Get Your House Green and Clean

Get Your House Green and Clean

This is an excerpt from Kathleen Barnes’ book, Our Toxic World: A Survivor’s Guide

What is it about the early parts of the year when I want to clean out clutter, sweep away old papers and cobwebs and get the house good and clean?

Whatever it is, any time is a great time to have a clean and green house.

What’s good for you is good for the Earth. And what’s good for the earth is good for you.

I often have conversations with people who want to keep toxic chemicals out of their homes and to save money at the same time.

Voila! I have an answer for you!

You can clean almost anything in your home with seven ingredients. You probably already have most of them in your kitchen.

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Borax
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable-based liquid soap
  • Washing soda

Many people seem to think that cleaning naturally is expensive and inconvenient. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s cheap. It’s easy and it’s effective. AND you’re not exposing yourself to a toxic soup that includes allergens, carcinogens, neurotoxins, hepatotoxins and central nervous system depressants that can cause everything from liver failure to life-threatening allergic reactions to cancer.

We are all exposed to toxins every day. We can’t avoid them. Research tells us that even newborn babies already have nearly 300 toxic substances in their bodies, passed on from their mothers. Over our lifetimes, that toxic load builds and builds until, one day the balance may be tipped into toxic overload.

So if you can reduce your toxic load as much as possible, you can avoid that toxic overload and postpone or even overcome existing toxic overload.

Back from my toxin rant: Natural cleaning products work. They are safe, easy and cheap. What’s not to love?

What could be simpler than combining ½ teaspoon of vegetable-based oil, 3 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle to make your windows sparkling clean for a nickel a bottle? Add a few drops of lemon essential oil for long-lasting shine, a great scent and to help energize the window washer!

How about scrubbing sinks, tubs and showers with a gentle paste of baking soda and borax? It works just as well as commercial cleaners with no toxic fumes and again, it costs mere pennies.

Pour a cup of borax in your toilet and leave it overnight. That’s all it takes to wipe out my least favorite household task. Add a few drops of tea tree, lavender or white thyme essential oil for disinfection.

If your oven is an embarrassment like mine can be, try this:

Sprinkle water in the bottom of your oven, then cover the yuck with baking soda. Sprinkle some more water on top and let it sit overnight. In all but the worst cases, you’ll be able to simply wipe it clean the next morning. If there is still stubborn baked-on grease, add a little washing soda to the mixture to cut the grease. Rinse well.

The best book I’ve read on non-toxic cleaning is Annie Berthold-Bond’s Clean and Green. Annie’s website is

A final thought about being clean and green: All of these recipes are nontoxic and they don’t require any power tools. If you have a truly untenable stain or grease splotch, you might consider buying a Scunci steam cleaner. It uses nothing but water. In fact, you’ll damage it if you try to add any cleaners to it and the superheated water will clean just about anything for a few pennies worth of electricity.

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