One of the best places to start your green cleaning is in the kitchen, since it is one of the areas of your home you must clean daily, and also where we make and eat our meals. Therefore, here are the top ten green cleaning tips for kitchens, to keep them sparkling without hurting our health or the environment.
Tip 1: Switch to a natural dish soap. Did you know that when you clean your dishes each night with many types of commercial dish soaps you are cleaning with a petroleum based product? To avoid using these non-renewable resources and man-made chemicals switch to a vegetable based dish soap, such as castile soap, for washing your dishes.
Tip 2: Use all natural all-purpose cleaners. Most areas of your kitchen, such as spills and dirt on your counters and tables, can be cleaned with dishwashing soap and water. For a more powerful cleaner, for those areas which have gotten stained or are quite dirty, you can also use a paste of baking soda and water, or for really stubborn stains try a paste of oxygen bleach or hydrogen peroxide.
Tip 3: Switch to a natural dishwasher detergent. A great recipe to try is a tablespoon of this mixture for each load: 1/4 cup citric acid and 1.5 cups of borax, mixed together. This will keep your dishes clean without chlorine, strong alkalies, or phosphates.
Tip 4: Clean your wooden cutting board with lemon and coarse salt. You can clean stains from your cutting board by putting coarse salt all over it, and then rubbing the salt into the board with a cut lemon. Then, rinse well and lay the board on its side to dry. (You still need to use a non-porous board for cutting raw meat, instead of a wooden one.)
Tip 5: Sanitize your sponges by boiling them. Sponges made of natural material are great to use in the kitchen for cleaning and scrubbing, but they can harbor bacteria and other germs. At least once a week, and more often if needed, you should sanitize your sponges. A green way to do this is by boiling them for five minutes, allowing the heat to kill all the germs.
Tip 6: Use hydrogen peroxide to sanitize kitchen surfaces. When green cleaning you want to avoid the use of chlorine bleach, but you still need to sanitize food preparation surfaces in your kitchen to stop the spread of illness causing bacteria. A natural way to do this is to make a spray bottle full of 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 1 part water, and spray this on any surface that needs to be sanitized. Wait approximately five minutes and then wipe away the solution. (Hydrogen peroxide must be shielded from the light to stay active, so either keep the solution in an opaque bottle or mix only as much as needed for one cleaning at a time.)
Tip 7: Cut the grease from your kitchen cabinets with dish soap. Have you ever noticed a sticky dusty film on your kitchen cabinets, especially close to the stove where you cook? This comes from a thin layer of grease that can easily coat your cabinets, making them look bad. To combat this just wipe your cabinets down with a damp sponge soaked in a solution of water and a tiny amount of dish soap. The soap will cut and remove the grease which seems otherwise impossible to remove.
Tip 8: Clean your oven with baking soda paste. Cleaning ovens with nasty chemicals is definitely not green cleaning. Instead, make a paste of baking soda and water and spread this over the walls and bottom of your oven, and let it sit overnight. The next day you should be able to scrape and clean your oven of all that built up grime.
Tip 9: Vinegar can be used to clean your coffee maker. Over time your coffee maker will begin to get a build up of hard water and calcium. To get rid of this fill the carafe with 1 part water and 1 part vinegar, and pour this into the machine like you were making coffee. Let the machine run through a full cycle, and then run another cycle using just plain water. The vinegar will remove this build up, leaving a clean coffee maker for your use.
Tip 10: Soak burned pots and pans in a baking soda solution. If you accidentally burn food in the bottom of your pot or pan you can clean it easily with a paste of baking soda and water. Spread the paste on the bottom of the pan and let it sit for at least thirty minutes. This will loosen the debris and make cleaning the pot much simpler.