“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. In our mad rush for progress and modern improvements let's be sure we take along with us all the old-fashioned things worth while.” Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Frugal (read cheap) Green Cleaning & Family Health

Mrs. Mac's Cleaning Arsenal
Since we ditched our anti-bacterial soap/cleaning products several years ago.. the family has had fewer colds and flu .  At one point in my homemaking career .. I tried to eradicate every germ on every surface with an arsenal of highly advertised products .. (liquid soaps .. scrubbing bubbles .. etc.)  Fast forward .. and remove yourself from current society .. just think back on how homes were cleaned a hundred years ago without modern products ... one has only to turn to the kitchen pantry to find alternative (cheap) cleaners.

For windows I use a recycled spray (window cleaner) bottle and fill it with one cup white vinegar with two cups tap water and a small squirt of dish soap (adding a drop or two blue or green food coloring .. so the family will 'think' it's effective;).  This can be used on windows .. stainless steel appliances .. sinks, bathtubs and toilets.

Squeaky Clean Tub .. pic by Mrs. Mac
For cleaning sinks/tubs .. try just a small drop of dish soap and sprinkle with baking soda .. use a soft clean rag and a little water .. rinse.

Toilets .. same as for sinks but use a few extra drops of dish soap.  Any hard water rings can be safely removed with a pumice stone.  Spray your window cleaner on another cloth to wipe down the seat and rim.

Mirrors .. a soft cleaning rag (lint free) and a little window cleaner is all that's needed.

Use caution on marble (any acid such as vinegar or lemon juice may dull the surface if not wiped immediately) .. I find no problem using the window cleaner on sealed granite counter tops .. just wipe well after spraying.

Three products:  Baking Soda, Dish Soap & White Vinegar will clean your home just as well as those expensive products .. saving you a ton of money .. and the environment each year. (2 gallons white vinegar & 13.5 lbs of baking soda cost under $10 and will last a very long time ... purchased in bulk at Costco).

Essential Oils .. a little drop goes a long way!  pic by Mrs. Mac
I often use a small drop of an essential oil on my damp cloth (such as Rosemary or tea tree oil) giving the cleaned areas that refreshing health spa aroma. 

More money saving tips:  Using cotton rags (made from old washcloths, torn up towels, flannel sheets, sweat pants, etc.) works better than paper towels .. if you stop using fabric softener (Downy or Dryer Sheets) .. and instead use 1/2 cup of white vinegar in the wash rinse.  Fabric softeners tend to leave a filmy residue on fabric and may streak mirrors. 

Bar soap .. and 20 seconds of scrubbing = clean!
When using bar soap, invest in a little footed insert for the soap dish .. it keeps the soap elevated and out of any water .. making it stay cleaner and last longer.  A single bar can be cut into four smaller sized pieces .. perfect for hand washing.


Lynda said...

A BIG thumbs up on this post: except I feel guilty I haven't cleaned the downstairs bathroom this a.m....

meemsnyc said...

These are great tips. I've been wanting to use baking soda and vinegar in my cleaning. I love your tub!! I've always wanted one of those.

Geno said...

Very Green! My wife has been using these methods with some slight differences for a couple years now, and your right. Things feel healthier and happier. Nice tub too.

Mary R. said...

Those are great! I also use as a window cleaner 1/2 water and 1/2 rubbing alcohol and have found it works better than the vinegar and dish soap. No streaks at all. I love these cheap cleaners. I have not tried the one for the bathtub yet. These are also much less toxic.

The Professor's Wife said...

I make my own cleaning products too - my favorite is Murphy's Oil Soap and water because it smells so good!

Felisol said...

Great reminders, make me remember how my mother used to do things back in the fifties.
She always said that vinegar in the rinse water will bind the colors to the fabric(so it don't bleed).
Back when I was a scout girl we had to use wrinkled newspaper sheets to blench the windows after washing.
..And did we scout girls wash windows every autumn collecting money for the mission.That and polishing silver...

Dani said...

LOL - you wrote the bit about adding food dye to make it "more effective" especially for RMan - I've got to add that - he wants it to look like commercial window cleaner, otherwise "it won't work" LOL Love It!!!!

You're so clever!

Diann said...

I just found your blog and can't wait to spend some time really looking around! I am your newest follower!

Suzanne with Laughing Wallet said...

I love the idea of adding a drop or two of essential oil to leave a nice scent behind! And I've found that old t-shirts make good cotton rags, too. By the time they're worn enough to be relegated to "rag" status, they usually leave behind little or no lint.

cherokeefox said...

Good tips---fabric softener sheets will also cause your towels to be less absorbent, probably because of that film that is left behind.