Great Green Convenient Ways to Clean

Whenever I can help the environment and my bottom line, I consider it a win-win. When I can do both of those as well as make my life easier, well, that’s a hands-down homerun! Thankfully, there’s a plethora of ways to do just that when it comes to keeping the house sparkling clean. Another benefit? Green cleaning tactics are not only easier on the environment and my wallet, they’re easier on sensitive skin and those with respiratory challenges, too. So, hang up the rubber gloves and put away your cash because you simply won’t need them when you employ the following supplies and tactics to keep your house sparkling and clean for far less green.

Live green

What you’ll need…

  • White Vinegar (5% acidity)
  • Microfiber clothes or old rags
  • Empty spray bottle
  • Baking soda
  • Essential oils (for scent, if desired)

Vinegar cannot be beat when it comes to multipurpose cleaning. Cheap, cheap, and, oh, did I mention cheap? It can’t be beat when it comes to cost effectiveness either! Simply pour it straight (undiluted) into an empty spray bottle and you’re ready to clean. It cuts grime and can make overall clean up a snap on counters and sinks and the like. And, while it does not completely disinfect, it does help cut the number of germs lingering around your home significantly in a safe way. Don’t like the smell of vinegar? Don’t worry, once it dries the smell dissipates. Additionally, if you don’t care for the smell, add a few drops of an essential oil to sweeten the aroma a bit while you’re cleaning. Vinegar is also great for cleaning microwaves (bring ½ cup of water mixed with ½ cup of vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl to a rolling boil in the microwave and baked on, dried on food will wipe away in snap!) and cleaning and deodorizing garbage disposals (pour ½ cup baking soda and ½ cup of hot white distilled vinegar down the drain, let sit for 5 minutes and then run hot water down the drain to flush it clean). For even more great tips (1,001 tips, to be exact) on how to use vinegar around your home, visit

Baking soda makes an ideal economical, safe and gentle abrasive cleaner. Make your own scouring cleanser by mixing a bit of baking soda and white vinegar together to create a paste. “Wait!” you may be thinking. “What about the foaming reaction between the two?!” All the better, use it to your advantage to lessen the amount of elbow grease you’ll need to employ. Baking soda is a great way to keep tubs and sinks sparkling clean and free from soap scum without compromising the enamel in the process. Additionally, baking soda is a phenomenal natural deodorizer. It doesn’t simply mask smells with fake perfumes or overpowering, not to mention expensive scents, it actual absorbs and neutralizes them. Sprinkle it in garbage cans, kitty litter boxes and use it to keep your fridge and freezer smelling, well, like nothing at all.

While any ordinary old rag will do, microfiber clothes are the Cadillac of green cleaning. They take a little bit of elbow grease and amplify the cleaning results. They minimize streaks, pick up more grime and grease and can be washed and reused again and again and again. Add a few to your green cleaning arsenal and you won’t be disappointed.

Photo credit: erinsy

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

6 Responses to “Great Green Convenient Ways to Clean”

  1. Suzanne Holt |  Jun 29, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    I second the microfiber cleaning clothes! It is my #1 cleaning fav and the fact that it removes 99.9% bacteria using only water – it can’t get much better than that. Glad to see another fan :)

    Radically reducing the use of chemicals in personal care and cleaning.

  2. Lorne Marr |  Jul 01, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    So far I only used vinegar and salt to remove the calcium from my electric kettle. If you are sure the vinegar smell will go away, I might give it a shot. And how are essential oils going to work with your surfaces? Won’t they make them – well – oily?
    In any case, I believe you and will try it your way the next weekend I help clean our house. But before I recommend your article to my friends, I’ll make sure I don’t own any shares in a chemical company :)
    - Lorne

  3. Benjamin Bankruptcy |  Jul 05, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    My favourite cleaning cloths are old tshirts cut in half:) Plus they’re super cheap ie free. I use vinegar as well but I need to find a place that I can buy in bulk only getting it in 2L containers is expensive