cloth with baking soda and wipe down toilet.

Tubs and Sinks

Baking soda and liquid soap can work wonders in your bathroom. Simply sprinkle baking soda on porcelain tubs and sinks. Add a little of the liquid soap to a wet cloth and use it to rub in the baking soda.  Rinse the fixture well to avoid leaving a hazy film.

Windows

Mix three tablespoons of vinegar with one quart of water in a clean spray bottle.  Can’t see through the handprints? Try a mix of 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap, three tablespoons of vinegar, and two cups of water. And to get those windows streak-free, use newspaper rather than paper towels to wipe them clean.

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