So don’t throw dollars down the drain as you become chemically independent. Try these green cleaners; they’re kind to the environment and to your wallet.
Commercial toilet bowl cleaners contain poisons that can literally take your breath away—bleach, ammonia, hydrochloric acid, and naphthalene.
Instead of using toxic substances, add half a cup of a green all-purpose cleaner, like Biokleen’s (12 cents/oz), to the toilet, then sprinkle in an ounce of baking soda (6 cents/oz) into the bowl. Cost: 60 cents/flush.
If you want extra bleaching power, use hydrogen peroxide (87 cents/oz) as an all-purpose cleaner. Fill a dark spray bottle with 1:1 water/hydrogen peroxide. Spray directly on toilet seats or around the rim. Brush and flush. Cost: 87 cents/flush.
Instead of pouring industrial-grade acids down your drain to dissolve hairballs, pour in a half-cup of baking soda (6 cents/oz) followed with a half-cup of vinegar (5 cents/oz). Cover for at least 30 minutes, and then flush with boiling water. Cost: 44 cents/treatment.
If rock-hard clogs resist the baking soda-vinegar method, try an enzyme-based cleaner like Nature’s Miracle (19 cents/oz), which contains eco-friendly microbes that eat away clogs. Cost: 28 cents/clog.
Or you could push it out with a plunger. Cost: $5.
Sinks and vanity solutions
To disinfect, make a soft scrub mix made from Women’s Voices for the Earth’s green all-purpose cleaner recipe. Cost: 80 cents/16 oz.
Or make a creamy soft scrub mix of baking soda, castile soap, glycerin, and essential fragrance oils that will foam up and clean away dirty sink and vanity problem. Cost: $3/20 oz.
You can use the soft-scrub mix all over the house, and castile soap (40 cents/oz) can double as a body wash or shampoo.
Mirror and glass miracles
White vinegar (5 cents/oz) will green clean glass and mirrors. Add a quarter cup of vinegar to a 32-ounce spray bottle, and then fill with distilled water (less than 1 cent/oz), which doesn’t have tap water’s murky-making minerals. Cost: 2.4 cents/40 spritzes.
Spray on and wipe with microfiber cloths, which are washable, reusable, and much less messy than newspaper or paper towels. Your mirrors will be streak-free for significantly less money than if you used a chemical glass cleaner.
Green clean grout
A soft-scrub mix of baking soda, castile soap, and essential oils will green clean the dirt, mold, and scum that darkens tile grout. Cost: 15 cents/application.
A mop bucket of vinegar-based (5 cents/oz) all-purpose cleaner will make tile floors shine. And borax can green clean mold from shower tile and grout. Mix one cup of borax/1 gallon of water. Scrub with a stiff-bristled brush. Cost: 45 cents/bucket.
Alyson McNutt English writes about green cleaning in magazines and online. She buys her baking soda and vinegar in bulk.