Deb Clem offers her advise and easy recipes for keeping your home dirt and germ free using eco-friendly cleaners.

A few years ago in a bold and crazy move, I got rid of all the toxic cleaning products in my home.  My motivation to go green was prompted by the knowledge that we were breathing chemicals all day long and it wasn’t good for me or my daughter Rosie’s asthma. I fondly said goodbye to the scrubbing bubbles and set out to find a better way to clean.

I’ve probably tried every “Green” cleaner out there (and yes, I put that in quotes for a reason. Some aren’t good for the environment at all). I really like the Seventh Generation line and some of the Melaleuca products, but at the end of the day, many green products are pretty pricey. Once I discovered that most have one magic ingredient, I decided to make my own.

Essentially, it’s easy (and cheap) to make an effective hard surface cleaner. Vinegar is the base, and no, it doesn’t smell great, but with a little essential oil you can customize your cleaner and mask the smell of vinegar. Here’s the recipe:

2 cups white distilled vinegar
2 cups water
20-30 or more drops of essential oil (I like lemon but rosemary is delightful too).

You can also make your own furniture polish that’s 100% safe for the environment – no more toxic fumes from the Pledge bottle.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
20-30 drops lemon essential oil


Because this mixture contains oil, you have to be sure to shake it before using.


I will confess that I still have some store-bought products around. There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to make it all! Two of my favorites that work well are the Method scrub and Simple Green all-purpose cleaner.  Both clean well, smell great and are better for the environment.


The one thing I can’t give up? Toilet cleaner. I still haven’t found a way to get the bowls sparkly bright without a few toxins. Oh well. I’m trying!