You can brighten the sink and "get the white back" by pouring in vinegar and leaving it there for a while, Bond said. Also, try the soft scrub made from baking soda and water. "It's not a matter of elbow grease. It's a matter of letting it set for a period of time," she said.
"To de-grease and sweeten sink and tub drains, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down drain followed by 1 cup vinegar; let bubble for 15 minutes; rinse with hot water," Consumer Reports' Greener Choices website says. "You might have to repeat the procedure more than once or leave the baking soda and vinegar to 'cook' overnight."
"The toilet bowl is difficult, even under the best of circumstances," Bond said. "Go to a health food store and get a really good bathroom toilet product."
For those who want to try a homemade product, Consumer Reports suggests pouring a cup of borax into the toilet and letting it set overnight. "In the morning, scrub and flush," it said. "For an extra-strength cleaner, add 1/4 cup vinegar to the borax."
Clean with diluted vinegar and then do a water rinse afterward, Sutton said.
For those who don't want to make their own cleaning products or buy a green one, there are other ways to get greener. "If you've bought your old conventional cleaners, try using a little less of them," Rangan said. That could mean diluting a window cleaner or targeting your cleaning as much as possible. If there's a spot of black mold in the bathroom, for example, go after that without bleaching the whole wall.
And, she said, "you don't need an antibacterial product."
Sutton said consumers should also look for products that are fragrance-free, and avoid air fresheners. "It's not killing or destroying odor, it's covering up odor that floods your nose," she said.
There's still a lot of educating left to do about green cleaning, Sutton said.
"It takes a little knowhow, and when you get the knowhow, you're set for life," Bond said.
EPA Green Homes website: www.epa.gov/greenhomes/
Consumer Reports' Greener Choices: http://www.greenerchoices.org/products.cfm?product=0111homemadecleaners
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