Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How I Go About Cleaning

When I first started learning about household chemicals, I got rid of everything I had in the house.  Armed with recipes for homemade cleaning products, I mixed, stirred and shook together all sorts of things. After lots of trial and error, I decided that I had to keep things really simple or I just didn't want to do it. So I'll share with you some of the ways I use natural, nontoxic things to clean my house.

Vinegar is my go-to cleaner.  I put it in the rinse cycle when washing clothes.  Every load of dishes in our dishwasher has about 1 cup of vinegar in it, making every load come out sparkling clean.  (This is quite a feat since we have hard water.)  I mix vinegar, distilled water, and essential oils together to make an all-purpose cleaning spray that gets used for pretty much everything around here. I spray it on my kitchen floor for a quick mopping, spray my kitchen sink and countertops with it, and I clean the bathroom with it. Vinegar is great for hard water stains.  Yes, it is a bit strong smelling, but I don't care. It dissipates and I know that it isn't filling my home with harmful chemical fumes.

The essential oils I use the most are lavender, tea tree, and peppermint.  Lavender and peppermint in a spray bottle with some distilled water make a great freshener for your curtains, furniture, etc.  As to brand, most people I know use Do-terra essential oils (info here) and a few use Young Living (info here).  I personally think that there are other brands out there that are less expensive and are still acceptable to use for cleaning.  If you really hate the smell of vinegar and don't mind spending more, Young Living has an essential oil cleaner that you mix in a spray bottle with distilled water.  It is called Thieves and it makes your house smell like cinnamon and other holiday spices.  I have to admit it is lovely, and I have it when I can afford it.  Here's a link for Thieves Cleaners.

Another must-have is Borax, which has been around forever. It, too, has multiple uses, including cleaning bathtubs and toilets, and is an ingredient in most homemade laundry detergent.  At one point, I would mix up my own "soft scrub" cleaner using borax or baking soda, but now I just spray down my toilets, tubs, and sinks with my all-purpose spray.  I let that sit for a minute while I do something else (there's always something else to do!), then I sprinkle borax in the toilet bowl and tub and add a little squirt of Dr Bronner's Castile Soap.  After a good scrubbing, everything is nice and clean.  No nasty chemicals.

Baking soda is also something I use often. Many times I'll sprinkle baking soda and salt in my kitchen sink and then scrub it down with a half of a lemon.  Baking Soda can also be used in place of Borax when scrubbing the bathtub. It is also, as most of you already know, great for removing odors.

Everything I buy is effective, non-toxic, and budget friendly. Most things I buy at Costco, which means it comes in large quantities.  The Borax and Dr Bronner's are at Target or Whole Foods. Our natural foods stores here have the Dr Bronner's soaps in bulk, so you can take your own containers and refill them. That's a great thing!  For the baking soda, etc, I bought big glass jars that I labeled and put in my laundry room cupboard.

I hope this will encourage you and help you to get started! Let me know how things are going!!!!

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