April 9, 2012 in Features

Do Your Part: Try green for spring clean

Terri Bennett McClatchy

Spring is here and that means it’s time for a good spring-cleaning. Instead of bringing in chemical cleaners to do the dirty work, opt for a deep, green clean. Using safer cleaning products helps create a healthier home and a healthier family.

• White vinegar is a natural disinfectant that works just about everywhere. Mix a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water for a germ-busting disinfectant to clean kitchen counters, bathrooms, and most floors. You can bring this mixture to a boil in the microwave to loosen stuck-on food and grease. And 1 cup of vinegar in a dishwasher will clean its inner workings. One warning: don’t use vinegar on marble or other porous surfaces.

• Baking soda works well on most things in the kitchen because it doesn’t scratch. That makes it a good choice for countertops, oven tops, stainless steel, and the sink. If you have stubborn stains, use a baking soda paste of three parts baking soda and one part water. Let it sit for a while, scrub the area, and then wipe clean.

• Borax is an effective mold killer and works well on hard water deposits. Use a paste to scrub the sides of the tub to a sparkling white, or mix a solution of 1 cup of borax with 1 gallon of hot water to eat away at mold in tile grout. A cup of borax left in the toilet bowl overnight leaves it fresh and clean.

• Green up laundry day by switching to a plant-based detergent. For softer clothes add 1/4 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle as a natural fabric softener (use less for HE machines). The smell of vinegar disappears as the clothes dry.

• Wean your family off paper towels by keeping a drawer of reusable cloths nearby. Whether you choose kitchen towels, washcloths, or cut up old T-shirts, the key is in quantity.

Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, eco-expert and author of “Do Your Part: A practical guide for everyday green living” available at DoYourPart.com.

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