‘Tis the season for spring cleaning, so I thought I’d share my tips with you. One of the first and easiest things I did to rid my home of unnecessary chemicals is to switch to using natural cleaning products. Not only is it better for our health, but I have found that it saves our family a lot of money. It gives me peace of mind when using them around children, and I feel better while cleaning now that we have eliminated irritants such as artificial fragrances, bleach, ammonia, phosphates, and triclosan.
Over the past several years I have transitioned away from buying a multitude of conventional products, and now just use a few very effective ones. I no longer purchase cleaning wipes, I have significantly cut back on the amount of paper towels that I use (with children, I find that I need to keep some on hand though), and I now make a lot of my own cleaners. If you’re interested in my method, keep reading.
Ikea Sponges, $.99/3 pack (Ikea)
I stock up on these whenever I make a trip to Ikea. They work really well and are so inexpensive. I use them not only for hand washing dishes, but also for scrubbing surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom.
Full Circle Brush, $3.66/each (Amazon)
I find these brushes so handy, and use them for various deeper cleaning tasks around the house: scrubbing food from dishes, cleaning the shower and bathtub, removing buildup from sinks, and much more. I would be lost without a good scrub brush.
Oops! Reusable Cloths, $1.99/4 pack (Kroger/Ralph’s)
I found these at Kroger (Ralph’s if you’re on the West Coast) and primarily use them to wipe surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen. They are a great replacement for paper towels, and I love that I can toss them in the wash and then reuse them. There are a lot of sizes available from this brand, and I am thinking about picking up more to have enough on hand since I go through my 4 cloths quickly.
Glass Spray Bottles, $10.99/ 2 bottles (Amazon)
I ordered a set of these a couple years ago and haven’t looked back since. I use one for Thieves cleaner, and one for all-purpose cleaner. I like that I don’t have to worry about the chemicals from plastic seeping into my cleaning products. Essential oils can break down plastic particles, so it is especially important to use glass bottles when using cleaners with EO’s.
1 part white vinegar
1 part water
*optional: 10-15 drops lemon essential oil
Mix together in a spray bottle and shake to combine.
This is truly a multi-surface cleaner, as I use it on counters, sinks, tables, chairs, walls, glass, windows, cabinets, shower, tile + laminate floors (I don’t use vinegar on hardwood floor as it can wear down the finish over time). Vinegar cuts grease, removes residues and build up, deodorizes, and disinfects. The best part is that it is seriously cheap. I get a 1.32 gallon jug at my local Costco for $2.99.
Thieves Cleaner, $28.95 (Young Living)
This is not particularly cheap but it is a concentrate, so it lasts me many months. For normal cleaning I add one capful of the concentrate to my 16-oz spray bottle and fill the rest of the way with water. If there is sickness going around or for cleaning particularly nasty messes, I add an extra capful or two of concentrate. I like to use this for deeper cleaning and sanitizing around the house.
This works amazingly well on build-up and stains. I make a paste of baking soda and water and use a brush to scrub it on faucets, sinks, showers, and various surface stains. It is fairly abrasive though, so be careful on delicate materials. Tip: It effortlessly removes coffee and tea stains from mugs! I pick up a big bag of this from Costco and it lasts forever.
Those are my staples for green + natural cleaning. What are your favorite supplies?