Things to Use



Environmentally Friendly Cleaning & Maintenance

Several green product certification processes currently exist, which can help consumers wade through the plethora of products on the market with claims to be environmentally friendly. These approval systems, modeled after programs like LEED certification for green buildings, each have different standards for inclusion and do not provide a universal standard. The two most well known certifications are Green Seal (US based) and EcoLogo (Canada based), both run by non-profit organizations bearing their names. Purchasing products that have either certification means that they met specific manufacturing, evaluation and labeling standards for green products, as determined by these two independent organizations. Products that bear the Green Seal and EcoLogo label, however, are not certified to be 100 % healthy for human or environmental healthy. They may still contain products that are harmful to human health, and they are not required to fully disclose all ingredients. Rather, products with these approvals are moving in the right direction and have met some base standards.

~Taken from “Back to Basics: Natural Cleaning on a Dime

 Companies that Exceed Green Seal Standards

Whole Foods
Austin, TX

Wild Oats
Austin, TX

Real Goods
Broomfield, CO


Seventh Generation
Burlington, VT

Vancouver, WA

Earth Friendly
Winnetka, IL

Sun and Earth
King of Prussia, PA

Victoria, British Columbia

Imus GTC Institutional and Retail Product Line
Hackensack, NJ

Companies that Meet Green Seal Standards

A variety of products which meet Green Seal standards can be found through their website:

Examples of Natural Cleaning Recipes

Many of these recipes come from a book called Green Clean, by Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin. Several others have been around for generations and are used by Madison Children’s Museum or MCM staff. Green Clean, which is completely waterproof and stain proof book full of helpful cleaning tips, would be a great addition to your museum cleaning closet, as it provides recipes for nearly every stain you can image, blood, urine, coffee, chewing gum, crayons, juices, you name it.

All-Purpose Cleaner
1/4 cup borax
1/2 gallon hot water

Mix all ingredients in a pail until dissolved. Apply with a spray bottle, and wipe clean with a rag or sponge.

Vinegar All-Purpose Cleaner
50% vinegar
50 % warm water
1-2 drops essential oil optional
Spray bottle

Mix ingredients together, spray, wipe clean with a soft cotton rag.

Castile Cleaner
This cleaner is good for greasy stains

1 teaspoon washing soda
2 teaspoons borax
½ teaspoon castile soap
2 cups hot water
10 drops essential oil
16 ounce spray bottle

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle. (Add more washing soda to help whiten any stains.) Spray as needed and wipe clean with a natural sponge or cotton cloth.

General Antiseptic Spray

Liquid castile soap
10-20 drops lavender or tea tree essential oil
16 ounce spray bottle

Mix together in a spray bottle and spritz as needed.

Mildew Remover
Baking soda
Distilled white vinegar

Mix vinegar with water or sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge to clean affected areas.  Vinegar helps prevent mildew because acid kills mildew fungus. Note: proper ventilation and dehumidifiers can reduce or eliminate mildew and mold growth

Hardwood Floor Cleaner
¼ c distilled white vinegar
1 gallon warm water

Mix in pail, mop wood floors. After washing, rinse with water.

Lemon Furniture Polish
2 cups olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

Mix ingredients together. Apply with a soft rag and buff until you can see your reflection.

General Carpet Cleaner
1 part liquid castile soap
1 part water

Whip together by hand or in blender. Make at least a cup worth. Sponge on to carpet, rub in, and wipe dry with a rag.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Baking Soda
Distilled white vinegar
Washing Soda

Sprinkle the toilet with baking soda. Drizzle with vinegar; scour with a toilet brush. This not only cleans, it deodorizes. Or, use soap and washing soda to clean, baking soda to freshen.

Window & Glass Cleaner
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1 quart warm water
Spray Bottle

Mix well, spritz on windows and use a soft cotton towel or newspaper to clean.

Scouring Powder
Baking soda or borax
Table salt

Basic Laundry Detergent
1 part borax
1 part washing soda

Mix in container and use in place of commercial detergent. If you live in a hard water area, you may have to add more soda.

Natural Whitener
1 cup fresh lemon juice
Half –filled bucket of water

Add lemon juice to water and soak clothes overnight.

Metal Tarnish Remover
Distilled white vinegar

Soak metal in vinegar and rinse clean; wipe with a soft rag.