Be Green on St. Patrick’s Day and Every Day

March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

House on a green leafIn honor of the holiday, we bring you ways to be green in your Chicago home.

Making your own cleaning products are safer and healthier than store-bought cleaners, not to mention cheaper, so you can save some green while being green.

Here are some tips for being eco-friendly clean at home:


*Windows: Vinegar works great on glass. Mix 3 tablespoons of vinegar with 2 cups of water, stick the mixture into a spray bottle and spray away. For bigger jobs, use 1/2 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water. If you can’t stand the smell, try adding a touch of lemon juice. Actually, lemon juice or club soda will clean the windows as well. Use a newspaper to wipe and it won’t leave streaks. All this will also clean mirrors.

*Water rings on wood: Apply toothpaste or mayonnaise to a damp cloth and rub it into the ring. Once you get the ring out, buff the entire wood surface (see next step).

*Furniture polish: Mix two parts cooking oil with one part lemon juice. Dab on the furniture and use a soft cloth to wipe clean.

*Dusters: Don’t you hate it when you lose one sock? You won’t anymore. Socks make the best dusters. Stick it on your hand and go to town. Wash afterward or toss. There will always be one miscellaneous sock in the next load you wash.

*Air fresheners: Mix baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice and place in small dishes around the house. The safe mixture will absorb odors and not just mask them. When you are cooking, simmer 1 tablespoon of vinegar in 1 cup water on the stove to soak up cooking odors. Houseplants will also help reduce odors in your home. Try to add at least two plants for every 100 square feet.

*Squeaky door: Try adding some olive oil to the top of a hinge to eliminate the pesky squeaking.

*Shoe polish: Add a few drops of lemon juice to olive oil and apply to shoes with cotton balls. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then wipe and buff with a dry rag.

*Weeds: Get rid of those annoying weeds into between your pavement cracks with straight vinegar.


*Toilets: Vinegar works great here, and the smell of it can’t be worse than the smells toilets accumulate. Drizzle your bowl with vinegar, then sprinkle with baking soda. Let sit for 10 minutes and scrub with a toilet brush. That method will clean sinks as well. Maybe don’t use the toilet brush in the sink.

*Grout: Got mold in your tile grout? Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water, put it in a spray bottle and spray on problem areas. Wait at least one hour before rinsing.

*Bathtub: Mix a paste of baking soda and water to make the texture like frosting. Scrub then rinse. The texture should rinse easily not leave grit behind.


*Ovens: Keep your oven clean before it gets dirty. If something falls onto the floor of the oven, sprinkle the hot spill with table salt before it cools down. Now allow the oven to cool before cleaning the area with a damp cloth. For a deep clean, sprinkle water over the entire bottom of the oven, cover the surface with baking soda until it’s all white, add a bit more water over the top and let sit overnight. Wipe it up the next day. This works on grills too.

*Microwave: Put a microwave-safe bowl inside with about a cup of water and a quarter cup of lemon juice or the juice of one lemon. Nuke it on high for about 10 minutes. Let it sit there for another five minutes to allow the steam to soften the gook, then wipe clean.

*Drain opener: Got a clogged drain? Dissolve 1 cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar into boiling water and pour it down the drain. Flush with hot water until the clog breaks. Stinky garbage disposal? Grind up a slice of lemon in it.


*Carpet stains: Mix equal parts of white vinegar with water in a spray bottle. Spray on the carpet stain, let it sit for 10 minutes and use warm soapy water to clean it up. If the stain is grease, sprinkle corn starch onto the spot, wait about a half hour and then vacuum the area. For an all-over clean, sprinkle baking soda on the carpet, wait a half hour and vacuum. This works on upholstered furniture as well.

*Ceramic tile: Mix 1/4 cup of vinegar and one gallon of water. The mixture will remove dirt without much scrubbing and won’t leave a film.

*Wood: Mix equal parts of vegetable oil and vinegar and rub into the floor. For a nice smell, add several drops of pure peppermint oil to the solution.

*Pests: By the way, peppermint oil keeps mice away. Douse cotton balls with the oil and place in areas in which you have seen their droppings. They won’t be back to that area. Set up humane traps and when you catch them, make sure to let them go far enough away from your house or they’ll be back. Spring brings ants; get rid of them by sprinkling an equal mix of baking soda and salt where you think they are coming in.


*Stains: Many spots can be cleaned from painted surfaces by simply applying baking soda on a damp sponge. Rub gently, then wipe with a clean, damp cloth.

*Nail holes: Fill nail holes in your walls with a paste of white toothpaste and baking soda.

*Wallpaper remover: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and hot water, then apply with a sponge over the old wallpaper. This should loosen the adhesive. Make sure you keep the windows open or use a fan to dissipate the smell.

Now doesn’t that all sound easy? I bet you have almost everything you need already in your home to do everything on this list.

Being green is easy, safe and extremely cost-effective. Got a tip I’ve missed? Share!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Here’s to a happy, healthy home every day!!

About The Author

Read All Stories By Tracey



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