Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Green Cleaning

Green Cleaning

 I try to be as chemical-free as possible in  my home.  Here are some of my green recommendations for cleaning products.

1.)    Dish Soap: Seventh Generation Lavendar & Mint Dish Soap.  Unlike the more famous dish soaps out there, Seventh Generation does not test on animals and doesn’t scent its products with harmful phthalates.  The mild lavender smell is barely noticeable and it is scented with actual lavender extracts, not chemicals.

2.)    Dishwasher Detergent: Again, Seventh Generation's liquid dishwasher detergent is an easily available option.  For tablets, I like Method’s Free and Clear dishwasher tablets.  Like Seventh Generation, Method is also cruelty free and they don’t use phthalates.  Seventh Generation also makes a dishwasher tablet but each pod comes individually wrapped in plastic, whereas the Method ones are all loose in a bag so it seems a little less wasteful, and I'm not a fan of whatever that encasing is melting off in my dishwasher.
3.)    Counters: I buy white vinegar gallons from Costco for cleaning, and fill a spray bottle with half filtered water and half white vinegar to clean our counters.  If you find the smell of vinegar a bit much to handle you can add essential oils to your spray bottles.  Aura Cacia essential oils are easily available online from retailers like Vitacost or in stores like Meijer's and Plum Market.
       (*Note that vinegar is not recommended for granite).
 4.)    Glass Stovetops and Sinks: For tough to remove stains and burnt-on grease I sprinkle the stain with baking soda and then spray it with white vinegar.  This is the same mixture used in science fair volcanoes and it does the trick.  The baking soda bubbles up and removes the stains.  You can wipe it up with a reusable rag, rinse, and dry for its next use.

5.)    Pots and Pans: To remove burnt stains from stainless steel pots and pans, heat some baking soda and water in the pot or pan.  When it cools, scrub the stain with a sponge and the baking soda.  For really tough stains, you may have to repeat this a couple times but it will get the stains out, (and without using toxic bleach powders that are meant to bleach your bathtub, not items that you eat out of).
6.)    Stainless Steel appliances and faucets: Instead of products targeted towards stainless steel appliances, I only use a spray bottle filled with half filtered water (to eliminate the white mineral residue that our tap water leaves on things) and half white vinegar.  I buff the appliances with a soft cloth that won’t scratch and can easily eliminate fingerprints and other smudges.  I always spot test the vinegar spray on an inconspicuous area when using it on a stainless steel appliance for the first time.

7.)    Mirrors, Glass Shower Doors, and Bathroom Counters: A spray bottle with vinegar and water does the trick.  Simply polish it off with rags that can be thrown in the washer for the next time.
      8.)    Dusting: Whenever a sock gets a hole in it, I wash it and store it in a container to be later used for dusting.  Once a week, I put the sock over my hand and dust away.  Because household dust is full of harmful PBDEs, I do not put these socks in the washer, but rather, throw them out.  It isn’t as green as reusing rags like I do for counters and mirrors but they are still being repurposed once after their original use as socks.

9.)    Laundry Detergent: Method Free & Clear works great.  Although the products recommend four pumps per load of laundry, I've found two to be just enough for our needs.  I alternate between this, Seventh Generation and Honest free and clear detergents for baby laundry too, as they are all mild, unscented, and free of the chemicals that other laundry detergents actually marketed for baby laundry contain. 



  1. Interesting about the dusting in PBDEs. So if we don't have a spare sock available, are we better off using paper towels?

  2. You might be better off in that situation using paper towels. I'm sure there is some ammount of dust on the rags I use to clean my counters and floors, which I do wash in the laundry machine, but my furniture gathers a lot of dust even when I dust weekly so I don't feel that comfortable putting the dust coated socks in the laundry machine. At the same time though, I have read articles on how dryer lint is also full of PBDEs because, unfortunately, that is just how our environment is.