We all want to know that the cleaners we use are getting the job done, but far too often, we settle for the path of least resistance – or so we think.
Sure, it may be faster to simply grab a well-known brand’s bottle of cleaner and toss it in your shopping cart rather than going to the trouble of making your own green cleaners, but does ‘faster’ equate to ‘better?’ Not really, no; at least not when you break down the factors contributing to the entire picture.
For one thing, green cleaners are superior in far more categories than manufactured chemical cleaning solutions as they relate to the cleaning process. Take a gander at how green cleaners are:
- Cheaper: Your typical bottle of cleaner could easily run in the $4 range but DIY green cleaners can be had for less than a quarter.
- Versatile: When you realize that commercial cleaners are task-specific and you have to buy a different cleaner for different purposes (for example, you need different cleaners for glass, countertops, floors, bathrooms, tile, etc.) the bottles and the bucks add up really quickly, but with green cleaners, you have just a few basic ingredients for all different types of surfaces and tasks.
- Simple to make: And you have most, if not all, of those ingredients in your home already! The most common active ingredients in green cleaners are distilled white vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol and ammonia. For example, I make my own cleaner to wash down walls before I repaint them. The recipe is so simple: 1 cup ammonia, ½ cup white vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda all in a gallon of water. This cleaner really cuts through wall grime, and a single rinse is all that’s needed.
So when you take the big picture into account, it’s easy to see the benefits of going with green cleaners – and the best part is just how easy it is to get started. Here’s a simple green cleaning project to try out and see for yourself.
DIY Green Tile Cleaner
First of all, tile is about the most eco-friendly flooring material you can find. After all, tile is basically either stone or just baked mud!
And when you have tile with grout that has seen better days, rather than scrubbing it with harsh chemicals that, in addition to the drawbacks listed above, have a tendency to ‘eat away’ at the grout itself, apply a gentle abrasive scrub that you can make yourself with just a few simple ingredients.
- Baking Soda
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Grout tile brush
- Extension rod
- Rag Mop & Bucket
1. Remove everything from the tile floor in question and sweep or vacuum it clean first.
2. Sprinkle a line of baking soda along the grout lines and try to keep as much of it on the grout as possible as opposed to the tile itself. Depending on the size of your floor, you may want to do this in sections or all at once.
3. Drizzle a stream of hydrogen peroxide directly on the baking soda and scrub the resulting paste into the grout lines. Using the extension rod on the grout brush will allow you to really put some muscle behind it.
4. Once you have scrubbed the entire floor, allow it to sit for at least an hour to give the paste a chance to soak in and oxygenate the grout.
5. After the hour, sweep the floor to remove as much of the baking soda crystal mixture as possible before mopping the floor with the rag mop.
6. Allow it to dry and if necessary, mop the floor again to remove all of the grit.
Once the grout lines have completely dried, you will see just how effectively the DIY green paste has done the job! And it cost a fraction of the money and used none of the harsh chemicals of a commercial cleaner.
What other DIY green cleaners have you used on your floors?
Since 2000, Chris Long has been a store associate at a Home Depot in Illinois. He also contributes to the Home Depot website on tile and hardwood flooring topics. Chris provides DIY advice for homeowners on everything from cleaners to the choice of materials to consider.