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Green Spring Cleaning

As spring settles in, the days get sunnier. Doesn’t it feel like it’s time to open the windows and spruce up your living space with a little spring cleaning? In these rough financial times, we’re all looking to save a little green. However, for those of us who are trying to live green and are already paying a little extra for organic foods, shelling out a little extra for greener household products might not be an option.

Here’s some good news: You can make your own cleaners for a fraction of the cost. And not only can they lift dirt and grime to leave your house sparking clean, these cleaners, with ingredients like bay leaves, lime, and peppermint, can also lift your spirits with their fragrance!

All-Purpose Cleaner

To make a simple cleaner for wiping down counter tops, sinks, and cupboards, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. For cleaning linoleum and tile floors, place this same mixture in a bucket and dip your mop in.

Air Freshener

To get rid of unpleasant odors, leave out a halved lime (make sure that the cut side is facing upward) in a bowl of baking soda. Instead of throwing the lime and baking soda into the trash when you’re finished using them, grind them up in your garbage disposal instead to freshen the surrounding area. If you’re a coffee drinker, don’t toss out your coffee grounds after use. Instead, put them in a bowl to absorb odors. To keep kitchen cupboards and drawers smelling fresh, add a few dried bay leaves.

Fabric Freshener

To freshen couch cushions, use a spray bottle filled with water and two drops of an essential oil such as lemon, orange, or peppermint. Essential oils are very potent, so one or two drops is all you need. Shake the bottle to mix the ingredients and mist whenever freshening is needed.

Carpet Freshener

Crush a couple of bay leaves and mix them with a bowl of baking soda. Add one to two drops of an essential oil and mix with a spoon. Sprinkle this mixture on rugs and carpets, and allow it to stand for a few minutes before you vacuum it up.

Cooktops and Ovens

For cleaning cooktops, dust with a bit of baking soda and squeeze some lime juice over it. You can use the cut lime half as a scouring tool to scrub the cooktop. Use a toothbrush to scour any hard-to-reach spots. For tough spots, make a paste out of some lime juice and baking soda, and let it sit on the problem areas for several minutes before scouring. For ovens, make a paste out of lime juice, baking soda, and salt. Wipe out the inside of the oven with a damp sponge, then apply the paste. Allow the paste to stand for about a half-hour, then scrub it off using a scouring pad.

Hard-to-Reach Grime

Have an oddly shaped vase that you can’t seem to clean the inside of? Squeeze a drop of dish soap or some vinegar into the vase and add water along with a small amount of dried rice. Cover the top with your hand, shake and swirl the rice around, then rinse. 

Happy spring cleaning!

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  • PETA says:

    @Denise You should check out this page for easy replacements, including household cleansers!

  • Denise Zamora says:

    Does anyone have any suggestions for getting rid of mold and mildew in showers? Does the vinegar/water mixture work for that?

  • chander kumar soni says:

    i love green.

  • Michelle says:

    Thank you for this list. I’ve been needing to find some natural ways to do my spring cleaning. I’m allergic to bleach, but I’ve really been wanting to clean my house. So, I’ve been using bleach and letting my hands get itchy and cracked. Next time, I’ll go w/ these natural cleaners. 🙂

  • Pat says:

    Vinegar is really good for disinfecting. My nephew is a biochemist and he told me that when a vinegar solution hits bacteria they explode. You can use a vinegar water solution to wash bagged salad greens and make sure that they are safe, and use vinegar around pets and children. I go to a local outlet store and buy gallons for less than $2.00. Can’t beat that!

  • Maria says:

    i agree please send us something to be used in mexico! i really have a hard time being a vegetarian and trying to buy any product! the few that are available are EXTREMELY expensive! i loved this article for we have no other animal friendly choices around here!!

  • Samantha Choi says:

    There are home-made alternatives to bought stuff, which you can make from household substances. They´re better for the environment and you can be absolutely sure they´re not tested on animals when u make them yourself. 🙂
    here´s a great link:

  • gita says:

    These people are so cruel.Thanks for the info.

  • KC says:

    I have used quite a few of the Seventh Generation products & there all great! I also mix up in a sm. spray bottle= lavender essential oil drops, a few more than lemon essential oil drops, & Pure water. shake & spray on anything to refresh or sanatize! Adjust the oils to your liking, enjoy!

  • KC says:

    I have been using seventh generation’s products for years now & there great! Laundry & dish soap, natural bleach etc. I also mix up in a sm. spray bottle, lemon essential oil,30 drops, to 40 drops of lavender essential,& 2 oz.of Pure water, shake & spray on anything to refresh! You can use less of the oils for a more delicate scent, enjoy!

  • Amy says:

    Shaklee Cleaning Products are amazing and effective and they are on PETA’s Cruelty Free Shopping List!

  • Emmalee says:

    You are being crule to animals if you test any thing on a pore little animal. So I am not going to be using any of those products.

  • claudia says:

    Can you please give us the names of products not tested on animals that can be acquired in Mexico? Of the list that you just gave us, 90% cannot be found here and only the ones tested on animals are the ones known…. and sadly, bought.
    THis info could be very helpful and I would be more than glad to distribute it here and blog about it.