Budget Smart Girl's Guide

The Budget Smart Girl’s Guide to Green Cleaning

While buying ‘green’ cleaning products probably won’t put a big dent in your budget, it still pays to compare prices. It’s also a smart idea to check on ingredients because some cleaning products aren’t as green as they claim.
Here are some tips on ‘green cleaning’ the Budget Smart Girl way.

Make Your Own
One way you can save some pennies (and know exactly what’s in your cleaner), is to make your own. No science degree required and no putting formulas together. I turned to homemade cleaners when I got one too many headaches from using a well-known bathroom cleaner. That got tossed in the bin and I came up with this one. I have no exact amount for each ingredient but it’s about one cup of baking soda, two capfuls of dishwasher liquid…I like the Seventh Generation brand (A tip here, I wait for it to go on sale at my local supermarket and stock up), and a few drops of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil one of the best antibacterial essential oils out there, so it’s a smart idea to keep a bottle with your cleaning supplies.
I add the dishwashing liquid and tea tree oil to the baking soda and then add enough water to make it into a paste. I usually dip a sponge into it and use it as a scrub for the bathtub and bathroom counter top. I let it sit there for a couple of minutes and then wipe it off with a clean damp sponge.
I use a homemade drain cleaner…I also use this as a toilet bowl cleaner too. I pour about one cup of white distilled vinegar into the drain, followed by about ¾ cup baking soda. I let it sit for about an hour and then flush it away by turning on the hot water tap and letting it run for a couple of minutes. For the toilet bowl, I do the same thing and then I swish it around with a toilet brush and then flush.
And speaking of baking soda, it’s one of the best things to keep on hand for cleaning. I even use it to remove tea stains from cups and my teapot. It works like a dream without much scrubbing.
You can find other homemade recipes at www.ecocycle.org/hazwaste/recipes.cfm#altcleaners

Dr. Bronner’s
I used to fill the hand soap dispenser with antibacterial soap. Well, that was until I kept reading negative press about those types of cleaners and that they did more harm than good. When I went looking for an alternative I stumbled upon Dr. Bronner’s products at my local supermarket. What impressed me the most was I didn’t have to drag out a chemistry book to figure out the ingredient list. Another plus is because this soap is concentrated I can add water, so a little goes a long way. My favorite is the Lavender Organic Liquid Soap. On their Web site it sells for $5.75 for a 8 oz. bottle www.drbronner.com, click on Dr. Bronner’s Soaps

Earth Friendly Products
Now that everyone seems to be looking for green cleaning products, the prices have come down considerably. However, this company has always offered great value for their products www.ecos.com. Besides their prices, I like the fact that they offer a range of products. Just about everything you need for the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, and even personal car items and items for pets. Be sure to check out their current promotions area and newsletter.

Method
I remember seeing this brand in my local Target store about four years ago. The line of products got my attention not only because they were green, but the price was in my budget range too. And not to mention they smell great!
If you can’t find them at a store near you, check out their Web site. One product I always keep on hand is their Leather Wipes. I don’t have leather shoes, but they work perfectly for removing salt off of any type of shoes during the snow and salt season. And place a container in your closet and use them year round for removing dust off your shoes and purses. Good news is their biodegradable too.
www.methodhome.com

Holy Cow
That’s probably what you’ll be saying when you see the great prices on this company’s products. I was working on story for an animal magazine and the owners contacted me, and I’m so happy they did. Check out the 128 oz all-purpose cleaner or glass cleaner, both are just $8.99. At these prices why would you even want to use the stuff loaded with nasty chemicals www.holycowproducts.com.

Monk Would Love This One
Here’s a product I was sent to test drive, and I have to say I love it. Every time I use it I think of the TV character, Monk. I know he’d love this product. It’s the Lotus Sanitizing System and uses oxyshield technology to purify water to destroy toxins and bacteria. You add water to a spray bottle, switch on the machine, and about five minutes later you have purified water that you can use to clean your whole house. You can also use it to wash vegetables, fruit, even seafood. While it will cost you an initial investment of $169.99, it will save you money because you don’t need to buy another bathroom or kitchen cleaner again. You can find out more about this product at www.tersano.com

Refills
One thing I like most about using green products is most of the companies offer refills. So you save money, and prevent plastic bottles from ending up in the landfill. Check out refill stations at places like co-ops for even more savings.

Compare the Products
If you want to see how products stack up against one another this is a really handy site to visit. www.greenerchoices.org/ratings.cfm?product=greencleaning

The Budget Smart Girl’s Tip
I mentioned I always keep baking soda and vinegar on hand for cleaning. A great place to buy it in bulk at the lowest prices is at warehouse stores like Costco.

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