Winter will be upon us before we know it. While we can still get the windows open and let in lots of fresh air, it may be a good time to give your home a freshening up.  Happily, we no longer have to search high and low for eco-friendly cleaning products; a wide range has become available everywhere including most grocery stores. Do make sure you buy products with an Environmental Choice or Eco Logo Label, which means they are both non-toxic and biodegradable. Biodegradable is not enough. Some Canadian-made brands with this certification include Attitude and Bio-Vert as well as better-known names such as La Parisenne with one laundry detergent and a chlorine-free bleach and Hertel with a multi-purpose cleaner.

You can go one step further and make your own cleaners with common household ingredients. Here is a list of ingredients and supplies (keep posted on your fridge) and a few recipes to get you started:
Ingredients and Supplies
Distilled white vinegar (acetic acid): Cuts grease, removes stains and is an excellent water softener.
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate): Cleans, deodorizes, removes stains and softens fabrics.
Borax (sodium borate): A natural mineral that kills mold and bacteria. An alternative to bleach, it deodorizes, removes stains and boosts the cleaning power of soap.
Castile or vegetable oil based soaps: Cleans everything.
Cornstarch: Starches clothes, absorbs oil and grease.
Herbs and essential oils: For disinfecting and fragrance.
Lemon Juice: Cuts through grease and removes perspiration and other stains from clothing. A bleach alternative.
Salt (sodium chloride): An abrasive.
Toothpaste: A mild abrasive.
Olive or vegetable oil
Microfiber or soft cloths (use old t-shirts)
Spray bottles and jars, preferably recycled
These 4 basic cleaners will cover most of your cleaning needs!
Glass and window cleaner
1 tsp liquid castile soap
3 tbsp vinegar
2 cups water
Shake lightly in spray bottle.
All Purpose Cleaner
1 tsp borax
2 tbsp vinegar
¼ tsp liquid castile soap
2 cups very hot water
Shake well until dissolved in spray bottle.
Natural Wood Furniture Polish
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
2 tsp lemon juice
Soft Scrub Cleaner
Make a paste with equal parts
baking soda and salt.