Save money with green household cleansers you already have

Crystalized borax exposed in the Mineralogical Museum, Bonn, Germany.

You have Borax like this, but in powdered form. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Ra'ike/Wikipedia)

Don’t spend exorbitant amounts of money on green household cleansers. There are plenty of relatively safe household cleansers that you probably already have. Here are a few common household products that will save you money on your spring cleaning.

Break out the Borax

Boric acid comes from places like Death Valley, Calif., and in the right form, it is death to dirt. While the substance is naturally occurring, it is not without potential dangers, in that it is toxic if ingested. However, if the powdered form of boric acid – like Borax – is used as a cleaning booster, it works. Non-abrasive and a natural insecticide, Borax is great for scrubbing the bathroom counter and sink, shower and shower head. It’s an additive that boosts laundry detergent, removes stains, softens water and serves as a barrier that keeps ants away from the perimeter of your home. With water and vinegar, Borax is also a green household cleanser that can be used to clean windows.

Dr. Bronner can’t keep a lid on this

Nowhere within the rambling spiritual manifesto found on the outside of a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap does it say that the good doctor has a monopoly on Castile soap. That organic, vegetable-based green cleanser is available in many formats, all of them completely natural. No need to buy synthetics when you have this kind of laundry cleaner around. It’s gentle on fabrics, a few tablespoons with Borax utterly destroys stains and it’s great in diluted form as a floor cleaner. Mix with soap and water and spray it on plants to keep the aphids away. Once you’re through with the creepy crawlies, use it as a biodegradable body wash – for you or the dog.

Rubbing alcohol is not just for cuts

Rubbing alcohol is common in first-aid kits, but did you know it’s great for removing sticker gunk? It’s a solvent that’s great for cleaning ceramics and glossy book covers. It’s also a fine spot cleaner that can even dissolve ink stains in clothing and other fabrics. Just don’t use too much, lest you be overwhelmed by the fumes. Plus, you should keep it away from open flame.

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More great household cleaners from the first-aid kit

Hydrogen peroxide kills germs around a cut or abrasion in much the same way as rubbing alcohol, and it’s also a green cleaner. It kills mold and mildew; just dilute with two parts water and spray on the fungus-riddled grout. It’s a very green household cleanser that costs very little.

Cutting grease and grime with Lemon and lemon juice

If you’re looking to cut grease, lemon juice does it naturally. Rub a lemon slice over a cutting board for cleaning and disinfecting, thanks to the acid content. Ground up with the peels in a sink garbage disposal, a few wedges can clean and deodorize. On the countertop, a natural lemon cleanser creates a nice shine.

Sprinkle some absorbent cornstarch

Left on a carpet for 30 minutes, cornstarch will absorb dirt and odors before you fire up the vacuum. It works the same way as a dry hair shampoo. Sprinkle, brush out, and the grease is gone. Stubborn grease stains in the carpet are susceptible to a water/cornstarch paste, too. Let it dry, then brush/wash it off.

A little club soda will get that out

Club soda works well in a variety of mixed alcoholic drinks. While that’s enough for most people, those looking for another green household cleaner can use club soda to treat fresh stains. Pour it on, scrub and blot with a towel.

Rubbing salt on that dirty, wounded copper

Are your brass and copper tea sets and urns tarnished? Don’t buy an expensive synthetic cleanser. Use plain table salt and vinegar or lemon juice on the surface. The original shine will be back in no time. In addition, salt on a fresh wine stain can help get it out of the carpet or your favorite shirt.

Some dangerous household cleansers, with healthy alternatives


Green America

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