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    "Green" Cleaning Creates Less Waste for Your Next PCS

    It may not be spring cleaning time at your home, but have you taken a look at the cleaning products under your sink lately? What about in your laundry room? It’s so easy to let bottles pile up until you don’t realize that you have multiples of each item, or if not multiples of each item, then at least multiples of each type of item. A person only needs so many bottles of toilet cleaner.cleaning

    For military families who PCS every couple of years, allowing this cleaning product mayhem to take over your cupboards can add up to one big, ugly, wasteful mess. As every PCS-seasoned military family knows, cleaning products wind up as donations to either neighbors or the trash. Moving companies will not take cleaning products, and despite best intentions, laundry detergent and counter cleaner rarely make the cut for the limited real estate available in the family car. The fewer products you own, the less you’re likely to have to dispose of come moving time.

    Aside from simply taking up precious space, cleaning products have some considerable allergy-inducing chemicals in them. As someone raised on scrubbing everything with bleach, I for one now appreciate the breathability of all-natural cleaning products. Though nothing has quite the germ killing power of bleach, there are other products that have serious grime-busting power that don’t require that you purchase copious amounts of pricey, toxic bottles.

    As my grandmother always said, “Waste not, want not.”

    Military families, let’s get clean and green (the earthy and money-saving kind) with these more natural products!

    First, you need a shopping list:

    • Baking Soda or Borax: You can find this in the laundry detergent section of the commissary or the Exchange. It’s less than $5 for a large box of Borax.
    • Distilled or White Vinegar: Again, it’s less than $5 for a large bottle, which you can also find in either the cleaning products section or with the salad dressings.
    • Castile Soap: Made of 100% organic ingredients such as coconut oil, hemp oil, and jojoba oil, castile soap is a vegetable based cleaning soap that is safe enough for cleaning everything from your dishes to your face. If you really want to, you can even clean your teeth with it, but my guess is that you had plenty enough of your mother washing your mouth out with soap as a kid. If you really want to go cheap and clean on the toothpaste, put baking soda on your toothbrush instead. For less than $20, you can buy 32 oz. of castile soap. Castile soap is meant for diluting, so 32oz will last quite a long time. Dr. Bronner makes a good organic castile soap.
    • Set of Spray Bottles: You can usually find 32 oz. bottles at dollar stores.
    • Sharpie: This one’s easy; use the Sharpie to write on the spray bottles so that you know what’s inside.
    • Lemons
    • Olive Oil: Likely you already have this in your pantry, but just in case! 

    …and that’s it! Simple, inexpensive products that will take up minimal space under your sink while maximizing your cleaning budget. You will need some spray bottles under the sink, too, but these can be emptied and rinsed when it’s time to PCS. And, when you do move, you’ll have less waste, and even better, less to re-purchase once you arrive at your new home.

    Want some FREE ideas for how to use these green cleaning supplies? Click below for more information!

    Make Your Own "Green" Cleaning Products

    Karina Gafford


    Karina Gafford

    Originally from Ireland, Karina has been a proud U.S. citizen since 2010. She and her husband have lived together in Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, and Texas. Karina is a Realtor with Keller Williams City View in San Antonio, a founder of Tutors By Base, and an active member in her military spouse community. She has served on many military spouse committees, and is currently the co-chapter leader of the MilSpo Project in San Antonio, a non-profit that supports military spouse business owners and entrepreneurs.

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