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Wilburn: Green cleaning helps your house and your wallet
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Where to find ingredients

Washing soda (sodium carbonate): Available in the laundry aisle of grocery store

Borax (sodium borate): Available in the laundry aisle of  grocery store

Vegetable oil-based liquid soap (castile soap): Available in health food and natural food stores

Essential oils: Available in health food and natural food stores

If you go green when cleaning your kitchen, you simplify the process and reduce volatile organic compounds by using fewer cleaning products.

It’s now easy to buy or make products that you can use for several purposes. And if you use fewer cleaners, you have are storing fewer chemicals in your home.

Homemade cleaning products also usually cost less than commercial or ready-made cleaners. Both homemade and natural-based commercial products can be used as alternatives to their more toxic commercial counterparts. But they require time for preparation and you may need to use more energy to clean.

Natural-based “commercial products” are more convenient, but often more expensive than other products. And keep in mind that no cleaning product is 100 percent safe. The terms natural and green do not imply that the product is nontoxic. All cleaning products should be used with caution.

By using these quick and easy cleaning recipes you can improve your indoor environment, save money and help conserve natural resources.

Debbie Wilburn is county extension agent in family and consumer science with the Hall County Extension. Contact: 770-535-8290.

All-purpose cleaner 1
3 tbsp. white vinegar
½ tsp. washing soda
½ tsp. vegetable oil based liquid soap
2 cups hot water
Mix ingredients in spray bottle or bucket. Apply and wipe clean.

All-purpose cleaner 2
2 tbsp. Borax
¼ cup vinegar
2 cups hot water
Combine the Borax and vinegar with the water in a spray bottle. Use as you would any commercial all-purpose cleaner.

Non-abrasive soft scrubber
¼ cup Borax
Vegetable oil-based liquid soap
½ tsp. lemon essential oil
In a bowl, mix the Borax with enough soap to form a creamy paste. Add lemon oil and blend well. Scoop a small amount of the mixture onto a sponge, wash the surface, then rinse well.

Garbage disposal cleaner
1 cup ice
Used lemon or orange rind
To eliminate garbage disposal odors and clean and sharpen blades, grind ice and rinds until pulverized.

Drain cleaner
½ cup baking soda
1 cup white vinegar
1 gallon boiling water
Pour baking soda down drain/disposal, followed by vinegar. Allow the mixture to foam for several minutes before flushing the drain with boiling water. For slow drains, use this drain cleaner once a week to keep drains fresh and clog-free.

Oven cleaner
2 tbsp. vegetable oil based liquid soap
2 tbsp. Borax
Mix the soap and Borax in a spray bottle. Fill the bottle with hot water and shake well. Spray on oven and leave for 20 minutes. Scrub off.

Refrigerator cleaner
2 tbsp. baking soda
1 quart warm water
Dissolve baking soda in water. Use to wipe all surfaces inside and out. For stubborn spots, rub with baking soda paste. Be sure to rinse with a clean, wet cloth.

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