Wednesday, February 8

Spic 'n Span Meets Cleaning Green





When I became pregnant with the little man (he will be three shortly!), I started the transition to "green" cleaning products. Given that I could not walk down the cleaning supply and laundry detergent isle in the grocery store without becoming violently nauseous, I took the hint that these products probably were not the best options anymore. And switching over to something better had been on my To-Do list for some time.

Chemical sensitivity aside, I wanted the safe options, and as I ran out of Windex, pledge and scrubbing bubbles, I replaced them with natural, more "green" cleaning products. Not only did they not emit such a noxious odor, I was glad to finally make the change and being pregnant was just the incentive I needed to finally get this step in motion.

I was concerned about getting things clean and I suspect like most of us, I was raised on what I call the "spic 'n span" mentality. To get things clean and sanitary, you have to use chemicals that smell pretty bad and come with tons of warning labels. Wearing rubber gloves meant that whatever you were using was killing all those bad germs and you could eat off the floor when you were done scrubbing it. Turns out a simple wipe down of kitchen surfaces or bathroom surfaces with soap and water, hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar will provide adequate disinfection. In other words, clean without having the wear a gas mask while getting your toilet sparkling fresh.


I was still a bit skeptical, since society being as it is, I have been taught the "spic 'n span" way since I was old enough to help Mom dust the living room. But the first time I cleaned my upstairs bathroom with a vinegar and water mixture, I could tell things were clean. Not only that, but I got that vinegar smell - my new verification that things are, in fact, clean. No more noxious chemical odor needed to verify that my tub is ring-free.

Although I like the Simple Green, 7th Generation, Planet, Meyers and Green Works products, just to name a few, I really wanted to get as simple as possible. In researching, I found that you can clean just about anything with a few simple ingredients that we all probably have in our kitchens, laundry rooms or pantry's right now.


Baking soda, vinegar, borax, and liquid soap.

Here are a few of my personal favorites - all tried and true.

All-Purpose Cleaner:
Mix 1/2 cup borax with 1 gallon of hot water until borax dissolves.
Use of any non-wood surface.
I like to use this on the kitchen counters when I do a "kitchen deep clean" - taking everything off the counter to get all the glossed over places.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner:
Scrub with 1/2 cup borax or brush the bowl with baking soda and let sit for 2 minutes. Then add white vinegar, let fizz, scrub again, and flush.
Leaves the bowl shiny and spotless.

Floor Cleaner: (can also be used on walls)
1 cup white vinegar, 1 gallon hot water, 1 tablespoon liquid soap (optional).

Mix vinegar with water and soap. Use a mop or a damp rag to clean and then use a clear water wipe or mop if you add the soap.
I used to be addicted to my Swiffer Wetjet for the mopping duties around here. I loved that thing. And I can still use it - just without the bottle of cleaner that snaps in the holder. I put this mixture in a spray bottle, spray the floor and use the swiffer mop just as a normally would.

I like to use the Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild Liquid Pure Castile Soap in this mix.

Drain Cleaner:
Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain then gradually add 1/2 cup white vinegar.

Let fizz (the fun part) and dissolve.

Then pour boiling water from a kettle down the drain. Wait 30 minutes and repeat if necessary.

No-Scratch Scrub:
1 cup baking soda, warm water, 2 to 3 drops liquid soap.

Combine baking soda with enough water to form a paste. Add soap.

Apply to surfaces and let stand for 5 minutes. Scrub with non-abrasive sponge, rinse and wipe off residue.

I love this for my porcelain kitchen sinks. They are old and stain very easily. It takes a lot to get them clean and white. I also like to add a second step to this one: After I rinse and wipe, I like to sprinkle a little more baking soda in the sink and drizzle vinegar over it to get that fizz. I let it fizz up then I scrub again, concentrating on those stubborn corners.


Dish Soap:

I love Planet dish soap - it is my favorite when I can get it. Unfortunately, the store I usually buy at has stopped carrying it. But there are other options that work very well. I am currently trying Meyers lilac scent dish soap, but you can also make your own:

Add 3/4 cup Castile soap to 1/2 cup water - very simple and it works.

Glass and Mirror Cleaner:

Mix 1 cup white vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon Castile soap and 2 cups of water. Put it in a spray bottle and you are ready to clean all those little fingerprints off the mirrors and windows.

2 comments:

  1. I think that your topic Spic 'n Span Meets Cleaning Green is very interesting. I think that its necessary to use environment product in cleaning. I know that many people are becoming aware of using environment friendly product for cleaning.

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  2. THANK YOU Meredith. I have recently developed significant allergies to store bought cleaning products and I plan to test these ideas out. I really appreciate that you linked up such a valuable post to the Country Homemaker Hop. I look forward to reading your next post.

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