FSPA affiliates and sisters commit to use environmentally-friendly cleaning products in 2010

Cleaning products are in just about everyone’s home. And there’s a chance that the products could be making the home a toxic place to live. There are alternatives to store-bought products that are not only safer, but less expensive.

That’s why a New Year's resolution project is encouraging Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration affiliates to clean with the environment in mind during 2010. The FSPA affiliation office distributed microfiber cloths and several earth-friendly cleaning solution recipes to more than 200 affiliate and sister households.

FSPA affiliate Chandra Sherin uses environmentally-friendly cleaning products and has shared the recipes with the affiliation office. Recipes range from an all-purpose cleaner made with vinegar, water and essential oils, to furniture polish and laundry detergent (the recipes are below).

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site, Americans generate 1.6 million tons of waste each year from common household products with potentially hazardous ingredients. These products can include drain openers, oven cleaners and mold and mildew removers. Leftovers of these products often referred to as ‘household hazardous waste’ may contain corrosive, toxic, flammable or reactive ingredients.

This year’s resolution is part of the Franciscan Living Challenge which started in 2008 with the distribution of reusable cloth bags—discouraging the use of plastic bags. In 2009, affiliates and sisters were encouraged to eat greener by purchasing locally-produced food.

Environmentally friendly cleaning solutions

All-Purpose Cleaner
Suggested uses: hard surfaces like countertops and kitchen floors, windows and mirrors
2 cups white distilled vinegar
2 cups water
20-30 or more drops of essential oil (optional. Recommended oils: lemongrass, tea tree oil, lemon or lavender)

Creamy Soft Scrub
Suggested uses: kitchen counters, stoves, bathroom sinks, etc.
2 cups baking soda
½ cup liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronner's castile soap is great for everything)
4 teaspoons vegetable glycerin (acts as a preservative, for long term storage)
5 drops antibacterial essential oil such as lavender, tea tree, rosemary or any scent you prefer (optional)
Mix together and store in a sealed glass jar (two year shelf life).
Tips: For exceptionally tough jobs spray with vinegar first—full strength or diluted, scented—let sit and follow with scrub.
Dry soft scrubs can be made with baking soda or salt (or combination of both) with 10-15 drops essential oil to scent
*Women’s Voices for the Earth recommends using a liquid castile soap that does not contain sodium lauryl (laureth) sulfate (SLS) or Diethanolamine (DEA), which may have harmful side effects.

Furniture Polish
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
20-30 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
Shake well before using
(2 teaspoons lemon juice may be substituted for lemon oil but then product must be stored in refrigerator)
Dip a clean, dry cloth into the polish and rub wood in the direction of the grain. Use a soft brush to work the polish into corners or tight places.
Tips: To remove water spots rub well with toothpaste. To remove scratches use 1 part lemon juice and 1 part oil, rub with soft cloth.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Option 1
Sprinkle toilet bowl with baking soda, drizzle with vinegar, let soak for at least 30 minutes and scrub with toilet brush.

Option 2
Put ¼ cup borax in toilet bowl and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Swish with a toilet brush and then scrub. A few drops of pine oil can be added for increased disinfecting (note, some people are allergic to pine oil.)
Tip: Let ingredients soak for a while to make for easy scrubbing, especially on persistent stains like toilet bowl rings

Drain Opener
½ cup baking soda
½ cup vinegar
Pour baking soda down the drain and follow with vinegar. Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Flush with boiling water.
Tip: Prevent your shower from clogging by using a drain trap to catch hairs.

Laundry Detergent
1 cup soap flakes
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup Borax
Soap flakes can be made by grating your favorite pure vegetable soap with a cheese grater. Mix ingredients together and store in a glass container. Use 1 tablespoon per load (2 for heavily soiled laundry), wash in warm or cold water.
This standard recipe can be adjusted for soft water by using 1 cup soap flakes, 1/4 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax. For hard water, use 1 cup soap flakes, 1 cup washing soda, and 1 cup borax.
Note: Borax should not be ingested.
Tips: Add 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to rinse as a fabric softener. For a whitener, use hydrogen peroxide rather than bleach. Soak your dingy white clothes for 30 minutes in the washer with 1/2 cup

Tour Chapels
Explore our Ministries