Clean and Green

Rain-washing mats and waste bins is a super green idea. Wondering what is a rain-wash? Just pour some baking soda or detergent on door mats, car mats, trash cans and leave them in the the rain. Free falling water cleans them for you.  Isn't this a cool idea. But make sure that it is not windy otherwise you will find all the cans flew away when you go to collect your stuff.
Clean n green to save earth

Wondering why green: When I came to US, I was overwhelmed by the amount of cleaning I had to do. So, first thing I did to help myself was to shop things that made cleaning easy. In the process, I stuffed my laundry room shelves with tons of cleaning products. In fact, it seemed common because every friend I visited had similar storage. On top of it, we used to discuss, who uses more powerful and faster cleaning product. As if we are racing to demolish the world ASAP, Jeez. After spending money for years on those environmentally nasty and expensive products, I found cheaper greener reagents which are equally good. They are salt, vinegar, lemon, baking soda, washing soda, turmeric, rubbing alcohol, detergent, non chlorine bleach, steam, etc.

 I am a biologist working  in laboratory for the last 10 years. In labs, it is mandatory to keep germ free environment by sterilizing and disinfecting. I am so glad to share my professional knowledge that I use in my daily life with added hype word "green". Actually, I am a nature lover. I rather call myself environment friendly. Green is cheaper so why not save some money and save earth too. 
Safety first: Use long cuffed gloves before coming in contact with any cleaning chemicals.                       
Veggie Wash: Vegetables and fruits are coated with food-grade wax and pesticides. Wax is applied on the produce to lock moist inside and look fresh. Veggie Wash is made from natural ingredients like fruit extracts and lemon juice. Rinse with Veggie Wash to remove all the dirt and wax, and to kill germs. 
Rinse meat with turmeric and salt
Turmeric: Turmeric powder is a herbal antispetic available in Indian grocery stores. Use turmeric to rinse meat, fish and prawns. Sprinkle turmeric and salt in a colander with meat and rinse 4-5 times. Simple, isn't it.
Norpro Stainless-Steel Citrus Juice PressLemon:
Rinse veggies and meat in lemon juice.
To get rid of the garlic or onion odor, you can simply rub 2 drops of lemon juice on your palms.
Squeezed lemon can be used to clean the garbage disposal.

Baking soda: It is a very good replacement for bleach and also removes all the bad odors. Soak greasy dishes in water and sprinkle baking soda. Leave for couple of hours and then rinse. It works like magic.
Inside fridge: Wet sponge or table cloth with diluted baking soda and wipe the surface.
Carpet cleaning: Spray talcum powder or baking soda half- hour before vacuuming.
Dirty kitchen cloth: Soak in baking soda and wash .
Mixture: Mix vinegar, baking soda and salt in a ziploc bag and tie it to shower head and leave it overnight. Helps to get rid of all the gunk and deposits. Watch this movie for clear instructions.
Oxo Brite Non-Chlorine Bleach, 2 lb.
Non-Chlorine bleach
Detergent: It is needed to kill Salmonella on cutting board, sink and utensils that came in contact with  meat. Other green reagents do not kill Salmonella.
Non-chlorine bleach(NC): Green replacement for chlorine bleach (clorox). NC bleach is safer for the environment but not an effective disinfectant. Oxyclean, Clorox-2, Biokleen, etc., are the non-chlorine bleaches that contain Hydrogen Peroxide as an oxidizing agent. Though Hydrogen Peroxide sounds like a chemical it is quite harmful because it easily dissociates into oxygen and water. It can be used to remove  mold and mildew in shower.
Dilute Bleach: Bleach has chlorine which is not safe for enviroment. I found that bleach is the only quick solution for mold near the kitchen sink and shower. Chlorine is not only effective on bacteria but also on virus, fungi, mold, algae and calcium deposits. Hence, I use it sparingly and use diluted form as much as possible.
Shower: Every time after using shower, dry with squeegee, turn on light and fan\exhaust for 15 minutes. This inhibits the mold formation in wet areas.

OXO Good Grips All-Purpose Squeegee
Hard to clean things: We get sick not because there was any nook and corner that we left for those germs to attack us but because people around us left them free. When we come in contact with those infectious areas, we get sick and in turn spread germs in our mattress, computer mouse, keyboard, cell phones, key chain etc. It is hard to disinfect these areas, here are some easy solutions for you.

Rubbing Alcohol\ Isopropyl Alcohol
Rubbing Alcohol: This is the best cleanser for all the electronic equipment because it disinfects and evaporates. Concentrated rubbing alcohol can be used to clean the cell phone, keyboard, mouse and outer surfaces of the monitor. Be careful though, because alcohol is highly inflammable. 

Alcohol perforates the bacterial membrane and denatures(lose structure) the proteins inside. Proteins required for the existence of bacteria no longer function causing them to die.

Diluted alcohol
70% diluted alcohol: It can be used to wipe the coffee table, glass parts of the furniture, painted metal furniture, toys, key chains, inside of car (wheel, dashboard, doors), pens, and pencils. Preparation: Mix one part water and two parts rubbing alcohol and save in a spray bottle. Diluted alcohol is better than concentrated alcohol because it can penetrate into bacteria better and hence more effective. Alcohol dehydrates the skin, so wear gloves before touching alcohol. Do you know that GermX has 60% ethanol which is nothing but Ethyl Alcohol.

New Microfiber Cleaning Cloth (Wiping Cloth) for electronic devices / PDA,GPS Cell Phones Digital Cameras Screen / Lens - Sony, Nikon, Canon, Apple iPhone 3G 3GS iPod Touch Blackberry, Jewelry, Watch, Notebook, CRT, LCD, Plasma HDTVs, Computer Moniters, Camcorders, CD/DVD players, Glasses, Eyeglasses, Sunglasses - 9 Colors 12-Pack
Microfiber cloth
Microfiber cloth: Cleans without chemicals with dense loop-and-rib weave that grabs dirt and locks it deep inside. I use it for dusting laptop, keyboard, monitor, TV screen, music system, etc.,                                                                                                                                                      
Verilux CleanWave VH01WW4 UV-C Sanitizing Wand
UV sterilizer  $60.79
UV sterilizers: UV light kills germs by breaking the bonds in the DNA molecules. It is the most easy and quick way to sterilize the hard to clean things like beds, toys, pillows, etc. There is no liquid chemical involved or left over residue to worry about. Be aware that exposure to UV light causes cancer in human. Keep the UV light away from skin, pets and mainly save your eyes by wearing safety goggles.
Steam vacuuming: Temperature of steam is 100 degrees celcius which is capable of destroying the germs instantly. In laboratories the utensils and media (bacteria food) are sterilized using autoclaves that use steam under pressure for killing any form of life. Steam has the power to penetrate. So, very useful in cleaning bathroom tiles, grout, floors, windows, cracks, drapes, and walls.
Boiled water: All moms know quite well that milk bottles, nipples and feeding spoons should be sterilized at least once in a week in hot boiling water.
Rain wash trash cans & mats
Rain waterI bet rain-washing car is another good idea. You go green.                                            
Natural air fresheners:
Homemade: Vinegar, water, essential oil (Ex: Lavender oil).
1.Take a spray bottle and add vinegar to quarter of the bottle and fill the rest with water. Mix well and spray. Vinegar will not mask the odors but it will absorb and neutralize the bad odors.
2. In a spray bottle add 3 teaspoons of essential oil and fill rest with water. Oils do not dissolve in water so you have to make an extra effort to shake well before use.
Grow indoor plants: But they need regular maintenance to keep the bugs off.
Sandal wood: You can keep the sandal wood as is or buy some sculptures or decorations made of it to make room smell fresh.
Incense sticks: Buy the reliable ones as many of them are made of harmful chemicals.
Natural air: Open the windows and let fresh breeze replace the stale air. There are more pollutants inside the air tight houses than outside. Let the sunlight sterilize your house with natural UV light.
Do you know the name of this plant?

Sandal wood stick

Indoor plant: Mother of millions
White vinegar

Granular Enzyme Cleaner - 039750 Granular Drain Cleaner
Granular Drain Cleaner $23.18
Clogged drain: Use enzyme drain cleaner like Drain Eze which breaks down sludge and grease with the help of enzymes and harmless bacteria. It does not harm pipes or environment. Commercial drain cleaners contain acid or lye. 
If needed use plunger, snake or electric snake. 
To prevent clog use metal sieve (available in Lowe's or Home Depot).
Wood: For countertops, cabinet doors, and varnished furniture use few drops of lemon oil in a glass of water. Use microfiber dampened with solution to wipe first and then dry thoroughly.
Toothpaste: Brush silver and gold ornaments or decorations with toothpaste.
Wash cloth: Use wash cloth instead of paper towel or wipes. Reusing is the best way to go green.
Leather sofa\interior: Use linseed oil to clean. To shine leather, use organic wood polish or olive oil.
Stainless steel sponge
Steel Scrubber $1.50
Scrub made of Agave plant fiber
Scrubs: For those hard gunky kitchen utensils I use steel scrubber scrub or Scotch Brite scrubs.
 Green vs Harmful products: All those promising commercial cleaning products which promise to be fast and easy are enticing. But, they do not reveal how harmful they are to the environment. I fell for those commercials and ended up filling my stock room which I never used because I decided to go green. I wasted money but I am glad that I haven't poisoned the environment. The chemicals go down the drain and mix with organic compounds and release volatile organic compounds that are harmful to living beings. Many of them were identified to be cancer causing toxins. What goes around comes around. If we neglect today then tomorrow these nasty chemicals come after us.

I would like to dedicate this post to my friend Jyothsna and thank her for helping me in editing this post.
Fruits and vegetables have been coated with food-grade vegetable, petroleum, beeswax, and/or lac-resin based wax or resin to maintain freshness… No fruits or vegetables have been coated with animal-based wax”. 
Lyme disease, Pubmed Health.
Pseudomembranous colitis, Pubmed Health. 
Why wash vegetables and fruits.
 UV sterilizer wand,
MRSA and CRKP - Superbugs.
Miracle cloth,
 Clean car and interior, cleaners,,
Best website for clean and green,


  1. Very informative article, thanks Nalini!


  2. I hope that every step counts towards saving earth -this article is my effort for encouraging my friends towards green. Thanks, Savvy.

  3. superb article nalini, keep going!!!


  4. Nice article, its like Grandma's treasure. Thank you Nalini for sharing wit us.


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