Green Up Your Clean Up

Spring into cleaning action with inexpensive, nontoxic cleaners

Betty’s Spring-Cleaning Series

Green Up Your Clean Up

Spring into cleaning action with inexpensive, nontoxic cleaners

-Stephanie Feuer

cleaning a dining room tableTulip sprouts are poking through the soil. You can feel the lightness in the air. Spring is coming – and with it, the ritual of spring cleaning. This year why not set aside those expensive and toxic cleansers. You can green up your spring cleaning with materials you already have in your cabinets. Here’s what to use:

Baking soda

• Make your own soft scrub cleanser for sinks and tile by mixing four parts baking soda to one part vinegar. Scent the paste with lavender or another favorite essential oil.
• Descale your coffee pot by adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to a carafe of water and running it through your coffee pot.
• Get brighter colors and remove grease stains from your laundry by adding ½ cup to your wash.
• Eliminate pet odors by shaking some baking soda on carpets or upholstery before you vacuum.
• To keep drains running freely, put a couple of tablespoons of baking soda down the drain. After a half hour, flush with hot water.

White Vinegar

• Clean windows and glassware with vinegar in a spray bottle.
• Use vinegar on a toothbrush to remove juice stains from carpet.
• Spritz your bathroom tiles after cleaning to prevent mold growth.

Lemon Juice

• Spray lemon juice on cutting boards to remove stains and odors.
• Mix lemon juice with baking soda and use the paste to remove stains from plastic cups and containers.


• A paste of kosher salt and water is the only abrasive you should use on your cast iron pan. Simply rub and rinse. .
• Coarse salt combined with lemon makes a perfect scrub for stainless steel cookware
• Mix salt and vinegar to remove greasy fingerprints from blender, toaster and other appliances.

Olive Oil

• Mix two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice for a natural wood polish.


• Create a fresh, inviting scent by simmering a handful of cloves and cinnamon sticks in a pot of water.

Stephanie Feuer is a freelance writer and marketing consultant. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Press, numerous journals and anthologies and here on

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