s. If your countertop is granite or marble, leave the vinegar out and use a few drops of dish soap instead. Vinegar can damage the protective coating on stone countertops.
Kitchen cleaner: one quart of water and 4 tablespoons baking soda. Baking soda is a great deodorizer and makes appliances shine!
Glass cleaner: 2 cups water, ½ cup white vinegar, ¼ cup rubbing alcohol (70%), 1-2 drops optional essential oil
Stay Away from Paper Towels
Paper products aren’t great for the environment, so it’s better to use different items to wipe away messes. Paper towels will also cost more over time, compared to reusable products. Additionally, using paper towels for certain messes, like trying to get a stain out of a carpet, will leave behind rubbed off paper residue.
Here is a list of the areas you will be cleaning and what you can use that isn’t a paper towel:
Tile and grout – scrub brush attachment for a regular drill
The tub and sink – microfiber cloth
Mirror – microfiber cloth
Shower curtain – toss it in the washing machine and wash with a gentle cycle and plenty of water. Add some towels or rags to the load to help rub away grime.
Your hands – paper towels are easy to grab to dry your hands while in the kitchen and cooking, but try using a dedicated “clean hands” towel instead. While cooking, try using an apron to dry your clean hands.
Electronic surfaces – microfiber cloth or product specifically designed for these surfaces
Dusty surfaces – a wet paper towel tends to just clump dust together. Use a dedicated duster like a Swiffer duster instead!
Overall, you can replace paper towels with microfiber cloths for most items! Read more here.
Repurpose/ Upcycle Old Items
There are many creative ways to repurpose items that might be past their prime. This is also known as upcycling!
Before starting on your glass jar project, you can remove any labels and sticky glue left behind by spraying window cleaner or rubbing alcohol onto the jar and removing it with something sharp like a thin razor blade. Another way is to soak it in an oil such as vegetable oil and use a microfiber cloth to remove the goop afterward. You can read more here.
Use them as vases for flowers
Hang them on the wall and use them to store supplies like markers and pens
Plant succulents in them! Succulents have shallow root systems and do not need much water, so drainage holes at the bottom are not necessary
Keep the lid, find some materials in your backyard, and make a homemade terrarium! Terrariums require no maintenance, if done correctly.
If you’re feeling especially creative, you can try your hand at candle-making
Where to Donate Your Items
For the items that you cannot repurpose, there are many locations around the county to donate. Thrift stores such as Goodwill will likely take most of your items. The Montgomery County Transfer station also accepts a variety of waste and recyclables from County residents and businesses.
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My Green Montgomery is a project of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection. It is a service to help Montgomery County residents think and live in a way that safeguards and sustains the health of our people, our county, and the planet.