Ditch the Toxic Cleaning Supplies. Save Money. Avoid harsh chemical exposure.

We like to have our homes feeling fresh and clean. Unfortunately the commercial products sold to clean our homes are a pretty poor choice for accomplishing this goal.

Three reasons to stop using commercial cleaning products:

  • They are expensive.
  • They are toxic - on your skin, in your lungs.
  • They pollute the water system.
  • They add a lot of single use plastic to the waste stream.
  • The alternatives are easy, smell nice and are MUCH less expensive.
  • They smell horrible and in many cases cause coughing as they irritate the lungs.

With the following  inexpensive ingredients you can have all the clean without all the toxicity.

  • White vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Ammonia
  • Orange Oil
  • Barkeepers Friend
  • Murphy’s Oil Soap

Produce: Mix 50 / 50 vinegar/ water and keep in a spray bottle to wash produce. Rub into fruit or veggies, rinse and dry with a clean towel.

Spray cleaner:  Mix 2 - 3 tablespoons vinegar with a gallon of water. Use to mop hardwood floors or pour into a spray bottle to clean countertops, door trim, cabinets, plastic cutting boards, refrigerator, etc. Spray and wipe dry with a soft cloth. Vinegar is a great food safe disinfectant.

Orange oil is also a great spray cleaner. The fragrance is wonderful and it is a food safe disinfectant with many uses around the home. 

Toilet:  Pour a cup of vinegar in the toilet and swish it around with the toilet brush. Cleans and also helps to break down hard water stains. Won’t harm your septic system or pollute the ground water. 

For tough stains, turn off water to toilet and flush so the water level drops in the bowl. Add vinegar and brush it around all inner surfaces, sprinkle generously with baking soda and let it sit a couple hours. May take several applications over several days. 

Vases: Soak vases in roughly 50/50 mixture of vinegar/water to remove water stains. May take overnight or more than one application for tough stains.

Coffee maker (or tea kettle): Clean your french press with a splash of vinegar and a cup of water. Rinse and let dry. Run a 50/50 water/vinegar mix through your coffee maker to get rid of accumulated, rancid coffee oils. Run straight water through once or twice until vinegar scent has dissipated. 

For hand washing in the kitchen: coffee maker parts, stovetops, ovens, pots and pans, baking soda works very well to dissolve grease. It is very slightly abrasive which can help free up stuck food.  Pour a small pile in the sink or countertop. Dip a damp sponge in it like a powdered cleanser. Cut grease better than anything I have found.  It can leave a residue so rinse well or wipe a couple times with a damp cloth.

Tough or burned food in a cook pot: cover stained area with water and add a tablespoon or two of baking soda. Bring to a boil and turn it down to a simmer. Use a spoon or spatula to check to see when the stuck food is released.

If the baking soda isn’t cutting it, I use Barkeeper’s friend. It creates a fresh shine on stainless steel sinks and cookware. It also removes oxidization and tarnish on stainless steel. It is great on the bottom of stainless steel pans and copper bottomed pots. Test it first, though, as it is mildly abrasive. Contains no toxic chlorine as do other powdered cleaners. Bon Ami is another brand.

Instant Pot:  Add a cup of vinegar to the instant pot and fill it with water. Let it run on the steam cycle for a few minutes to clean the lid and remove odors. Alternatively, soak the lid in a solution of water / vinegar in the sink. 

Washing Machine:  Run washer on a short cycle with 1 c vinegar to clean and deodorize the washer.

Windows: Put 1/4c ammonia in a spray bottle. Add 2 drops dish soap and fill with water. Makes a superior glass cleaner at a fraction of the cost of the commercial products. Add essential oils for a pleasant scent. 

Floors: A quarter cup of vinegar or orange oil in a mop bucket gives a clean, streakfree shine to your floors. 

On my hardwood floors and wood trim, I occasionally use Murphy’s Oil Soap as directed on the bottle.

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