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Tips for Green Living - Green Cleaning

Top tips for green cleaning with Nicky Saunter

Housework can be drudgery and we often look to “miracle” cleaners to make our work easier.

However, few do what they claim and many contain petroleum distillates or ammonia and are highly poisonous.

Here's Trustee Nicky Saunter's top tips for Green Cleaning...


Our top ten baddies with some friendly alternatives:

  1. Drain cleaners.  ­ First, use your compost bin and don’t put greasy things down the plughole! If all fails, tip in 1/4 cup baking soda and then 1/4 cup vinegar, leave for 20 mins, and then pour down a pan of boiling water. If it’s really greasy, mix 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup baking soda together, pour down the drain, and then flush with hot tap water.
  2. Oven cleaners.  Sprinkle about a 1/4-inch layer of baking soda over the entire bottom of the oven after your evening meal. Use a clean spray bottle to wet the baking soda with water and keep it moist for a few hours. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, scrape and scoop the dried baking soda and grime out of the oven with a damp sponge. Rinse the residue off. To prevent grease build-up, wipe oven vents with a sponge soaked in pure vinegar. Use an old toothbrush dipped in vinegar to get at the grime that may have built up in small crevices. If the filter is metal and removable, give it a soak in a vinegar solution.
  3. Air fresheners.  ­ What a crazy idea when you can just open the window! Or for strong smells like paint, leave a dish of vinegar in the room and replenish daily. You could also pour a little vanilla extract or essential oil into a small bowl and place where needed.
  4. Furniture spot removers.  ­ If a hot pan or a glass has left a mark on wood, make a paste of lemon oil and salt, wipe it on, then lightly buff the area as you wipe it off with a soft cloth.
  5. Silver and other metal polishes. Make a paste using equal parts of salt, flour and vinegar; rub the paste over the entire surface, then let it dry out (about an hour) before wiping off with a clean, soft cloth.
  6. Furniture polishes. 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice, applied with a soft cloth to wooden furniture. It smells good too!
  7. Bathroom cleaners.  For everyday cleaning in the bathroom, use baking soda liberally. Just sprinkle it on a damp sponge and wipe off dirty surfaces. To remove soap residue from showers etc, wipe down with a sponge and vinegar, leave for 10 minutes and then rinse off.
  8. Window cleaners. ­Try 4 tbsp lemon juice or 4 tbsp clear vinegar in a bucket of water. Use an old T-shirt or tea towel to wipe dry.
  9. Bleach. ­ Lemon juice and sunlight work well in many situations (e.g. on white laundry stains), but if you must use it, then read the label and choose one that’s ok for septic tanks.
  10. Too much washing-up liquid.  ­Anything with an oily residue, such as a salad dressing cruet, can easily be cleaned by shaking a bit of baking soda inside, then rinsing with warm water. The baking soda absorbs the oil. If you have a thermos or lunchbox that is beginning to smell a little fruity, pour 1/4 cup salt into it and close it up for the night. In the morning, rinse and wipe clean, and it should smell fresh again.