DIY: Green Cleaning

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by Cassy Krueger

It’s that time of year again: we’ve all moved into our dorm, house or apartment, and now we’re left wondering how last year’s tenants left such a disaster in their wake.  It seems like no matter where you move, you’ll always end up cleaning somebody else’s mess.  But don’t fret!

You can easily turn this:

into this:

No, it’s not some new Welcome Week cocktail recipe. Do not attempt that at home. You can, however, make some mean cleaning concoctions out of just these four ingredients: distilled white vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol and vodka. Compared to conventional cleaning products, it’s simple, safe, and inexpensive. The best part? You probably have them lying around unused in your apartment…. except maybe the vodka. (Trust me—you can spare just a tablespoon of Fleischmann’s for this.)

Here are a few quick and easy recipes to get you started on your fall cleaning:

White Distilled Vinegar:

  • Dissolves dirt, soap scum, and hard water deposits on smooth surfaces
  • Natural deodorizer—the vinegar smell disappears after it dries
  • Homemade spray cleaner recipe: (countertops, floors, toilets—great for both kitchens and bathrooms)
  1. 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  2. I cup water
  3. A few drops of lemon juice for aroma

Rubbing Alcohol

  • Great for window and glass cleaning
  • Works best with newspaper rather than paper towel
  • Glass cleaner recipe:
  1. Spray bottle — reuse an old one
  2. 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  3. 1 cup water
  4. 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Baking Soda:

  • Sprinkle onto damp sponge to remove bathtub deposits and rings and remove food deposits from kitchen sink
  • If some deposits are very tough to get off, make a paste of the soda and water and let it stand/sit on the grime for 10-20 minutes, then they should be easier to remove with a sponge
  • For slow running drains: pour ½ to 3/4th of a cup of baking soda down the drain and just enough hot water to flush it down. Let sit 2 hours overnight, then flush thoroughly with hot water (but do not use on blocked drains)


If you’ve got some mold monsters in your tub or shower, soak an old toothbrush in a shot of vodka and get scrubbing!  I know, I know—that’s a valuable Friday night shot, but I promise you this quick fix will be far more rewarding.

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