Whole Story

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Clean Green this Spring

By Archive, May 15, 2007  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Archive
With the spring cleaning season well underway, we thought it appropriate to address the following question raised by Linda in the comments section of our last post, “What is a green product to use that actually works to clean the bathtub shower scum off of the shower glass doors? I have purchased green and non green products. Thanks so much for your advice.” Here are a couple of “recipes” for all-natural cleaners that should help with that stubborn shower scum: Glass Cleaner #1: Combine 1/4 cup vinegar and one quart of water. Plain club soda also works! Glass Cleaner #2: Mix 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water. Add 5 drops lemon oil or, if you like suds, 5 drops favorite all-natural dishwashing liquid. Use to wash windows, other glass or mirrors. This mixture can also be kept in a covered container with a rag submerged in the liquid. For damp dusting, simply wring the rag out and wipe surfaces clean. For more all-natural cleaner ideas check out our Clean and Green article: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/issues/greenaction/clean.html What all-natural cleaners have you found to be effective? Leave a comment and let us know!
Category: Green Action




AMS says ...
Vinegar is a great green cleaner and has many uses. Another is BAKING SODA. Use it to clean your electric glass cooktop. Simply wet the surface and sprinkle baking soda on the dirt. With a sponge, use a little elbow grease and whala ! Wipe with a clean sponge ............. it's also great in the oven, especially on the oven window ........... removes the grease and stains so you can look in again :)
05/17/2007 7:15:06 AM CDT
Bethany says ...
Two more uses for baking soda and vinegar Baking soda makes a great fabric softener. Add 1/4 cup of baking soda to your wash load and note the difference. White vinegar also works pretty well to soften fabrics (1/4 cup per load). It prevents cling, too.
05/17/2007 12:39:42 PM CDT
Stacy Calderone says ...
I have two "love of my life" Rottweillers that live in/outdoors in Southern Florida with me. I vacume frequently and something that has helped me tremendously keep my green-clean house smelling lovely is putting organic cotton balls with approximately 10 drops of essential oils into the vacume cleaner bag. The scent lasts until I change my vacume bag - just about once a month. I have received so many compliments on my yummy smelling house - essentials oil favorites are Orange, Lemon, Rosemary & Rose & Lavendar. WHO needs all those toxic air fresheners & aerosol cans?! Simple. Effective. Inexpensive. Earth Friendly. Health Friendly. Doggie Friendly. Try it - you'll like it!
05/17/2007 1:45:50 PM CDT
Kim Riddle says ...
My favorite combination is baking soda and lemon juice, squeezed from a fresh lemon. Then rinse with plain water. I have tried it for cleaning anywhere that the mess seems tough, especially pots and pans. Most recently, I tried it using a toothbrush for cleaning the grout on my tile floor. Now I actually can see the original color of the grout!
05/17/2007 3:31:20 PM CDT
Diane Zielke says ...
Instead of using a sponge mop on wood floors, get an old wash cloth and wet it in a solution of vinegar and water, wring out all the water and hook it into a Swiffer-type Sweeper. This is much better than the commercial products for wood floors which can actually damage your finish and are more expensive. Simply remove the cloth and rinse as you clean your floor. It cleans the floor beautifully!
05/17/2007 3:39:34 PM CDT
Connie says ...
Stainless steel sinks get spotted and dirty so quickly - the best cleaner I have found is combining lemon and baking soda. I simply slice a lemon in half, sprinkle it generously with baking soda, and use it like a scouring pad, squeezing it to release more "cleaner" as I go. The lemon and baking soda together create a foaming action that cuts grease and easily rinses clean. It dries so sparkly, too, without the usual streaks. Afterward, I reuse the lemon by slicing it up further and throwing it down the garbage disposal. I've also used the same technique for cleaning soap scum off of shower stalls and tubs, and it works great!
05/17/2007 5:39:12 PM CDT
Cindy says ...
I recently started to use Whole Foods 365 Laundry Powder detergent. It has a fantastic orange scent that is very light and refreshing. I have found that it also lasts a long time, is earth friendly, and helps me to stay "earth friendly". I love the fact that it is biodegradable and free of phosphates and dyes. I get more for my money and have fresh smelling clothes all the time!
05/17/2007 5:55:18 PM CDT
Lindy Lewis says ...
Sometimes stain pre-treatment products don't work. Hydrogen peroxide can a blood stain out of white fabrics without any trace.
05/17/2007 6:06:21 PM CDT
Michelle LaCombe says ...
As you all have noted, vinegar & baking soda are excellent cleaners and can be used all over the house. Both help remove odors as well. A little baking soda in the trash makes it smell nice. Or a nasty mess on the carpet is also easily cared for with baking soda. It neutralizes the odor & can soak up the liquid as well for easy removal. If I burn something in the kitchen, a bowl of vinegar quickly removes the smell (& the vinegar smell dissapates quickly as well.) In addition, baking soda is a gentle abrasive agent that can be mixed with regular soap to give it more 'omph'. I like to mix baking soda with my Dr. Bronner's liquid organic castile soap. I pour a little soap in the sink or tub, add some baking soda & scrub with my scrub brush. And for the toilet, I use generic 'Tang' breakfast drink. That way, I don't have to worry about the kids (though I still keep it out of reach to prevent messes.) Simply sprinkle in about a half cup, let stand a few hours or overnight. Then scrub and rinse. A little tea tree oil diluted in water (1 teaspoon per cup water) is great for mildew in the shower. Two tsps of tea tree oil per load is great for 'sterilizing' cloth diapers & sweaty clothes in the wash. Lastly, guess what gets out a LOT of stains IF applied immediately? WATER! At home, I take off the stained item immediately & soak it in cold water in the sink. Usually, that gets most or all of the stain, meaning less or no pre-treatment. And for protein-based stains like milk or yogurt, use unseasoned meat tenderizer. Wet the stain, and apply the tenderizer to make a damp paste. Let sit an hour or so, then launder. It should come right out. If not, repeat. A 2nd treatment should get it, especially if it's a fresh stain. Old stains may also respond to this treatment. For ink stains, and fresh marker stains (immediate ones), try alcohol - as close to 100% as you can get, but be careful, it is flammable. Pour onto the back side of the stain with a cloth on the other side to 'catch' the alcohol. Or, soak a shirt with several marks on it in a shallow basin of alcohol (leave the ventilation fan running if possible for fumes). Lastly, I removed stains from my daughter's ballet slippers with Dove soap gently massaged into the leather, then wiped off with a damp cloth. This also works well for leather handbags, etc. (NOT with suede!). Well, I hope everyone finds these tips useful. Thanks for the baking soda/lemon tips; I will be trying them out!
05/17/2007 11:22:18 PM CDT
Lisa Kohlhaas says ...
I use just plain table salt and lemon juice to clean my copper bottom cookware. I makes it shine like a new penny! Smells good, too.
05/18/2007 4:51:43 AM CDT
Kathee Griffith says ...
I actually have 2 tips that I use often. My garbage disposal gets some funky odors in it. Whenever I use lemons I thow the peelings in the disposal & grind them up. The disposal is nice & fresh smelling & the acid in the lemons cuts any grease left in it. Tip #2 is for grass growing in cracks in your sidewalk or driveway. All I do is sprinkle a little salt in the cracks. This will kill the weeds & grass without using any pesticide. It works as well or better than most weed/grass killers.
05/18/2007 7:41:36 AM CDT
Leathur says ...
1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water will melt-away lime deposits. I use the mixture to clean aquariums, pet water bowls, and hummingbird feeders. It's non-toxic and leaves glass sparkling!
05/19/2007 4:37:39 PM CDT
Carole Lynne says ...
A sponge, moistened, and plain baking soda, is all I ever use to clean entire tub/shower areas. It will take off anything, without harm. Just rinse off afterward. As for weeds in drives, etc. I always pour my (boiling hot) leftover pasta water onto the cracks. No weeds ever survive, or return, for a very long time.
05/21/2007 12:38:28 PM CDT
Rachel Billings says ...
Adding to the many voices advocating baking soda, my husband & I had a badly stained bathtub in the downstairs bathroom of our newly-purchased home. Even my mother-in-law's vigorous efforts combined with bleach did little to remove the stains. Then, one day, I happened to use baking soda to clean up a beverage ring stain on my countertop; it came right off. Suddenly a lightbulb went on in my head, and I suggested to my husband that we try the same thing on the tub. The results were amazing! It's an old tub, so it will never look like new, but the baking soda took off far more than hard scrubbing with bleach had done!
05/21/2007 3:14:25 PM CDT
Caitlin says ...
Another use for baking soda and white vinegar is to unclog shower drains. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by one cup of vinegar. Cover the drain with a rag so the mixture doesn't bubble up into the tub too much. After the mixture stops bubbling, run hot water for a minute. Depending on how clogged your drain is, you might need to do it a couple times, but it is better for the environment than commercial products.
05/24/2007 1:34:47 PM CDT
Shirley Acevedo says ...
After cleaning my stainless steel kitchen sink with baking soda and rinsing it well, I put a tablespoon of any cooking oil on a soft cloth and polish the sink well to resist water spotting and keep my sink looking good longer.
05/27/2007 7:00:24 AM CDT
la_florecita says ...
My favorite stain remover is the sun. It takes patience, but I've gotten spaghetti sauce off a light-colored sundress. Wash it first to remove all the food, then lay the wet dress flat in the sun. When it dries, if the stain is still there, wet it again and leave it in the sun. Repeat until the stain is gone! It's great because it doesn't fade the original color the way bleach would.
05/30/2007 8:50:57 AM CDT
Brigid says ...
Plain water and those micro fiber cleaning cloths do a fine job on the shower doors and fixtures. I'm sure it would work even better with lemon, vinegar, baking soda, etc. But you can't beat the economy of plain water! If you use a squeegie on the shower doors after the shower, the build-up is limited and you don't have to scrub as often.
06/14/2007 12:17:28 PM CDT
julie moore says ...
I love this replacement of a softscrub type cleanser: take 1/2 c. baking soda and mix with castile soap until it forms a thick paste. Add a few drops of lavender, rosemary, or tea tree oil (all have anti-bacterial properties). I store this in a jar by my kitchen sink and it really makes things sparkle. For extra tough staines, after putting the paste on the stain, sprinkle with a little Borax and it should do the trick! (I also sometimes use lavender castile soap in place of adding the oil).
08/16/2007 1:15:21 PM CDT
Tanya says ...
I keep a box of baking soda in the fridge and freezer and when it is time to change I dump them into a container and use it to clean in the kitchen and bath. To keep your shower cleaner longer just squeegee after each shower- this will also cut down on the time you keep your bathroom fan running. I can't live without old toothbrushes to clean hard to reach spots like the grout and around the drain, clean jewelry, scrub laundry spots- keep them around the house. I love Murhpy's oil soap for floors and wood work. I also dilute some Murphy's with water in a spray bottle and you have the perfect spot cleaner for your wood surfaces and spray it on a dustmop and dust will cling to it much better and plus it has a great smell. Vinegar works great to kill grass inbetween your walkway bricks- buy a big jug and put some in a spray bottle and use it inside to clean or outside to kill pesky grass in the cracks or weeds in your lawn. Another outside tip- if you have a lot of flower pots just bring them to your local farmer's market and give them to the person there who sells perennials so they can reuse them.
09/13/2007 8:06:02 AM CDT
K. McKenna says ...
Repeated use of baking soda on a fiberglass tub or shower could scratch it. I have tried almost everything on mine to remove soap scum. By accident one day I spilled a bottle of Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash in the bottom of my tub. When I went to rinse it and wipe it up, I was amazed at how well it took off the soap scum. Now I use it all the time. It only takes a couple of squirts on a soft wash cloth to clean the whole tub. This product is vegan so I know it is safe for my family's health, and it does a better job than anything else I have tried. I buy the extra large bottle at Whole Foods and it comes out very inexpensive to keep my tub clean that way. The smell is nice, no more caustic fumes!
09/13/2007 8:10:26 AM CDT
Kelly says ...
Castille soap (such as Whole Foods Organic Castille Soap or Dr. Bronners) can be used to clean nearly anything! Just squeeze a couple drops into a spray bottle and fill with water. You'll be able to clean your bathroom, kitchen, dishes, furniture, walls, floors, and body with this soap. You'll save space by not owning multiple cleaning products, and since a little castille soap goes a long way, you'll also save money. Castille soap is vegan, biodegradable and non-toxic (great to use around kids or pets). You can even use 1/8 cup to do an entire load of laundry!
01/04/2008 9:56:48 AM CST
Shell Marie says ...
I am getting ready for the Holidays and I purchased a new silver polish. The dreaded job of cleaning the silver flatware that I inhereited from my grandmother. I found an environmentally safe, green silver polish. It is so easy to use, just spray it on, let it dry and wipe off with a cotton cloth! I can't believe it works and is green. It is made by a company called HAGERTY, I have been using their products for years. The product also has a tarnish preventative in it, so my silver will not tarnish. My grandmother would be so delighted to see her flatware, and also that I am protecting our environment!
10/03/2008 1:07:38 PM CDT
Alison says ...
I use baking soda and vinegar on tough pans - be careful - when you add the vinegar to the baking soda, it will bubble up. My mother used to actually do it over the stove heat and really got results. I haven't been that brave.
04/27/2009 10:28:22 AM CDT
rtmhammond says ...
Vinegar is great for removing that icky crud that builds up around faucets. Take paper towels and wrap them around the faucets or where the build-up is. Then saturate with white vinegar. Leave there all day or all night. Take a tooth brush or some kind of small scrubber and remove the ick. Wipe down with the paper towels you used to soak it. Actually, the vinegar ends up sweetening the room. My kids like to mix baking soda with vinegar so they help clean sometimes. Vinegar is also a good replacement for fabric softener. Fabric softener will build up on your washer and cause mildew/fungus to grow in your washer. And THAT is STINKY!!! And it's difficult to get rid of.
01/08/2010 8:45:47 PM CST