Keeping your home clean does not mean you have rely on chemicals that can harm you and your local waterways. Learn how to create a few eco-friendly cleaning products for your home. For more everyday ways to save the environment and save money at the same time, visit Jennie at EcoSense for Living. (SaltRun Productions, Inc.)

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Jennie: EcoSense for Living.  Everyday ways to save the environment and save money at the same time.

Jennie: If you want to keep chemicals out of your home and your local waterways, you might want to try mixing a few of these eco-friendly products for cleaning your home. Cheryl Clayton’s here to show us how. 

Cheryl:  One of the first cleaners you need to know about is baking soda.  It’s an awesome product.  It cleans so well.  It’s nonabrasive and it costs pennies.  And it doesn’t affect the groundwater at all.  It’s just a great thing to know about.  One of the ways that a physician that I know uses it, she’s a pediatrician, she keeps a little right by the sink.  She keeps in a container with large holes.  You can get ‘em, just is a parmesan cheese sprinkler.  Just shake it onto a pan.  It’s great for scrubbing.  It’s safe for stainless.  And when it goes down, it rinses clean and it’s great for the drains.  It makes ‘em smell wonderful.  Another product you might want to add to baking soda: salt.  I like to call them the twin sisters.  You’ve got salt and baking soda.  And at my home, the reason I use the salt is I tend to cook with a lot of grease, and sometimes I burn things.  So the salt is just an excellent way to absorb the grease when I’m cleaning up.  Put a pan down in the sink, pour a little salt, it absorbs the grease, makes it easier to rinse.  Or if I need a little scrubbing power, the salt’s a little bit more abrasive than the baking soda. 

Jennie:  Do any of these products kill germs?

Cheryl:  Vinegar is definitely antibacterial.  It’s almost as strong as bleach.  You're also gonna want to use-- alcohol is also antibacterial.  It kills 99.9% of bacteria as well.  And what you want to do, one of the things that makes it so nice, is that it biodegrades so much faster so there’s a lot less left in your home.  So if your pets or your children happen to touch it before it totally biodegrades, it’s not gonna be as harmful.  And also, when it goes in the groundwater, not nearly so much problem.

Jennie:  What about cleaning windows?

Cheryl:  Well, let me show you two alternatives.  Spot cleaning, which sometimes happens if you have a dog and he puts his little nose up on the, you know, glass at the front.

Jennie:  Children.

Cheryl:  Children.  The easiest thing to do is use a lemon.  Now, I’m not too good about keeping these around the house.  I let them mold.  So what I do is I get a bottle of concentrate, keep it right in the fridge.  But if you're just doing a little bit of spot cleaning, it’s very acidic, it’s very clear, it doesn’t streak.  You just put some on a cloth and wipe those little spots out.  Now, if you've got a bigger job or you want to keep something mixed up, then there’s another simple alternative.  I usually take a spray bottle and just make some glass cleaner.  When I’m mixing, I choose a bottle that has a good spray nozzle that you can adjust from a heavy stream to a light spray.  I also like a bottle that has the measuring increments down the side.  Just makes it easier for me.  The recipe for the glass cleaner is simply one cup of water and then one cup of rubbing alcohol, okay?  So all you have to do is pour that in.

Jennie:  So how much would it cost to have all the products that you need for your home?

Cheryl:  Well just the ones that we’re talking about today, I’ve spent less than three dollars.  You can buy this often generically and it’s just a great buy.

Jennie:  Okay.  So now you have your alcohol.

Cheryl:  That’s right.  And all I have left to do is put a tablespoon of vinegar.  Back in the spray bottle. 

Jennie:  That’s your window cleaner.

Cheryl: That’s your window cleaner.  It’s streak-free.  You’re gonna love it.  You know, it’s light, it’s easy.  Great stuff.