Monday, September 17, 2012

The safe and toxic free home: cleaning supplies

First things first. Why dose anyone need so many different types of cleaning supplies? Personally I have no space for that many in my world. All I need is baking soda, vinegar, borax, olive oil, rubbing alcohol, various types of essential oils and herbs. and dish soap (castile soap is great, I just don't use it enough so it take up too much space for me. lol). All of those things are multi-taskers both for cleaning and other uses, like making tasty food, get rid of bee stings, help with burns, cuts and other ailments. Basically, my medicine cabinet, and cleaning supply can be kept in my kitchen. With the exception being that I would keep the borax, baking soda, and alcohol up higher if any kiddos came over. But you really shouldn't need to keep it up way high, just high enough that a four year old or so cant get to it easily. The borax and baking soda can only cause problems if ingested in high, HIGH quantities, and over a period of time. Messes with ph and things. Still, they are so much safer than bleach, ammonia or other awful cleaning products. 

The typical household has 3 to 25 gallons of toxic materials most of which are found in cleaning supplies  Toxic cleaners can cause burns to the eyes, skin, throat and the esophagus. Also, cancer, hormone disruption, decreased fertility, increased birth defects, and respiratory problems. If you mix bleach with your toilet bowl cleaner you could be releasing toxic gases, the same goes for anything that you mix to combine bleach and ammonia, or chemicals that react similarly with these chemicals. No law requires that manufacturers list their ingredients on labels or to test their product for safety. "While cleaners are the only household products regulated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission under the Federal Hazardous Substances Labeling Act, their sellers aren’t required to reveal these products’ ingredients. These ingredients are considered “trade secrets,” so government regulations are actually designed to protect this proprietary information, not to protect human health or the environment." (

I put vinegar in a spray bottle with some water and use it as a multi-purpose cleaner. The studies done on this wonderful substance have bean rather, well, vague. They will say that it kills about 80% of germs, but this is without studying it fully, or very well. Where as bleach has had extensive tests done on it. But, seeing as how bleach causes respiratory problems, cancer and brain damage I would rather go with an 80% killer that I can add some essential oil or peroxide to if I want a super germ killer, than a 99.9% germ killer that also kills me. Another thing is, that bleach also kills the good bacteria, where as the vinegar, who dose kill e-coli also leaves those good for you bacteria. When I need to cut up a chicken (which is, um well, never, but I did at my moms before I was married) I scrub my cutting board with salt and spray it with vinigar to wipe it down. I also wash it off under hot water. But I alwaise wash my cutting boards to get rid of odors and such from garlic and such that can transfer to apples and other foods. If you need to whiten a cutting board, start cleaning it with hydrogen-peroxide. Killd germs very well, and can lift away stains. Baking soda also works great at scrubbing those plastic ones that are all porous, and get so yucky sometimes. I will put various esential oils in my spray bottle with the vinigar. Such as Lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, or lavender depending on my mood. When I want to do a deep cleaning of my kitchen nothing beats making my own blend of oil tea with herbs and water. Here is the how to video. Unlike this lady, I use lavender instead of the cinnamon and clove. I like the smell better and it work just as good for my purposes. I dont know if the disinfectant properties are the same as when using therapeutic grade oil, but it works so, so ,SO good at taking baked on food and grease off the stove. It basically boosts the cleaning ability of the vinegar in a spray bottle. It gets sticky stuff of of floors, and well, it just gets everything SO clean!

I clean my floors, cabinets, counter tops, tables, walls, stair railing, and windows with vinegar in a spray bottle. armed with either a rag, or my mop and just my trusty spray bottle, cleaning is so easy! My mop is flat on the bottom with a cloth on it much like this one,
 which I find works the easiest for quick cleaning. I just get out my spray bottle, put a damp re-attachable cloth on my mop, Spray the floor and mop. SO easy and their is no need for using gallons of water. 

To shine up my floor and wood surfaces I mix equal parts olive oil and vinegar. A little goes a long way. Dont worry if you feel like the floor has too much oil that you just couldn't seem so spread no mater how hard you try, this will be fine. The oil ends up soaking into the floor. I dip a rag into the solution and gently rub my wood surfaces with it to make them look good.

To clean my toilet I put a cup of baking soda into the toilet, scrub, then flush. Then I put a cup of vinegar in, scrub, then flush. The vinegar is important. It make the toilet so SHINY! To clean the seat and outside of toilet I just get out my spry bottle again and a rag. For my sink and shower I spray everything down with vinegar then dust everything in baking soda. Scrub everything with a rag, then rinse.

A note on Norwex cloths. They clean of all those icky germs. Dampen and clean all your surfaces. Removes dust, kills germs, viruses, mold, and not you. I love them for cleaning sinks, showers, and tubs. I need to get one but haven't bean able to since I got married but when I lived at my moms I used them for everything. They are absolutely brilliant at dusting and taking animal hair of of furniture. I wipe my counter tops with it and it gets rid of all the germs without any disinfectants. The Norwex cloths are so good at cleaning sinks and showers. I use just my cloth and nothing else, and their is nothing to rinse of when I am done. They are a bit expensive, but well worth it in my opinion. 

To remove sticky stuff, put some rubbing alcohol on a cloth then rub the sticky area. It will come off fairly quickly. 

To remove stains including blood from carpets, use borax. If someone happens to drop a plate of food on a carpet, spills their wine, or somehow gets blood on the carpet follow these steps. 

1. Pick up all of the food and blot the liquid with a clean cloth

2. Using a spray mister, apply ice water to the area

3.Shake borax right out of the box over the stain

4. Place a wet towel in the freezer for five minutes and then place on top of the area

5.Press the borax into the carpet by pushing down on the frozen towel

If you don't have time for all of these things, dab at the spill with a damp cloth, put borax on it, and then do step 5.

For a room deodorizer and a fabric fresher I put alcohol in a bottle with some sort of essential oil (whatever I want the room/fabric to smell like). I spray it in the room, then I leave the room. Alcohol is not particularly good for your lungs. The alcohol will leave very quickly, Like 30 seconds, then you can enjoy your fresh smelling room. Use the same mixture on your couch, bed linens, etc to kill bed bugs and the like. The alcohol works better than water because it dissipates faster so that you aren't left with a wet couch. 

***A Couple Quick Additions: to make your carpets smell good, and to to get rid of various bugs mix a cup of baking soda with 5 to 10 drops of essential oil. Sprinkle onto a carpet (I use one of those Parmesan sprinklers that are at pizza restaurant) let set for just a little bit, then vacuum. This will also make your vacuum smell good.

Also you could use cornstarch instead of baking soda and use it as a body powder/deodorant. Sprinkle some in your shoes also to get rid of stinky smells. 
I hope this helps, and stay healthy!***
More info and sources


  1. Thanks for sharing these deodorizing home tips which helps to keep home toxin free and clean.

    1. Your welcome! Also, I forgot to put this on the post, but for a carpet deodorizer try baking soda and a few drops of essential oil sprinkled on a carpet. Let it set, then vaccum. Gets rid of bugs and smells. It also makes your vaccum smell good. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing such wonderful household cleaning tips. I always prefer home-made cleaning solutions and try to avoid toxic chemicals for cleaning purposes.
    I want add some more tips that you can add a teaspoon of baking soda at the bottom of the vase to keep the bouquet fresh and also you can make an anti-itch ointment for insect bites, poison ivy, or rashes by mixing baking soda with water.
    Safe Cleaning Supplies Ireland

  3. I never heard of using baking soda in flower vases! That is so Great! That way your not putting who knows what that stuff is that comes with flowers down your drains. I new that baking soda and water works well for bug bites, but not for the other things. Thank you for commenting and sharing such great info. :)