Shelly Barnes: Keep your spring cleaning healthy with green products

Shelly Barnes • Mar 13, 2018 at 8:48 PM

Tennesseans will soon experience the warmer temperatures of spring, and, for many, this brings the season of spring cleaning, as well. University of Tennessee Extension specialist Bonnie Hinds wants to remind Tennesseans to stay healthy in their endeavors to deep clean their homes this spring.

“Green cleaning, which is cleaning with products that use only natural substances, is really the best household habit to adopt. Green cleaning products avoid the release of chemicals and additives into your home, avoiding any unnecessary health risks,” said Hinds, an expert with the UT department of family and consumer sciences. 

Many commercial products rely on chemical compounds to achieve what green cleaners can do just as effectively. Ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, borax, cornstarch, lemons, salt and olive oil are all naturally occurring substances that kill bacteria, remove dirt and grime, and keep your home safe.

“Using these products not only mean your home is safer, but it means more money in your pocket. Commercial cleaners are more expensive and do not last as long as these green recipes,” said Hinds. 

UT Extension has been involved in sharing green cleaning recipes since 2014 as part of the Healthy Homes Partnership, but these recipes never get old. With these recipes and more, Tennessee households across the state continue to discover and enjoy the benefits of green cleaning.

Hinds shared three of the most popular green cleaning product recipes:

All-purpose cleaner

• 2 tablespoons borax.

• ¼ cup vinegar.

• 2 cups hot water.

Mix ingredients in a spray bottle or bucket, apply and wipe clean.

Floor cleaner

• ½ cup white vinegar.

• 1 gallon warm water.

Mix ingredients. Avoid over-wetting the floor by using a spray bottle to apply the cleaner to the floor. Mop as usual, and rinse with clean water.

Laundry detergent

• 1 cup ivory soap powder.

• ½ cup washing soda.

• ½ cup borax.

Mix ingredients and store in a sealed container. Use 1 tablespoon for light loads and 2 tablespoons for heavy loads.

For additional resources about healthy homes, including green cleaning recipe cards and green cleaning recipe booklets, contact your local county Extension office. Green cleaning recipe booklets are also available for download at extension.tennessee.edu​. Click on “Publications,” and search “Green Cleaning.” You can also visit the UT Extension family and consumer sciences website at fcs.tennessee.edu. 

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. through teaching, discovery and service. ag.tennessee.edu. 

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state and provides equal opportunities in all programming and employment. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.

For more information on this or other family and consumer sciences-related topics, contact Shelly Barnes, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes may be reached at sbarnes@utk.edu or 615-444-9584.

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