Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 19: Cleaning out the Cleaning Products


The Task:  Today I'm decluttering and making cleaning day simper by only surrounding myself and my family with products that I feel are safe and friendly!

Over the last year or so I have become increasingly careful about the products we use in our home.  But for some reason I was still hanging on to some commercial cleaning products, even though I refuse to use them!  (Please don't call Hoarders, I promise I'm getting rid of them!)

The Why?  I've read lists of most dangerous cleaners in our homes and some of the products I have in my cleaning basket were on those lists....but instead of ditching them I held on to them"just in case".   I have a can of a certain bathroom cleaner (hint, it rhymes with bubbing scrubbles) that I haven't sprayed in over a year.   What just-in-case situation was I saving it for? Just in case vinegar becomes illegal? Just in case I start to miss that burning sensation I get in my throat when I use it?  Just in case of what exactly?

The How:
 All my half used cans of  commercial cleaners have been boxed up and are ready for the next hazardous waste collection day in my community.

I now have a total of six cleaning products that meet all of my cleaning needs:
  • a gentle dishsoap (I use this, in warm water, to clean almost any surface: cabinets, walls, the inside of my refrigerator.  And it's super for cleaning bathtubs.)
  • vinegar (I put a splash in my mop water. I mix it half and half with water for windows. I use it full strength in a spray bottle to clean toilets)
  • baking soda (Great for cleaning the kitchen sink)
  • Peroxide (I mix with baking soda to make a paste for heavy duty cleaning, like cooked on stove top gunk and dirty grout lines)
  • Rubbing Alcohol (for cleaning the microfiber sofas!)
  • Tea tree oil (for disinfecting)
On top of being great cleaners in their own right, every one of these products has another use around the house as well.  Meaning less bottles of junk stuffed under my sinks and in my cleaning basket.   Yay for multi-purpose items!

{By the way, I wrote a guest post for a friends blog a couple months ago about how I clean my whole house without nasty chemicals.  If you want more info on how I do my chores using the 6 household products mentioned above, check it out!}

The Verdict:
If everything we knew about cleaning came from television commercials, it would be easy to think that we need a specific product to clean every surface in our home. Tub and shower sprays, toilet cleaner, counter spray, window and glass cleaner, specialty products for leather, stainless steel, stove tops,ovens and floors!  But really cleaning can be so much simpler than that.  People had clean homes long before grocery stores devoted whole aisles to cleaning products and television commercials started telling us that we could buy magical cleanliness in a can!

In my opinion, many of those commercial cleaners are often just selling us an illusion of clean.  Sure, a heavy duty spray on cleaner can make our tubs sparkle, but if it leaves our bathrooms coated in toxic chemicals,  that is not my definition of clean!

We are doing one small thing every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!

36 comments:

  1. Oh, so with you on this one! :)
    Dishwashing liquid will clean almost anything.
    Good post!
    Ieva

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  2. Have you tried Meleluca! Very safe and effective!

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  3. I am also with you on this one... I hate having multitudes of bottles of silly cleaners under my sink and in my cupboard. The less the better!

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  4. We are in the process of moving and I cleaned out most of our commercial 'i feel like my throat is on fire' cleaning products. I'm amazed by vinegar and use it on everything! I'm loving your day by day project and striving to do the same!
    Cheers!

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  5. I use all that... except rubbing alcohol, I haven't had a use for it. LOVE tea tree oil. I use it in homemade diaper wipe solution.

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  6. Oh my goodness I haven't used commercial cleaning products in ages. I have actually been storing them in the garage, the same shelf as the paint. Wow. Your right, its time for them to go!

    I love your posts. They are all a nice nudge in the right direction. I must admit I am a bit nervous to see what your December Challenge is going to be! I love Christmastime!

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    1. I love Christmas too, Amber!!! I can't wait for this Christmas, to focus on the truly beautiful things about the season and less on STUFF! :D

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    2. Oh, I really hope you'll do a photo "tour" like you did this past Christmas. The pictures were so pretty, as always.
      Ieva

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  7. Dish soap, vinegar and water in a spray bottle is all that's needed for cleaning the tub. Cuts soap scum and leaves it sparkling!

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  8. I long ago replaced all our household cleaners with Melaleuca products. My favorite is their disinfectant spray made from the herb thyme. Love it! They all have tea tree oil in them too :)

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  9. A while back I made the switch to better, more natural cleaners, but they are pricey! Then a friend showed me the awesomeness of a bottle of castile soap and baking soda! The castile soap makes everything smell so good and it is gentle enough to let the kids clean with it. However, I am in dire need of simplifying my cleaning products.

    Love your blog, just what I need to be reading right now, in between cleaning out the house. :)

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  10. This is great! I only use Comet and Windex, but after reading that list, I'm thinking I'll go with natural things in the future. Can't wait to see what you have in store for fragrances, hair products, laundry soaps, etc. Love your blog!

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  11. I've been using Watkins natural products and am able to get them at 25% off (www.gonatural441.com. I LOVE their lemon all purpose cleaner. Their dish soap and hand soap is all I can use without having my hands itchy, cracking and eventually bleeding. So glad I found them!

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  12. Love your post! We've tried to go more natural around here too. May I ask what your gentle dish soap is? Thanks.

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    1. We normally buy either the Seventh Generation brand dish soap or the NatureClean dish soap....both have good ratings on Goodguide.com :)

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  13. Very on board with you on this one.. Since I have been following your blog I have been using white vinegar, baking soda dawn blue dish soap etc like a mad woman and so pleased with the results. Its fun because it works plus so inexpensive.. your right the cleaners you buy from the stores don't even do what they say and yes the chemicals they leave behind are horrible.

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  14. I love using tea tree oil on my face (sparingly) but how do you use it in cleaning/disinfecting?

    Monica

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    1. I just add a couple drops to a bucket of water and dishsoap and use that to clean whatever. I also put it in a spray bottle with vinegar for cleaning in and around toilets. I even add a few drops to my mop water if I have ants in my kitchen!

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  15. Thank you for the ideas! :)

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  16. Great info Kelly! Which natural cleaner do you find works best on mildew? Especially in tile grout (like in the shower).

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    1. Hi shannon! I don't have a problem with mildew in my bathroom, but when my grout looks dirty I use a paste made of baking soda and peroxide.

      Vinegar is good at killing molds and mildew. You could try that!

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  17. Love your blog! What would you suggest for polishing/dusting wood furniture?

    Tina

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    1. I use a tiny bit of olive oil and vinegar on a cloth. I use that for my kitchen table from time to time, but you should probably test it on a not so visible area first to make sure it won't hurt the finish.

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  18. OK, question for you. I live overseas. I can get all of the environmentally friendly things you mentioned. My problem is this. We have parquet floors that are not sealed, and cannot BE sealed. They require waxing on fairly regular basis. Any thoughts on how to care for them without using commercial wax? It smells horrible, so I'm sure it isn't good for us on any level. After it is applied, our house smells like kerosene for several hours.

    Not caring for the floors isn't really an option either. We live at a very high altitude, and the air is very dry, so if we don't do something they will dry out.

    Any input/ideas would be greatly appreciated!

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    1. Are there any bee keepers near you? you could use pure beeswax.

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    2. I sealed my waxed parquet floors... Strip *all* of the wax off, then apply the polyurethane as directed, including the sanding. It's been three years and my floors look great!

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  19. I just want to say that your blog is SUCH an inspiration!! Good for you and your family! I look forward to your posts and hope that I can simplify my home using some of your tips. Keep it up!!

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  20. Oh no! I thought Simple Green was a good product! Thank you so much for posting this. I recently cleared out all the toxic products but apparently I missed one.

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  21. I've also always been terrified of cleaning products and I am in the process of learning how to clean with the vinegar and baking soda so I am LOVING your blogs. Thank you do much for the information and being my inspiration to live a cleaner and more clutter free life. I just went through my closet and donated 2 huge bags of clothes and did the same with the kitchen.

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  22. What kind of dishwasher detergent do you use?

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  23. My problem is my husband cannot stand the smell of vinegar! It makes him gag, so I am unable to use it for cleaning. Do you have any other suggestions?

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  24. Hi! I can't seem to get the link to work for the guest post you wrote about your cleaning routine... Thanks!

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    1. hmmm...I just checked it and it worked fine.

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    2. shoot I was afraid it was me.

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  25. I have been doing the same thing because I have a young boy on the way and a 2 year old girl that is constantly exploring the house. I usually buy my janirotial cleanup supplies online because they seem to be the cheapest, but I am afraid that some of the products might be too toxic to be laying around the house now. I really don't want my children to find them. I am going to get rid of them on the next hazardous waste pickup day.

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