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Posted on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 7:41 a.m.

Greening our spring cleaning

By Linda Lombardini

O, light of spring! You blindingly beautiful thing. How I've missed you! How I love you! But could you turn it down a bit? You're glaring on all the dirt that winter so kindly covered up. Ohhh, you're gone already.

Yep, it's spring in Michigan, that fickle thing, and already it's gray and cold. But on those few glorious mid-60s days last week, I felt the spring cleaning bug bite.

It'll be back again, along with the sun. And again the dust on the blinds, grease smears on the stove, grime on the outlets and the spots on the windows will be glaringly obvious.


In the meantime, I'm ready. I got all my green cleaning ingredients from "Clean House, Clean Planet " by Karen Logan. It's our all-season bible of how to get everything spic and span without hurting ourselves or the earth with harmful chemicals.

Karen's advice basically boils down to all-baking-soda-all-the-time (which makes you wonder: what the heck is baking soda?). Oh, and there's salt, liquid soap, water, elbow grease, the ubiquitous vinegar — and essential oils to cover up the vinegar smell. Lavender-scented kitchen floor, anyone?

The baking soda and salt are the abrasives that don't injure surfaces and do a great job with the grime and soap films. For special problems like mold and stains that need disinfectant, she recommends tea tree oil. Another eco-mom suggests grapefruit seed extract.

All this stuff is readily available across the street at the People's Food Co-op and at other "natural food stores" in our eco-thinking town.

Another great feature of your own green cleaning kit? Less packaging. Reuse your old containers. Mix your clean-green concoctions and fill 'em up. Way, way less waste.

Stuff you find looking up other stuff

  • Another Green Cleaning Kit

  • Treehugger's advice

  • Clorox's "Green Works" cleaners are 99 percent green. Ironically, two of the three ingredients that aren't green are the dyes that turn the "Green Works" liquid the color green.
Linda Lombardini lives as happily green and clean as she can be. You can contact her at



Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 12:25 p.m.

This is wonderful, Linda, thanks. I truly was just recently remembering my home-made cleaning supplies when I had a family of young children and was seemingly always cleaning. Now I can create them again. They are easy to work with, make things shine, do not smell, and rags can easily be rinsed out or washed when done.