Clean green (and save a little green while you're at it!)

April has arrived, and that means it's time for spring cleaning! Name brand cleaning products can get pretty expensive — why bother with those when you probably have plenty of excellent natural cleaners lying around your house?

Cleaners made from common household items, like baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice, do not contain harsh chemicals, meaning they're safer for you to use and are less harmful for the environment. They're also a little easier on your wallet, as many of these ingredients can be bought in bulk.

These cleaning tips collected from The Daily Green ( will have your house looking spring fresh and ready for a mom-inspection.

Freshen Old Clothes: If you have a bit of leftover vodka lying around the house, pour some of it into a spray bottle and spritz your clothes with it, and then hang them to dry in a well-ventilated area. Take a shot to celebrate, because now you don't have to do laundry! According to The Daily Green, vodka kills bacteria that cause odours, but does not leave a scent after it dries.

Kitchen Counters, Stainless Steel Sinks, Porcelain and Tile: Sprinkle some baking soda (for tougher grime, use kosher salt) on the counter or sink surface, and then scrub using a moist cloth. For super-tough stains, knead the baking soda and water into a paste and let it sit on the stain for a while before scrubbing it away. The baking soda is abrasive, and it should be able to lift those stains with a little elbow grease.

Oven: Nobody likes cleaning the oven, but this tip lets you take a long break right in the middle of it. Make a paste from water and baking soda, and coat the inside of the oven with it. Then kick back and relax for a day while the mixture does most of your work for you — just don't try to make cookies while you wait. Put on some gloves and scrub away that grime, and then wipe the whole thing down with a moist cloth to make it sparkle.

Mildew and Grease Streaks: Spray or douse the stain with lemon juice, vinegar or vodka. Let it soak for 15 minutes, then use a stiff brush (an old toothbrush will do) to scrub the stain away.

Windows: Mix 2 tbsp. of white vinegar or lemon juice with 3.5 litres of water and pour into a spray bottle. Use old newspapers to wipe the windows, as it won't leave streaks.

Clogged Drains: I had a roommate in college with gorgeous, thick brown hair... but it wasn't so gorgeous when it was clogging up the shower. All I needed to use was a simple third-grade science trick to clear the drain. Pour a half-cup of baking soda into the drain, then a half-cup of vinegar. The chemical reaction should be enough to break up the gunk and clear the drain. Be sure to cover this tightly, or you'll have a volcano on your hands! Flush all this out with three litres of boiling water.

Carpets: For a fresh carpet stain, grab the club soda. Pick up any solids, and then dump the soda directly onto the stain. Blot with a cloth. The carbonation of the soda lifts the liquid as the salts in it prevent stains. For bigger messes, put some cornmeal on it. Wait a few minutes — five to 15 should do the trick — and vacuum it all up.

Maybe you haven't vacuumed in a while, and the carpet is starting to smell a bit funky. Sprinkle some baking soda or cornstarch on it — not too thick, but enough to cover the entire surface area. Let it sit for half an hour to deodorize, then vacuum the whole thing up.

Wooden Floors: If you're lucky enough to live in a place with wooden floors, but have been neglecting them all year, don't worry — they're pretty easy to clean. Mix a quarter-cup of white vinegar and 3 3/4 cups of warm water. Pour it into a spray bottle, and then spray a cloth until lightly damp. Scrub your floors to remove grime.