Green Cleaning Guide

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Web edition based on 2013 e-book edition. PDFs (downloadable, printables) of this book can be purchased for $1.99.

The contents of this book are my opinions. The information herein is not guaranteed to be accurate. It is not meant to replace your best judgement or the care and use instructions provided by manufacturers. I am not responsible for any damages caused by the information in this book. I am also not responsible for the information provided by any third party companies mentioned or linked to in this book.

Baking Soda & Bliss Table of Contents

Author Intro

Book Intro

What’s wrong with “regular” cleaning products?

  • toxic synthetic ingredients
  • health
  • animals
  • environment
What’s so good about green cleaning products?
How to Identify Safe Products
Make it Yourself!
  • green cleaning superstar ingredients
  • shopping list
  • over 30 recipes & tips for kitchen, bathroom, mold & mildew, glass, window, wood furniture, floors, pets, carpet, and laundry
Thank You

About the Author

I’m a native New Yorker living a charmed life with my programmer boyfriend Richard and our cat Lucy.

In 2010 I started Olivia Cleans Green as a residential cleaning and organizing service offering positive, pet-friendly care to my neighbors in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Today, I use my blog as a vehicle for sharing my enthusiasm and knowledge of healthy, sustainable living.

I’m a holistic health coach (someone who supports clients in reaching their health and life goals) trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

I am honored to be able to live my dreams of making the world a healthier and happier place for people and critters. Thank you for joining me by reading, using, and sharing the information in this book.

Olivia Lane

About this Book

I created this book to share the basics of green cleaning. It’s written for:

  • concerned parents who want to keep their children and/or fur babies safe.
  • new vegans beginning to explore greener lifestyle.
  • friends suffering from asthma, allergies, and mysterious skin conditions.
  • young adults who have no idea how to clean anything.
  • everyone who wants to stay healthy!

This book will teach you the truth about the chemicals in conventional cleaning products: how they affect your health, the environment, and animals. It will also empower you to make healthy choices when buying or making cleaning products.

What’s Wrong with “Regular” Cleaning Products?

Toxic Synthetic Ingredients

Since World War II, over 80,000 new synthetic chemicals were introduced to consumers. These chemicals are found in everyday items like mattresses, clothing, furniture, cookware, cleaning products, and more. Sadly, 62,000 of these chemicals have not been tested. Many have been widely dispersed in our environment and will persist for decades and even centuries.

Synthetic chemicals in our environment enter our bodies by ingestion, inhalation, or through the skin. Infants are exposed in the womb and through breast milk.

In 2004, Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested the blood of 10 unborn Americans for 413 different toxic chemical pollutants. A total of 287 chemicals were found including 212 industrial chemicals and pesticides that were banned over 30 years ago. There was an average of 200 chemicals per fetus. (More on 10 Americans study.)


Researchers have observed a correlation between the increase of chronic diseases and the increase of chemicals in our lives.

Synthetic Chemicals in Laundry Detergents and Softeners

  • Petroleum distillates or napthas solvents linked to cancer, lung damage and/or inflammation, and mucous membrane damage.
  • Phenols used to cover smells attack the central nervous system, heart, blood vessels, lungs, and kidneys.
  • Phthalates ("fragrance")  are a family of chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system and cause a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

Synthetic Chemicals in Cleaning Products

  • Diethylene glycol, found in glass cleaners. Depresses the nervous system.
  • Ethylene-based glycol, a water soluble solvent found in cleaning agents. Classified as hazardous by the EPA.
  • Chlorine "sodium hypochlorite" is in most commercial cleaning products. Fumes irritate the lungs and pose serious health risks to those with asthma or heart problems.
  • Petroleum solvents, found in floor cleaners. Damages mucous membranes.
  • Perchloroethylene, found in spot removers and dry cleaning agents. Causes cancer, liver, and nervous system damage. Also causes infertility and hormonal disruption.
  • Phenols are also found in toilet bowl cleaners and disinfectants.

Illnesses caused by Synthetic Chemicals in Our Bodies

  • obesity & thyroid dysfunction
  • decreased sperm count and quality
  • recurrent miscarriage
  • birth defects of the genitals
  • increased cancer risk
  • headaches
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • asthma attacks
  • insomnia
  • memory and concentration problems
  • allergy-like symptoms

Animal Testing

Did you know that most conventional cleaning products and/or their ingredients are tested on animals? These test aren't just done on rats and mice, but also beagles and bunnies. These innocent animals are caged, poisoned, then euthanized.

There are two kinds of tests. One is the Draize test, a substance is dripped or similarly applied to an animal's eyes or skin then any subsequent damage or irritation is assessed. The other, the LD50 test, "lethal dose test" or the "fifty percent test” examines the toxicity of a chemical or other substance by assessing the dosage needed to kill half of the animal test subjects.

These tests are performed to determine safety and toxicity data-- and to dodge lawsuits. Roughly 5,000 animals undergo testing for a single chemical.

Companies test a product when a formula is changed. The addition or removal of chemicals or new quantities of an old chemical are often cause for even "classic" products to be tested.

Results of animal tests don't accurately represent real world application. This is for various reasons, including the fact that we are not exposed to single chemicals at a time or even just the chemicals cocktail in a product. Instead we are all exposed to thousands of chemicals from our environment, medications, and consumer products. Animal testing can't address how these chemicals will interact with each other in our bodies and the environment. (More info on animal testing.)


The chemicals in many cleaners are common pollutants that contribute to smog, reduce the quality of drinking water and are toxic to animals.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency names phosphorus, nitrogen, ammonia and chemicals grouped under the term "Volatile Organic Compounds" (VOCs) as the worst environmental hazards found in household cleaners.

Nitrogen, phosphorus and ammonia also happen to be plant fertilizing chemicals. After we use products containing these chemicals, the chemicals eventually get flushed down our toilet or rinsed down the drain. Unfortunately, water treatment facilities can’t remove the nitrogen, phosphorus, and ammonia from our waste water so the chemicals pass into rivers, streams, lakes, and other waterways. There they cause the overgrowth of various plant life.

What’s wrong with lots of plants? They throw off the delicately balanced ecosystem. This dense vegetation crowds out native animal life and other marine plants. At the end of these plants' chemical-accelerated life cycle, they die in large masses, decaying and depleting the oxygen in the water. Algae then grows, and the animals – freshwater shellfish, fish and others – die off as well; the die-offs cause more decay. Soon, the water is no longer suitable for drinking, cooking or bathing. Clearly, this isn’t a good scenario for any of us land dwellers either.

According to the EPA, VOCs contribute to smog. VOCs are first released into our household environment where they cause dangerous health issues. When we open our windows and doors, the chemicals mix with sunlight to create harmful ground-level ozone. In addition to being corrosive to human respiratory systems, ground-level ozone is also hard on plants and animals, damaging ecosystems and leading to reduced crop and forest yields.

What’s So Good About Green Cleaning?

Preserves and improves your health.

As outlined in the previous chapter, conventional cleaning products contain chemicals that can destroy your health. Avoiding these domestic toxins will help you preserve your health. Add some essential oils and the aromatherapy benefits can actually improve your health and happiness!

Respects your core values.

Your personal well-being is important to you. Most likely you care about the health and happiness of your family and your neighbors as well. You might even care about animals. And if you like eating, you should certainly care about the quality of water, air, and soil. Making environmentally conscious choices like cleaning green means taking actions that are consistent with your core values.   

Respects nature.

Green cleaning taps into the abundance that the Universe has to offer us without exploiting it. When we clean green, we choose to respectfully use the wonderful botanical solutions that surround us and have been helping us thrive for centuries. We choose to use the gift of human ingenuity to discover ways to tackle modern problems too.

How to Identify Safe Products

Read the label.

Fragrances are unnecessary and often cause allergic reactions. Never use a product with “fragrance” on the ingredient list or “unscented” on the label. It can contain a mixture of dozens of chemical substances for which there is limited safety data.

Avoid products that list chlorine bleach as an ingredient. Chlorine bleach can release traces of harmful chlorine gas which puts frequent users at increased risk of developing asthma and other respiratory problems.

“Antibacterial” or “active ingredients” are another thing to look out for. They usually contain pesticides that can be toxic to aquatic algae, fish and wildlife. Overuse of pesticides can promote development of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and that does endanger our health.

There are other things to look out for but most products that don’t contain those three are usually free of other toxins.

Use EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

  • Look up safety ratings on more than 2,000 commercial products.
  • Find out what ingredients are in a specific product and how they affect your health and the environment.
  • Discover the greenest products on the market.
  • Learn to decode cleaning product labels.

Buy from a green company.

The companies listed below were chosen because most or all of their products are supersafe, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free. Most offer vegan products too.

Of course, I encourage you to contact the manufacturer and consult the following websites for the latest info on the ingredients of individual products as well as animal testing policies:

What is a Green Product?

Here is a list of recommended considerations to make when deciding if a product is green. A green product:
  • is safe for the health of people and animals.
  • doesn’t damage the environment.
  • doesn’t consume a disproportionate amount of energy.
  • doesn’t cause unnecessary waste.
  • doesn’t involve unnecessary cruelty to animals.
  • doesn’t use materials derived from threatened species or environments.

Obviously, you could go as “extreme” or as “tolerant” as you wish when deciding how true these statements are for a product. However, it’s nice to know what you’re measuring.

Make Your Own Products.

The best way to know the cleaning product you’re using around your pets and children is safe is to make it yourself. I’ll show you how. Keep reading and having fun!

Make It Yourself!

Green Cleaning Superstar Ingredients

Here’s a list of super safe ingredients you’ll be using to mix up your own green cleaning products.

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate (a.k.a. bicarbonate of soda), a naturally occurring crystalline compound. All of the baking soda used in the US, and 25% of baking soda used worldwide, comes from the vast trona mines of Green River, WY. The fine crystal texture of baking soda makes it mildly abrasive. This is good for scrubbing jobs when you need something to remove grime without scratching gentle surfaces. It’s great for neutralizing odors and absorbing odor-causing moisture.

Castile Soap is a gentle soap made from olive oil in the tradition of the Castile region of Spain. It doesn’t contain any animal fats. The most popular brand of castile soap in the U.S. is Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. It can be used for personal hygiene and for cleaning.

Club Soda, also known as soda water, is drinking water that has had carbon dioxide gas added to it. Sometimes it contains additional table salt. It’s a helpful stain remover.

Cream of Tartar (a.k.a. potassium bitartrate and potassium hydrogen tartrate) is a byproduct of winemaking. Commonly used for for baking, it’s a salt that can be used to polish metals, remove stains, and gently scrub surfaces.

Detergent is different from soap in that detergent is synthetic while soap is natural. Some detergents are made with biodegradable, non toxic ingredients, which makes them eco-friendlier. Always looks for “green” products when choosing laundry and dish detergents.

Distilled Water is drinking water that has been purified to remove all minerals. It’s ideal for use in appliances that require water (like irons) and green cleaning solutions because there will be no mineral buildup.

Essential Oil is a natural oil typically obtained by distillation. It has the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is extracted. Essential oils have various aromatherapy benefits and (depending on the plant they come from) can kill many germs, making them powerful additions to cleaning products. They are highly concentrated, meaning a few drops go a long way! Check out my list of 12 Germ Fighting Essential Oils.

Hydrogen Peroxide is the only germicidal agent composed only of water and oxygen. It’s a safe alternative to chlorine bleach for removing stains and sanitizing. It can be used in personal care and cleaning products. Hydrogen peroxide must be stored in a dark bottle in a dark place as light changes its chemical composition to water.

Sal Suds is a biodegradable detergent made by Dr. Bronner’s and formulated especially for all-purpose hard-surface cleaning. It is a balanced formulation of naturally derived surfactants with pure fir and spruce essential oils: it cleans and rinses with exceptional power yet is mild and gentle on the skin. Sal Suds can be used for laundry but it is not made for personal hygiene.

Vegetable Glycerine, a.k.a. glycerol, is a clear, thick, odorless liquid produced from plant oils, typically palm oil, soy, or coconut oil. It’s often used in cosmetic products because it is a humectant, a substance that attracts moisture to the skin. It’s useful in cleaning products like scrubs because it keeps them moist.

Vegetable Oil is oil derived from plants (corn, olive, canola, etc). It’s useful for many household tasks, including polishing stainless steel and wood, as well as removing gunk left behind by stickers.

Vinegar comes from alcohol derived from a plant. White distilled vinegar, made from corn, is best for cleaning. It is good at killing mold, mildew, and germs. It can also neutralize odors and cut through grime.

Washing Soda (a.k.a. sodium carbonate, soda ash, and soda crystals) comes from the vast trona mines of Green River, WY. Trona is the raw naturally-occurring mineral which is refined into soda ash. (The soda ash is then dissolved in water and bubbled with carbon dioxide, et voila, baking soda!) Washing soda has many cleaning uses: it is a water softener that boosts laundry detergent performance; a powerful chlorine bleach alternative; it dissolves grease and soap scum; it neutralizes odors; it can also be used a mildly abrasive scrub cleaner.

This book does not contain green cleaning recipes that call for Borax or rubbing alcohol as there are some safety concerns for those products.

Borax is an alkaline mineral salt included in the recipe for many homemade cleaning solutions. According to Environmental Working Group's research, Borax's ingredients have a "high concern [for] developmental/ endocrine/ reproductive effects; [along with] some concern [for] skin irritation/ allergies/ damage, respiratory effects." In most cases, washing soda is a suitable 1:1 replacement for Borax. (More info.)

Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) is a disinfecting chemical common in most medicine cabinets, but it can actually be harmful. It can cause skin irritation as well as irreversible corneal damages. If inhaled, it can cause respiratory tract irritation and/or headaches. Significant systemic toxic effects are likely following repeated exposure to high concentrations. Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are good alternatives.  (More info.)

Shopping List

Most Grocery stores:

  • Baking Soda
  • Club Soda
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Distilled Water
  • Vegetable Oil
  • White Vinegar

Natural/Health Food Store or Amazon:

Drug store (or first aid aisle in grocery store):

  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Vegetable Glycerine

Mountain Rose Herbs:


Viva Vinegar! All Purpose Spray

This is my favorite recipe and sort of a gateway drug to green cleaning. It’s an acid spray that cleans funk, hard water, & mineral buildup. It’s great for bathrooms, especially with eucalyptus.
  1. Combine ½ c white vinegar & ½ c water in an empty spray bottle.
  2. Add ¼ tsp dish detergent.
  3. Optional: Add 10 drops of a strong essential oil. like eucalyptus, if you’d like to cover the smell of vinegar.
  4. Shake. Use.

Basically Brilliant All Purpose Spray

An alkaline/base spray that works on most dirt, wax, and grease. If Viva Vinegar doesn’t work on a problem area, try this.
  1. Dissolve 1 ¼ tsp baking soda (or washing soda for a stronger formula) in 1c hot water in a heat-resistant cup.
  2. Let it cool a bit.
  3. Transfer to an empty spray bottle.
  4. Add ¼ t dish detergent.
  5. Shake. Use.

Simplest & Best Glass Cleaner Ever

Cleaner for indoor glass, mirrors, and windows.
  1. Put club soda into an empty spray bottle.
  2. Spray lightly.
  3. Wipe dry with newspaper, coffee filter, or microfiber glass drying cloth.

Window Cleaner

  1. Vacuum dust from surface using hose attachment with bristle brush.
  2. Clean with Viva Vinegar spray and microfiber cloth.
  3. Clean again with club soda.

Bare Bones Cleaning Powder

Use as you would Ajax, Comet, or Bon Ami powder. It can also be used as a carpet deodorizing powder or sprinkled inside of rubber gloves to keep them fresh.
  1. Pour baking soda into a clean, old Parmesan cheese or gomasio shaker bottle.
  2. Optional: Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil(s) and mix in the jar with a chopstock.

Scour Power to the People

  1. Combine ⅓ c baking soda and 1T liquid castile soap in a small bowl.
  2. Shake some into your tub, toilet, or sink and get to scrubbing.
  3. Use within a day, or add a small amount of vegetable glycerine or water to make it more paste like and to keep it from hardening.


Kitten Soft Sudsy Scrub

  1. Slowly add dish detergent (or liquid castile soap) to a small bowl of baking soda while stirring until you reach a cake-frosting like consistency.
  2. Want it scented? Add a few drops of essential oils or use a natural scented soap instead.
  3. Scoop it onto sponge and scrub-a-dub-dub.
  4. Alternatively, you can save it in an old squeeze condiment bottle.

Dirty Ol’ Tub & Sink Stain Remover

  1. Make a paste of hydrogen peroxide and Cream of Tartar (not the same as tartar sauce. LOL!). It should be like cake-frosting.
  2. Apply to stained tub or sink.
  3. Let dry.
  4. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

Disinfecting Tips

  1. Cleaning and disinfecting are two different processes. Some products both clean and disinfect, but they must be done separately.
  2. Not everything needs to be disinfected, but good spots to pay attention to are toilet seats and flushes, the floor near the toilet, handles to anything, door knobs, cabinet and drawer pulls, light switches, and other things that are touched often. Also disinfect counter tops and cutting boards after preparing meat and seafood.
  3. Do not disinfect marble or stone surfaces. Germs can’t grow on those surfaces and the disinfectant is likely to damage the natural stone.
  4. Always clean before disinfecting. Remove debris and scrub/wipe surface with a cleaner. Rinse if necessary.
  5. Spray surface with a disinfectant. Use the “It’s tea time sucka” cleaner, undiluted vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide.
  6. Leave on the surface for 10 minutes.
  7. Wipe clean and dry with a different cloth.

Mildew & Mold Treatments

Killa Vinegar

  1. Towel or squeegee dry shower walls, or other problem area.
  2. Spray area with undiluted white vinegar.
  3. Don’t rinse.
  4. Keep repeating this daily. Eventually, the acidic and dry conditions kills most species of mold and mildew spores. It also prevents them from returning.

It’s Tea Time, Sucka!

  1. Dry moldy, mildewy affected area.
  2. Combine 1 tsp tea tree oil with 1 c water in a spray bottle.
  3. Spray on affected area.
  4. Don’t rinse.
  5. Do this often, every day if you can, until justice prevails and the bad guys die.

Rub ‘Em Out the Grout

  1. Make a thick paste of washing soda and hydrogen peroxide.
  2. Scrub away and bleach mildew stains with a grout brush.

Wood Polish

  1. Combine equal parts walnut oil and vinegar in an empty shampoo or squeezy condiment bottle.
  2. Optional: Add a few drops of orange or lemon essential oil.
  3. Shake.
  4. Squeeze a little onto a microfiber or flannel cloth.
  5. Wipe down wood furniture to prevent cracks.

Wood Cleaner

  1. Combine ½ cup vinegar with ½ tsp jojoba oil in an empty shampoo or squeezy condiment bottle.
  2. Optional: Add a few drops of orange or lemon essential oil.
  3. Shake.
  4. Squeeze a little onto a microfiber or flannel cloth.
  5. Wipe clean trouble spots, like water marks, on wood furniture.



Untreated hardwood floors are the gremlins of the floor world, don't get them wet! Just dust mop or vacuum them. The way to tell the difference between treated and untreated wood floors is to spill a few drops of water on the floor. If it gets absorbed, the floor is untreated. If it beads, the floor is treated with polyurethane, wax, or something else so you can damp mop it using one of the next two recipes.

When Woody Met Sal(ly)

  1. Add 1/2 T of Sal Suds to a bucket of water*.
  2. Add 20 drops of tea tree essential oil to the water for extra antibacterial power.
  3. Mop with a well squeezed out mop.
  4. Dry.

Viva Floors!

  1. Add ⅛ tsp dish detergent and 1T white vinegar to a bucket of water.
  2. Mop with a well squeezed out mop.
  3. Dry.

Stone Age

Marble and other natural stone floors require a neutral cleaner. Dish soap is a wonderful choice. Never use vinegar cleaner on stone surfaces.
  1. Add up to three drops of dish soap (about ¼ tsp) to a bucket of water.
  2. Mop the floor.
  3. Dry.

Hip to be Square ceramic tile cleaner

  1. Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar or 1/2 T Sal Suds in a bucket of water.
  2. Mop.
  3. If the grout is really dirty, use a brush and scrub with Bon Ami or washing soda then rinse well with plain water.
  4. Wipe dry for shine.

I Love the 70s VINYL floor cleaner

  1. Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar or 1/2 T Sal Suds in a bucket of water.
  2. Mop.
  3. There's no need to wipe dry.

Mopping tips

  • Always vacuum or dust mop before damp mopping.
  • *All references to a "bucket of water" mean about one gallon of warm (not hot) water in whatever container is easiest for you. It could be a bucket, but trash cans and sinks work too.
  • I recommend microfiber mops.
  • Regardless of the solution you use, wring out your mop thoroughly before cleaning the floor. Dry floors after cleaning by going over them with a dry mop head or towel.
  • If you can avoid storing things on the floor, do so. That will make cleaning the floor way less of a bother.

Thinking Outside The Box Cat & Dog Accident Cleaner

  1. Soak up as much of the urine as possible with an old rag that you don’t mind throwing out.
  2. Clean affected area with diluted Sal Suds then rinse well.
  3. Spray with undiluted vinegar. Allow it to almost dry.
  4. Once it’s nearly dry, sprinkle with baking soda. Allow spot to completely dry; overnight should do the trick.
  5. Once it’s all dry, vacuum up the baking soda.
  6. Somehow continue to love your pet even though you just had to go through all this. LOL!

So Fresh and So Clean Everything Deodorizer

  1. Mix 2 cups of baking soda and 25 drops of your favorite essential oil.
  2. Put into an old Parmesan or gomasio shaker bottle. You can also use a jar if you punch holes into the metal lid using a nail and hammer.
  3. Shake onto funky fabric surface.
  4. If funky surface is a carpet, pet bed, or boots leave undisturbed overnight then vacuum up (or shake out into trash) in the morning.
  5. You can also shake this into rubber gloves and garden gloves to keep them fresh between uses.
  6. You can also store  an open jar of this (or even plain baking soda) in the bathroom, kitchen, or near litterbox to keep the area fresher.

Stainless Steel (y Dan) Appliance Cleaner

  1. Wipe down appliance with a wet microfiber cloth.
  2. Pour 1TBS olive oil on another microfiber cloth.
  3. Use oily cloth to buff away water marks and smudges.

How to Clean Your Oven with Baking Soda

  1. Spread newspaper around your oven. This will get messy.
  2. Brush out any crumbs or other debris that is easy to remove with a brush or a cloth.
  3. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the mixing bowl. Slowly add water, about 1 TBS at a time, mixing as you go. Your aim is to create a paste that has a consistency similar to cake frosting. If you accidentally add too much water and the mixture becomes runny, add more baking soda.
  4. Using a paint brush, spread the mixture across the bottom and walls of your oven. Avoid letting mixture fall into the holes of your oven. You don't want to destroy any important mechanisms in there!
  5. If your oven racks are really dirty, paint them with the mixture too.
  6. Leave paste to harden and dry on the surface overnight, or at least 4 hours. The baking soda will absorb all the oil and grease and funk as it dries.
  7. With a dry cloth, wipe away as much dried paste as possible.
  8. Now, wet the cloth and wipe off remnants of the paste. Rinse cloth and repeat as necessary.
  9. Do the same thing with your oven racks. Use pumice stone or scouring pad to remove baked on deposits of food.
*If baking soda did not work and/or your oven is superdirty, try washing soda. It is stronger.

Here are a few tips to keep your oven clean:

  • When baking, place a baking sheet on a rack below whatever it is you're baking. This will catch any overflow or crumbs, instead of having the mess fall on the floor of your oven.
  • When stuff does fall to the floor of your oven, clean it up as soon as the oven cools. This will be much easier than having to deal with an accumulation of superbaked on mess weeks or months later.
  • Never place aluminum foil on the floor of your oven. Nowadays, aluminum foil is not only made with tin metal, but it also contains plastic- plastic which could potentially melt at high temperatures and destroy the floor of your oven. I don't think it's worth the risk.

Burnout Pot Rehab

Did you burn your pot or pan? No worries. This will fix everything. It works for cooked on food too.
  1. Cover bottom of pan with baking soda.
  2. Add a big squirt of dish detergent.
  3. Cover that with water to about the middle of the pan.
  4. Simmer on low heat until it’s about to boil over.
  5. Pour out liquid but do not rinse.
  6. Scrub and everything will wipe away so easily.
(Picture tutorial here.)

Black Beauty Cast Iron Pot Care

  1. Rinse pot.
  2. Scrub with a wire or heavy bristled pot brush.
  3. Don’t have a brush? Try salt and a little vegetable oil on a damp (not wet) sponge.
  4. Rinse clean and towel dry.
  5. Rub with a little vegetable oil before storing.

Lemon Large Cutting Board Sanitizer

Never soak a wood cutting board or leave it hanging around in the sink. Do not put it in the dishwasher either.
  1. Rinse debris from cutting board then clean with dish detergent.
  2. Halve a lemon and sprinkle with table salt.
  3. Rub into cutting board.
  4. Leave alone for 10 minutes.
  5. Rinse and allow to air dry completely before using again.

Salty Dog Cutting Board Sanitizer

  1. Rinse debris from cutting board then clean with dish detergent.
  2. Spray board with undiluted vinegar.
  3. Sprinkle generously with table salt and scrub.
  4. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Rinse and allow to air dry completely before using again.


All Good Laundry Detergent

(Adapted from recipe)

  1. Mix together 1 cup grated castile soap, ½  cup baking soda, ½ c washing soda, and 2 T oxygen bleach.
  2. Optional: Add 20 drops of any combo of up to three of your favorite essential oils. Not recommended if the castile soap is scented/already has essential oils in it.
  3. Store in a wide mouth glass jar or an old Tupperware container.
  4. Use 1-2 T per load.

“Out, Out Damned Spot!” Lady Macbeth’s Blood Stain Remover

  1. Blot (if fresh).
  2. Rinse with cold water.
  3. Sprinkle spot with washing soda or Bon Ami. Scrub clean.
  4. Or use Ruby’s Red Wash brand cleaner on old or already dry stains.

Stain Removal Tips

  • Always clean a stain as soon as possible. While it’s wet is best.
  • Blot a stain. Do not rub it into the surface.
  • Never put a stained garment in the clothes dryer. The heat will set the stain and it will become permanent/ impossible to remove
  • If you don’t know how to remove a stain, just Google it! It’s best to get information on how to remove the specific stain from the exact fabric/surface you are dealing with, as the wrong technique could damage the fabric/surface.

6 Ways to Keep Whites White Without Bleach

Properly Sort
The main reason whites get dingy is the dye from other colored fabrics get on them. If keeping whites white is important to you, do not wash whites and colors together, ever. Also, do not wash heavily soiled white items with not-so-dirty whites.

Hot Water
Martha Stewart recommends washing whites in the hottest water the fabric will tolerate. This isn't especially green, but it works.

Lemon Juice
Soak dingy whites in a basin filled with very hot water and a generous amount of lemon juice overnight. Remove from the basin and wash as usual the next day. Another option is to add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of lemon juice to washer during the rinse cycle.

Hang your white laundry out to dry in direct sunlight, making sure every item gets direct sun. As a bonus, it will also kill any germs. This works especially well after using lemon juice to brighten whites.

Oxygen Bleach
Oxygen bleach does not contain chlorine so it's safe for you and the environment. I just add some to my washing machine as it fills. If something is really grungy or I just want it really white, like my shower curtain, I pre-soak it in oxygen bleach overnight. I mostly use Whole Foods Market store brand powdered oxygen bleach in my laundry, but Seventh Generation bleach is an example of liquid oxygen bleach and it works fine too.

Washing Soda
Washing soda is a natural laundry detergent booster. Add 1/2 cup of it to every load. If you can't find washing soda in your area, you can make your own with baking soda.

Thank You!

Hooray, you did it! You just took a huge step in protecting the health of yourself and the health of your housemates, family, and pets. Now how about taking it a step further?

You can create a ripple effect that changes the world. I invite you to share what you’ve learned with friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, or curious strangers.

  • Bring some green cleaning solutions to your next potluck and offer to help the host clean up.
  • Make a care package for your expectant or new mom friend including organic veggies and some homemade or fancy purchased green cleaning products. Consider including a gift certificate to a cleaning service that you’ve confirmed uses green products.
  • Strike up a conversation in the the supermarket. Next time you see someone grabbing a bottle of cleaning solution, tell them nicely about one of the cool recipes you tried. When the cashier sees your many boxes of baking soda and bottles of vinegar, tell her what you’re doing with it.
  • Share my blog (or just your favorite posts) with friends via email or social media.
  • Suggest this book to a friend. I would be honored for you to share a link to this web edition of Baking Soda & Bliss. PDFs (a printable & downloadable format) of this book can be purchased via this link.

These are just my ideas. Do whatever feels right for you and what you can do now. You are enough to change the world. We are all enough. The magic is in taking action. Let’s get out our magic wands and do this!

Sending so many hugs for your brilliant compassion and interest in green cleaning. I appreciate you for taking the time to read my book. If you have an extra minute or two, I’d love to hear what you think about it.

Please shoot me an email at, tweet to me (@itsolivialane), or leave a comment on my Facebook Page.

With love and gratitude,
Olivia Lane

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