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Skip the Scrubbing: Low-Effort Green Cleaning Hacks

March 3, 2024

Skip the Scrubbing: Low-Effort Green Cleaning Hacks

I’m always looking for ways to make my home cleaner and greener without having to put in a ton of effort. After doing some research, I’ve discovered some simple but effective green cleaning hacks that don’t require much scrubbing or effort at all. Implementing just a few of these can make a big difference in decreasing chemicals and increasing sustainability in my home.

Use Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda are two of the most versatile ingredients for green cleaning. They are very affordable, non-toxic, and can be used in a variety of ways.

All-Purpose Cleaner

Mix together:

  • 1 part vinegar
  • 1 part water

Spray this on surfaces and wipe clean with a cloth. The acetic acid in vinegar helps cut through grease and grime.

For tougher jobs, sprinkle some baking soda on the surface first to provide some gentle scrubbing power, then spray the vinegar mixture. The baking soda will react with the vinegar to create bubbles that help lift dirt. Rinse with water afterwards.


To make a disinfecting cleaner, combine:

  • 2 parts vinegar
  • 1 part water
  • 5-10 drops antimicrobial essential oil like tea tree or lemon

Spray this on surfaces and don’t rinse. The vinegar sanitizes while the essential oils provide extra germ-fighting power.

Drain Cleaner

For a clogged drain, pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain followed by 1 cup vinegar. The chemical reaction will help break up gunk and clear the drain. Let sit for 5-10 minutes then rinse with hot water.

Use Castile Soap

Liquid castile soap is an all-purpose green cleaner made from natural vegetable oils. It’s safe, non-toxic, and biodegradable. Here are some great uses:

  • Add a small amount to water in a spray bottle for an all-purpose surface cleaner.
  • Use for washing dishes by hand – it’s gentler than detergent.
  • Add to laundry instead of detergent for sensitive skin.
  • Mix with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for a homemade scrubbing paste.

Castile soap can often replace chemical-laden cleaners like laundry detergent, dish soap, shower cleaner, etc.

Steam Clean

Steam cleaning is an effective chemical-free way to sanitize and deep clean. The heat and steam can cut through dirt, grease, and grime.

I use my handheld garment steamer to steam clean things like:

  • Tile grout
  • Oven hoods
  • Fans
  • Window blinds
  • Upholstery and mattresses

The heat kills bacteria and mites while loosening up stuck-on grime. Simply glide the steamer over the surface, then wipe away the grime with a cloth. Much easier than scrubbing!

For larger jobs, a steam mop is very effective on surfaces like tile, sealed hardwood, laminate, etc. The steam both cleans and sanitizes the floors without the need for cleaning products.

Use Essential Oils

Many essential oils like lemon, tea tree, and eucalyptus have natural cleaning and antibacterial properties. Here are some ways to harness these oils for cleaning:

  • Add 5 drops lemon oil to your dishwasher for a natural rinse aid.
  • Mix 20 drops tea tree oil with vinegar and water for an all-purpose antibacterial spray.
  • Place a few drops of eucalyptus oil on your air filter or AC vents to freshen the air.

Experiment with different oils to make custom cleaning products. Just be sure to dilute in water or vinegar first.

Dryer Sheets

Here are some handy uses for dryer sheets beyond the laundry room:

  • Run a dryer sheet over surfaces to remove hair, dust, and lint. The anti-static properties help lift debris.
  • Toss one in your gym bag or luggage to keep odors at bay.
  • Stick them in shoes to absorb moisture and freshen.

Microfiber Cloths

Microfiber cloths are amazing green cleaning tools. Their ultra-fine fibers and slightly electrostatic properties enable them to absorb and lift away dirt, dust, grease, and moisture without the need for cleaning chemicals.

I use them dry for:

  • Dusting surfaces
  • Cleaning mirrors and glass
  • Wiping down countertops

Dampened with just water, they work great for cleaning:

  • Tile
  • Hardwood floors
  • Stainless steel appliances

The key is to use a fresh cloth each time for maximum effectiveness. Toss in the laundry after use.

Adding just a few of these hacks into my cleaning routine has allowed me to ditch the harsh chemicals and scrubbing. My home is clean and green with way less effort! What are some of your favorite low-effort green cleaning tips? Let me know in the comments below!

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