A few years ago I detoxed my cleaning routine. Before that I was using “green” products, but they can be pricey and sometimes they’re not any better than regular products. Some of them still contain artificial fragrances, along with toxic ingredients. Once you get rid of all of your old cleaning products and stock your cleaning kit with a few inexpensive items you’ll never look back. Your house will be sparkling clean and you won’t have to worry about what is in those cleaners lurking in the cabinet. Here’s what I have in my cleaning kit:
vinegar* – you can use white or apple cider vinegar (I prefer apple cider vinegar because it’s not made from petroleum and I can make it myself) I keep a squirt bottle and spray bottle with vinegar.
baking soda – which is easy and inexpensive to obtain in bulk
castile soap (regular and scented if desired)
essential oils if desired for fragrance & cleaning power
foaming soap dispenser
parmesan cheese shaker
variety of scrubbers & sponges
*if you dislike the smell of vinegar, consider infusing it with citrus peels, lavender or herbs – here’s how.
Fill a parmesan cheese shaker with baking soda and keep one in your cleaning kit and one by your kitchen sink. Baking soda is the perfect non-abrasive scouring cleaner to give your sinks, toilets, tubs and pretty much everything that nice shine. It’s especially nice for cleaning stainless steel pans and leaves them sparkling. Baking soda is also a natural odor absorber. Keeping it in a cheese shaker makes it super convenient to use. You can simply save a plastic shaker jar, I happened to have these glass ones that I use since I don’t purchase pre-ground parmesan cheese. I’ve been using them for about 10 years without ever breaking them.
In my cleaning kit you will also find a spray bottle filled with vinegar and one filled with my own homemade multipurpose spray (recipe to come later this week). Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and is perfect for spraying countertops after cutting raw meat. It also is a fantastic soap scum buster, spray on sinks, tubs and showers, let sit for 10-15 then scrub with castile soap. No need for a that super blue liquid for cleaning mirrors & windows, use plain vinegar (citrus infused vinegar works even better) or the multipurpose spray on windows & mirrors. Spray on and buff off with a cotton towel or a microfiber. You can use saved spray bottles but I prefer to get new ones, then I know they don’t have any chemicals that have leeched into the plastic. You can find a variety of them on-line, this Clear Spray Bottle 16 oz. is nice and I also love this colorful Crystal & Neon Mist Bottles as well. A foaming soap dispenser is also a great thing to have, you can purchase empty ones. All of mine were Method bottles.
Castile soap is one of the best when it comes to non-toxic cleaning, it comes in unscented or with essential oils. You can use Dr. Bronner Organic Castile Soap if you’d like, I purchase mine in gallon jugs from Mt Rose Herbs. If you want the essential oil castile soap, Dr Bronner’s come in a wide variety of scents like peppermint citrus, lavender, tea tree, rose, almond and my favorite eucalyptus. I also keep a bottle of Dr Bronner’s Sal Suds* on hand and linseed oil soap, they’re fantastic at busting grime and dirt that regular castile soap won’t (like that burnt on grease that gets on your oven mirror and super dirty rags). Sal Suds does contain SLS though, even though it’s biodegradable I use it sparingly and only when needed. <em>*Note that as Sage pointed out Sal Suds from Dr Bronners does contain SLS. I keep a bottle around and use it sparingly only if I actually do need to dissolve grease from my hands/clothing. It’s then followed up with castile soap to remove any residual SLS. </em>
You’ll also want to keep a variety of scrubbers, sponges, old toothbrushes, q-tips and a pumice stone in your cleaning kit. Keep whatever kind of scrubbers you like to use. I’ve talked about my love of Twist Sponges here, they’re compostable and made from all natural materials. Why a pumice stone? It works at getting those tough rings off the porcelain of your toilet. Although it does still take some elbow grease, it’s easier to just keep the toilet clean in the first place.
I also keep some rags in my cleaning kit, along with a microfiber (although I admit that I hate microfiber with a passion and when these wear out I will not replace them). I’m more of an old towel cut up for rags than a paper towel kind of gal, I think they work so much better and are much more absorbent. The microfiber will come in handy for polishing mirrors and faucets (though a towel works just as well).
All my cleaning supplies fit in this shower caddy that I picked up a long time ago for a few dollars. When I’m not cleaning it lives in the laundry room closet. When I’m going to clean I grab it and work my way around the house. The rest of this week I’ll be showing you my methods for using these products to clean the cottage here at Chiot’s Run. We’ll go room by room and I’ll share any tips I’ve learned along the way, like non-toxic toilet cleaning made easy (which a lot of you asked about).
The truth is that it’s easiest to keep you home clean, you’ll spend far less time if you maintain clean rather than letting it completely out of control. This is often when people feel like they have to reach for heavy duty toxic cleaners.
What’s your biggest cleaning challenge?
NON-TOXIC CLEANING SERIES
Stocking Your Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit
Learning to Love Castile Soap
Make Your Own: Foaming Soap
Make Your Own: Infused Vinegar
Make Your Own: Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Make Your Own: Color Safe Oxygen Bleach
Homemade Whitening Scouring Scrub
Non-Toxic Cleaning: Doing the Dishes
Friday Favorite: Charlie’s Soap
Friday Favorite: Twist Sponges
and more to come