Cleaning & Organizing
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All-natural cleaners - effective & economical?

I'm a newlywed, and I thought it would be a good time to switch us over to all-natural cleaners in our house (laundry, dishes, bathrooms, the works). Which ones do you use? Which ones are the best without breaking the bank?


We got a couple from trader joe's the other day to try out. 


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Re: All-natural cleaners - effective & economical?

  • Lately I've been using vinegar for a lot of things but I've never bought any "all-natural" chemically based cleaners.  Vinegar is definitely effective and cheap!

    check this out: 

  • I make my own cleaners.    Part of the reason why I quit using conventional cleaning products is the packaging waste.   By making my own, I reuse my spray bottle and cut down on waste.   My standard all purpose cleaner (for kitchen, bathroom, windows, floors) is 1/4 vinegar, 3/4 water,  a few drops of soap (dishsoap or liquid castile soap), and a few drops of lavender essential oil (lavender has disinfecting properties).    For a Soft Scrub type cleaner for the tub and sinks, I mix baking soda with Dr. Bronner's peppermint castile soap.    I buy Seventh Generation dishwashing detergent (the powder kind).     I haven't switched laundry detergent yet.  

    Good luck!

  • laundry detergent--Biokleen (sometimes I throw some baking powder in with it for extra dirty hiking clothes, sometimes I put a little white vinegar in for fabric softener)?

    dish detergent--Seventh Generation (sometimes I add white vinegar in the container where you put the rinse aid)

    glass cleaner--vinegar and I use newspaper since it doesn't streak like paper towels ??

    I also LOVE Dr. Bronners. ?You can use if for anything, and I like the different scents. ?That's all I've been using for mopping lately. ?I also use if for the counters. ?

    I've told this story on here before, but after I switched to baking soda instead of Comet, I used the Comet one day because I was too lazy to run upstairs for the baking soda. ?As soon as I sprinkled it on the sink, I started coughing. ?It felt like my lungs were burning. ?That had never happened before, but I think I was so used to so many toxins in my house that it took eliminating them for me to notice how bad they were. ?I will not go back. ??



  • I'm paranoid of toxins.

    For face wash and body wash I use Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap. Stuff rocks! (oh I also wanted to note that i use the baby mild version for face and body. And Doc Bron's soap is super concentrated too! I use about 8-10 drops for face and two quick squirts in shower for body wash. It rinses you off so easily you also save on water. Can you tell I'm a fan?)

    For dishwashing liquid I use Seventh Generation

    For laundry, I made laundry detergent out of borax, washing soda, and soap and use vinegar as fabric softener and lavender sachets from TJ's in dryer for hint of scent if I'm not line drying.

    For general cleaning, just plain ole water, hydrogen peroxide, lemons (I have lemon tree in back yard, highly recommend it!), baking soda, vinegar, and microfiber cloth, in combination and separately. That or Simple Green.

    Seventh Generation Toilet Paper off (definately not your charmin though) but 100% recycled, no chlorinated bleach process.

    Dogs use Nature's Specialties Silky Plum shampoo. 16 oz lasted 3 small dogs about 3 years! Super duper concentrated.

    I'm still looking for a good automatic dishwasher detergent and all natural face and body moisturizer and sunblock.



  • im a huge fan of mrs. meyers, also seventh generation and method are good too......

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  • I don't purchase any cleaners. I just make my own with vinegar, baking soda, water, borax, and lemons. It saves a lot of money, is good for the environment, works great, and my house always smells clean (not like strong chemicals). You'll also be glad that you use safe products like this when you are pregnant or have children one day.

    I use recipes that I found in Martha Stewart's Homecleaning Handbook, but the ones on this site are similar:


  • I am trying to make an effort to go green in our house too.

     I switched to Clorox Greenworks to replace my Fantastic or 409 spray, I don't remember what it was. I love the Greenworks. I use it in the kitchen and I also use it in the bathroom.

     Today, I used seventh generation toilet bowl cleaner that I bought last week. I clean my toilets 1-2x a week, so they never really get icky but the cleaner worked great.

    I also use Arm & Hammer Essentials fabric softner sheets.  I found them cheaper than convential sheets and work just as good.

  • I love sun & earth

    I can get a few of them at my target, stop n shop, etc.

    they charge really low shipping from their website and usually have a good deal every month and specials that make it worthwhile to order online. 

     I started by getting their sampler pack and got to try out most of the items. at the time it was buy one sample pack get another on for free so I split the cost with a friend and paid only $12 for one of almost every full sized product they have

    I love the all purpose cleaner, I use it for EVERYTHING! also the window cleaner, dish soap, dishwasher detergent packs, laundry detergent and the cleaning cloths are my must have staples! 

    I also have and like 7th generation's daily shower spray. I also use plain old vinegar, water and baking soda to do some cleaning and have some recipes I will try to find and post.

    method's all purpose cleaners are decent as well.  

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  • How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit

    Most modern synthetic cleaning products are based on age-old formulas using natural ingredients that were passed down through the generations because the chemistry was right. Going back to the original naturally derived ingredients is a way to make cleaning products that work, don't pollute and save you money. Most are found in your kitchen cupboards. Mix and match with well-chosen and environmentally friendly green cleaning products found in health food stores, and you can easily and simply transform your home into a non-toxic and healthy haven.

    Non-toxic cleaning can give you a deep feeling of gratification in knowing that your family's health is protected, and that your home is a place for your bodies to rest and recuperate rather than promote harm.

    Soft Scrub
    This superstar formula is as good for cleaning the bathtub as it is for stainless steel appliances and shower stalls.
    1/2 cup baking soda Enough liquid soap or detergent to make a frosting-like consistency 5 drops antibacterial essential oil such as lavender, tea tree oil, or rosemary (optional)
    Pour the baking soda in a bowl; slowly pour in the liquid soap or detergent, stirring all the while, until the consistency reaches that of frosting. Scoop the creamy mixture onto a sponge, wash the surface, and rinse.

    Window Cleaner
    Nothing works as well as this formula for windows, so why look further? Besides, once it is made you can double it up as a great degreaser, especially handy in the kitchen.
    1/4 cup vinegar (distilled, white, 5%)1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent2 cups of water
    Combine in a spray bottle. Shake to blend.

    All-Purpose Cleaner
    Here you meet the wonders of washing soda (commonly found in the laundry section of the supermarket), and its super heavy-duty alkaline cleaning power.
    1/2 teaspoon washing soda A dab of liquid soap2 cups hot tap water
    Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

    Deodorizer, Toilet Bowl Cleaner
    Vinegar is astonishing as an acidic cleaning powerhouse. Heinz references studies that say vinegar kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of old, and 80 percent of germs.
    5 percent straight white distilled vinegar
    Pour the vinegar into a spray bottle, and spray directly onto areas to be cleaned or deodorized. Don't rinse!

    Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn't leave grit.
    Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.

    1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
    3 tablespoons vinegar
    2 cups water
    Spray bottle
    Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.

    1 cup or more baking soda
    A squirt or two of liquid detergent
    Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface is totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top. Let the mixture set overnight. You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven. If this recipe doesn't work for you it is probably because you didn't use enough baking soda and/or water.

    1/2 teaspoon washing soda
    A dab of liquid soap
    2 cups hot tap water
    Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

    1/2 teaspoon oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax)
    1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice
    Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.

    Keep a clean spray bottle filled with straight 5 percent vinegar in your kitchen near your cutting board and in your bathroom and use them for cleaning. I often spray the vinegar on our cutting board before going to bed at night, and don't even rinse but let it set overnight. The smell of vinegar dissipates within a few hours. Straight vinegar is also great for cleaning the toilet rim. Just spray it on and wipe off.

    Tea Tree Treasure
    Nothing natural works for mold and mildew as well as this spray. I've used it successfully on a moldy ceiling from a leaking roof, on a musty bureau, a musty rug, and a moldy shower curtain. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note that the smell of tea tree oil is very strong, but it will dissipate in a few days.
    2 teaspoons tea tree oil
    2 cups water
    Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse. Makes two cups.

    Vinegar Spray
    Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82 percent of mold. Pour some white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle, spray on the moldy area, and let set without rinsing if you can put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.

    HELPFUL HINTS: Make sure to label all your homemade cleaning products, and keep them away from pets and children.

    SIMPLE SOLUTION: Making your own nontoxic cleaning kit will take you no time at all with these simple, straightforward directions, and with this kit you will be supplied with enough cleaning product for months of cleaning. As an added bonus, ounce for ounce homemade cleaning formulas cost about one-tenth the price of their commercial counterpartand that includes costly, but worthwhile essential oils, and concentrated, all-purpose detergents for homemade recipes.

    Baking soda
    Washing soda
    White distilled vinegar
    A good liquid soap or detergent
    Tea tree oil
    6 clean spray bottles
    2 glass jars
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  • Top 10 Uses of Baking Soda in the Home
    The one item that I can't do without when I clean is baking soda. I use it for so many things, if I don't have a box of it around I'll make a special trip to the store 5 miles away just as I would if I were out of a mainstay like milk. SIMPLE SOLUTION: What do I use so much baking soda for? Here are my top 10 uses of baking soda for cleaning in the home:A commonly available mineral full of many cleaning attributes, baking soda is made from soda ash, and is slightly alkaline (it's pH is around 8.1; 7 is neutral). It neutralizes acid-based odors in water, and adsorbs odors from the air.
    1. Drain cleaner: Pour one cup down the drain followed by three cups of boiling water.
    2. Chemical smells out of clothes: Soak clothes for two to three hours or overnight, in one cup of baking soda. Agitate the machine occasionally. Repeat if necessary. Wash as usual. (This method is great for removing the new smell out of clothes.)
    3. Cat urine: Alternate sprinkling baking soda, which will neutralize acid odors, with white distilled vinegar.
    4. Dog odors and urine: Sprinkle with baking soda. Let set for a few hours before sweeping up.
    5. Silver polish: Make a paste of baking soda and water, scoop some onto a clean, soft rag, and polish the silver. Rinse and polish dry.
    6. Soft scrubber: Pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl and add enough liquid soap or detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop onto a sponge and clean the bathtub or tiles. Rinse.
    7. Scouring powder: Simply sprinkle baking soda into a sink and scrub.
    8. Oven cleaner: Sprinkle baking soda onto the bottom of the oven. Squirt with enough water that the baking soda is damp. Let set overnight, making sure the baking soda is damp before you go to bed. In the morning, simply scoop the baking soda and grime out with a sponge. Rinse.
    9. Refrigerator deodorizer: Place an open box in the back of the fridge. It will "adsorb" odors, which means that it will draw odors to the baking soda molecules.
    10. Cutting board deodorizer: Sprinkle the cutting board with baking soda, scrub, rinse.
    For the laundry, I just sprinkle about a 1/4 cup (approx. guess, I don't ever measure) in with the clothes. For stains I make a paste with water and work it into the stain or sprinkle some baking soda on the stain and apply a few drops of vinegar
    To clean the floor or tub of a shower without scrubbing I sprinkle on some baking soda and then spray on some vinegar. It foams up and does a good job of dissolving any gunk. (I usually have to do this after I give my dogs a bath)
    I also do the drain trick with baking soda and vinegar.
    To freshen the carpet I sprinkle on baking soda, let it set for about 15 minutes and then vacuum it up. It absorbs odors and loosens up gunk to make vacuuming more effective.
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  • Non-toxic Cleaning Recipes copied from Women's Voices for the Earth

    All-Purpose Cleaners
    2 cups white vinegar
    2 cups waterEssential oil (optional)
    Tip: Warming in microwave until barely hot will boost cleaning power for tough jobs. Only microwave in a glass container.

    Creamy Soft Scrub
    2 cups baking soda
    1/2 cup liquid castile soap*
    4 teaspoons vegetable glycerin** (acts as a preservative)
    5 drops antibacterial essential oil such as lavender, tea tree, rosemary or any scent you prefer (optional)
    Mix together and store in a sealed glass jar, shelf life of 2 years.
    *WVE recommends using a liquid castile soap that does not contain sodium lauryl (laureth) sulfate (SLS) or Diethanolamine (DEA), which may have harmful side effects. You can find castile soap in your local natural food store or online through Co-Op Americas National Green Pages
    **Vegetable glycerin is used as a preservative and is a by-product of palm and coconut oil production. The internet is a great resource for purchasing vegetable glycerin or it can be found in soap-making supply stores, health food and/or herbal supplement stores.
    Tips: For exceptionally tough jobs spray with vinegar firstfull strength or diluted, scentedlet sit and follow with scrub.
    Dry soft scrubs can be made with baking soda or salt (or combination of both) with 10-15 drops essential oil to scent

    Furniture Polish
    1/4 cup olive oil
    4 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
    20-30 drops lemon essential oil
    Shake well before using
    (2 teaspoons lemon juice may be substituted for lemon oil but then must be stored in refrigerator)
    Dip a clean, dry cloth into the polish and rub wood in the direction of the grain. Use a soft brush to work the polish into corners or tight places.
    Tips: To remove water spots rub well with toothpaste
    To remove scratches use 1 part lemon juice and 1 part oil, rub with soft cloth

    Toilet Bowl Cleaner
    Sprinkle toilet bowl with baking soda, drizzle with vinegar, let soak as needed and scrub with toilet brush.
    Give the vinegar and baking soda time to work (at least 30 minutes). Letting these ingredients soak for a while will make for easier scrubbing, especially on more persistent stains like toilet bowl rings.
    Tip: Rubbing with a pumice stone will remove excessive hard water buildup

    Drain Opener
    Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down drain, then follow with 1/2 cup vinegar, cover and let sit, flush with boiling water.

    Laundry Detergent
    1 cup soap flakes
    1/2 cup washing soda
    1/2 cup Borax
    Soap flakes can be made by grating your favorite pure vegetable soap with a cheese grater. Mix ingredients together and store in a glass container. Use 1 tablespoon per load (2 for heavily soiled laundry), wash in warm or cold water.
    This standard recipe can be adjusted for soft water by using 1 cup soap flakes, 1/4 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax. For hard water, use 1 cup soap flakes, 1 cup washing soda, and 1 cup borax.
    Note: Borax should not be ingested so take care with children and pets
    Tip: Add 1/2 cup white vinegar to rinse as a fabric softener.
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  • I like the Greenworks cleaners as well, but I may have to try out some of the stuff you guys are using.

    Thanks Junebride for all the info you provided. That will come in handy this weekend.

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