By Cynthia Knowles, Pollution Prevention Specialist, San Mateo County Environmental Health
Spring is upon us and many of you will open your windows and doors for a spring cleaning. And when you do, we’re here to help you make cleaning choices that are safer for you and the environment. You can breathe easy knowing that there are lots of simple switches you can make that safely clean most surfaces in your home.
Easy Make-at-Home Recipes
Try these inexpensive and easy home cleaner recipes to remove dirt, germs, grease and scum. You probably have these ingredients in your kitchen cabinet already! Additionally, use a microfiber cloth instead of a rag or plain dish sponge.
- Dirt and germs – Mix liquid soap and warm water to wipe away
- Mold – Moisture from the recent heavy rains may have caused mold to creep in and attack a windowsill. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, spray directly on affected areas and wipe clean. Or, spray straight vinegar on heavily affected areas and let it set without rinsing.
- Kitchen and bathroom soap scum – Mix liquid castile soap with 1 tablespoon of baking soda, add juice from one lemon, and water.
- Kitchen floors, countertops, windows, mirrors – Mix 2 cups of white vinegar with 2 cups of water. You can also add 20-30 drops of essential oil for a fresh scent. Essential oils are safer than synthetic fragrances found in conventional cleaning products because they do not contain phthalates. Phthalates are solvents that “carry” the chemicals that create the scent, and are linked to reproductive and developmental harm in laboratory animals and humans.
Prefer to purchase brand products?
Try these online resources that help you make the safest choices and avoid products containing harmful ingredients.
- EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning uses health and environmental assessments to rate cleaning products.
- GoodGuide uses health, environmental and social impact information to rate thousands of products.
Let me know what you think about our less-toxic alternatives and tell us about your favorite brand products or recipes by leaving a comment, or contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (650) 207-3115.
Stay tuned for future blogs about easy toilet bowl cleaners and drain opener recipes!