Store-bought cleaners seem harmless as they take up cabinet space in our laundry rooms and bathroom closets, in our kitchens and broom closets. Yet, many household products including room fresheners, detergents and scrubs can be dangerously toxic. Many of them contain harmful substances such as Phthalates, PERC and Triclosan. This is why everyone should start making their own Green Home Solutions. Here are 5 ideas for DIY green home solutions
You only need to invest in bins and a little bit of time to get your own compost going. To make your own compost invest in two large bins. Get started with the first bin, and layer your organic kitchen waste, garden clippings, dry leaves and shredded paper with a bit of soil. Keep stirring occasionally. When you are done with the first bin, move to the second bin. When the contents of your first bin resemble a crumbly soil, it is ready to be used as humus, or garden supplement.
The results are many, including rich manure that you can use to grow your own organic vegetables and fruits, even on a small balcony garden! I recently chanced upon a lovely book by Doring Kingsley publishers titled “Gardening in Urban India” It’s a lovely step-by-step guide and every urban Indian home can benefit from referring to it. When you have healthy plants, the air that you breathe is also purified naturally. Make sure you have a lot of indoor plants too.
Vinegar, baking soda and lime are my go-to cleaning agents. Apart from being green, they also clean beautifully. Here are a few recipes that will help you manage without store-bought cleaners
To mop your floors
Mix the following;
1 cup vinegar and 2-3 drops of essential oil (lemon works well) stirred into a pocha bucket half-filled with warm water.
To clean windows and glasses
Mix the following:
2 cups water, ½ cup vinegar, ¼ cup rubbing alcohol and 1-2 drops of essential oil.
Fill this in a spray bottle and clean glasses with it.
For ovens or stove tops
Mix 2-3 spoons of baking soda with warm water in a small container. Pour this mixture onto a soft cloth, and wipe. For stubborn stains, pour the liquid directly on the stain and keep for 10 minutes, then wipe off.
You can also make everything from laundry detergent to handwash at home using Castille soap which is easily available on the online stores in India. Lookout for recipes using these ingredients, and make what works for you.
In a bottle, throw in used lime peels as and when you get them. Sprinkle salt on top of each layer. Keep the layers going until they line the top of the bottle. Now shake well, and gather up all the brass in your home. Scrub the surface of each brass object with a salty lemon peel, then rinse and wipe dry with a soft cloth. Your brass will be clean and shiny, with no chemical cleaners!
If you are used to reaching for a perfume spray, hold it. It’s time to learn how to make your home smell fresh with scents you concoct yourself! You could use a diffuser with essential oils, or you could quickly make your own spray by mixing two or three essential oils with half a cup of water. Just fill it in a spray bottle and spray around the room. For a lovely aroma you could use an orange peel as a holder for a t-light candle, and revel in the citrusy fragrance that fills your home.
Teach your kids by example. Old jeans should be either donated, or given a fresh lease of life by turning them into bags, and other creative things. Old bottles should be re-used as décor (painted accent pieces, lamps, etc.) or sent to a bottle re-cycling plant. Use products well, and dispose of them correctly. Get creative with old tyres, give furniture a new lease of life with decoupage or a fresh coat of paint. Make recycling a habit!
Green living should be a conscious, daily effort rather than something we just do once in a way. The benefit is for both you and the environment, and ultimately something that you can think of as a gift to the planet!
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