28 Ways to Clean your Home with Vinegar

28 Ways to Clean your Home with Vinegar

This post may contain affiliate links.  Check out my disclosure policy here.

 

You probably have used white distilled vinegar in a recipe, but did you know that you can clean your home with vinegar? Vinegar is a tried and true jack of all cleaning trades that can kill weeds, clean your floors, and get rid of mildew in your shower.

Vinegar is created by the oxidation of alcohol into acetic acid, which is the magic ingredient that makes it such a versatile cleaning machine. The smell is pungent at first but completely disappears once dry. Adding essential oils to your vinegar will help mask the smell until the vinegar dries.

Below is a list of 28 ways to clean your home with vinegar.

Be prepared to be amazed.

 

Clean your Home with Vinegar – Room by Room

 

KitchenClean your home with vinegar.

 

Window Cleaner – just add vinegar, water, and rubbing alcohol to a recycled spray bottle and you have yourself a non-toxic, effective window cleaner.

Clean Chrome and Stainless Steel – lightly mist appliances with undiluted white vinegar and buff.

Steam Clean your Microwave – place a glass bowl filled with one cup water and 1/4 cup vinegar inside the microwave and “cook” it for 3-5 minutes.  After cooling, use the liquid to wipe down the interior.

Fruit and Veggie Cleaner – this fruit and veggie cleaner will not only remove the bacteria and little critters but up to 98% of the pesticide residue on the outside of your produce.

Disinfect and Deodorize Wood Cutting Boards – wipe your wood cutting boards with full strength white vinegar after each use to disinfect and clean. To deodorize your wood cutting boards, spread some baking soda over it and spritz on undiluted vinegar. Let stand for 10 minutes then wipe clean with a wet cloth. 

Clean your Coffeemaker – hard water minerals can build up in your coffee machine.  Fill the reservoir with equal parts of water and vinegar. Brew a full pot of the water/vinegar mix and then brew a pot of plain water to rinse.  Cleaning your coffee maker with vinegar will keep it in tip-top shape.

Dishwasher – Vinegar is an excellent rinse agent.  Just give the rinse compartment a good squirt and keep your glassware spotless. Eco-friendly bonus points if you use it after this non-toxic DIY dishwasher detergent.  To keep your dishwasher clean, pour a cup of white vinegar into the bottom of an empty dishwasher to get rid of the lime and soap build-up.

**Warning** Vinegar and marble are not friends. The acid in vinegar may damage stone surfaces. 

 

 

BathroomClean your home with vinegar.

 

All-Purpose Bathroom Cleaner – put equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle to clean counters, tile, and toilets.  You can strengthen the cleaner by adding essential oils.  Vinegar is super effective at getting rid of hard water stains.

Remove Mineral Deposits from Shower-heads – place removable shower heads in a gallon of hot water with 1 cup vinegar for 15 minutes to clear away blockages and mineral deposits.  If your shower-head is not removable, fill a gallon size baggie with 1 cup water and 1 cup vinegar and tape the bag around the shower-head. Let it sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then remove the bag and wipe the shower-head clean.

Clean Shower Door Tracks – those things get funky. Pour straight vinegar into the tracks and let set overnight.  Rinse with hot water to remove the funk and then brush the rest away with an old toothbrush.

Clean and Shine Bathroom Fixtures –make the bathroom fixtures shine by pouring undiluted vinegar on a soft cloth and wiping down the faucets, towel racks, and doorknobs.

Clean Mirror – just add vinegar, water, and rubbing alcohol to a recycled spray bottle and you have yourself a non-toxic, effective mirror cleaner.

Remove Toilet Water Rings – Undiluted vinegar will help keep your toilet looking and smelling clean. Pour in 2 cups and let set overnight to keep those annoying water rings at bay.

 

 

LaundryClean your home with vinegar.

 

Clean and Disinfect Washing Machine – pour 2 cups of undiluted vinegar into your washing machine and run a full cycle to clean out soap scum and get your washer sparkly clean.

Remove Lint and Static from Clothes – add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to keep your clothes static and lint free.

Brighten Clothes – adding 1/2 cup vinegar to the final rinse cycle will brighten those clothes.

Remove Mildew Smell – ever find a wet towel at the bottom of the hamper or worse yet, your kid’s backpack? Add 2 cups of vinegar to a load of mildewy items and wash through one cycle.  Wash a second time like normal and the musty smell will be gone.

Kill Bacteria – if you are washing cloth diapers, add a cup of vinegar to the load to kill any bacteria that may be present.

Softens Clothes – adding a cup of vinegar to the wash will soften and freshen your clothes.  Which is great because you can skip the chemical-laden fabric softener perfumy dryer sheets.

 

 

FloorsClean your home with vinegar.

 

Remove Carpet Odor – spray undiluted vinegar on your carpet – you can mix a few drops of your favorite essential oil to mask the vinegar smell – and spray the trouble areas.

Clean Porcelain or Tile Floors – add 1/2 cup vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water and mop porcelain or tile floors.  If the grout is dirty, make a baking soda paste and gently scrub. Rinse the grout clean before mopping.

Pet Odor Remover: pour vinegar on the trouble area and sprinkle with baking soda. Scrub the area and let dry for at least 4-5 hours.  Vacuum up the baking soda and viola(!), smell gone.

Floor Cleaner – mop with 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar and 1 gallon of warm water. No rinsing required.  Keep in mind that vinegar and stone do not mix.

 

Lawn and GardenClean your home with vinegar.

 

Kill Weeds on Driveway and Sidewalk – spray undiluted vinegar on weeds and pull them up after they wither away. It usually takes 2-3 days for the weeds to completely die.

Clean Rust from Garden Tools – spray garden tools with vinegar and let sit for a few minutes.  The rust will wipe right away.

Freshen Up Cut Flowers – add 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar for each quart of water and your cut flowers will stay fresher, longer.

Clean Bird Baths and Feeders – clean with undiluted vinegar and rinse well.  Soap will leave an unhealthy residue behind.

Increase Acidity of Garden Soil – Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Hydrangeas, and Gardenias prefer higher soil acidity.  Water once a week with a white distilled vinegar solution. A cup of white distilled vinegar to a gallon of tap water is a good mixture.

 

 

If cleaning with vinegar isn’t your thing, here are some good quality, non-toxic cleaners you can buy.

 

Puracy Natural All Purpose Cleaner, Child and Pet Safe, Green Tea and Lime

Better Life Natural Plant Based Best Hardwood Floor Cleaner, Citrus Mint

Seventh Generation Free and Clear Glass and Surface Cleaner

 

As you see by this list, it’s totally worth it to buy stock in white distilled vinegar and keep gallons under your sink, in your bathroom closet, and in your garage.  Ok, don’t go crazy with it, but vinegar is cheap, versatile, and non-toxic, making it a great alternative to those expensive and harsh cleaning chemicals.

How do you clean your home with vinegar?

 

 

If you enjoyed this info, check out these other cool posts.

How to eat organic on a budget

Clean and purify indoor air with plants!

10 super helpful ways to use Castille Soap

DIY Ant Killer

DIY Ant Killer

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. YOU CAN READ MY DISCLOSURE POLICY HERE.

 

When the ants come marching in, make this non-toxic ant killer for the win.

The other morning, Xan and Evie sat down at the breakfast counter in the kitchen only to find dozens of ants crawling all over.

They were totally grossed out and it was B.C. (before coffee) and I simply couldn’t move that fast.

Now, if you know me, you know I wouldn’t use commercial ant killers in the house because of the toxic chemicals and fumes. And I’ve tried the cinnamon thing and it didn’t stop ants and peppermint essential oil spray may be a great spider repellent, but it didn’t stop the ants either.

 

Conventional ant killers have gross ingredients like Piperonyl butoxide (PBO), Pyrethrins, and Petroleum.

 

Piperonyl butoxide – Piperonyl butoxide (PBO) is a man-made pesticide synergist (ingredients more effective at killing pests). By itself, PBO is not designed to harm insects. Instead, it works with bug killers to increase their effectiveness.  It can cause eye and skin irritation on contact.  Studies have led the U.S. EPA to classify Piperonyl butoxide as a possible human carcinogen.

Pyrethrins – Pyrethrins are pesticides found naturally in some chrysanthemum flowers. They are a mixture of six chemicals that are toxic to insects. Exposure can lead to wheezing, cough, difficulty breathing, and irritation of the airways.  Highly toxic to honey bees. #savethebees

Petroleum – Originally, petroleum was discovered hanging out on the bottom of oil rigs and although refined, it potentially can contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that have been linked to several cancers, including skin, lung, bladder, liver and certain digestive system cancers.

 

Raid Ant and Roach Killer contains all three of these ingredients and actually has this warning:

“HAZARDS TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS. CAUTION: Harmful if swallowed or absorbed through skin. Avoid breathing spray mist. Avoid contact with skin or clothing.” (Source)

 

Yeah, thanks but no thanks.

You can make a simple and effective ant killer with ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen: water, baking soda, and powdered sugar.

I experimented to see which DIY ant killer would be the most effective.  The top dish contains equal parts of water, baking soda, and powdered sugar.

The bottom left contains equal parts of baking soda (1 tbsp) and powdered sugar (1 tbsp) but only half part water (1/2 tbsp).

The bottom right contains only equal parts of baking soda and powder sugar.  No water.

As you can see, the bottom left was the winner.

 

 

Non-Toxic Ant Killer

Ingredients:

1 tbsp baking soda

1 tbsp powdered sugar

1/2 tbsp water

Container with low sides.

 

Directions:

  1. Mix baking soda, powdered sugar, and water in a container with low sides.
  2. Place ant killer where you see ants entering your home.
  3. Clean and replace as needed.

 

If you aren’t in the mood to make a non-toxic ant killer, these eco-friendly options are available for purchase.

 

Wondercide Natural Indoor Pest Control Home and Patio Spray 

All Natural Non-toxic Insect Killer Spray by Killer Green

EcoRaider Ant Killer & Crawling Insect Killer

 

Do you have a favorite ant killer?

 

DIY ANT KILLER

 

Window and Glass Cleaner Recipe – DIY

Window and Glass Cleaner Recipe – DIY

This post may contain affiliate links.  You can read the disclosure policy here.

Fortunately, my days of window and mirror cleaning are far and few between now that this job is added to Xan and Evie’s chore list. I am seriously working my way out of this maid-esque position I acquired 11 years ago when Xan was born.

Now that the kids are cleaning the windows on the reg, it is even more important that the window cleaner be non-toxic. After researching the ingredients in Windex, I tossed the bottle (ahem, I mean, recycled) and started making my own window and glass cleaner.  Some of the ingredients in Windex are super funky and can cause some unnecessary problems.

Just trying to clean some windows here folks.  Not trying to have an asthmatic fit or skin irritation.

The Environmental Working Group grades products based on the toxicity of their ingredients. The grades indicate the relative level of concern posed by exposure to the ingredients in this product.

The EWG rates Windex a D which means, “HIGH CONCERN – Likely hazards to health or the environment. May also have poor ingredient disclosure.”

According to SC Johnson’s website, Windex® is made of the following ingredients:

 

The most dangerous chemicals in Windex are 2-Hexoxyethanol, Ammonium Hydroxide, and fragrance. 

 

Toxic Ingredients in Windex

 

2-Hexoxyethanol: According to the National Library of Medicine, “2-Hexoxyethanol is moderately toxic. The NLM recommends taking great care to prevent eye and skin contact due to the toxicity by absorption.   Breathing in the vapors is not a good idea either.

Ammonium Hydroxide: A colorless solution of Ammonia in water with a pungent odor.  Household cleaners, photography and fertilizers, textiles, rubber and pharmaceuticals all contain Ammonium Hydroxide. Inhaling Ammonium Hydroxide can cause a cough, shortness of breath and sore throat. Blurred vision, redness and skin irritation is also known to occur if the chemical gets on skin or in your eyes.

Fragrance: Of the thousands of chemicals used in fragrances, most have not been tested for toxicity, alone or in combination. Many of these unlisted ingredients are irritants and can trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms.  Seriously, fragrance is in everything! Check ingredient labels.  You’ll see what I mean.

 

Making your own window and glass cleaner is super easy and affordable. You probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen.

 

Window and Glass Cleaner Recipe

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol
  • 10 drops peppermint or lemon essential oil.  Good quality oils are important.  Some oils even contain fragrance which we are trying to stay away from.  Personally, I use doTERRA because of the quality and I know that the oils are pure.
  • Glass spray bottle.  Essential oils will break down plastic over time so glass is best! These bottles are my favorite and they are such a pretty blue color.

 

 

Directions:

  1. Pour Water, Vinegar, Rubbing Alcohol and essential oils in your spray bottle.
  2. Shake well before use.  All done!

 

Microfiber cloths like these, work really well and help cut down on waste by not using paper towels that will just get thrown away.  I keep mine in a little basket under the sink and use them for everything except floor spills.  Paper Towels do that job.

 

 

Another fun option is the cleaning cloths from Mightynest.  These guys clean everything from counters to windows to little faces.

 

 

 

What it boils down to is that cleaning is good.  Toxic chemicals in your cleaning products are bad.   Take control of your environment and health by simplifying the ingredients in your everyday cleaning products.  You are doing yourself, your family and the environment a favor.

 

Here are a few other DIY cleaning recipes you will enjoy. Happy Cleaning!

 

Bathroom Spray Cleaner Recipe

DIY Soft Scrub

Natural, All-Purpose Cleaner

 

 

Bathroom Spray Cleaner Recipe

Bathroom Spray Cleaner Recipe

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. READ THE DISCLOSURE POLICY HERE.

Bathrooms.  We all have ’em, we use them, and we all have to clean them.

Have you ever looked at the ingredient label on your bathroom cleaners?

The first time I really read the back of my bathroom cleaner, was about 10 years ago.  I was cleaning my tiny, unventilated bathroom while my one year old was napping.  I planned on giving him a bath first thing after he woke.

While cleaning the bathroom, my eyes started to sting and my throat began to burn.  I looked at the label and it said scary things like, “Warning. Keep out of the reach of children” or “Do not breathe spray” and best yet, “Eye and skin irritant. Do not get in eyes, on skin or clothing.”

That’s when it hit me.  I was scrubbing my tub with this cleaner with all of these crazy warnings, that caused my eyes and throat to burn, and then planned on sitting my baby’s little naked bottom directly on the same tub. Granted I would rinse away the cleaner but trace amounts would still be left behind. That was my aha moment that led me down the path to clean living and using non-toxic products.

Once you start learning about the potential dangers of the ingredients in conventional products, there is no going back.  The knowledge snowballs and before you know it, you start researching the chemicals in body products, then in food and on and on.

Our bodies fight off all of these dangers and filter out a lot of the harmful chemicals.  But when they are in our food, our cleaning and body products and our air, the body can’t keep up and the chemicals start to take a toll.  You can’t be 100% toxin free but proactively limiting the chemicals will help you feel and stay well.

 

Health is priceless.

 

Below is a list of the most common toxic ingredients in most commercial bathroom cleaners.

 

2-BUTOXYETHANOL: A skin and eye irritant also associated with blood disorders. This chemical is listed as a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act due to the understanding that it is harmful to human health.

Ammonia:  Vapours may irritate the skin, eyes, throat, and lungs

MEA (monoethanalomine): Known to induce asthma in workplace settings

DEA (diethanolamine): Mild skin and severe eye irritant.

Fragrance: More than 3000 chemicals are used in fragrance mixtures. Many are irritants and can trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms.

Buying a bottle of $3.99 cleaner from the store is super easy and convenient.  I get it. People are busy. Easy and convenient is pretty awesome. The following bathroom cleaner recipe is still very easy and convenient after you build up your cleaning and body products inventory. Plus, you can really save some dough after your initial purchase of bulk ingredients.

The following is a bathroom spray cleaner recipe.  If you need to do some heavy cleaning, this DIY Soft Scrub will do the trick.

 

Bathroom Spray

Cleaner Recipe

 

Ingredients:

Spray Bottle – Glass is best because essential oils can break down plastic. These are my fave.  I also use these labels for my homemade cleaning (and body) products.

2 cups water

2 cups white distilled vinegar

40 drops of essential oil – You can use single oils or combine based on smell and cleaning ability.  I personally use doTerra oils for their potency and purity.  If you would like to learn more about the oils, just let me know and I will be happy to elaborate.

  • Lemon fresh, clean scent.  Antiseptic and disinfectant properties.
  • Tea Tree – antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral.
  • Lavender – delightful, summery scent. Disinfectant properties.
  • Eucalyptus – natural germicide.
  • Peppermint – antibacterial.

 

Directions:

  1. Mix water, vinegar and oils in a spray bottle.
  2. Shake gently to mix.
  3. Spray surface and wipe with a damp cloth.

 

Now you can rest assured that your bathroom cleaner will not warrant a visit from the hazmat team if it gets spilled. 😉

If you are not into making your own bathroom cleaner, check out these more natural alternatives to conventional products.

Method All Purpose Natural Surface Cleaning Spray

Green Works Multi-Surface Cleaner, Spray Bottle, Original Fresh

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner

 

Here are a couple of other natural ways to keep your home clean. 

 

 

 

 

Do you make your own cleaners?  I would love to hear about them!

 

 

Homemade Bug Repellent

Homemade Bug Repellent

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS.  YOU CAN READ MY DISCLOSURE POLICY HERE.

It’s that time of year.

Nature has come back to life, with full branches of leaves and stems full of color. This, by far, is my favorite season of the year. After a dreary, albeit seasonably warm winter, spring is a breath of fresh air. With the full trees and bushes come annoying bugs and mosquitos.

We live by the lake and these bugs are supersized. Seriously.  I had a spider so big come in the house the other day, I swear he opened the back door and let himself in. I gently (frantically) coaxed him back outside but I swear he was the size of a silver dollar. And all before my first cup of coffee.

Our winters in Nashville are not super cold or snowy but this last winter was so mild. Our average temp was in the 50’s and it was amazing. Since it never got cold enough to kill off the ticks and bugs, I am expecting more bugs than usual during these warm months. I swear, these mosquitos will be the size of birds.

Conventional bug sprays usually contain DEET, a chemical that disrupts the central nervous system and covers the antenna of mosquitos, confusing their sense of direction.  In humans, Deet causes a variety of skin problems like redness, irritation, blistering and burning.  Environmentally, the EPA considers DEET to be slightly toxic to birds, fish and aquatic invertebrates.

According to this Safety Data Sheet,

Deet is the most common ingredient in insect repellents and is believed to work as such in that mosquitos intensely dislike its smell. Deet is also an effective solvent and may dissolve plastics, rayon, spandex, other synthetic fabrics and painted or varnished surfaces.

 

We spend a lot of time outdoors and bug repellant is a necessity.  The bug repellant we use is a combo of essential oils and a carrier fluid like witch hazel, vodka or distilled water.  But really, who would waste good vodka on bug spray?

 

Homemade Bug Repellent Recipe

 

Ingredients:

Spray Bottle  4 oz

2 oz distilled water, Witch Hazel or Vodka.  I use Witch Hazel for my repellent. Produced from a flowering shrub, Witch Hazel is naturally anti-inflammatory and astringent.  You can find witch hazel and any drugstore or grocery.

40 drops of essential oils. Any combination of the following oils, although Lemongrass and Citronella are the most effective.

  • Lemongrass
  • Citronella
  • Eucalyptus
  • Rosemary
  • Cedarwood
  • Lavender

Directions:

  1. Add witch hazel, distilled water or vodka to spray bottle.
  2. Add 40 drops of essential oils.
  3. Shake.
  4. Done.

Additional Tips:

  • Always shake before use.
  • Women who are pregnant or nursing should check with their health practitioner before using.
  • Use good quality oils. I personally use DoTerra, but there are several legit oils on the market. Some oils contain fragrance and junk like fillers so check the labels before you buy. Rocky Mountain Oils are good quality oils for a reasonable price.
  • Essential oil’s therapeutic properties will degrade if exposed to sunlight. Store your essential oil concoctions in colored glass bottles if possible.
  • Be cautious when using oils on young children.

Natural Bug Spray alternatives.

BugMace All Natural Mosquito & Insect Repellent Bug Spray

All Terrain Kids Herbal Armor DEET-Free Natural Insect Repellent

Mosquito Repellent Spray – All Organic Insect Deterrent

If you enjoyed this article, then check out the ones below.  I bet you will like those too! 🙂

25 Easy Ways to Live Green on a Budget

25 Easy Ways to Live Green on a Budget

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure policy here.

Living green doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you could actually save green by living green, all while staying healthy and protecting our planet.

This list will get you well on your way to living greener and cleaner.

  1. Recycle. Check you local county website to see if your area offers curbside recycling.  If not, there may be a recycling location where you can drop off your recyclable.  Recycling greatly cuts down on waste that ends up in the landfills. 
  2. Save water. Take shorter showers or install a low-flow shower head. Faucet aerators conserve heat and water and you will earn your money back quickly with the money you save.
  3. Use non-toxic cleaning products. Making your own cleaning supplies is easy and very affordable. Not to mention all of the toxic chemicals that you will keep out of your home. Here are a few homemade cleaners to get your house spic and span.
  4. Switch to non-toxic body products. If your body products contain harmful ingredients such as toxic chemicals, colors, and fragrances, those ingredients make their way into your body, your blood and lymphatic system. When you make your own products, you know exactly what is in them. You can easily make products like dry shampoo, body wash and toothpaste.
  5. Essential oils.  Essential oils are organic compounds extracted from plants.  The oils contain healing properties for relaxation, beauty products, home cleaning and natural medicine. I use essential oils in every body and cleaning product on top of using them topically for colds. These are the oils I use.  They are pure and of the highest quality.
  6. Read ingredient labels. Know what you are eating.  What are those long, unpronounceable ingredients doing to your body? Food labels provide key information like serving size, calories, total fat and vitamin content.
  7. Shop local. Support the little guy instead of companies that make millions of dollars. Shopping local creates a healthier environment because the goods are located closer to residents and create less traffic and air pollution.
  8. Reuse. The most effective way to reduce waste is not to create it in the first place. Reusing items reduces the need to harvest new raw materials (think trees), saves energy, money, and keeps wastes from the landfill.
  9. Buy Organic. There are fewer pesticides on food, it’s better for the environment, and organically raised animals are not given antibiotics, growth hormones or fed animal byproducts. Organic food can be more expensive but you can save money on food with these 10 super easy tips on eating organic.
  10. Grow your own food. No room for a garden? No worries, grow veggies in pots on your patio or herbs in your kitchen window.
  11. Compost. Free, easy to make and good for the environment.  You can compost vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and tea bags. You can learn more about composting in this article from NRDC.org.
  12. Install energy-efficient lighting. LED bulbs last 10 years and use 40% less electricity than traditional incandescents. Produce less waste and save more money. Sweet. 
  13. Buy a jar of Coconut Oil. Coconut oil can be used so many ways! Here is a list of 14 awesome ways to use it other than cooking.
  14. CSA. Community supported agriculture is a partnership between farmers and consumers. You pay a fee at the beginning of a growing season and receive a portion of the farm’s produce each week. Support local farmers instead of huge commercial companies.
  15. Switch to cloth diapers. Disposable diapers take 250-500 years to decompose. Switching to cloth will save you over $1000 dollars and keep the chemicals off your little ones bottom.  When my kids were babies, we used BumGenius.  The start up cost was $250 but that’s all we spent until they were potty trained.  If traveling, then we would use Seventh Generation disposable diapers. They are chemical free.
  16. Car pool. Find a buddy and take turns driving into work.  You will save money, time, the environment, wear and tear on your car and reduce traffic! You can also use a ride share service like Lyft or Uber.  Of course, I am partial to Lyft. 😉
  17. Buy rechargeable batteries. Save money, conserve resources, protect the environment and improve performance by buying recyclable batteries like these. You can use rechargeable batteries hundreds of times! They cost more initially, but save money over time.
  18. Have plants to clean the air in your home. Did you know that houseplants can actually clean indoor air of airborne toxins? These 10 houseplants will work extra hard to clean up your indoor air.
  19. Use your dishwasher. It uses less water than hand-washing. For an extra bonus use a DIY dishwashing detergent.
  20. Invest in experiences instead of things for special gifts. Take a family trip instead of expensive Christmas presents.  Or maybe go see a musical instead of an anniversary present. The memories will last longer than a physical present.
  21. Wash clothes in cold water. Washing your clothes in cold water uses less energy and clothes last longer.  If you want to take it a step farther, purchase and energy-efficient washer.  These washers measure the amount of water needed to wash per load.
  22. Buy Used. You can find really good deals on barely used products. Start shopping at thrift stores, consignment stores and garage sales. You can window shop online at sites like Thredup, Craigslist or Varage Sale.
  23. Switch to an aluminum or stainless-steel sports bottle.  Most plastic containers have a chemical called BPA, which is under investigation for its effects on the health of humans. You can opt for a BPA free plastic bottle but they are known to leach phthalates, a chemical thought to disrupt the endocrine system.
  24. Keep food in glass containers. Most plastic containers have a chemical called BPA, which is under investigation for its effects on the health of humans.  When heating in the microwave or washing in the dishwasher can break down the plastic allowing BPA to leach into food.
  25. Replace vinyl shower curtains. There are more than 100 different chemicals vinyl shower curtains emit into the air. Trade out the vinyl curtain for a PVC-free plastic shower curtain.


What are some ways that you live green? Let me know below. 🙂

10 Houseplants That Purify Indoor Air

10 Houseplants That Purify Indoor Air

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure policy here.

I love being outside.  The winters, although mild in Nashville, give me cabin fever because they cut into my outside time.  I would rather be out by the lake, hiking, or working in the yard. Mad props to those of you who get cold and snow for months at a time.  I would never survive and you are my heroes.

Whenever possible, I bring the outdoors in. I love having the windows open to let the outside air in and the addition of houseplants adds the comfort of nature within the home. Now, my husband would kindly disagree with me on the houseplants, which he affectionately calls bowls of dirt. They are growing on him though.

Did you know that the color green has a soothing, healing effect? Green is the predominant color in nature and people naturally feel the most at ease in settings with this color. I have heard of people who sit under lamps with green bulbs for 10-15 minutes to help them relax and center.

Not only do houseplants brighten a room, they work hard to clean our air. Let’s take it back old school to 5th grade science class. Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and release oxygen and it as it turns out, some plants are doubling down to also clean toxins out of the air we breathe.

In 1989, NASA conducted a clean air study to determine which indoor plants filtered harmful toxins and pollutants from the air. NASA discovered 5 common pollutants found indoors.

  1. Trichloroethylene – Found in printing ink, paint and varnishes. Symptoms of exposure include excitement, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
  2. Formaldehyde – Found in paper bags, facial tissues, paper towels and plywood paneling. Symptoms include irritation to nose, mouth and throat.
  3. Benzene –  Used to make plastics, synthetic fibers, detergents and pesticides. Symptoms include irritation to eyes, drowsiness, dizziness and headaches
  4. Xylene – Found in printing, rubber and paint. Similar to Benzene, symptoms include irritation to eyes, drowsiness, dizziness and headaches.
  5. Ammonia – Used in window cleaners, floor waxes and fertilizers. Symptoms include eye irritation, coughing and sore throat.

 

10 Houseplants that

Purify Indoor Air

 

 

1. Aloe Vera

 

  • It has the ability to heal cuts and burns.
  • It absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen at night.

 

 

2. Spider Plant

  • Helps remove benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene from the air.
  • Safe for pets.

 

3. Gerbera Daisy

  • Beautiful, bright blooms
  • Most plants respiratory cycle decreases in the evening. Gerbera Daisies continue releasing oxygen through the night to help you breathe and sleep better.

 

4. Peace Lily

  • Thrive in low light with moist soil.
  • Helps remove benzene and trichloroethylene from the air.
  • Mildy toxic to people and pets if ingested.

 

 

5. Ficus

  • Effective at cleaning the air of airborne formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.
  • Low-maintenance and requires bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Poisonous to animals. Take extra precautions that your pets do not ingest any part of this plant.

 

 

6. Philodendron

  • Easily tolerates the dry conditions found inside most homes.
  • Among the best houseplants for removing higher concentrations of formaldehyde.
  • Considered poisonous if ingested by children or pets.

 

7. Orchids

  • Thrives in high humidity and with thorough watering.
  • Removes formaldehyde from the air.

 

 

8. Rubber Plant

  • Enjoys indirect light and infrequent watering.
  • Rubber plants emit high oxygen content and purifies indoor air by removing formaldehyde.

 

 

9. English Ivy

  • Helps to reduce mold in your home.
  • Cleanses formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, and toluene from the air.

 

 

10. Chrysanthemum

  • Helps cleanse the air of formaldehyde, xylene, ammonia, benzene, toluene and trichloroethylene.
  • Poisonous to animals.

 

 How to improve air quality in your home.

 

  1. Add air cleansing houseplants to your home.
  2. Air purifiers are effective in your home to remove a large range of airborne pollutants like dust, smoke, pollen, animal dander, and tobacco smoke.
  3. Eliminate the source of pollutants. Dust and vacuum often to stay on top of dusty situations.
  4. Open your windows often.  The air in our homes is more polluted than fresh air from outside.  Even in winter, open a window or two occasionally to let the fresh air in and the stale air out.

 

DIY Soft Scrub – 3 Ingredients

DIY Soft Scrub – 3 Ingredients

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure policy here.

Soft Scrub is a must have in your household cleaning supplies. It’s perfect for powerful cleaning on sinks, showers, and toilets and removing tough stains from bathroom and kitchen surfaces.

Conventional Soft Scrub has the following ingredients. Water, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Alcohol Ethoxylate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Bicarbonate, Fragrance, Preservative, D-Limonene, Linalool.

The ingredient list above is really not as bad as most conventional cleaners. The worst ingredient being fragrance.  The term “fragrance” is unregulated by the FDA.  So basically, companies can put any chemical concoction under the fragrance ingredient label.

DIY Soft Scrub is super easy to make and you can skip all the cost and unpronounceable ingredients of the conventional version by making your own.

 

Soft Scrub Ingredients

Ingredients:

    • 1 cup Baking Soda
    • 3 tbsp Castile Soap
    • 10 drops Essential Oil (Optional. Lemon, Grapefruit or Lavender would be nice but it’s really up to you.)
    • Glass jar with lid.

 

Directions:

  • Just mix all three ingredients and done.

 

I divided this batch into 2 4oz mason jars so that I could have one in each bathroom.   When ready to use, scoop some onto a sponge, add a little water and scrub away.

This looks and smells good enough to eat. And you really could, if you don’t mind a couple of quick trips to the restroom. 🙂

 

 

Natural All Purpose Cleaner Recipe

Natural All Purpose Cleaner Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure policy here.

An All Purpose Cleaner is a must have in the house.  They are so handy.  You can clean your kitchen counters, bathrooms, and table tops with one product. With so many surfaces of your home coming in contact with this all-in-one cleaner, it is important to know what is in it.

Most all purpose cleaners do not list ingredients. So another way to find out if your cleaner is toxic, look for clues on the label.  If you see the following terms on your commercial cleaning products, you may want to consider using green alternatives. The terms “Danger, Warning or Caution” indicate the level of toxicity.

  • Danger or Poison – most hazardous
  • Warning – moderately hazardous
  • Caution – slightly toxic

Besides the terms above, you will usually find a phrase that describes the nature of the hazard, such as “flammable,” “may cause burns on contact,” or “may cause skin irritation.”

Yowza, causing burns on contact?  No, thank you.

According to the Organic Consumer’s Association,

Some all-purpose cleaners contain the sudsing agents diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA), which can react with nitrites (an often undisclosed preservative or contaminant) to form nitrosamines – carcinogens that readily penetrate the skin. Skin also easily absorbs nerve-damaging butyl cellosolve (also known as ethylene glycol monobutyl ether), present in some cleaners. Fumes from ammonia-containing cleaners may cause respiratory irritation. Sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite (bleach) are highly caustic, and sodium hypochlorite should never be mixed with any product containing ammonia or acids, or toxic gases will result. To prevent chemical accidents, it’s best to simply avoid.”

Did you get all that?

Now, if you are completely freaked out, here is a simple recipe for an all purpose cleaner that is non-toxic and effective.

All Purpose Cleaner Recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp Washing soda
1 tsp Castile soap
20 drops Essential oil (lemon/orange is a good combo) – optional
2 cups warm boiled water

Directions:

Step 1: Boil 2 cups of water.

Step 2: Once cooled to warm, pour into a sturdy spray bottle.

Step 3: Add the baking soda, Castile soap and essential oils.

Step 4: Shake gently to mix.

Step 5: Try it out.

If making a cleaner is not your thing, the following list of natural cleaning products are good choices.

Green cleaning alternatives

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner – earth-friendly, cruelty-free and not tested on animals.

Seventh Generation All Purpose Cleaner – Kills 99.99% of household germs botanically.

Puracy Natural All Purpose Cleaner – plant-based, safe for children and pets, natural, non-toxic and biodegradable.

Have a great one and let me know if you try out this recipe! xo

10 Sweet Ways to use Castile Soap

10 Sweet Ways to use Castile Soap

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure policy here.

Castile Soap is life.

Castile soap is made from 100% plant oils and does not contain any chemical detergents, making it totally biodegradable and earth friendly.

Dr. Bronner is the king of Castile Soap.  Dr. Bronner offers several varieties such as Lavender, Tea Tree and Almond.  His soaps are scented with essential oils and help give the castile soap an extra boost of cleaning power.  You can find Castile Soap at your local grocery or online here.   Castile soap typically will run you around $17.00 per 32 oz bottle. It’s pricey but keep in mind that it is concentrated and you will dilute the soap a lot.

Castile soap is super versatile and here are only 10 of the ways to use it.

10 ways to use Castile Soap

1. Floor Cleaner:  ½ c of soap in 3 gallons of hot water.

2. Toilet: Predilute 1:4 with water in a spray bottle. Add 1/2 tsp tea tree oil. Empty toilet, squirt bowl thoroughly, sprinkle baking soda on the brush, scrub bowl, let sit 10 minutes, turn water on, flush. (If you use soap with Tea Tree oil then you can omit using the essential oil.)

3. Fruit and Veggie Rinse: 1/4 tsp in 3 cups of water. Dunk produce and swish. Rinse in clear water. Rinse the bowl with water because it is already clean too!

4. Dog Washing: Due to various sizes of dogs and their different hair situations, soap amounts vary.  Just wet your dog completely and massage in the Castile soap until you work up a lather. Rinse. It is such a good feeling knowing that you didn’t have to rub chemical shampoo into your dog to get them squeaky clean.

5. Makeup Brush Cleaner: Get the brushes wet and rub a few drops into the bristles and swirl them around in a cup of water.  Let them set for 5-10 minutes and rinse. Gently squeeze the water out of the brushes and air dry.

6. Dish Soap: Pour a small amount onto your sponge and wash like normal.  This soap will not get real sudsy, but no worries, your dishes will be really clean. Bonus, you will be washing your dishes with non-toxic soap.

7. Tub Cleaner: Add 1 cup of baking soda to 3 tbsp of Castile Soap for a DIY Soft Scrub that will power clean those tough stains.

8. All-purpose Cleaning: Add 1/4 c of soap to a quart of water in a spray bottle.  Adding 1/4 tsp tea tree oil will give an added antibacterial boost. Add a couple more ingredients and this recipe for a natural, all-purpose cleaner will knock your socks off!

9. Face Wash: Wet face. Put 2-3 drops of Castile soap onto wet hands and wash.

10. Body Wash: Squirt a few drops onto a wet washcloth and apply to a wet body.  If you want to add a few more ingredients, you can make yourself this mighty fine body wash.

Do you use Castile Soap?  Tell me how you do it. 🙂

xo