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Green Cleaning Products: What to Look For continued...

For those who prefer not to spend the money on green cleaning products, she offers the following recipe from her book, which can be applied almost anywhere, including the bathroom and kitchen:

Homemade Soft Scrubber

1/2 cup baking soda

Liquid soap or detergent

5-10 drops pure antiseptic essential oil such as lavender, tea tree oil, or rosemary (optional)

Place the baking soda in a bowl. Slowly pour in liquid soap, stirring constantly. Add liquid soap until the consistency resembles frosting. Add the essential oil, if desired. Scoop the creamy mixture onto a sponge, scrub the surface, then rinse.

Other safer cleaning products include borax, which can be used as a sanitizer; hydrogen peroxide, which can be used in place of bleach for whitening and killing germs; and white vinegar, which can be used as a cleaner in the kitchen for countertops and cookware, among other items.

Are green cleaning products worth the extra effort and expense? Almost everyone agrees that they are.

"When you take these chemicals and you add them to your living space over time, no one really knows what happens," says Rathey, who adds that health problems have soared since the '70s, when builders began insulating homes and decreasing their ventilation. "It may or may not ever affect you, but it's like a giant experiment in which we are all the guinea pigs."

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