Ready for some spring cleaning, Portland? You probably know that conventional household cleaning products can contain chemicals that harm your health, and harm waterways when they go down the drain, but you may not know that alternatives can be easy and affordable. You don't need fancy spray bottles filled with well-marketed "green" cleaners! Never underestimate the power of baking soda, vinegar, castile soap, and hydrogen peroxide. A simple green cleaning kit will save you cash, improve your health, and do no harm to your family or the environment.

This infographic from the Oregon Environmental Council convinced us to swap out some supplies under our kitchen sink:

Convinced? Here are a few DIY recipes for a home green cleaning kit:

  • White distilled vinegar
    • Use it in a spray bottle on windows and as an after-shower spray to cut soap scum
    • Pour some into your clothing rinse cycle to remove odors and soften clothes
    • Simmer on the stove to deodorize cooking odors
    • Gummy, sticky mess? Soak it in vinegar to dissolve
  • Baking soda
    • Sprinkle in your garbage pail or diaper pail to deodorize
    • Mix with castile soap for a soft scrub in the bathroom or kitchen
    • Open a box in the fridge or freezer to deodorize
    • Sprinkle on carpet to freshen, then vacuum up
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3%, right out of the first aid aisle)
    • Use on grass or blood stains (take care! It will bleach clothing!)
    • Spray on countertops and leave for 10 minutes to sanitize
    • Use to remove oil stains on concrete
  • Castile soap (vegetable-based soap)
    • Use anywhere you would use soap or detergent: dishes, countertops, clothing, floors, hands
    • Mix with baking soda for a soft scrub paste
  • Essential oil (try peppermint or lemon for a fresh scent)
    • Use instead of artificial fragrance. Caution: essential oil is powerful! Use only a drop or two at a time.
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