Keep it Clean – the Air, That Is

GreenCleaningIngredientsIt’s well established that chemical household cleaners make a serious contribution to indoor air quality, so let’s address it. If you are addicted to using air fresheners be sure that you are using a non-aerosol, plant based, essential oils, nontoxic product. Conventional air fresheners are chemically powerful indoor bombs consisting of artificial (toxic) perfumes and aerosol propellants.

Room diffusers are a great option to add a gentle aroma to a space. (Also see the DIY room spray below). Be sure to look for products that use plant-derived oils and absolutely no artificial fragrance.  If you are not already buying non-toxic “green” cleaners, start exploring what’s out there. If you thought they were cost prohibitive in the past just note that the influx of brands on the market have made price points quite competitive.

What I really advise is that you to make your own. It’s beyond simple—and cheap! Start with this all-purpose cleaner:

All-Purpose Cleaning Spray (yield 1 pt.)

Combine in a spray container:

½ cup white distilled vinegar

1½ cups warm water

1 Tablespoon Citra-Solv Cleaner & Degreaser concentrate*

½ teaspoon essential oils*

½ teaspoon biodegradable liquid dish soap or castile soap

If desired, you can skip the Citra-Solv—a natural, concentrated degreaser which can be found in most grocery stores. (Note that a small bottle of it seems to be bottomless since you need so little of this mighty concentrate to be effective.) Vinegar is also an excellent degreaser in its own right and has antimicrobial properties as well. And don’t worry about the vinegar smell—the odor dissipates quickly and disappears completely once dried.

A number of essential oils will naturally boost the antiseptic abilities of any homemade cleaner. Start experimenting until you arrive at your desired aroma: Cinnamon, clove, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, lime, oregano, rosemary, sweet orange, tea tree, and thyme are all great options.

Shake bottle well before spraying.



Freshening Room Spray

Combine in a spray container:

½ cup filtered or distilled water

½ cup vodka (the cheap stuff)

Grapefruit essential oil – 8 drops

Lavender essential oil – 10 drops


1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Sweet orange essential oil – 4 drops

Shake bottle well before spraying.

(Look for the “green cleaners” tag to see more easy and economical recommendations in the coming months.)


About the Author

Here at Jenny Green Jeans, by sharing success stories and easy-to- implement tips, I hope to inspire and empower you to continue to make sustainable choices in your life and watch how far the impact goes. Contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have.

7 Enlightened Replies

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  1.' Linda says:

    Thanks for the recipes Jenny! Wonder what you think of Target’s “eco friendly” brand, METHOD? Is it just a marketing ploy that makes you think you’re buying eco-friendly? Or is it the real deal? I love the pretty packaging, colors and scents of their products (Lime & Seasalt, Grapefruit, Pomegranite)… …. but don’t know if they’re REALLY “green”…. sounds a little too good to be true? What say you?

    • Jennifer says:

      Yep! Method is a clean, green, non-toxic product. I wholeheartedly agree – they do have fantastic scents as well. Check out their site:

  2.' Elizabeth says:

    I found it! I have a different question now though. What about for clothing? To keep my trips to the dry cleaner fewer, is there a solvent I can spray on my clothing (some synthetic, some natural) that will kill bacteria, but be safe on my clothes?

    • Jennifer says:

      Yes! Vodka! Cheap Vodka (not rubbing alcohol) in a spray bottle will kill the bacteria that causes odor – think perspiration areas. I know that this works because I make a stinky feet spray/disinfectant (vodka/lemon juice/tea tree oil and water) that is a miracle! Also, steaming your clothes in the shower or with a home steamer can be effective. Brushing with a micro fiber cloth or soft brush removes superficial soiling. And you can make a paste for spot cleaning: Lemon/cream of tarter for ink stains; baking soda paste for red wine; cold, cold, cold salt water soak for blood. For a fresh greasy stain, sprinkle with salt until most of the grease is absorbed. Brush away salt and soak stained area in straight vinegar. The general spot cleaning paste that I make for rugs and such is a vinegar/baking soda/lemon juice paste. It always works – but check color fastness before applying. Lemon can bleach, so be careful.

      •' Elizabeth says:

        Thank you! This is all genius. We use every recipe on your blog and I can’t believe we ever used anything else.

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