Awhile ago I e-mailed a very good friend of mine (Julie) for some tips on natural cleaning products; I was expecting the Bean to come along shortly and was just getting into the mindset of realizing how awful most of my go to cleaning products were.
The reason I wrote to Julie is that she ran her own totally organic cleaning business – I figured if anyone knew what they were talking about, she would!
The following are some tidbits from the e-mail she sent – hopefully they’ll help you as much as they helped me!
Well, you opened a can of worms by asking me about cleaning products! I could talk for a long time about this because I love it – and I have used a lot of different products in my 2.5 years of cleaning houses!
I’ve come to the conclusion that you can clean all everyday projects with a handful of natural household products. I’ll give you a rundown of what I use, and on what, so you have an idea of what works for specific things.
- Baking Soda: I use it as a scouring agent. I often combine with Castile soap or dish soap. I use it to scrub kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, bathtub, and toilet. I usually sprinkle it in, then add a bit of soap, and it turns into a paste. I just use rags (ripped up old t-shirts, towels, old facecloths – the facecloths and towels are perhaps my favorite rag as they have some texture of their own) and scrub away…it works better than a magic eraser - though those work really well too – but they are very questionable as to their safety and how much damage they do to a surface.
- Castile soap – the Castile soap I use is a fair trade, vegetable based soap. You can get it in a variety of scents, or unscented. It’s super gentle and you can also use it as dish soap and hand soap. It’s so gentle that we use it to bathe Phoebe (our dog) too.
- Vinegar – Good for cleaning windows when mixed with water in a bottle in a 50/50 ratio.
- Borax – Another good scrubbing agent. Can be mixed with washing soda to do laundry.
- Soap Nuts – Though I haven’t started using them and depending on them yet, I probably will. They’re natural, compostable, create no garbage with packaging, and some of my friends swear by them. They’re good for laundry and also work in the dishwasher.
All that being said, I do make my own cleaner that I use for most of my cleaning. What it’s not great for is floors where light shines in, because one or two of the ingredients aren’t 100% non-streaking.
Here’s the recipe. It’s called ‘Scented Vinegar Spray’:
- 1 t Borax
- 1 T Castile Soap
- 1/8 C White Vinegar
- 2 C Hot Water
- 5-10 drops essential oil of your choice
- 16 oz spray bottle
Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Shelf life – indefinite.
I use this to clean my kitchen counters and sinks (along with baking soda), bathroom counter and sink, bathroom floor, to dust with, etc.
The recipe is from my favorite resource to date and may interest you – I would say it is worth your while to purchase and have on hand. It’s a book called Green Clean (by Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin) and is an excellent and well-rounded resource. It has lots of great tips and information that help you see why you actually don’t need to use chemicals – you just need a few basic things.
As far as brands of green cleaning products that I have found work, one great resource is Norwex. I have their mop and a couple of different types of their cleaning rags.
Their stuff is expensive, but the beauty of it is that it’s quite durable – you need almost no products along with them to do cleaning and they last a long time. Most of their cleaning rags as well as the mop head are good to throw in the washing machine.
Their mop is pricey, but the most sturdy and best working one I have found. They claim you only need water to mop with as the microfiber mophead it comes with has silver in it, which is a antibacterial agent. Their cloths are the same.
Their window polishing cloth is a miracle cloth, which works AMAZINGLY on windows, mirrors, and stainless steel.
Check out their website: Norwex
I’ve recommended their stuff to so many people with such confidence! I should seriously become a representative of their company, as I love their stuff so much! And from my experience they stand behind their products – I broke my mop after using it almost 2 years (and using it for my cleaning business) and they replaced it with no questions. It has a 2 year warranty, and they didn’t mind that I couldn’t find the receipt – well worth it in my mind, for how much use i got out of it.
What a wealth of information! I know I’m saving up for a Norwex mop, and in the meantime I’m proud to say I’ve made a total switch to all natural cleaners – it took me awhile, but I did it.
I’m now at the point where when I went to visit family and used my mom’s dish soap, I could hardly stand it - it smelled like some industrial strength headache inducing grossness (I don’t know a better way to describe it lol). I had to go out and get some natural stuff just to make it through the week.
I’m very thankful to Julie for helping me along the way, and for being one of my dearest friends for close to 12 years. She’s been an inspiration to me all this time, and I love that we’re now moms together, and I get to hear about her life with her husband, Michael, their son Palmer and their dog, Phoebe. I just wish we lived closer to each other!
Have you made the switch to natural cleaning products? Do you have any natural cleaning tips to share?