Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Green and Thrifty Cleaning

Today I thought it would be fun to share some of the thrifty and green ways we clean around here. Cleaning products can be expensive and they also can be dangerous to have around. As time goes on I have been more and more weeding the chemical laden ones out of our life and are opting for more simple, inexpensive and often homemade options.

I know many advertisements would like to convince us that we need all sorts of various sprays, wipes and what not to get rid of all the bacteria in our house. But this is actually not necessary and could possibly be dangerous as when you use a bunch of antibacterial stuff you could be breeding a stronger bacteria.

Anyway, I believe it is quite possible to have a nice, clean house without all the commercial things that are supposed to be mega germ killers. Here are some of the things that we use for our Thrifty Green Cleaning:
  1. Baking Soda~ I like to use this for scrubbing my sinks, toilet and my flat topped stove. (I also use it for brushing my teeth and have used it for my hair too.) Baking soda is pretty useful stuff. It is even more fun to add a little vinegar and watch it bubble but I am not sure that helps the cleaning power. :-)
  2. Vinegar~ This is what I use for all my mopping (on laminate tile, ceramic tile, linoleum and laminate wood look), it works just fine. I have also used this mixed in water for washing windows and as an all purpose cleaning spray.
  3. I do also really like Melaleuca products. I have bought them in concentrate and then you mix them with water to use them and they last a long time! I really like the shower cleaner which works well even when we have orange from hard water.
  4. The Earth Stone was one of my recent finds which worked to help clean up the really hard water stains that we had. It is a power worker!
  5. I also like to use all cloth rags instead of paper towels. I like the way they work so much better and I can use them over and over. Also I never had to pay anything for them but have made them by cutting up old cotton t-shirts, flannel shirts, cotton socks and using old cloth diapers. I love the diapers and now I have a bunch since we are done with diapers in our household.
  6. For washing windows I like to use a squeegee which makes the job go much easier.
  7. For our carpets I bought a vacuum that has a cloth bag which I really like. Having the cloth bag makes it so I don't ever have to buy bags which saves me money. From a Green perspective it is better too as there is less new things to buy and then throw away. When I dump out my vacuum bag I am able to put it in my compost pile so nothing has to go to the dump and all the dirt from our house actually gets used again. The brand of vacuum I have is a Sanitaire, it is made for commercial jobs and so is very simple and heavy but is a work horse with very good suction.
  8. For cleaning our hard floors I use simply a broom and string mop. They don't require any sort of refills (like Swiffers) and work quite well.

This is our cleaning stuff for the most part. I do still have a few "chemical" supplies left in my house but I am working to get rid of it all. We don't have all the "clean" scents that this culture has become used too, but I don't have to worry about getting a headache while I do my cleaning either.

Another thing we do not use is any sort of spray or plug in air fresheners, which I do not think our beneficial for our health. I much prefer the smell of fresh baked bread, something baking with cinnamon and so forth.

What are your thoughts on cleaning? What are your favorite supplies? (and why?) I love to hear how you are all doing it too, even if you don't agree with all my ideas.


For more Thrifty Green Thursday posts visit Green Baby Guide.

7 comments:

Cathy said...

i'm with you--I'm trying to get rid of my chemical cleaners and make my own. I'm also using rags as much as possible. I used to use disposable wipes all the time--yuck!

Condo Blues said...

I'm trying to kick the plastic sponge habit and go with cleaning rags too. I cut old worn out kitchen towels and bath towels (we ones that are too thin for the dog's old towl stash) into quarters and keep a bunch under the kitchen and bathroom sinks.

Greenbaby said...

Great tips! I especially like knowing about the vacuum with the fabric bag. Ours is still hanging in there after ten years but it's likely to quit one of these days. I had never thought about emptying the vacuum bag contents into the compost but that's a great idea! My other favorite basic cleaning product is borax in the shower. It works wonders and is so very economical! Thanks for joining us this week for Thrifty Green Thursday!

Rebecca said...

I'm trying to replace all my toxic cleaners with more natural ones, too. I bought this huge jug of toxic (I assume) stuff years and years ago, and it's still not gone. I should have just dropped it off at the hazardous waste facility a long time ago.

I also love using rags instead of paper towels!

Thanks for this thrifty green thursday post!

Emily said...

Oh, I'm glad you posted this because I just spent a bunch of time online trying to figure out some better cleaners....so this is helpful. Hope your colds are going away!

Dear Abbi said...

Interesting list! I am intrigued by the bathroom stone.

Becky R said...

Hello! I use vinegar and baking soda for most of my cleaning as well.

In addition white vinegar makes a great fabric softner. Add 1/4 cup to rinse cycle and clothes will be soft. I promise they will not smell like vinegar.

Also to clean your microwave fill a glass microwave safe bowl half with water & half with white vinegar. Microwave about 5 min. Then just wipe your microwave clean, plus it removes any smells left in your microwave as well.

I also make my own laundry detergent. Check out my blog for the recipe I use. It is super easy and great for my son's sensitive skin. Not to mention it is super frugal (like $7 for 5 gallons.) And it is safe for front loaders as it is low sudsing.

I enjoy reading your blog.

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