As home remodelers interested in helping Twin Cities residents live a greener lifestyle, sometimes we find environmentally-friendly tips that we'd use ourselves, and we're happy to pass them along.  If you suffer from allergies, have kids or sensitive pets, cleaning can be more of a chore than it should be. Green cleaners can often solve this problem.  White Vinegar In addition to being an all purpose cleaner, vinegar degreases and disinfects. Good Housekeeping did a study which showed a solution of 5% vinegar is 99.9% effective against bacteria and 90% effective against mold.

Give these cleaning tips a try.

  • Fill a spray bottle with a mixture of ¾ water and ¼ white vinegar for household surfaces. Once you spray the cleaner, wipe the surface down with a damp cloth. When cleaning painted surfaces, use distilled water instead of tap.
  • Use the same fixtures on windows and outdoor furniture. After cleaning windows, wipe them down with newspaper to banish streaks.
  • To remove scale, apply 100% vinegar, let it sit for a few minutes, and rinse with water.
  • Clean your coffee maker by filling it 1/3 to 1/2 full with vinegar, then run a regular cycle. Afterwards, run two cycles with distilled water.
Baking Soda This powder works great with vinegar for tough cleaning jobs like garbage cans or wooden cutting boards. Sprinkle a generous helping of baking soda on the surface, spray on 100% vinegar, wait for the foaming to stop and scrub. If you have a stopped up sink, this combination will unclog it. First, clear standing water, then pour ½ cup of baking soda and follow with one cup vinegar. Let it sit until the foaming is gone. If the drain still isn’t clear, repeat as necessary.  Lemon Lemon’s another great, natural cleaner.
  • Spray your shower and tiles with lemon juice or wipe them down with half a lemon, then rinse with water to clean soap scum.
  • Place a cut up lemon in a bowl of water, then put the bowl in your microwave and set it for 2 minutes. Once the steam has collected, wipe the appliance down.
  • Deodorize garbage disposals by putting lemon skins down them and running hot water.
  • Make a paste out of lemon and salt, then put it on a toothbrush and clean your brass, stainless steel and copper.
These methods work, and you won’t need to open windows and doors to clear toxic fumes.