Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cleaning the Green Way...

I'm a clean freak, and have become even more so with the arrival of Miss Lucy. This has become tricky as along with becoming (even more) of a clean freak, I've also become completely paranoid about the chemicals that go into our regular household cleaners and are then dispersed into my home for all to inhale. After reading the book Green Goes With Everything by Sloan Barrett I chucked each and every bottle of our harsh store bought cleaners-- goodbye Comet, goodbye Soft Scrub, Goodbye Clorox Bathroom Cleaner, Goodbye Windex.

In the book the author pretty much constantly pimps out her husband's company's green product line, something that somewhat turned me off and made the book a little less objective than it could have been, but she did still have a wealth of information about the adverse effects of these chemicals on on our bodies. So, instead of going out and buying up the entire product line I did some research of my own and found recipes to make my own green cleaning products. Four empty spray bottles, a gallon of the cheap white vinegar, a vial of tea tree oil, a jug of Castille soap and a box of both baking soda and washing soda later I was totally set up with all I need to clean my home. I've used these cleaners for almost 4 months now and they work just as well, if not better, than the commercial stuff. What I've noticed the most about them is that my throat and eyes don't burn after scrubbing the sink or the shower and I can pick up Lucy after cleaning without feeling like I reek of bleach for the rest of the day, even after a shower I used to be able to smell it on my hands and inside my nostrils. Ew. That's got to tell you something right there!

The only caveat to homemade cleaning products are I don't feel like I get the bathroom clean enough for my(somewhat obsessive) liking. To remedy this I popped on over to our local Whole Foods and purchased a ecologically friendly bathroom cleaner from one of my favorite local Northwest Companies Bi-O-Kleen. If you don't want to make the cleaners yourself I definitely recommend anything in their product line, I stock up on their Bac-Out Stain and Odor Eliminator for Lucy's diapers whenever it is on sale (seriously, last time I bought 10 bottles). The bathroom cleaner was definitely more pricey than plain old Clorox Bathroom Cleaner, but with the money I save with not having to buy my other cleaners (it is so much cheaper to make them yourself) I'm still saving money in the end.

I receive these daily emails from Ideal Bite with tips on being a "green" mama and I found the one that I received today to be particularly helpful. See here about some great ways to disinfect children's toys without using harsh chemicals that aren't good for your baby or the planet!

Coming up next -- recipes!

"My idea of a superwoman is someone who scrubs her own floors."
-Bette Midler


Emily said...

Is this the company that uses Tea Tree in alot of products? I love that smell. (Also when you have smelly cloth diapers I love throwing a thimble of tea tree essential oil in the wash load).

Rock on with your green-ness!

Meg said...

Love this post! I am working on a similar one for my blog. I, too, am green cleaner. I have always hated chemical cleaners and purchased my steam cleaner when we got married, but I, too, got a little more obsessive when Lily came. She has obvious reactions to many chemicals, even regular soap! I think that if people knew how easy and cheap it was to clean like this everyone would do it.

My favorite for the bathroom (or any room): My steam cleaner. Best investment I ever made. 240 degrees of pressurized steam can kill anything, not to mention take off any smudge, stain, grit or grime. I have the Sargent Steam which I LOVE but I know there are others out there.

For my wood floors: Black Tea. I know it sounds weird but I don't like using the olive oil/vinegar combo for a daily thing b/c it is just so greasy. I have a natural oil soap but for a daily wipe I love black tea, it works wonders for the wood. I use Chai sometimes b/c I love the smell.

You go green mama! I love your blog, by the way!

Candice said...

We also make all of our own cleaners. Except for laundry soap. We buy a really nice dye free fragrance free natural one from Meijers. We brought 20 bottles with us to South Africa!

elizabeth said...

We used to use Biokleen products too, but I recently switched to 'Charlies Soap' All Purpose Cleaner and it is seriously the best cleaner I've ever used! It gets everything cleaner than my homemade cleaners or traditional cleaning products. My hubby even noticed a difference. The laundry soap is fabulous too. I still use vinegar and water for some things, but it is so nice to just have one product for the whole house.

Anonymous said...

can you post the "recipes" for the cleaner???

ck2m said...

I volunteer with the OEC (Oregon Environmental Council) they have a wealth of information and little wallet size pamphlets on going green. Check them out at

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