Thursday, January 8, 2009

Green/frugal cleaning

I'm not a big fan of cleaning the house but its one of those 'you just have to do it' tasks. We've been using 'green' cleaners for quite a few years. I've experimented with a few cleaners and have settled with some easy options that seem to work well. All are very simple and very cheap. I rarely venture down the cleaning isle of the supermarket and the laundry cupboard isn't filled with numerous toxic cleaners. We still use a few commercial cleaners but I'm slowly finding alternatives.

Cleaning the bathroom
The bath, shower and basin are all cleaned with bicarbonate of soda and a bit of a scrub. The shower is then sprayed with vinegar and left for 20 minutes or so. Vinegar is a mild disinfectant. The vinegar smell quickly disappears. The bicarb removes soap scum from glass really well.

Soda water (the cheap stuff is fine) works really well for glass. Just spray and wipe for a great shine. A litre bottle cost about $1 and lasts for ages. Just make sure you are buying unsweetened soda water.

Dusting is done with an old cotton rag and soda water. Test the soda water on a small area before spraying on your furniture just in case but I've never found any problems.

An update on my dish washing soap.
I made some lemon scented coconut oil soap for dish washing. After using it for a month or so it seems to be a good thing. It washes the dishes well without making them overly slippery as the Velvet soap did. The lemon scent is mild but pleasant. The Velvet soap made the cups in particular smell like Velvet soap so they needed to be rinsed well. The soap doesn't bubble much but bubbles don't clean dishes so that is OK. Glasses absolutely sparkle after using this soap. Even the kids noticed the sparkly glasses and wanted to know what I had done. Overall I'm quite happy with my soap and will make another batch. Lemon is a mild disinfectant and smells great but you could use any essential oil you prefer or none if you wish.

Fabric softener - a simple test.
When I last washed the towels, I washed one set with commercial fabric softener and the other using white vinegar as the fabric softener. My very technical test (not) was to ask my family which set felt softer. It was pretty hard to tell the difference - the vinegar won but not by much. Vinegar however is heaps cheaper. But who wants towels that smell like vinegar? They don't. You can smell the vinegar a little when the towels are wet but once they have been dried there is no smell. You could add lavender oil to the vinegar and then your washing will smell wonderful.

On the rare occasion that I do iron the only ironing aid I use is a spray bottle of water. It works well and is virtually free. Ironing clothes while a little damp makes the job much easier, Just remember to make sure clothes are completely dry before putting them away.

Room for improvement
I still buy commercial disinfectant. I've experimented with a few green alternatives but haven't found anything I like as of yet. We use commercial detergent to wash the floors and a green commercial laundry powder. That can be my next challenge - find some green, frugal alternatives to commercial disinfectant. I'll let you know how I go.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your experience..I am about to start swapping all my non-green cleaning products with green alternatives, so read your post with interest...Thanks, Tricia