Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cleaning House

While we wait for our books to arrive to begin school, I'm taking the opportunity to do some housekeeping. Getting little people on my team isn't as difficult as it may seem, as all of them are looking for something to do.  We like to turn on some music in a central area of the house and waltz around while tidying up.  Even Peter gets in on the action, waving his own little dust rag around.  Fun for all!

I know I am a bit late to the party on the topic of natural cleaners, but I wanted to share with you all how I have completely revamped my cleaning supplies.  In fact, I am down to just 2 items: white vinegar and washing soda.

I think my avoidance of natural cleaners was my mistrust that they were actually getting things "really clean."  There is something about being raised on clorox and pinesol that makes you believe that unless your eyes are tearing up from the chemicals, it must not be working.  I've since come around to a different way of looking at it.

I've been using vinegar and water to wash windows and mirrors for awhile, but it wasn't until I stopped diluting the vinegar that I saw results that really wow-ed me.  Vinegar is really an extraordinary cleaner.  It's cheap, effective, and completely safe.  If Peter ends up sucking on his little rag (gross, yes, but typical), I have nothing to worry about.  Vinegar is extremely effective in killing germs, bacteria and mold while still gentle and safe for children to handle.

When I started using vinegar without cutting it with water, I noticed how amazingly quick it is.  I put a damp microfiber cloth on the bottom of a swiffer, slosh a bit of vinegar on it and can mop my kitchen floor in mere moments.  No scrubbing required, it lifts off sticky popsicle drips and other unsightly splotches in just one pass over.  The same with wiping down counter tops, bathroom and kitchen appliances, etc.  The microwave has never been so (consistently) clean, and mostly because it takes no time at all.  Just a quick wipe down.

Washing soda is something I have been using for awhile in homemade laundry detergent, but never before thought to use it as a household cleaner.  This is another natural and safe cleaner, but I am really the only one who handles it.  I combine washing soda and vinegar to make a paste and use it to scrub my tub.  It lifts off soap scum as well if not better than other scouring options I've used, without the danger of harmful chemicals.

My children love to clean along side me so getting rid of dangerous cleaners has given me the peace of mind that they aren't being exposed to things that could hurt them.

So there you have it.  My cleaning arsenal, down to 2 ingredients.  For some, the scent of vinegar can be a bit much, but you can add a few drops of essential oil if that bothers you (we use lemon or orange).  Add a few packs of microfiber cloths, a normal swiffer for floors and a scrub brush for the tub, and you are all set to have a spotless house with none of the hazards of brand name cleaners.  With the cost coming in significantly less as well, cleaning in a natural and safe way does not need to be expensive.

What natural cleaners do you like to use?

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  1. i love using baking soda and vinegar to clean my electric stove top!

  2. Thank you for sharing! Dawn dish soap is amazing for stains on clothes. Always wash/rinse in cold water while trying to remove a stain.

  3. I have been making my own laundry detergent, but never thought to simply use vinegar to clean practically everything else. And the washing soda with the vinegar for the bathroom...genius!! :) Oh and where do you buy your EO at? Everywhere I have looked it is a bit pricey...

  4. We are vinegar and baking soda users here too, have been for years. You won't catch any of those chemical cleaning products coming past my doorstep, no way!

    I do sometimes add tea tree oil when cleaning the bathroom and counters.

  5. I love cleaning with vinegar! I use vingar with a couple squirts of dish soap in a spray bottle to clean - especially the tub. I spray the tub, clean the rest of the bathroom and then just wipe the tub and rinse. No scrubbing involved!

  6. I've never considered using straight vinegar. I'm going to try that, especially on my nasty microwave. I usually heat up a bowl of tap water for a few minutes and wipe it down that way but I bet the vinegar would get it even cleaner. I used to use washing soda for diapers, had never thought to incorporate it into cleaning... Thanks for the tips! :)

  7. You are so right that it makes it much easier to have kids clean with you using natural ingredients.

    I love cleaning with natural products. I pretty much use only baking soda, vinegar, mild soaps, and the occasional real lemon to clean basically everything in the house, including ourselves, now.


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