Keep It Green When You Clean

Keeping your camping and hiking gear clean and maintenanced is essential to extending its life and creating less hassle for you when it’s time to gear up for an adventure. Since much of this cleaning will most likely take place outdoors, consideration should be giving to the cleaning products you use. These ingredients seep into soils and water runoff eventually makes its way to the sea, which can have severe long-term impacts on coastal areas and the species that inhabit them, not to mention contamination of the very water we depend on for our day-to-day lives. Take the time to do a little research on your cleaners to find out if they contain harmful substances, and make an effort to discontinue use of products that do have them. You don’t have to compromise your standards of cleanliness in order to choose a more eco-friendly product, but the impact your decision will have on the environment now, and in the future, will be worth the change.

Speaking of change, if you prefer a cost-effective, do-it-yourself approach to eco-friendly cleaning products, here are a few suggestions to help you help the Earth!

You Will Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Lemon (juice and fruit)
  • White vinegar
  • Tea tree oil
  • Salt

These ingredients, despite their humble appearances, are incredibly effective when it comes to cleaning — cutting grease, preventing mold, and leaving things squeaky clean and shiny are all in a day’s work for these simple commodities.


There are two different formulas you can use for mold:

2 c. water

2 tsp. tea tree oil

— OR —

2 c. pure white vinegar

juice of one lemon

Put either of these formulas into a spray bottle and spray the affected area thoroughly. Do not rinse, let sit for several hours before scrubbing. Repeat if necessary.

Greasy Surfaces

This method couldn’t be easier: simply cover grease with baking soda or salt, which will act as an abrasive, and then scrub with juiced lemon halves. For cleaning at the campsite, you can’t get much more eco-friendly.

All-Purpose Surface Cleaner

Another simple formula for powerful cleansing wherever you need it:

2 c. white vinegar

2c. water

2 drops tea tree oil

juice of one lemon

Mix the ingredients together in a bucket or a spray bottle, and apply to whatever surface needs cleaning. Simply wipe away with a washcloth when finished.

Photos via CrusinOn2WheelsCocteauBoy[F]oxymoron

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