There are four reasons I choose to use natural cleaning products:
- Financially Prudent-Natural products are cheap. White vinegar is less than three dollars for a hundred and twenty-eight fluid ounces. A box of baking soda is less than fifty cents. And a bottle of hydrogen peroxide runs less than a dollar. I have spent hundreds of dollars on cleaning products in my lifetime, but in reality the same job can be done for a lot less expense.
- Simple-I don’t need a closet full of cleaning products to clean every surface in my house. I can have a spotless house by using only a few basic, and appropriate products. The cleaning aisle in a grocery store is potent with commercialism. To just clean a bathroom, I can find: shower cleaners, toilet cleaners, tile cleaners, multi-surface bathroom cleaners, and glass cleaners. That is five products just for one room! My entire cleaning product list for my home is about five items. And I don’t purchase any of those items in the cleaning product aisle.
- Versatile- I can use baking soda as a gentle cleaning scrub for my toilets and bathtub, as well as an oven cleaner and sink scrub. Baking soda is multi-tasks in my home as a de-greasing, whitening, and de-scumming agent. Hydrogen peroxide is a great disinfectant, not only for injuries, but for the bathroom and kitchen as well. White vinegar, is cheap and works effectively as a multi-surface cleaner and mild disinfectant. Combined with baking soda, vinegar has an extra power boost to remove scum and grease.
- Natural-I believe natural products are better for the environment, of which caring is part of the stewardship the Lord has given humanity. I also believe, or at least hope, that using natural products whenever I can is easier on my family’s hormones and overall health than chemical products.
My Regular Cleaning Products
White Vinegar: I used to purchase cleaning vinegar. Cleaning vinegar is more concentrated than standard white vinegar and therefore a better disinfectant and cleaner. However, I found it was not necessary. I did not notice a difference in the cleaning capability between the two vinegar products. And although I needed less concentrated vinegar for cleaning than standard white vinegar, I still found myself using the same amount. I also like multi-tasking products. White vinegar can be used in cooking, but not cleaning vinegar. For more details on how I use white vinegar see my blog-post, “The Role of White Vinegar in My Home.”
Hydrogen Peroxide: I use hydrogen peroxide in my bathroom and kitchen as a disinfectant. It kill harmful bacteria and helps me keep those places in my home adequately sanitized. For more details about how I use Hydrogen Peroxide, check out my blogpost: “Hydrogen Peroxide: My Gentle Disinfectant.”
Baking Soda: My favorite cleaning product. Baking soda gets a workout in my home. Baking soda does a lot more than make chocolate chip cookies rise! It is my scrubber, whitener, deodorizer, and cuts grease. (TIP: I have found it cheapest at Aldi, but Wal-Mart is not far behind in price).
Cheap oil: I use coconut oil. I get coconut oil very inexpensively by buying it in bulk and storing it in the freezer, however, olive oil or another inexpensive oil can do the job. A little warm oil rubbed into wood and hard floors does wonders. I sometimes add a drop or two of an essential oil for bug deterrent and scent.
Hot Water: Boiling water is a great cleaning agent on its own. I use hot water for a variety of cleaning jobs, but often mix it with baking soda, vinegar, or oil, depending on what I am cleaning. I often boil a big pot of water for washing my kitchen and bathroom floors.
My Cleaning Tools
Microfiber cloths: I was gifted a set of microfiber cleaning cloths from my sister a few years ago and have found the uses of microfiber cloths to be many. I use a dry fine fiber cloth to clean windows…no spray cleaner is needed. I use a courser cloth for basic dusting. It gets the dust off my furniture without the use of any cleaning agent.
Rags: I like washable rags. I do not buy paper towels. I re-purpose cloth baby diapers, old hand towels, old dish-cloths, and old T-shirts as cleaning rags. I use rags for all sorts of things. Primarily, rags are used for cleaning my floors since I don’t use a wet mop. I can see the floor a lot better if I am close to it. I can also get every corner with a rag. I feel a mop misses a lot of cleaning potential. I know the day will come when scrubbing floors on my knees will be too physically taxing to do, but until then, I will boil water and scrub my floors by hand.
Bucket: any large mop bucket will do. I find them useful as “sick” buckets, or “laundry soaking” buckets as well. Honestly, there is no end to the use of a cheap plastic mop bucket. I have a couple.
Broom and Dustpan: A broom and dustpan is used several times a day in my house…generally in my kitchen and generally after each meal. I like a simple grass broom and plastic dustpan. Nothing says a house is clean as well as a clean floor.
Vacuum: I believe every household should have a really good vacuum, it is worth the investment. My husband bought me a Dyson years ago, and it cleans better than any vacuum I have ever owned. I would empty a regular vacuum bag every month, but the Dyson is full after one cleaning. So, I believe the Dyson gets a lot more dirt out of my floors than a cheaper vacuum. After switching from carpet to wood flooring, I find the Dyson works just as effectively on the wood floors as it did the carpet. A lot of vacuums are less effective or require adjustments between various surfaces.
Dust-mop: This is a recent purchase now that our house has wood floors. I like the quiet, cleaning power of a dust-mop on my wood floors. I choose to buy an inexpensive mop with a washable mop-head. I do not want to be out money on a regular basis for products like Swiffer cloths for my mop.
Scrub brush: Usually, I use the brush for carpets, but it has worked on some tough surface stains as well.
Rubber Gloves: I often protect my hands while cleaning. I get dry skin pretty easily, especially in winter months, or if I am pregnant or breastfeeding. Also, when I use hot water, it is usually at a temperature too hot to touch, but the gloves make it tolerable. I also find that I am willing to get into crevasses and nasty places if my hands are protected.
Long handled Shower Scrubber: This is a tool I would have never thought to purchase on my own. But my husband, who has done a lot of cleaning in his lifetime, found it to be a very useful tool. So he bought me the shower scrubber. Since I am petite, I have found the long handled scrubber to be a valuable addition to my cleaning tools. I am able to clean the bathtub walls and ceiling with ease. The scrubber is a triangle shape, so it gets corners and edges suitably as well.
Toilet brush-Nothing special. This is the tool I use for cleaning toilets. I clean with baking soda and white vinegar, and scrub with a regular old toilet brush.
Peppermint, cinnamon, and lavender oil: Both Peppermint and Cinnamon are insect and spider deterrents, so I often use them in warmer months on the floor baseboard to keep insects at bay. I use a mixture of lavender oil with a sprinkling of baking soda on my carpets to help deodorized them on occasion.
Murphy’s Oil: A natural classic-my grandmother has used it, my mother has used it, and I still do use it. Murphy’s Oil is a MOSTLY natural cleaning product. I use it to clean all my floors and wash down wood walls and surfaces as well. I reserve it for a periodic thorough cleaning. It is not a part of my regular routine. Murphy’s Oil brightens floors and surfaces better than the natural products I use, yet is a product I am comfortable using.
Natural Dish Soap: My favorite dish soap is a Canadian Brand called Attitude. I find Attitude dish soap to be affordable if bought in bulk online. And it works just as effectively as Dawn, which is unusual for a natural product. Attitude dish soap is also thick, unlike many watered down natural dish-washing soaps.
Magic Erasers: These are an essential item in my household. I do not know how my mother cleaned without them. They are great to remove finger smudges from the walls, brighten the chrome on faucets, clean stainless steel, and they have never failed to get paint and marker stains out of my counter tops. I keep Magic Erasers on hand for the times nothing else will work.
OxiClean powder: This is a product I have used for more than clothing stains. A mixture of OxiClean and hot water remove most carpet stains. I have used OxiClean to spot clean my carpets for several years.
Up to this point in life, I have used a large variety of store bought, commercially made cleaning products. There was even a time I made my own cleaning solutions by mixing various natural ingredients. And I also have spent extra money to purchase naturally based cleaners. Natural-store bought products are pricey and often a disappointment. The chemically based products often work great, but also cost money and are questionable in their safety for humans and environment. Home-made products can work, but take time. I also found a lot of ingredients aren’t necessary to clean effectively. So, I don’t create mixtures or buy specialized products anymore. I fill a spray bottle with white vinegar, poke a few holes in a box of baking soda, and that is about it. I will discuss in more detail through separate posts as to how I clean and use each product.