The “green” movement has been around for some time now and eco-friendly cleaning products are prevalent on the store shelves. They claim to be made from natural ingredients that are better for the environment, but the small packaging, plastic containers and, especially, single use products such as wipes are still ending up in our landfills.
I used to believe that a good cleaning and disinfecting could only be achieved with the strongest chemicals, and for the longest time that’s what I used to clean my house.
Then I remembered that when I worked for our General Hospital when I was going to school, the small kitchens on every ward had smooth stainless steel cupboards and counters and they were wiped down with just plain vinegar.
In those days there were no weird hospital diseases and super bugs, and if they could be kept clean with only soap and vinegar I should be able to use the same in my home. Most houses are not as filthy as the TV commercials suggest, and I certainly don’t need to use CLR to clean some spilled sauce off my kitchen counter.
Use Regular Household Products
White vinegar, either full strength or diluted with water, will clean and deodorize just about anything from windows, counters, bathroom surfaces and appliances (note: vinegar will etch marble and granite and will attack the grout around tiles so don’t use it on these surfaces).
It will dissolve soap scum, remove hard water deposits and cut the laundry detergent in the washing machine so you can eliminate fabric softener. For a stronger cleaner add ammonia or washing soda (Borax) and dish washing liquid and you can clean heavily soiled walls and floors.
Baking soda is an abrasive and can be used on kitchen and bathroom sinks and bathtub rings. Pour down drains to keep them clear. Rubbing alcohol mixed with water and vinegar can bring a sparkle to windows, mirrors and chrome.
Re-Use And Save Money
Pick up a few plastic spray bottles, sponges and a squeegee from the Dollar Store. You can get a big bag of soft cotton cloths (called shop rags) from the hardware store to use instead of paper towels.
I used to use cloth diapers after my kids were done with them (disposable diapers were rarely used then) and there was nothing better than a well washed, lint-free flannel diaper to dust and polish furniture. It’s too bad that they fell apart a long time ago. Then I realized you don’t need to have a baby to buy cloth diapers, but sadly they are not made the same any more.
You can get all this for under $50. The bottles, cloths, etc. are reusable and the cleaning solutions come in large containers so everything will last for quite a long time.