Yesterday, we briefly explored why I made the switch to non toxic cleaners. Today, I want to share with you some natural household cleaners that are very economical and safe for your family.
I was amazed to learn about the wonders of vinegar. Not only is it an effective cleaner, but it is safe, and cheap! I keep a spray bottle in my kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room. I use vinegar to clean my kitchen and bathroom counter tops, the toilet, and tub/shower. I also use it to clean my mirrors. If I cleaned my windows, I’d use it for them, too.
When we have a particularly stinky meal (think bacon or fish) that lingers, I set a small glass bowl of vinegar (about 1/4 cup) on the counter and within a few hours, it has absorbed the odor.
To buy a gallon of white distilled vinegar costs less than $3 and I’m sure that you could get it more economically at Sam’s or Costco.
To answer those of you concerned about its effectiveness in killing bacteria from raw meat, viruses, etc…I have used it for those things for nearly 4 years and have had no problems with it. It has been said to kill 90% of bacteria as opposed to the 99.99% that commercial cleaning products kill, so keep that in mind. I have been very satisfied.
In my kitchen, I use Seventh Generations’ Liquid Dish Soap to hand wash my dishes (among other things!). For the dishwasher, I use Biokleen’s Automatic Dish Powder. I love this product! I had tried several products that just didn’t get the job done, including making my own dish detergent. Their products are “super-concentrated,” which increases the duration of use and lessens the cost. I am still working on a container of dish detergent that I bought nearly 3 months ago. I paid close to $7 (will buy online next time!) and at this rate, that’s just a little over $2/month.
I use vinegar as a rinse aid in the dishwasher and love the results!
In my bathroom, in addition to vinegar, I simply sprinkle baking soda to get a nice shine. If I am having problems with mold, I do use Seventh Generation Non Chlorine Bleach. Bleach doesn’t really kill mold like we’ve been told (surprise!), but it does help get rid of its unsightliness. I’ve read a lot about Biokleen’s product Bac-Out which is next on my list to try for getting rid of mold and mildew.
I like to use Seventh Generations Toilet Bowl Cleaner or Mrs. Meyer’s Toilet Bowl Cleaner. These last a long time like my dish detergent, so I’m willing to pay a little more up front. I have found that a little goes a long way!
For my laundry, I have switched over to using Charlies Soap. After a lot of research and waffling, I took the plunge and decided to try it. Just like the Biokleen products, this is all natural and concentrated, requiring only one tablespoon per load. Since switching, one bag lasts me three and a half to four months. I have been very pleased! I also use OxiClean(color and dye free) for tough stains or smells. I believe that it’s *almost* comparable to BioKleans’ Oxygen Bleach Product. I say almost, because I think BioKlean is a very reputable company across the board and probably more trustworthy (I’m leery of huge corporations).
Vinegar to the rescue again to replace those yucky fabric softeners! I add about 1/4 c to the rinse cycle (um…when I can remember!).
FYI – you don’t need to use nearly as much laundry detergent as the container suggests on most commercial laundry detergents. I learned this when cloth diapering Tara. Less than one quarter of a cup is all you need! Otherwise soap residue remains.
For ironing, a homemade starch can be used. I haven’t tried this yet simply because I have only recently begun a routine of regular ironing since Blane wore an Army uniform to work every day for the past four years. And really, I just don’t starch my clothes or his casual clothes that do need ironing. In a spray bottle, combine one tablespoon of cornstarch and a pint of water. Shake it well just before using. For dark clothes, I’ve read that you can use 2 tsp of cornstarch, 1 c of water and 1/2 c of black tea.
For disinfecting my floors, I use a combination of hot water, vinegar, a squirt of dish soap, and tea tree oil. It is “anti bacterial, anti microbial, anti septic, anti viral, balsamic, cicatrisant, expectorant, fungicide, insecticide, stimulant and sudorific.” I read many places about it (because we are researchers and my husband is big on having science back up claims!) before trusting that it would serve as a true disinfectant. It leaves a refreshing clean scent behind which always adds to the sense of accomplishment that comes after getting the floors mopped. And for us moms of small children, it really is a huge accomplishment!
Are you really saving money? Well, vinegar is super cheap. The other products I have found to be comparable or slightly more expensive due to the fact they are more concentrated than typical cleaning products. I have found that I am able to stretch the use of them much longer. Also, companies like Seventh Generation offer coupons. Sometimes, Amazon can be cheaper or at times, more expensive. When you are in the market to buy, look around before making your final purchase!
I hope this mini-series on non toxic cleaners was a help to you! If you have any questions or tips for others looking into all natural cleaning, please comment below!
Don’t forget that registration for the Naturally Knocked Up E-Course ends this Friday! The class will probably be offered again in October if you are unable to participate this time.