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Spring cleaning: Make your home sparkle and shine with these green recipes

Ah, spring. It’s the time of year when the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, the days are longer and, for reasons that defy logic, we feel an urge to clean the house.

It is said that the spring cleaning ritual originated in ancient times and may have something to do with our body clocks (think hibernation). Culture and biology aside, spring is when manufacturers meet this collective urge to purge our homes of dust balls, pet hair and grease stains by pitching all manner of mops, sprays, brushes, paper towels, garbage bags and more.

Spring is also when the Internet is loaded with cleaning tips, including those of the green variety.  [A March 25 Doing Green Right blog provided recipes for DIY glass cleaners, so we’ll skip that.]

Here are a few other tips from a variety of online sources to make your home sparkle and shine:

(From the TLC Web site)

— A cloth dipped in lemon juice can remove stains on vinyl items or tile flooring.

—  Mix 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice and apply it to your wood furniture using a soft cloth. The result:  a sparkling shine and a nice smell.

— A paste of equal parts of salt, vinegar and flour will remove tarnish from a brass or copper item. Use a soft cloth to apply the paste, cover the item and wait until it dries, and wipe it off with a clean, soft cloth.

(From the Sparkpeople Web site)

— Use a toilet brush sprinkled with baking soda to clean the throne. Occasionally disinfect your toilet by scrubbing with borax instead.

— Straight vinegar will dispatch mold and mildew.

(From thedailygreen Web site)

— Deodorize a carpet or rug by sprinkling baking soda or cornstarch on the surface, using about 1 cup per medium-sized room. Vacuum after 30 minutes.

— For clogged drains, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by 2 cups of boiling water. The drain is still slow?  Chase the baking soda with a 1/2 cup of vinegar and cover tightly, allowing the chemical reaction to work its magic. Then flush with one gallon of boiling water.

(From the National Geographic Web site)

— Simmer cinnamon, cloves, or other spices in a small pot of water. Your home will smell delicious.

— To clean the tub, tile and countertops, cut a lemon in half, dip it in borax or baking soda and scrub. Rinse and dry the surface when you’re done.

And, if you’d rather not mix your own cleaning concoctions, the Environmental Protection Agency allows safer products to carry the Design for the Environment (DfE) label. You can find a list of DfE products by clicking here.