Friday, August 20, 2010

Simplfying My Cleaning

In my quest to simplify my life I have been thinking a lot about cleaning. Part of the reason is because Liberty had a goal to learn more about homemade cleaners.  That made me think about some things myself.  I don't want unnecessary cleaning supplies.  I want things more natural too because "processed cleaners" probably aren't any better for us then "processed food."  I want simplicity!

I found this great little book at the library; it's called Green Clean: The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home by Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin.

I learned that white distilled vinegar, baking soda, washing soda, a pumice stone, club soda, castile soap (olive oil base) and Murphy's Oil (vegetable oil) are all I really need.  With these ingredients you can make an easy all-purpose cleaner to clean things or just add water to to some of the above and you are done.  Read recipes below or Click for recipe ideas here. Throw in some rags and some empty spray bottles and we're set.  This is something I can wrap my head around.  I don't want extensive cleaning rules or cleaning schedules.  I want simplicity.

Growing up somehow I missed the cleaning lessons.  I learned the clutter control lessons.  I learned the always leave your kitchen/dinning room clean after every meal; never leave dishes in the sink and always wipe down the counter tops and put the food away.  Some where along the way I missed the deep cleaning lessons.  Did you know you should air out your mattresses and wash your pillows? Yes, I'm the only human on the plant to have never done that.  The kids had fun yesterday washing the pillows in their pj's. They thought they were crushing grapes to make grape juice.

I have listed some simple ideas to clean my home that I learned.  Some I've tried already and some are yet to be done.
  • Sink-Mix 1 C vinegar, 1 C baking soda and hot boiling water. Pour down drain to unclog and freshen.
  • Counter tops-clean with vinegar and water spray. Use baking soda paste 1 to 1 to clean stains and spots.
  • Refrigerator/Freezer-baking soda and water mixture
  • Oven-Clean with vinegar and water spray. Sprinkle salt on fresh spills to absorb mess.  For nasty messes like inside the oven pour hot water over it and then cover with a baking soda paste.  After letting this set for a while stains should be easy to clean.
  • Appliances-Use club soda on chrome.  Use toothbrushes with a baking soda paste to remove hard to reach areas.  Make a soapy shake in your blender to clean it well.
  • Microwave-Place 1 C water and 2 T of baking soda in a bowl and microwave for two to three minutes.  This eliminates odors and loosens hardened foods. Wipe and rinse.
  • Dishwasher-Place 1 C of vinegar and run as an empty load every week.  If your dishwasher stinks sprinkle baking soda  on the bottom of the dishwasher after uses to absorb odor.
  • Dishes-Place vinegar in rinse water to prevent spots.  Pour soda over dirty dishes and let it sit for a while and then clean.
  • Washing Machine-Run 1 C of vinegar through full washing cycle to clean it.
  • Floor-Clean with 1 C castille soap to 2 gallons of water. If you have a dull finish mop with a vinegar and water mixture.
  • Walls-Vinegar/water spray with a 1 to 1 ratio.  Scrub grease and crayons with a soda/water paste.
  • Bathrooms-Use all purpose cleaners and vinegar sprays.  Use soda pastes for hard to clean areas.  Use salt in bath tubs and showers to absorb grime.
  • Windows-Use straight club soda in spray bottle.  You can also use corn starch with warm water mixed in a bucket.  Or even vinegar and warm water mixed in spray bottle.
  • Carpet-Sprinkle baking soda and leave over night then vacuum.  Or sprinkle cornstarch on the carpet for 15 minutes and then vacuum.
It really sounds simple. I'm going to test all these things out and then replace everything I have with vinegar, baking soda, club soda, etc.  Maybe then the rash will go away on my hands too?


Celeste B. said...

I started a No-Poo challenge....I stopped using shampoo and use baking soda and vinegar rinse. I'm posting about today no my blog.

crazy4boys said...

Great tips! I've tried laundry soaps but never making my own "other" cleaners.

The Lazy Organizer said...

Excellent! We've been getting rid of toxins left and right. I even stopped using makeup for the summer to see if I could stand it and it's been fine.

What did you soak the pillows in? I made my own laundry detergent several months ago but our clothes don't smell clean so I guess I will have to try a different recipe next time.

I also tried baking soda and vinegar on my hair last year and it destroyed it. I used heavy duty conditioners for a long time to try to get it healthy again but they didn't work. Finally I stopped washing it all together and it worked. I actually do a vinegar rinse about twice a week and wash it with organic shampoo once or twice a month and I love it. I think you have to experiment till you find something that works for your hair.

We are Ben and Rebecca said...

Oh! Here's some territory I feel confident in. I have been making my own cleansers/laundry soap since Brock was a baby (you know the whole "I don't want the ajax to get in his lungs" first time mom worry). Which makes me much more confident letting Brock clean with them. No over-powering cleaner smell ... when they spray one or ten too many times.

Lazy organizer- I use washing soda, borax and grate up a bar of glycerin soap for my laundry. It gets out stains and smells great. Plus you only need about 1/4 cup for each load (unless it's baby diapers, then I use 1/2 cup)so it's very efficient.

We also went paperless (other than TP) about 2 years ago, and I don't think I'd go back.

Jenp8 said...

I'm anxious to hear how your tests go. I've always wondered if these more basic recipes worked!

crazy4boys said...

Oh Rebecca - what are the quantities of borax and washing soda????????

We are Ben and Rebecca said...

I use even parts of mixture. I usually make one giant tub of it, so I mix both boxes together. Since I use the whole box I grate 2 bars of soap. I know some people like their laundry to have a "pretty" smell, so they add a couple drops of essential oils (at whole foods places, usually)but I think "clean" smells pretty good to me :P