Environmentally Responsible Cleaning Recipes Part 1: Household Cleaners

A big part of our practice is working with Environmental Medicine, which we define as working with one’s environment with the intention of creating the conditions for health for yourself and the planet. We address the quality of the air, food, and water, as well as other products we put in or on our bodies.

Environmental medicine is powerful and important, and big gains in health can be created by small changes. This is the first part of a series of articles written to help you make little environmental changes that can move you towards health, by making your own household cleaners.

General Household Cleaners

Lemon Oil Furniture Polish
1 cup mineral oil
1 tsp. lemon oil

Mix the above ingredients together and store in a pump dispenser of your choice. Spray directly onto furniture and buff surface to shine. Use sparingly to prevent build up.

Olive Oil Furniture Polish
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. white vinegar
4 cups (1L) water

Mix ingredients and store in a pump dispenser. Place bottle near heat before use as polish will work better warm (e.g. place bottle in a pan of warm water). Apply to furniture and rub dry with a soft cloth.

Carpet Cleaner
2 cups baking soda
4-5 bay leaves, crumbled
½ cup cornstarch
1 tbsp. ground cloves

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Shake the cleaner onto your carpet. Leave overnight and vacuum thoroughly the next day. Note: this is more or less a carpet freshener (it will pick up dirt and dust and remove stains left by moisture)

Carpet Deodorizer
½ cup cornstarch
¼ cup borax

Mix cornstarch with borax. Sprinkle on carpet and leave for 1 hour. Vacuum.

Silver Polish
Aluminum foil
4 cups (1L) water
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. salt

Put a piece of aluminum foil in an enamel or stainless steel saucepan. Pour in water. Add baking soda and salt and bring to a boil. Add your silverware and the tarnish will disappear
from your silverware and coat the foil. Polish the silverware with a dry cloth as you remove it from the pan. Note: This formula works very well on heavily tarnished items. The only problem is that may leave a dull coating on surfaces. We do not recommend you use this method on patina design as it may remove the accents.

Brass and Copper Cleaner
2 tbsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. vinegar

Mix above items into a paste. Rub on copper items and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse and shine clean with a soft cloth. Note: This formula works okay with a lot of elbow grease. It
was not effective on badly tarnished items. To quick-clean copper or brass, saturate a sponge with vinegar or lemon juice, sprinkle on salt and scrub vigorously. Leaves a nice shine!

Glass Cleaner #1
4 cups (1L) vinegar
4 cups (1L) water

Note: This works fairly well, but not as well as commercial cleaners. For best results, clean windows first using isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) to remove the residue from
previously used cleaners.

Glass Cleaner #2
2 tbsp. borax
3 cups water

Mix ingredients together in a bucket. Clean windows using
newspaper. Note: This works well, but be careful not to smudge any
woodwork with the newspaper.

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