Cleaning Your House The Eco-Friendly Way

The “green” movement has been around for some time now and eco-friendly cleaning products are prevalent on the store shelves.  They claim to be made from natural ingredients that are better for the environment, but the small packaging, plastic containers and, especially, single use products such as wipes are still ending up in our landfills.

ECO-Friendly Cleaning Products

I used to believe that a good cleaning and disinfecting could only be achieved with the strongest chemicals, and for the longest time that’s what I used to clean my house.

Then I remembered that when I worked for our General Hospital when I was going to school, the small kitchens on every ward had smooth stainless steel cupboards and counters and they were wiped down with just plain vinegar.

In those days there were no weird hospital diseases and super bugs, and if they could be kept clean with only soap and vinegar I should be able to use the same in my home.  Most houses are not as filthy as the TV commercials suggest, and I certainly don’t need to use CLR to clean some spilled sauce off my kitchen counter.

Use Regular Household Products

White vinegar, either full strength or diluted with water, will clean and deodorize just about anything from windows, counters, bathroom surfaces and appliances (note: vinegar will etch marble and granite and will attack the grout around tiles so don’t use it on these surfaces).

It will dissolve soap scum, remove hard water deposits and cut the laundry detergent in the washing machine so you can eliminate fabric softener.  For a stronger cleaner add ammonia or washing soda (Borax) and dish washing liquid and you can clean heavily soiled walls and floors.

Baking soda is an abrasive and can be used on kitchen and bathroom sinks and bathtub rings.  Pour down drains to keep them clear.  Rubbing alcohol mixed with water and vinegar can bring a sparkle to windows, mirrors and chrome.

Re-Use And Save Money

Pick up a few plastic spray bottles, sponges and a squeegee from the Dollar Store.  You can get a big bag of soft cotton cloths (called shop rags) from the hardware store to use instead of paper towels.

I used to use cloth diapers after my kids were done with them (disposable diapers were rarely used then) and there was nothing better than a well washed, lint-free flannel diaper to dust and polish furniture.  It’s too bad that they fell apart a long time ago.  Then I realized you don’t need to have a baby to buy cloth diapers, but sadly they are not made the same any more.

You can get all this for under $50.  The bottles, cloths, etc. are reusable and the cleaning solutions come in large containers so everything will last for quite a long time.

With this eco-friendly cleaning method you can save money, eliminate breathing in chemicals, reduce the impact on the environment and still have a clean house.  A winning solution in every way.

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  1. youngandthrifty on January 13, 2011 at 1:22 am

    hehe, I love this post! Diapers to dust and polish 🙂 I used to use old socks- they make a good rag to dust things with.

    I have been buying the new “eco” cleaners, made up of plant material, and nothing harmful for your health. I like the idea of vinegar but am averse to the smell. I’m a sucker for that “clean fresh scent”.

  2. Boomer on January 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    @youngandthrifty: the vinegar smell goes away quite fast, but you can add a bit of lemon juice for a nice fresh scent.

  3. Lizzy on January 16, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Great post! One day I was doing laundry at the laundry mat and an elderly woman had saw my box of borax laundry booster. And she asked me where I had bought it since she uses borax to manage ants that are in her house. I thought this was interesting so I tried a small dish of borax in the springtime on a small line of sugar ants that somehow made there way into my house. The next day there were no ants anywhere and that is all I had done. So I guess the Borax naturally managed the ants. Neat…

  4. Boomer on January 17, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    @Lizzy. I mix one part borax with two parts icing sugar to manage the ants that crop up on my sidewalk. Plus it’s way cheaper than store bought ant killer.

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