The short days of winter are upon us. While hibernation is an option for small, furry animals, it is a dream for those of us who have to head into work every day. The busyness of the holidays are behind us and the lack of natural sunlight might have some of you scanning the tropical getaway sites for a break. Not an option for everyone though, so it is best to fill those hours with something. How about cuddling in front of fire place, tackling those to-do lists that you ignored all summer while you were at the cottage, or brightening up your home with a fresh coat of paint. If you are running low on wood, or still not quite ready for the paint brush or honey-do list, then what about some old-fashioned cleaning? Today I thought I would suggest some green ways to clean your home that will also help your hemorrhaging pocketbook (since the holiday bills should be hitting the mailbox right about now).

Five GREEN Cleaning Products For Your Home

    • Baking Soda: Baking Soda is a cheap and overall fabulous product for so many cleaning projects around the home. Mix it with vinegar to freshen and clear drains. Sprinkle it in the kitty litter pan to eliminate odours. Dump it on a grease fire to quickly extinguish it. Toss a box in the fridge and freezer to absorb food smells. Sprinkle it on your carpets, leave for 15 minutes, then vacuum away unpleasant odours. Add it to the laundry to boost cleaning power. As illustrated in this video, you can even clean your silver with it. The options go on and on for this versatile product that can be found in any home.
      • Vinegar: Right up there with baking soda is vinegar. Vinegar is another cheap and versatile product that can be used for so many handy projects. Mix it with water, fill a spray bottle and clean your windows with it. Throw some in your mop bucket for a shinier floor. Soak shower heads to watch them gleam. Don’t forget the taps while you are at it! Vinegar will even help to clean your wooden cutting boards, if you wipe them down with it. At pennies a capful, you won’t mind pouring it down the drain with that baking soda or into the coffee pot to help eradicate those coffee stains.
      • Lemon Juice: Similar to vinegar, lemon juice is a handy cleaning aid that doesn’t cost a lot. Add it to your whites in the washer and you can forget about bleach. Pour some into a sink full of dishes and watch the grease disappear. Cut a few slices into a bowl full of water and nuke it for 30 seconds. You will find tough stains easier to wipe away. Leave expensive wood cleaners at the store and instead mix 1/2 cup lemon juice with 1 cup olive oil to polish your fine hardwood furniture. If you can handle a minor sting, you can even drip a little lemon juice on minor cuts and bites to disinfect the wound.
      • Coffee Filters: Grab your coffee, then grab another filter and start cleaning! Coffee filters can be a lot more useful then just for your morning cup of joe. Instead of reaching for the paper towel, use your unbleached coffee filters to wipe the windows without leaving streaks or lint behind. In fact, you can wipe your computer screen, TV or even your glasses without fear of scratching those delicate surfaces. Pour a little baking soda into a filter, secure it with a twist tie and voila, you have a natural room deodorizer. Stash them in your drawers, shoes or beside the litter box. Anywhere that you want to absorb those nasty household smells that creep in. You can also pop a coffee filter on top of your food in the microwave, instead of exposing yourself to the plastic in cling wrap.
      • Toothpaste: It’s not just for teeth anymore! Take that tube of toothpaste and eradicate stubborn crayon marks on your walls left behind by Junior. Dab a little on that zit that is threatening to take over your face and watch it heal almost overnight. Take the sting out of bug bites with a smear on the spot. Scrub the offending stink from onions and garlic on your fingers with your favourite minty paste. Get the stench out of jars or baby bottles with toothpaste and a bottle brush. Heck, you can even defog your swim goggles by giving them a quick polish and rinse with toothpaste.

Does anyone else have any favourite natural cleaning products that take the bite out of your cleaning budget? Share your tips here!