In the late 1970s, frustrated artist, inventor and homemaker Frances Gabe developed the first and only self cleaning house, a modest Oregon living space equipped with 68 different devices that basically took care of most of the drudgery of day-to-day maintenance tasks. If you’re like most of us, you might be eager to join the long line of harried homeowners waiting to sign up to get one of your own. In the meantime, however, why not do those necessary chores in the most environmentally friendly way possible?
DON’T JUST MAKE LEMONADE
While lemons make a great summer drink, they also have numerous uses when it comes to household cleaning because of their antiseptic and antibacterial properties. They also smell great! Use them to shine copper pans and remove stains from plastic containers. Combine lemon juice and peel with white vinegar in a jar, let it marinate for a few days and then use it for an all-purpose cleansing solution.
PUT BAKING SODA TO WORK FOR YOU
Scientifically known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda is a great deodorant and a gentle scrubbing agent. Make it into a paste with water to get rid of surface rust, and use a somewhat waterier paste to get rid of grease. Cover the bottom of your dirty oven with this paste, and leave it overnight. When morning comes, scrape it off to reveal the sparkling surface beneath.
GET A CLEAN GREEN TOILET
Baking soda is your friend in the bathroom as well. Add a cup of baking soda to the water of your toilet bowl. Leave it for an hour, and then add a cup of white vinegar. After a few minutes, flush. You will be amazed at the brightness of your bowl.
NOT JUST FOR SALADS
White vinegar is mildly acidic and can be an excellent cleaning ally for that reason. When diluted in water, it can be used to remove stains from clothing and upholstery. Add it to lemon juice to make a fresh-smelling and effective deodorizer.
CLEAN YOUR DISHWASHER
You don’t need pricey chemicals to make your dishwasher look and smell great. Just place 2 cups of white vinegar in a dishwasher safe bowl, and set it on the top rack of your otherwise empty dishwasher. Run it for one cycle to remove germs and bad smells.
MAKE YOUR GLASS SHINE
Mirrors and windows can get streaky and fingerprinted, but all you need to make them sparkle is a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and a microfiber cloth. In a jiffy, all of your glass surfaces will be streak-free and sparkling with just a little elbow grease and some ingredients from your pantry.
Even if you never win the lottery or get to take advantage of that iconic self cleaning house, you can easily make your living space tidy and fresh with these green tips. Put aside those expensive, harsh chemicals that sting your eyes and damage the environment. Eco-friendly cleaning is the way to go.