We have now been using homeade "green cleaners" for a litte over two months with success, so I figured I' share with you my methods! At first, I of course decided to switch to green cleaners due to the fact that I couldn't sleep at night dreaming Luke would accidently get under the kitchen sink (even though it's babyproofed) and start chugging a bottle of Lysol toilet bowl cleaner. But then there is of course all those looming threats of even if he doesn't actually chug these cleaners, they could still cause him harm in the long run, just using them in our house. But then to learn that homeade green cleaners are really a bunch of cheap supplies I can find at the grocery store, now I was really sold. So here is my journey into making and using my own homeade green cleaners!
First, I picked up the book, Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck, from the library of course. As I read it from cover to cover, I took notes in a notebook for future reference. She has a lot of great green ideas for anything from removing ink stains from fabric to washing fruits and vegtable with nothing buy hydrogen peroxide. But I'll only share with you her great ideas I use on a weekly basis, but if you want to know more, be sure to pick up her book at your library. It really is a good non-fictional read!
So after I had my notebook started, I decided I needed to pick up all the supplies I would need for my new cleaning methods. I picked up a couple of cheap spray bottles from the Dollar Tree, then I picked up a castile soap (Dr. Bronners, $8.99 at Trader Joes or Krogers in the organic section for a HUGE bottle!), two huge gallon bottles of distilled white vinegar, a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, and 2-12 pack of Vroom microfiber cleaning clothes from Target's auto section. I believe the clothes were $7.99 for 12 towels. I already had a Swiffer mop on hand, some baking soda, a soft bristle brush and a toilet scrubber. I also cut up a few old t-shirts we were planning on donating to accumulate more cleaning rags and started a small pile of newspapers under the sink (for cleaning glass).
Then I decided the only way to get everyone on board (Todd and my mom in our case) was to get rid of all our regular supplies as well as make everything easy to use and accesible. I made three cleaners, one pure vinegar, one hydrogen peroxide, and one my all-purpose cleaner. I set the rest of my supplies under the sink, making sure the three spray bottles were in front. I then places the cleaning clothes in a cute little basket next to the spray bottles and the newspapers in a basket next to the clothes. Now there was no excuse!
Mixing the cleaners:
-Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide: I think these mixtures are pretty straight forward. Just pour from bottle it came in to spray bottle! All ready for use! =)
-All Purpose Cleaner: mix bottle half way with vinegar, then fill the bottle almost to the top with very warm water. Then just add a few drops (maybe a Tbsp full) of Dr. Bronners castile soap (we prefer the peppermint scented one, I've also heard lavender smells good as well). Then just shake the spray bottle a litle and this is ready to use as well. (Note: the warm water will obviously become room temperature, which is fine when cleaning. I find the warm water just mixes everything together a little better.)
-Bathtub cleaner: (I mix this in a little bowls before every use.) Just mix a little bit of baking soda (maybe 1/4 cup) with some Dr. Bronners castile soap until you get a creamy mixture. It's ready for use.
What to use and where:
-For every day floor cleaning, I just wet a microfiber cloth, fold it in half and pinch it into the little holders on the swiffer. Then I just run that over the floors to pick up excess dirt and hair. It also stays wet enough through all three rooms and the entry way that I don't have to change it. It gets up all those little feet smudge marks too. =)
-For the kitchen, I use the all purpose cleaner. I just squirt and wipe down with a microfiber cloth. For the sink I spray the sink with hydrogen peroxide. When it stops bubbling, all the germs have been killed!
-For the bathroom, I use several cleaners. For the mirror, I use pure vinegar and wipe it down with recycled newspaper. (If you find that it's streaky, mix in a little Dr. Bronners with vinegar for the first cleaning to remove any old cleaner build up.) Next I spray the sink with hydrogen peroxide. Then a wipe down the counters using the all-purpose cleaner and a cloth. Then for the toilet, I flush once to get the sides wet, sprinkle with baking soda and spray with pure vinegar. While it sizzles, I scrub it with the toilet brush. Then for the shower, I use the bathtub mixture I mentioned, scrubbing it with my soft bristle brush. Rinse this off with water from the shower of course. Then last, I clean the floor with a rag and pure vinegar.
-For windows around the house, I again use pure vinegar and newspaper. Only, since I don't do these as often and want to give them so extra shine, I follow up with 100 proof vodka.
I hope this helps you to make the switch to green cleaners! Although it was intimidating at first, once we got thr routine down, we loved it. Everything just seems so much cleaner now and we don't have to worry about the harsh chemicals hurting any of us!