Learning How to Clean Green


A woman cleaning with homemade cleaner.It seems that everywhere I turn, someone is mentioning homemade cleaners. Quite a few bloggers I enjoy reading have written about making the switch from store-bought to homemade, all-natural cleaners. And, as always, Pinterest is overflowing with homemade cleaning ideas too.

I became cautious about the chemicals I was using to clean when I was pregnant with our little man. Since then, I have spent time looking into various “recipes” for homemade cleaners, but I have not entirely made the switch. 

For one, I’m a waste not, want not kind of gal, and I’d like to use up what we have first. For another, I wasn’t sure how well they worked since I didn’t know anyone using them. Once I saw that a friend was making her own laundry detergent and even baby wipes and loved them, I decided to give it a go! I hoped it would save us money and provide me with peace of mind about the ingredients I was cleaning our home with.

I knew right away that I didn’t want to use any recipe that required keeping my new cleaning solution in the refrigerator. (These were primarily recipes that involved lemon juice). I’m hoping to simplify my cleaning routine, after all! My no-fridge requirement led me to distilled white vinegar. Although I’m still finishing off our store-bought cleaners, I have used vinegar with great success to clean the following.

A stained coffee pot. 

As all you mamas know, coffee is a vital part of our mornings! Our coffee cups tended to get stained in the dishwasher, and our glass coffee pot was as well. No amount of scrubbing on my part could get it off until I mixed some coarse salt and vinegar and rubbed it on the stains. It worked like a charm! I tried it later with just salt and water, thinking it was the abrasiveness of the salt that did the trick, but without the vinegar, it didn’t work.

The dishwasher. 

Growing up, we didn’t have a dishwasher, so it took me a while to realize that dishwashers need cleaning too! I place a pyrex measuring cup filled with vinegar upright in the top rack of an empty dishwasher and then let the dishwasher run one cycle. It cleans and disinfects the dishwasher to help it continue running smoothly. (Some people recommend doing this monthly; I don’t wash ours that frequently). I’ve also used a spray of vinegar and water to wipe down the parts that spin inside the dishwasher.

Our shower! 

Oh, our poor shower. For some reason, I clean the rest of the house to death, yet our poor shower gets neglected. I’ve started using a sprayer filled with vinegar and water and a magic eraser to clean it, and our shower and shower door have never looked better. This one makes me the happiest because I hated smelling all the fumes from store-bought cleaners when I was inside the shower trying to scrub it!

As for how I use the vinegar, I’ve found it easiest to take a 16-ounce bottle of distilled white vinegar and replace the screw top with a spray top from a 99 cent spray bottle (found at Target, of course). 

When I use up the rest of our Goo Gone, I am excited to try the homemade version: combine 1/3 cup of melted coconut oil and a 1/3 cup of baking soda. And once I’ve finished our kitchen counter sprays and bathroom cleaners, the recipes I’ve seen for all-purpose cleaners are simple: 1/2 tsp dish soap, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 Tbsp vinegar, 2 cups water (and a few drops of essential oils). If you can’t get over the vinegar smell, the essential oils help mask the scent. I’ve also seen people “infuse” their vinegar for a few weeks with citrus peels.

I’m not sure I will ever give up good old Windex or regular toilet bowl cleaner, but I’m ok with that. Or maybe I’ll surprise myself when those bottles are empty and find a homemade cleaner that’s even better! All I know is it makes me happy to take these baby steps towards making our home a greener place for our kiddos to grow up. 

Do any of you make your cleaning products? Any recipes or advice to share? Let’s get a jump on spring cleaning together!



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