Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cleaning Home for Baby

With twins I have only tiny moments here and there to clean (or do anything, right now I am doing the one handed typing while holding one and bouncing the other with my foot in a bouncy chair!). When I can clean I make sure that I am not doing more harm then good. Traditional cleaning products contain allergy triggers, anti-bacterial agents that cause super bugs or irritating fragrances. 
Here is how I have simplified green cleaning!
Basic Cleaning
For a green switch to cleaning all you need is baking soda, vinegar, lemons and essential oils. I buy baking soda and vinegar in ridiculously large packages from Costco. I have a glass bowl and scrub brush designated just for the purpose of cleaning. Into the bowl goes the baking soda, next pour some vinegar and watch the fun volcanic eruption of foam (be warned that this foam will be about twice the height of baking soda). Don’t worry about the smell of the vinegar, it will disappear after a few minutes and will not leave your bathroom smelling of a tossed salad. To create a better smell you can add lemon or essential oils to the baking soda. I like tea tree oil because of it’s antiseptic qualities, eucalyptus has a nice fresh smell and lavender smells pretty and calming. That mixture will work for kitchen, bathroom, floors and even laundry (see more on that below). A side note, make sure you buy biodegradable sponges so we do not add to landfills in our green cleaning process! There are natural sponges that work just as well as their evil counterparts. Old rags work wonderfully instead of paper towels.
Laundry and Cloth Diapers

Okay, confession time. I use my washer and dryer for cloth diapers. With twins I just have to go with electricity. Big time kudos to the mommas of twins who have the time and energy to line dry but this gal sure does not! So if you are a momma of multiple children like myself here is how I do laundry in the most eco-friendly way as possible. I like the Biokleen product, you only need a tablespoon measurement for a full load and for diapers I always add about a cup of baking soda and run the cycle on hot. To get that yummy out of the dryer smell I use Nellie's dryer balls with lavender essential oils. For whites add some vinegar into the bleach deposit in your washer, but don’t do that for colors because it does act like bleach and will fade your clothes. Ta Da! Clean clothes that are cost effective, earth friendly and clean!

I hate carpet! It traps allergens, tracks the outside inside and gives dust mites a place to hide. Other then a warm floor in the morning when I get out of bed I have no positives to this invention. Sadly, our house has carpet in the living room and all the rooms upstairs so I had to learn to call a truce. Baking soda and vinegar will also work for carpet stains such as coffee, red wine, oil and grease. Just scrub the mixture into the carpet and rinse with water, after it dries vacuum a few times over the spot going in different directions. To get rid of carpet smells dust baking soda on the carpet, leave for a few seconds and vacuum. If your carpet is a darker color make sure you wash out the baking soda and vinegar or it may fade your colors. You can use this same combination in your carpet cleaning machines instead of the chemical filled cleaners at the store. I have a whole post on how to clean your carpets with a carpet cleaner!
After the girls came home I graduated to a dish washer. It has been such a help when it comes to cleaning all those bottles! We use the Seventh Generation soup but I add a little vinegar to it because we have really hard water here. I make sure to only run full loads to cut down on our water use. For spot-free clean dishes from the sink I like Mrs. Myers products. For heavy grease you can use...YEP, baking soda and vinegar! Make sure to skip the lemons or anything with citrus for dishes, it can break down the metal on your silverware. I fill one side of my sink with about two inches of warm water, 1/2 cup of baking soda and a splash of vinegar. The nice part about using vinegar is it makes all of your glass spot free and shiny.
For more information on cleaning green for a happy baby home check out my favorites, no new mom should be with out these books!
Green Babies, Sage Moms by Linda Fassa
Ecoholic by Adria Vasil
Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan

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