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Green Cleaning Recipes

Using safer and greener products for your home doesn't have to be expensive. In reality, it can be less expensive than buying traditional cleaners, because the very ingredients you need to make effective but more benign cleaners may be in your pantry. Leslie Reichert, author of The Joy of Green Cleaning, shows how to utilize those pantry items to make less toxic and healthier cleaners. The following are a few sample green cleaning recipes excerpted from her book, The Joy of Green Cleaning.


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Green Powder Scrub

This mixture can be kept in a shaker container by the sink and will act just like any “over the counter” powder cleanser.

  • 1 cup borax
  • 2 cups salt (sea salt for more aggressive cleaner)
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 8 drops essential oils for fragrance
  • Mix borax, salt, and baking soda thoroughly. After they are completely mixed together, add the essential oils for fragrance.

Keep this mixture in a shaker container with a lid. Use it for cleaning stains on counters and sinks. Rinse thoroughly.

Tools: Cellulose cloths and sponge

Cutting Board Sanitizer

Lemon Green Cleaning

Wood Board

  • 1 lemon/lime/grapefruit
  • Small dish of salt
Cut the fruit in half and dip it into salt. Using the salt as a scrub, lightly rub the fruit over the cutting board. Squeeze the fruit as you are rubbing to get the juice to flow. Rinse completely when done.

Plastic or Glass Boards
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups water
Let soak for 15 minutes and rinse completely.

Dishwasher Powder
  • ¼ cup Tang drink mix (contains citric acid)
  • 1 ½ cup borax
  • 5 drops castile soap
  • 15 drops essential oil for fragrance

Mix the powders, soap, and oil and stir. Keep in an airtight container. Use up to ¼ cup per load of dishes depending on how dirty they are. Always make sure to rinse the dishes if you don't intend to run the washer right away. This keeps the dishwasher smelling fresh and you won't need a lot of dishwashing powder.


Stainless Steel – Chrome

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons borax
  • Club soda to make paste

Mix baking soda, borax, and lemon juice together. Add enough club soda to make a paste. Apply the paste to the metal you are cleaning with a soft cloth or cellulose cloth. Rinse with plain club soda. Finish by polishing with a clean cloth.

Tools: Cellulose cloth or paper towel to apply paste. Wipe with cotton rags or microfiber cloth.

Rust Remover
  • 1 full can of original Coke® (contains phosphoric acid)

This is an amazing solution to remove rust from everything from kitchen utensils to gardening tools. Let the item soak in the can of Coke® overnight and it will come out shiny and new.

This will also work for removing rust stains from fixtures in your bathroom. Let it sit overnight in the toilet and you will be rust free!


Whitening – Scouring Powder

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1/8 cup of borax
  • 6 drops of lemon juice or lemon essential oil

Mix all the dry ingredients. Add the oil or juice and place in a shaker container. Use with a moistened abrasive scrubbing sponge or very fine steel wool.

Tips: Mix with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to make a paste and let it sit on the surface to be cleaned for up to an hour. 

Carpet Spot Wipes
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup club soda
  • 8 drops essential oil of lemon

Combine all the ingredients. Soak 20 heavy (microwavable) paper towels in the mixture. Squeeze out the excess and store in a zip lock bag. Use for spot and spills when needed.


For more information see HHI's book listing for The Joy of Green Cleaning.


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Green Cleaning Recipes:  Created on January 17th, 2011.  Last Modified on April 16th, 2011


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About Leslie Reichert

Leslie Reichert

Leslie Reichert, "The Green Cleaning Coach," is an educator and consultant who provides workshops, seminars, and lectures on green living for nonprofit organizations, schools, and companies worldwide. She is the founder and president of The Green-Clean University. She also writes for websites such as "The Daily Green" and, and has appeared on The Green House Project. Her book, The Joy of Green Cleaning, is available on



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