Saturday, January 9, 2010

Greener Cleaners

As I mentioned in the last post, a few months ago I started thinking about the chemicals I was cleaning with around Jonathan, realizing that I didn't feel comfortable using them when he was around. As a result, I switched to a cleaning solution that I mix up at home, described in the previous post.

A few weeks ago, while browsing at Half Price, I ran across a book called "Green This! Greening your Cleaning." It was on clearance for $3, so I bought it. I've been reading/skimming it this weekend, and it's pretty interesting. If I read really closely and buy into everything the author says about the chemicals that surround us, I'll soon find myself unable to leave the house or eat anything I didn't grow myself, so I'm taking everything in with the proverbial grain of salt. But I'm definitely up for cleaning ideas that use less harmful chemicals while saving me money. (Who isn't?!) Since I thought a few of you might be interested, I thought I'd share a few of the cleaning suggestions that she has put in the book:

(Disclaimer: I have not tried all of these, so I can't guarantee that they'll be completely successful. They just sound good to me.)

Hard Floors: The microfiber cloths (like with the Swiffer dry system) can be washed and dried in your machine, between 5 and 10 times each cloth, according to the author. I tried this last week with one of my (name brand) cloths and it worked. That is definitely good news, given how pricey those are.

Bathroom: Instead of toilet bowl cleaner, sprinkle baking soda in the bowl, followed by distilled white vinegar. Scrub with the toilet brush like usual, and flush. I did this today, allowing the solution to sit a few minutes after scrubbing, and my toilets are sparkling clean, without the nasty smell.

Pest control - Roaches and ants: She suggests this mixture for getting rid of these pests (wish I'd had this in undergrad!) Combine 1 cup borax + 1/4 cup crushed fresh pepper +1/4 cup crushed bay leaves in a jar, close and shake well. This can be sprinkled in the corners of pantries, drawers, other pesty places, and should get rid of these nasty bugs.

Laundry: Add a cup of vinegar to the wash cycle to keep colors bright and as a natural fabric softener. **Do not combine vinegar with any product containing bleach!**

Like I said, I haven't tried all of the above solutions, but they seem interesting and I'll probably give them a try. If I try other tips in the book, I'll try to keep you "posted" on their effectiveness and cost.

And just in case you're interested, check out 1001 uses for White Distilled Vinegar for additional cleaning tips.


  1. Great ideas, Janelle. I can attest that the vinegar in the laundry one works. I use it (not as regularly as I should) and it works! It also is great about getting odors out of smelly clothes too.

  2. I was just coming to comment that the vinegar works great as well. Fabric softeners also build up on your fabrics and the drum of your dryer and affects the absorbency of things like towels and cloth diapers.