How to Switch to Greener Household Cleaners

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green natural household cleaners

Take a look under your kitchen sink and how many bottles, boxes, and sprays of cleaning “stuff”? Three? Five? Ten? Just for the fun of it, I actually did this last year when I finally decided to get serious about using greener household cleaners.

I counted 9 different products under my sink! Everything from Windex and Clorox Wipes to Comet and Lysol; and that’s without me looking under our bathroom sink! Pretty much your typical collection of go-to cleaners for whatever crazy mess I may ever imagine to encounter in our home. :)

When I began finding green, frugal alternatives for cleaning and disinfecting our home, those nasty, toxic cleaners started disappearing, one by one. Would you believe it if I told you that you could replace everything under your sink with just a few non-toxic, cheap household products? Check out our cleaning dream team below.

The Dream Team:

Vinegar, Baking Soda, Peroxide, Alcohol (not pictured), Borax, Washing Soda, Essential Oils


 

All-Purpose Cleaner & Disinfectant

A spray bottle with 50/50 solution of water and vinegar + a few drops of essential oil (tea tree or lavender)
Uses: counter-tops, stove-tops, floors, sinks, anywhere that could use a good wipe-down
Replaced: Clorox Wipes, Lysol, Swiffer Wet
NOTE: Don’t use this on marble/granite as the vinegar will eat away at it and may permanently etch the surface. See granite countertop cleaner below!
EDIT: I have also begun using my new and improved All-Purpose Cleaner 2.0! It’s great on laminate floors, windows, and stainless steel appliances! For the complete recipe, follow this link: Homemade Floor (And All-Purpose) Cleaner

Granite Countertop Cleaner

Though it’s tempting to use the all-purpose cleaner on your granite countertops, it should NOT be used since it contains vinegar, which can cause etching on the surface over time (lemon juice is also a non-no). So here’s what has worked for me:
Just fill a quart-size spray bottle with 1/4 cup alcohol and a few drops of dish soap, swirl to combine, then top off with water. You may want to add some essential oils to help mask the alcohol smell.
Uses: granite counter-tops

All-Natural Anti-Bacterial Spray

homemade natural antibacterial sprayA spray bottle with some water and a few drops of essential oils. For the complete recipe, follow this link: All-Natural Anti-Bacterial Spray. I just spray this on surfaces after I’ve cleaned them for extra disinfecting action. Mostly on bathroom surfaces – just spray and let air-dry.
Uses: kitchen and bathroom surfaces in need of extra disinfecting action
Replaced: Lysol Disinfecting Spray

Scouring Scrub

Spray with All-Purpose Cleaner, sprinkle with baking soda, scrub with a Sponge/Brush, then rinse clean.
Uses: sinks, bath tubs, toilet bowls, stove-tops, anything that could use some scrubbing action.
Replaced: Comet, Scrubbing Bubbles

 

Glass Cleaner

A spray bottle filled with 50/50 solution of water and vinegar, or
A spray bottle filled with 3 parts water and 1 part alcohol, or
My All-Purpose Cleaner 2.0 which includes water, alcohol, vinegar, and a couple drops of dish soap
Replaced: Windex

NOTE: I just spray it on the glass/mirrors/windows, then wipe up with a microfiber cloth – and never get streaks!

Fruit/Vegetable Wash

homemade vegetable wash

One of two options:

For one or two items, I spray them with a 50/50 solution of vinegar/water, let them sit for a few minutes, rub them very well, then rinse with water.

For a bigger batch, fill a bowl with water and add 1/4 cup vinegar or peroxide + 2 tablespoons salt. Soak for 5-10 minutes then rinse very well

NOTE: Try to only wash what you will use immediately, otherwise, any remaining bacteria could start growing again.

Are you washing grapes? Check out my post on how to wash grapes the right way!

Just look at all the nasty stuff that will float to the top of the water:

Cutting Board Disinfectant/Deodorizer

After cleaning with soap/water, sprinkle with baking soda, then spray with undiluted vinegar. Let it foam and bubble for 5-10 minutes, then rinse with cold water. If you’re in a hurry, you can just wash it with some peroxide to quickly disinfect it. Finish it off with a nice scent by either rubbing it with half a lemon or using a spray bottle filled with water and 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil (natural disinfectant) – just spray it on and let it air dry.

Drain Cleaner

Pour 1/2 cup baking soda, followed by 1 cup vinegar down the drain. When the bubbling stops, flush it with hot water. After about 5 minutes, flush again with cold water.
Replaced: Drain-O/Liquid Plumber

natural homemade floor cleanerTo clean your laminate wood (and tile!) floors with a streak-free shine, make up a solution of water, vinegar, alcohol, a few drops of dish soap and essential oils. View the full post here for the complete recipe: Homemade Floor (And All-Purpose) Cleaner. This also works great for stainless steel appliances and glass/windows!
Replaced: Pine-Sol & Stainless Steel cleaner

Carpet Cleaner

Rub light carpet stains with a mixture of 2 tablespoons salt dissolved in 1/2 cup vinegar. Let the solution dry, then vacuum. For larger or darker stains, add 2 tablespoons borax to the mixture and use in the same way.
Replaced: Resolve Carpet Cleaner

Dishwasher Detergent & Rinse Aid

Mix 1 cup each of borax and washing soda and 1/4 cup each of citric acid and kosher salt. Use 1-2 tablespoons in the detergent compartment.  To give your dishes a spotless shine, add some vinegar to the rinse aid compartment.
Replaced: Cascade detergent & Finish rinse aid


Well, that’s my list so far, and I’m sure I’ll be adding to it! So, who’s ready to kick out at least one commercial cleaner from under the sink and replace it with something on this list? Do you have any other recipes to add to this list? I’d love to hear from you :)

Where can you buy washing soda?

Here are some tips on where to find washing soda (which is NOT the same as baking soda!)

  • in the laundry aisle
  • in the pool cleaner aisle at Walmart, brand name is AquaChem. Just make sure the only ingredient listed is sodium carbonate!
  • call this phone number 1-800-524-1328 and have the UPC code 33200-03020. The service will ask for your zip code and then tell you places in your area that sell the item.
  • you can make your own by cooking baking soda in the oven until it becomes washing soda!

Where can you buy essential oils?

 You can find them at any health food store that sells natural and organic products. If you can’t find a store near you, you can always purchase them online. Mountain Rose Herbs has really good quality oils – love them! And Amazon.com has a huge selection of essential oils.

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c
 

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Image: lusi

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Sarah UmmYusuf is a former school teacher turned stay-at-home wife and mama with a passion for all things simple, natural, and homemade. She loves the natural world, and believes the solutions to many of the world’s ailments lie in nature. Her blog, , began as a way to document her family’s journey to a greener home, but has since become a thriving community and resource for those wishing to take small steps towards a more eco-friendly, natural and sustainable lifestyle. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.