Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A recycled posting for my 100th post: natural cleaning products revisited

I just noticed this morning that I have written 99 posts. So I thought in the true spirit of an ecologically focused blog I would recycle my most popular blog post. This was originally written in early April when I only had a handful of followers. Since then, Small at Reduce Footprints has Stumbled the following post and sometimes it alone receives a dozen direct hits a day. The day it was Stumbled it it nearly crashed my site, a new visitor logging in almost every second!

It always makes me happy to see someone showing interest in removing the chemical cleaning products from their home. So for my newer followers who haven't seen this yet I challenge you to give some of these recipes a shot. They're easy, very cheap and your body will thank you for it. Now I must go unclog the bathroom sink with baking soda and vinegar....

Kate reveals her all-natural cleaning product secrets,
originally posted April 3, 2009

The spring peepers are calling like mad in my neighborhood, the herring have been sighted in the fish ladder and my forsythia is about to burst. Spring has arrived on the north shore of Massachusetts and the two days I've been able to open my windows wide has made me itch to do a big spring cleaning. As I round up favorite four (and my ONLY four) cleaning products I thought I'd share my secrets with the world. All you need are these, I'm serious:

Grab some empty spray bottles, a rag or newspapers (ditch the paper towels, a rag works great and you can throw it in the wash and newspaper is a great window cleaner) and you're ready for a toxin-free cleaning!

All-purpose cleaner: one part vinegar, four parts water and a splash of lemon juice, put in a spray bottle. This is the first thing I grab for cleaning counters, windows, sinks, sticky mystery messes my husband leaves on the kitchen table....

Safe scrub: baking soda, plain and simple. I get the biggest box the supermarket has and sprinkle it in my ceramic kitchen sink, my bath tub, my bathroom sink. Just moisten a bit and scrub. Everything is pearly-white in no time.

Floor cleaner: Equal mix of white vinegar and warm water. Add a splash of lemon juice for a yummy scent. For wood floors add a splash of baby oil. I admit, I loved my Pine-Sol. But it always left a chemically odor that I didn't want my newborn inhaling. All the ammonia is not only bad for her sensitive mucous membranes (not to mention mine) but unnecessary.

Drain de-clogger: pour a half cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a half cup of vinegar. Don't be alarmed when it foams up! That's how it works it de-gunking magic. Fifteen minutes later pour hot water down the drain to wash it all away. DON'T do this if you've already used a chemical cleaner, the vinegar will react with it and release toxic fumes. Best bet, start with baking soda and vinegar in the first place.

Mold remover: spray it with hydrogen peroxide. One part hydrogen peroxide three parts water.

And my favorite, courtesy of my chemist father-in-law (which I haven't actually tried yet but I'm itching to do because I love a good basic chemical reaction.):

All natural-magical-silver polish: Line a saucepan with aluminum foil and fill with water. Add a teaspoon of salt and baking soda and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling add your silver and let it sit for a minute or two then take it out. Voila! Tarnish-free AND far easier than doing all that polishing! Let me know if you try it and how it works out, my mother-in-law says this is the coolest thing ever and is mad that my father-in-law didn't show her this trick years ago!

What you're never going to need to clean your house:
ammonia: causes damage to mucous membranes and potential burns.
bleach: causes chronic respiratory damage and heart conditions.
antibacterial soap: a whole mess of health problems including antibiotic resistance for you and the creation of super-germs, just don't go there. Get them out of your life for good.

One of the best benefits of getting the scary chemicals above out of my house is I don't have to worry about my almost-crawling baby getting her grubby hands on toxic products and swallowing them.

Happy spring and happy toxin-free cleaning!! -kate


  1. Since I had never seen this post before, Kate, I am thrilled to learn this! Fantastic, and I'm going to start doing this TODAY! (Well, I probably won't clean anything today but I'm going to make the squirt bottle for the kitchen.)

    And congratulations on 100! There's something special about that, isn't there?

  2. Vinegar is a multi-purpose agent. I use it often. It's a good fabric softener also. Pour some in the final rinse and it gets rid of soap scum and makes clothes soft. And peroxide is great for getting out blood stains and ink in clothing too. I found that use out when I was still working at the hospital. These are all great ideas. I hope everyone tries them because they really are effective and cheaper too.

  3. This is my first time seeing your recycled post, and I love it. Great tips! The silver cleaning method sounds especially cool.

  4. Congratulations Kate on your 100th post! I am with you when it comes to environment friendly cleaning products! Baking soda is a great help when I burned something on my pan, it removes the stiff burnt stains, there are lots of them in the kitchen. We don't have to buy chemical based products which can harm our environment. Nice post for 100th post!


  5. love the concept of a recycled post for your 100th... and congrats on that!

  6. DJan: good for you for giving this a shot! it's fun, cheap and things get really clean too!

    Rae: vinegar really is amazing stuff! And I use peroxide everywhere, cleaned my shower curtain with it last month and it's mold-free and didn't burn my lungs in the process. good tips on the blood! I'll remember that! my husband is accident-prone.

    Kirsten: the silver cleaning is fun, and MUCH faster than scrubbing everything with polish.

    AL: I also LOVE baking soda, I buy it in the big industrial box and use it everywhere. Didn't know that about burnt stuff on pans though! I'll try that! thanks!

    Jon: the recycled post was part laziness :) and part I thought my newer readers might benefit from some tips. had no idea recycling a post would go over so well! I'll have to try this again sometime!

    Thanks for reading everyone! happy cleaning! -kate

  7. Great post. I recognize many of these as we use them now. Pinesol was banned from my home years ago! Deoderant soap? Hell no! Castile Soap with essential oils. Works better.

  8. Great post! It is nice to have this all in one concise place! Very good and thank you! Congrats on your 100th ... from a first time reader!

  9. 100th that is wonderful. Keep up the good work. I always pick up good tips when I visit your blog.

    "Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes."~Henry David Thoreau

  10. Excellent ideas, will try the silver cleaner today!

    Thanks for good stuff!

  11. In case I don’t have a chance to say it later, Merry Christmas Kate.

  12. Steve: Merry Christmas to you too! Pinesol burns my sinuses, whatever is in there just can't be good. that's great that you're already using many of these recipes!

    Cinda: happy cleaning and thanks for coming over to my blog!

    Squirrel: that is a fabulous quote, I'm going to use it!

    TC: the silver cleaner is by far my favorite, such a cool reaction!

    Happy Holidays everyone! -kate


I LOVE comments!