My first weekly themed post!
Every Wednesday we'll take a stroll through your house to find one item to consider changing to make your home a healthier place.
In my quest to become more organic and make my home a safer and cleaner environment, I quickly became overwhelmed with all the things to buy. I believe this is where most people get overwhelmed and give up. But I've found that What About Bob? says it best, "Baby steps." So, let's take one step at a time and see what you can do (usually saving some money) and feel empowered along the way.
Baby Step #1. Cleaners.
I've found that three basic ingredients pretty much clean my entire house. Baking Soda. Vinegar. Borax powder bleach. (Well, those three plus some warm water and a good rag :-) My cleaning closet is packed with an industrial bag of baking soda, a big jug of white vinegar, and a box of bleach. I don't think I've had to restock for months, possibly over a year--how's that for savings?
How do you use these three ingredients? Well, a good place to start is by reading How the Queen Cleans Everything. I found it on the clearance shelf at Barnes and Noble. If you want to save money, you can always check it out from your local library or you can buy it used online. Another free option is to go to her web page here and cruise through the tips. In the book Linda Cobb details easy ways you can clean stuff without using cleaners that are loaded with harsh chemicals and overwhelming fragrances. (And there are loads of web pages that offer natural cleaning solutions too.)
One of my favorite cleaners is the "Toughest Grout Cleaner" listed on her page under "Tips." I use it to scrub my bathtub, shower, tile floors, kitchen sink, etc. And all it takes are the three ingredients listed above.
To give you an idea of how I clean, here's a quick list of things that I clean with these three ingredients:
1. Moping--a handful of baking soda and warm water is all I use in my mop bucket--deodorizes and, with a little elbow grease, cleans all of my floors. (I scrub with the Toughest Grout Cleaner just a few times a year when I want an extra clean shine.)
2. Dusting, base boards, etc.--a rag wet with water and rung out really well.
3. Mirrors--warm water splashed on the mirror then wiped clean with a dry towel. If there are greasy smudges, then I spray it with a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 1 part water.
4. Disinfecting counters, toys, etc.--a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 1 part water sprayed on just about anything and rubbed off with a towel disinfects and deodorizes.
5. As stated above, bathtub, shower, tile floors, kitchen sink, etc. I scrub with Toughest Grout Cleaner.
6. Shower curtain liners (another Linda Cobb tip): throw the liner in the washing machine, add some vinegar and some old towels and run it on a normal cycle. Voila!
7. Cloth diapers: I run my diapers through a cold cycle instead of soaking them. Then I run a hot cycle with a little bit of detergent. But when I want to go the extra mile, I do the cold cycle, then run another cold cycle with a handful of baking soda. During the rinse cycle I add some vinegar to neutralize the soda. And when it's all done, I run an extra cycle of just plain water. This gets all lingering odors out and makes them extra white.
That's it. Cheap. Easy. And the next time you're pregnant, you don't have to worry about switching cleaners--you're already safe and clean.
ps. Check out this blog for lots of fun giveaways, including many natural cleaning products--and if you win, they're free!