We are officially at the middle of April and this means a few things. First, it’s tax day, this is not exciting unless you’re an accountant, but it is necessary to mark the day. Second, the weather is generally cooperating and if you’re at all like us here at IRE your windows are open and you’re shaking off the winter blahs. Last but certainly not least, the spring weather means a renewed sense of vigor. For so many of us this equates to spring cleaning, de-cluttering, boxing up winter and welcoming in spring. With every box of stuff you might get rid of, donate or just throw out, it will feel like a small load has been lifted off of your shoulders. Shaking off that long dark winter and airing out the house, getting the windows open during the day and breaking out the Pine-Sol. A key to spring cleaning is to have the correct supplies. This is hard for me because I love to buy all kinds of supplies, the more mops, brooms and cleaning solutions the better. Upon taking stock in my de-cluttering, I realized that I had more supplies than I had desire to use them. A key component to a spring cleaning is the actual cleaning, no matter how many mops or brooms I have, alas, the floor won’t clean it’s self. But I digress…
I got to thinking that we are a company dedicated to renewables. We are crazy for renewable energy, specifically solar energy and the benefits it brings to our society. But we are also into recycling and using and reusing as much as possible. So before I went out and stocked up on yet more chemically based cleaning solutions, I thought I might research all natural, green, made from ‘scratch’ products. Thus, keeping in line with the Solar Professor’s motto: less is more, saving is good and all natural is great! Today’s blog is just that, some recipes and tips on cleaning green, maybe even with supplies and ingredients you already have. After all using items you already have is about as green as you can get!
Check the Cupboards
I’m sure if you look, you’ll have some or all of these things already in your house. Let’s start with some of the obvious items a broom, mop, vacuum, clean rags, empty spray bottles, lidded containers (thing Tupperware here) and a scrub brush or sponge. Some of the more not so obvious items, would be the actual ingredients: white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, salt, olive oil, essential oils (if your into the smell good), liquid dishwashing soap and borax. In doing some research, I found some great recipes for all natural cleaning products. Try some of these and let me know what you think…
Furniture Polish: 3/4 c olive oil, 2 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tbl. spoon of white vinegar and 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil ( <—- optional). Dampen a clean soft cloth, squeezing out any excess water. Dip damp rag into furniture polish and wipe on surface of furniture (best for wood). Buff off with a clean, dry rag. This mixture can also be used to polish stainless steel.
Glass Cleaner: 1 1/2 cups white vinegar, 1 1/2 cups water, 5 – 10 drops of essential oil (again, optional). Mix all ingredients together in a spray bottle. Spray on glass or mirrors. Use recycled black and white newsprint, crumpled up. The older the better for the newsprint, this will prevent a streak-free end result and keep your fingers from turning black. This mixture will work well on chrome also.
This next one is not new or news, but I like it and it’s fun to make! Homemade Laundry Detergent: 1 bar Ivory Soap, 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing powder. Place the Ivory bar soap in a large microwave safe bowl, heat in the microwave for 2 minutes, until soap turns to foam. Quickly stir foam until it becomes small chips then mix well with borax and washing powder. Allow the mixture to cool completely, after it’s cool store in an air-tight container. To use, add 1-2 tablespoons per medium size load of laundry, this works best in warm or hot water wash. To use in cold water, add detergent to 1/4 c of warm water then add to washer.
So, while I maintain that the cleaning products won’t actually clean unless you use them. I do believe that cleaning will be that much more enjoyable knowing that you’ve saved money and the environment by making your own cleaning products. So, open some windows and put away the Pine-Sol. Stay tuned for next week’s blog, when we’ll talk about SREC’s. Hold onto your hat, SREC’s are coming to Illinois.
A big thanks to our friends at www.livingwellspendingless.com – we love your recipes.