Friday, March 18, 2011

A Clean Green Home

For a person like me who obsesses over a clean home it was difficult to rip the Windex, 409 and Bleach from my gloved hands. I will even admit to vacuuming the floor, cleaning the canister out and vacuuming again to see how much I had missed. Although the transition was difficult at first I have found green cleaning not only healthier for my family but cost effective.
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). For specific cleaning I do purchase certain products. The very fashionable 60s hot pink tile in my shower loves to hide mildew and in a beach town the battle never, ever, ends! To combat this problem I needed something that was easy to use everyday so I turned to the Method brand's tub and tile cleaner. It is as safe as you can get with out having to break out the scrub brush. If we do a deep clean every few weeks all I have to do is spray down the tile after a shower every few days. A side note, make sure you buy biodegradable spounges 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.
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 is fully carpeted 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.
For laundry I like the Biokleen product, you only need a tablespoon measurement for a full load, for really soiled clothes such as diapers I add a little baking soda. To get that yummy out of the dryer smell I use Method dryer sheets which use only 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. Clean clothes that are cost effective, earth friendly and clean!
For spot-free clean dishes 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 those of you with dish washers other then your hands there are excellent products from Seventh Generation and please only wash full loads!
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


  1. Is there any particular ratio of baking soda to vinegar that you've found works best? I always seem to have a film of baking soda left on whatever I clean...

  2. S - good point. It is not so much the ratio but the method. If you want to avoid a white powdery look there is an extra step. Many times I don't bother because if it is the shower then it will be washed away with the first use. However, I have dark tile counter tops in my kitchen and noticed that was happening so I use a scrub brush and then follow behind with a damp rag to wipe.