Cleaning your kitchen and bathroom isn’t exactly a fun task to begin with, and having to come in contact with toxic chemicals certainly doesn’t help. Commercially available green cleaning products are effective, but costly. Fortunately, you can protect the environment—and your budget—by making your own. Chances are you already have the materials. If not, you can pick them up at the store for a few dollars.
Most commonly used for disinfecting cuts and scrapes, hydrogen peroxide also doubles as an inexpensive cleaner. The same disinfecting power that makes it so popular for medical use is also ideal for cleaning countertops, cutting boards, sinks, and the inside of your refrigerator and dishwasher. It can also be used in the bathroom to whiten toilet bowls, tiles and grout.
All you have to do is pour hydrogen peroxide into an opaque spray bottle (transparent bottles let sunlight in, which kills its effectiveness), spray it on the desired surface, and let it fizz. After a few minutes, you can give the surface a good scrubbing, and then rinse it with clean water.
Vinegar is another effective cleaner for both kitchens and bathrooms. A solution of equal parts vinegar and water will effectively clean the inside of your fridge as well as dirty tile floors and smudgy mirrors. You can warm up the solution in a glass bowl to make it more effective, and add a small amount of lemon juice for a fresh scent and added cleaning power.
You probably remember from grade school what happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar. The fizzing reaction when these two substances combine is actually a powerful cleaner that can be used to unclog your drains, among other things. Just pour half a cup of baking soda down a clogged drain, and then follow it with half a cup of vinegar. Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes, then flush it out with boiling water.
A mix of baking soda and water also forms a paste that can effectively clean the inside of your oven. Apply the paste in the evening, let it sit overnight, and then wipe it away in the morning. You can use baking soda as an odor-remover as well: an open box in your refrigerator or bathroom will keep both smelling fresh.