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Greener Ways to Clean Your Car

written by: Cheryl Gabbert•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 4/29/2009

It's the time of year when everyone is busy washing their car. We all love the look of a sparkling clean vehicle, but car cleaning products can be loaded with chemicals that are unhealthy for you as well as the environment. Here's how to green clean your car without harmful chemicals.

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    Why Green Clean Your Car?

    When it's time to clean your car, why not skip the chemical cleaners, waxes and fresheners in favor of all-natural, homemade car cleaning products. You'll save money as well as your health and the environment when you do. Car air fresheners typically contain chemicals like phenols, formaldehyde, and petroleum distillates, which are known carcinogens and irritants. Inhaling these chemicals gives them direct and fast access to the bloodstream through the lungs. Commercial car waxes typically contain petroleum, among other toxic chemicals, and car washing formulas are full of chemicals that will be rinsed off your car and into the ground with your water hose. Natural cleaners are better for you and the environment, not to mention your wallet! Green clean your car with these simple car cleaning recipes.

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    Green Car Wax

    Car wax can be petroleum-based, which isn't good for the environment. Instead, make your own greener version with this easy recipe.

    1 cup linseed oil

    4 tbs. carnauba wax

    2 tbs. beeswax

    1/2 cup vinegar

    Place all ingredients in a saucepan, and heat on a low setting until waxes have melted. Pour melted ingredients into a container. Let the product firm up before using.

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    Green Car Carpet Cleaners

    Green Carpet Freshener:

    When your carpet needs freshened, don't reach for perfumey products with questionable ingredients. All you really need to do is sprinkle carpet with plain baking soda. Let it set for 10 minutes and vacuum. You'll be rid of any odors without masking them with perfumes.

    Carpet Cleaner:

    If you have any stains, simply sprinkle club soda directly on them and clean with a sponge.

    When it's time to clean your car's carpets, make your own green carpet cleaner instead of using prepackaged products. Fill a steam cleaner 2/3 of the way full with hot water. Add 1/8 cup dishing washing liquid and 1/4 cup white vinegar. This is an effective carpet cleaner with no needed chemicals.

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    Green Car Washing Soap

    You don't need chemicals to wash your car. Simply fill a large bucket with water and squirt in some plain dish washing liquid. Add in 3 tablespoons of white vinegar for better rinsing, and you're ready to clean your car. Use this washing soap just like any other car cleaning product. Simply suds up the car with a sponge and hose off.

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    Clean and Green Windows

    Cleaning the windows in your car is easy with this simple and green window cleaning recipe. Fill a sprayer bottle half full with warm water. Simply add white vinegar until the bottle is nearly full. Add 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Shake to mix. Spray on windows and wipe clean. The vinegar and lemon juice help cut film on windows. Some people like to use newspaper to shine windows. It helps leave the surface streak free.

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    Resources

    1. City of Richland: Window Cleaninghttp://www.ci.richland.wa.us/RICHLAND/enviro/index.cfm?PageNum=77

    2. Gather Little By Little: http://www.gatherlittlebylittle.com/2008/03/homemade-car-cleaning-products