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Green Cleaners

Cross-posted in this month’s article is a selection of environmentally sustainable chemical mixtures for household and equipment cleaners. The removal of chemicals from our environment is a positive move towards the reduction of hazardous waste. All of us can contribute to the reduction of pollutants to the environment in our daily lives.

I use these mixtures and can attest they function quite well with a little added muscle power. While there are other more toxic compounds that reduce human effort, one has to consider why we all want “tools” to function without effort? Ease of operation is nice, but how much “ease” removes the pride of completing a task and reaping the benefits of successful job? In our quest to “get-it-done” we as humans often lose the satisfaction of “building-it-ourselves.”

I find one of the greatest satisfactions of “working” is to complete the goal using muscle power as the primary source of energy to master a task at hand. Physical exertion has been proven in many different forums to strengthen the body, mind, and spirit. Physical work not only develops the body and makes it stronger/healthier, but adds peace and “singleness-of-purpose” to the mind and spirit. This is why one of my favorite activities is gardening. No matter how much or how little you get completed by the end of the day, you can always see your work, and see your day’s rewards.

This concept is a lot like your job/career. Individuals who have jobs that actually accomplish something physical in existence usually report a greater satisfaction with their life as a whole. Those that accomplish less visible goals in each day often report “less” overall satisfaction. This being at least a possible trend, one could then argue that the human connection to the success of work is the primary reason “for” the work, not purely profit.

Whenever my children ask, “what should I do in life as a job”? I give this great thought. All of us knowing the unstable future of professions these days, it is very difficult to “guess” what will be lucrative in the future. Not wanting to give poor advice, I consider this answer carefully. Upon reflection, I came to realize that satisfaction “within” is the most valuable asset in your working career. I instruct them to “work in a field you love”, because you will always be spiritually satisfied. Your personal satisfaction will cause you to profit financially in high performance while raising the spirit which ultimately determines “your” self-worth.

Thinking back, I cannot remember a single financial promotion, but do remember many accomplishments where I have made situations better, safer, or people happier. Money may not be a good prescription for happiness, but the human interaction of “making-things-better” truly IS the best medicine of all.

Try this strategy in your everyday life and I’ll bet you’ll find spiritual satisfaction and hence “happiness” in your daily life. Apply this strategy to eliminate “cleaning chemical waste” and I know you will be contributing to the improvement of our environment.

             Haz Mat Mike

Carpet spot-cleaner

  • ·         White vinegar
  • ·         Water

Blot spills from carpet. Spray soiled area with a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar. Blot with a towel. Repeat until spot is gone.

Coffee makers

  • ·         2 cups of white vinegar

Run vinegar through the brew cycle. Fill reservoir with water. Run through brew cycle again.

Counter cleaner

  • ·         1 cup water
  • ·         1 cup white vinegar
  • ·         8 drops lemon essential oil, optional

Mix ingredients, and then spray on counter. Wipe with a microfiber cloth. For extra power, heat the mixture in the microwave until it's warm. (Do not use vinegar on sealed granite, marble or other sealed stone countertops.)

Cups and mugs

Fill with one part baking soda to two parts water. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, wipe away stains with a sponge.

Fabric softener

  • ·         3 cups white vinegar
  • ·         ½ cup water
  • ·         ½ cup baking soda
  • ·         8 drops of your favorite essential oil, optional

Mix water and vinegar, then the mixture heat in microwave for one minute. Dissolve baking soda in mixture. Add essential oils if fragrance is desired. Use in the wash cycle as you would commercial softener.

Glass and window cleaner

  • ·         1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • ·         1 quart of water

Mix and spray on glass. Wipe with microfiber cloth.

Oven cleaner (not for self-cleaning ovens)

Method #1:

Scrub bottom and sides of oven using baking soda and steel wool.

Method #2:

  • ·         1 cup baking soda
  • ·         2 cups white vinegar

Pour vinegar into a spray bottle. Sprinkle baking soda onto bottom of oven. Spray with vinegar to make light foam. Keep baking soda moist by spraying vinegar as needed. For sides of oven, mix baking soda with water to make a thick paste. Spread this on sides then spray with vinegar. Allow it to sit for as long as you can. Wipe off and rinse with hot water.

Pots and pans

To remove burnt-on food, sprinkle baking soda over the burnt area, add hot water and let sit overnight. In the morning, scrub with an abrasive sponge or Teflon scrubbing cloth.

Shower walls, doors and curtains

To prevent mildew from forming, spray walls, curtains and shower doors with white vinegar after showering.

Sinks and bath tubs

Simply spray with white vinegar and wipe!

Sneaker deodorizer

Sprinkle baking soda in sneakers. Allow to sit overnight. Shake out baking soda before wearing shoes.


Smelly towels are often caused by detergent build-up. To freshen smelly towels, wash in hot water and one cup vinegar, then again in hot water and ½ cup baking soda. Reichert recommends not using laundry detergent during this process. Detergent stays in the towels, even after rinsing, and can hold the smells.

What not to clean with baking soda and/or vinegar

  •  Do not use vinegar on anything shiny as it is an acid, and, over time, can remove the shine.
  • Do not use vinegar on sealed countertops such as granite or marble. It will not hurt the stone but will slowly remove the shine.
  • Do not use baking soda as an abrasive scrub on surfaces that scratch easily.
  • When in doubt, first test products on a small, inconspicuous part of the item to be cleaned.     


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