Before moving in, it’s important to give your new home a thorough cleaning. Making sure that it is done with the environment in mind is vital for the 84% of Kiwis who purchase eco-friendly cleaning products. But being environmen-tally friendly while doing chores doesn’t necessarily mean buying a lot of new products. In fact, most people already have green cleaning supplies in their home without even realising it.

The Problem With Household Cleaners
For most, cleaning the house involves bleach and other caustic chemicals. While such products are excellent at killing germs, they come at an environmental cost. When household cleaning products enter waterways, they can sterilise animals, cause algae growth and kill plants. Fortunately, there are far greener options for keeping your home spotless. Natural products like lemons, vinegar and borax can work just as well as abrasive cleaners. The best part? These cleansers are less expensive than pre-packed cleaners.

Vinegar Cleans Nearly Everything
Vinegar is perhaps the most versatile item in people’s kitchens, as it can be used both to cook and to clean up the mess after-wards. To clean a dirty microwave quickly and easily, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a microwave-safe container. Microwave for ten minutes, and then let sit for an additional ten. The steam created unsticks even the most stubborn, cooked on food. Carefully remove the bowl, as it will be very hot, and wipe down the inside of the microwave with a sponge. Vinegar is also an excellent glass cleaner. Use a 50/50 water and white vinegar solution to clean windows, tables and any other glass surface in the home. In fact, there’s very little that white vinegar can’t clean. Just be sure to avoid granite, marble and stone, as the acidity of vinegar can damage those surfaces.

Lemon (Re)Fresh
Lemons are just as versatile as vinegar when it comes to cleaning the home. To restore the luster of old wooden furniture, mix two parts olive oil and one part lemon juice. Use a microfiber towel to rub the mixture in a circular motion over the surface. As a bonus, lemons and vinegar pair well, and create an excellent all-pur-pose household cleaner when combined.

Borax: Non-Toxic And All Purpose
Borax is a fantastic cleaner, as it can be used in nearly every room and is safe for humans and pets alike. To give your laundry detergent an extra kick, dissolve some in the washing machine before adding clothes. For an all-purpose cleaner, mix one tablespoon of borax with one cup of hot water, and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. For those battling roaches, pour a line of borax at all points of entry in the home. The roaches will walk through the borax and eventually ingest it. The borax essentially desiccates them, taking care of a roach infestation without resorting to noxious chemicals.
With a few simple recipes, anyone can have a cleaner, greener home. So ditch the environmentally unfriendly cleaners that dry out your hands and make your eyes water. A sparklingly clean home is possible with items that are already in your pantry.

Article contributed by: Alicia Coghlan, Freelance Writer

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