This week it's all about getting clean. To help save the planet one small step at a time switch to eco-friendly cleaners.
Instead of listing all the various things you should and should not do when selecting cleaners I am going to talk about the products we use in our home. First, I would like to point out we started switching to green cleaners about 2 1/2 years ago and have tried many different brands and have now found the ones that work best for us.
In our laundry room you will find the following:
Laundry Soap: Nature Clean 3X Laundry Liquid; this laundry soap does not contain any sodium lauryl sulphate, phosphates, chlorine, optical brighteners or formaldehyde preservatives; it's hypoallergenic and unscented; non toxic; has all natural ingredients; biodegradable; last but not least is great at cleaning your laundry. The 3.78 liter bottle will cost you about $22 and will last for approximately 162 loads. If you compare this to the approximate cost of a leading brand of baby laundry soap (Purex Baby 2X) at $6.50 for 33 loads to complete the same amount of laundry you would spend $32 for the leading brand.
Fabric Softener alternative: Natura Reusable Dryer Sheets; We have been using these for about 5 years now and find they work great for us. If you have a lot of synthetic clothing you wont find these very useful as they work better if there is at lease 50% cotton clothing in the dryer at the time.
Stain Remover: Stain Remover Stick; This is an all natural product, all you need to do is dab in water and rub the stick on the stained fabric. We use this as a pre-treatment then toss the stained piece of clothing in the laundry basket and wash as you normally would. So far I have not found a stain that it could not handle however I am sure one day I will. Cost about $3.00 per stick, one stick last us about 4 months.
Odor Remover: Good old fashion vinegar. If we have a wash that needs a bit more cleaning power such as diapers or dish towels I add one cup vinegar to the rinse cycle. You can't get more natural then a staple from your food cupboard. Costs 'bout $2.00 for 4L if you buy the store brand.
In our Kitchen you will find:
Dish Soap: Nature Clean All Natural Dishwashing Liquid Unscented; this liquid is hypoallergenic, non-toxic, not tested on animals and biodegrades at 99%. Geoff has very sensitive skin we noticed a difference with his hands when we made the switch. Will cost you about $5 a bottle.
Vegetable and Fruit Wash: This one is home-made with items you will find in your kitchen. When we get home from the market I fill up the sink with water and add 1 tablespoon salt and one cup vinegar. The vinegar will remove any pesticide residue or contaminates on your food and the salt will kill little bugs and pull them out of those vegetables and bring them to the top of the water. Start with your least-dirty fruits and vegetables and give them a bath in this concoction let them sit for about 30 mins; remove and rinse with clean water. You can use the same vegetable bath about 4 to 5 times before you need to refresh it. I just want to point out that some fruits such as berries do not do well if you wash them in vinegar so use you discretion.
General Cleaner: Once again home-made; one part vinegar, 2 part water and a few drops of lemon-grass essential oil (you could use any essential that you like is this is for fragrance only). Place the mixture in a spray bottle and away you go. I find this works on almost anything.
Window Spray: I find that my general purpose cleaner leaves streaks on my windows so we buy a plant based Glass Cleaner from Ecomist. It's non-toxic, has no petroleum or ammonia; no dyes, no fragrances, biodegradable and food surface safe; most important it works.
Drain Cleaner: Pour down the drain one cup baking soda; follow with 2 cups vinegar; once it is done fuzzing flush with one kettle full of boiling hot water. If you have a clogged drain after doing this once use a plunger on the drain and repeat the baking soda solution until fully unclogged. I try to clean my drains once a month.
Floor Cleaner alternative: Use dish-soap and water.
In our Bathroom you will find:
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Nature Clean Toilet Bowl Cleaner; this toilet cleaner is non-toxic, and contains no hydrochloric acid, which is highly toxic and corrosive and commonly found in most toilet bowl cleaners. It's very easy to use; biodegradable and keeps our potty clean and bright. Will cost you about $5.00 per bottle. I clean our toilet once a week and a bottle will last me about 2 to 3 months.
General Cleaner: Same as general cleaner for kitchen.
For Cloth Diapers: Before washing the soiled diapers we rinse the poo and pre-treat the stains with The Soap Works Laundry Soap Bar. Amazingly enough doing this has aloud us to keep all our diapers stain free. Cost aprox. 2$ and a bar last us about one month (lots of diapers)
Antibactirial spray: This one was though as I am a firm believer that too many people abuse "antibacterial" stuff; however once you have a little one sometimes you want to disinfect. We use this on the diaper pail, garbage cans, if one of his toys falls on the ground in a beyond then gross situation and to spray down the shower after we finish pre-treating our cloth diapers. The spray that we are using is called Benefect Natural Disinfectant and will cost about 10$ for a large bottle or 6$ for a small bottle. We keep a small bottle in our diaper bag.
Carpet Deodorizer: Sprinkle baking soda then vacuum.
General Cleaning Tough Stains: Sprinkle with baking soda then use your all purpose cleaner to moisten and scrub clean.
Not only did we help keep our planet healthy by switching to these cleaners we also minimized the quantity of different cleaners we had in our house. I remember the day when we kept tones of cleaners in the house. Just check out our before and after list:
Shopping list before making the switch to eco-cleaners:
- Dish Soap
- Kitchen Spray
- Oven Spray
- Microwave Cleaner
- Toilet bowl cleaner
- Shower Spray
- Wood Cleaner
- Laundry Soap
- Fabric Softener
- Drain Cleaner
- Carpet Disinfectant
- Floor Cleaner
- Window Spray
- Laundry Soap
- Laundry liquid
- Stain Stick
- Dish Soap
- Disinfectant Spray
- Glass Cleaner
- Toilet Bowl cleaner
- Natura Laundry Sheets (only need to buy once as they are reusable)
- Salt (We already have this in our kitchen)
- Baking Soda (we use the old one from the fridge)
- Essential oil (we have this already in our home as I use this for message oils and bath salts)
When you are ready to do the switch rally up all your old cleaners and check out your municipalities website for proper disposal of toxic chemicals. In Toronto there are community clean up days; you can bring the old cleaners there and they will make sure they are disposed of properly.