Friday, October 15, 2010

greening the cleaning

In the spirit of full disclosure...(and since I will soon be teaching my son that "honesty is the best policy")...I gave my husband a merciless really hard time when he announced he wanted to green the way we clean.

In our relationship, I'm the dreamer; he's the doer. I am the artsy, right-brained creative who is passionate about an idea one minute, and have forgotten it as I move on the next. Daniel, on the other hand, takes it all in and then develops a plan of action. (i.e. I announced a couple years ago that I was considering going back to being a vegetarian. The next week at the grocery store as I was putting chicken cutlets into the cart, Daniel asked what I was doing, a dumbfounded look spread across his face. He had already been operating sans carcass for a week, had registered for PETA emails, and had added Food, Inc. to our Netflix cue.)

When we found out we were expecting, Daniel decided it was time to make a change. Dragging my feet, not to mention everything else since the first trimester knocked me on my butt, I agreed. After a few days of an intense relationship with Google, I was secure in our choice. Research shows that by making the switch to a green clean approach you reduce your family's risk for asthma, allergic reactions, skin conditions, and more.

Therefore...I present Green Cleaning ideas from our home to yours! It is not only a healthier alternative, but an excellent way to save money! For the next few weeks I'll focus on a cleaning agent and all it's possibilities.

  • Vinegar
    • Vinegar is an excellent cleaning agent, not to mention plentiful and cheap!
    • You want white vinegar for cleaning purposes. (Save apple cider and balsamic vinegar for cooking.)
    • All purpose cleaner replacement.
      • Deodorizer - Have a room or area of your home that an odor has attacked? Pour some vinegar in a cereal bowl or small Tupperware container and place in the suspicious location for a few hours. The vinegar will remove the smell.
      • Surface cleaner - Mix 1 part vinegar to 1 part water into a spray bottle. Use everywhere from shower to kitchen table. 
        • Personally, I use this approach with an old t-shirt to dust or to clean windows with yesterday's newspaper.
        • Great on soap scum and hard water stains! (If you live in FL like me, you know that's a plus!)
      • Floor cleaner - Throw out the Pine Sol and say hello to vinegar mixed with hot water! Have a robot mop? No problem! We use white vinegar mixed with hot water rather than the Clorox alternative in our Scooba. 
        • Grout - scrub vinegar on bathroom tiles to remove grout buildup! 
      • Toilet cleaner - Have rings that just won't budge? Flush the toilet allowing water level to go down and pour pure vinegar around the bowl. Scrub and flush.
      • Laundry - My son and I both have very sensitive skin, and vinegar acts as a combatant on our team! Mix 1/2 cup into wash with detergent; vinegar will not only help to break down the detergent to make it more effective, but it will result in less trace of detergent in your clothing. Added bonus? Vinegar helps colors stay bright! This will prolong the life of that favorite item.
      • System cleaner - All the mechanics in your house will appreciate a vinegar bath from the inside out. 
        • Iron - pour vinegar into water chamber to remove calcium and lime build up
        • Coffee maker - remove lime stains on inside and outside by running vinegar through once a month
        • Washing machine - run a cup of vinegar on a normal wash cycle once a month...this will not only refresh your system, but will solve the problem of misty glassware!

We are still learning, and regularly come across great substitutions we'd never thought of. Please share any ways you use vinegar in the comments section so we can all grow! Until next week.....


  1. i love, love, love this and am SO excited to see what else you share with us! i've been thinking about what to do once the little one comes along. i don't love the idea of having my baby crawl on a superchemical floor. i have been staying away from chemicals since i've been pregnant and have been drawn to things like seventh generation cleaners, but hi, vinegar is SO much cheaper. may i ask, though--is the smell just overwhelming? i'm not sure that vinegar is the smell i really want lingering in my house. can you add herbs or other things to it to make it a little less potent...or does cutting it with water kill the smell?

    SO excited!

  2. I'm so excited that you wrote about this! I've been researching about this very thing in between nursing and diaper changes for the past week. I've been curious about the smell too though... I found this 'recipe' for a vinegar cleaner, I think it may help with the smell,

    I'm even more excited to do this now:)

  3. Awesome post! Thanks for all the good info!

    FYI... the vinegar smell will fade. I use it to mop and do counters. The smell is usually gone in about 10 minutes, max.