Laura's Likes: Earth Day Edition - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Laura's Likes: Earth Day Edition


Environmental Working Group's guide for buying cleaners -

Tips for Green Cleaning:

Hydrogen Peroxide

Use the typical drug-store grade of 3% hydrogen peroxide and 97% water as a spray that fights mildew in the shower, or spray onto counters, tabletops, or cutting boards to disinfect them.

Full-Strength Vinegar

Add ½ cup to laundry for a natural fabric softener, remove toilet bowl stains by using it to scrub the inside of the toilet bowl, or remove hard water build up from faucets and showers by soaking them in vinegar for several hours

Half-strength Vinegar

Use to clean kitchen appliances, stove tops and counters, or spray onto windows for a natural window cleaner. To tackle your carpet stains, spray with vinegar for a couple of minutes before soaking up with a sponge.

Lemon juice

Mix with olive oil to make a natural wood furniture polish, or use as a natural deodorizer for countertops and kitchen appliances.

Baking Soda

Use to scrub sinks, toilets and tubs, mix with water to form an oven-cleaning paste (remember to wear gloves!), and deodorize the carpet by sprinkling on and then vacuuming up twenty minutes later. And, for a natural foaming drain cleaner, sprinkle two cups of baking soda down the drain, then follow with a cup of vinegar.

Glass and Mirrors

Forget ammonia-based window cleaners! The windows in your home can be effectively cleaned with 4 tablespoons lemon juice mixed with a half gallon of water. Other effective cleaners for glass and mirrors are rubbing alcohol and witch hazel.

Another tip that old-fashioned household hint books often mention is that you can wipe windows clean with newspapers. While this may sound like a totally green idea -- after all, you'd be reusing newspapers and saving on paper towels -- the reality is that doing so is a messy and big waste of time. Try using a clean, lint-free rag instead, perhaps an old cotton T-shirt or cloth diaper.- -

Furniture Polishing

Furniture polish remains high on our list of the Terrible Ten (including drain cleaners, over cleaners, toilet cleaners, spot removers, silver and other metal polishes, cleaners and powered cleaners, window cleaners, bleach, liquid cleaners) because polish is usually made of petroleum distillates and solvents, both of which are hazardous and, well, smelly. At the very least, they're both poisonous, so why keep them around when there are plenty of earth-friendly ways to polish your wood items?

One very effective wood polish sounds like it would be a good salad dressing as well: Just mix 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice and apply it to your furniture using a soft cloth. The combination gives your wood furniture a nice smell and a sparkling shine.

When a hot serving dish or glass of water has marred the surface of a wood table, you can quickly get rid of the mark by making a thin paste of salad oil or lemon oil and salt. Wipe the paste on, then lightly buff the area as you wipe it off with a soft cloth.


If your wood-burning fireplace has gathered soot and smoke smudges around its exterior, you can spruce it up by applying a paste of cream of tartar and water. Rub the paste into the stains, let it dry, then scrub it off.

If it's the inside of your fireplace and chimney you're worried about, you can help loosen soot buildup by tossing an occasional handful of salt into the fire the next time you're enjoying your fireplace. The burning salt will help loosen the soot a little, buying you some time between major cleanings.

Cleaning Bare Floors

Your basic vinegar and water solution is really the perfect choice for cleaning most types of bare floors in your home. Mix up 1 cup vinegar with 1 gallon warm water (be sure it's warm!) and mop it onto a ceramic tile, linoleum, vinyl, or wood floor. There is no need to rinse afterward -- saving both time and water. If your vinyl or linoleum floor looks a little dull after cleaning, you can give it a shine by mopping it over again with straight club soda. Try not to saturate wood floors with the vinegar and water solution.

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