Monday, June 22, 2009

Green Cleaning

A conversation I had with a friend the other day prompted me to write about green cleaning. Alex extolled the virtues of vinegar & baking soda for cleaning counters, faucets, and appliances in an earlier post. I thought I'd include some other uses for these products. I'll also mention a couple more common items that can be used for cleaning.

I hate mops. They disgust me, so I threw mine out. I have a stack of cloth diapers (Gerber flats from WalMart) that I use for cleaning floors, counters, sinks, toilets, etc. I fill my mop bucket with about a cup of vinegar per gallon of water. I wash the floor with the diapers and vinegar-water. When the water gets dirty I start over with clean water and more vinegar. There's no need to rinse. I also replace the diapers as they get dirty. Then I throw them in the washing machine.

Shake baking soda into your toilet and scrub. Add vinegar, let it foam and soak, then flush later.

You can use vinegar as a fabric softener instead of dryer sheets. Just add a cup to the rinse cycle.

Use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect your cutting board. It's used as a teeth whitener (hold one capful in your mouth for 10 minutes daily, then spit). It also removes blood from clothing. This last tip I learned from my midwife. She should know!

Speaking of laundry, here's a recipe for detergent you might like to try. One of my good friends posted it on her blog, along with a cloth diaper laundry recipe.

Everyday Family Laundry
(Add 2 drops of essential oil for fragrance to water before adding clothes)
1 bar finely grated Fels-Naptha Soap (you may use other bar soaps such as Ivory, Castile, Zote)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 cup of Oxygen cleaner powder, such as Oxyclean

Mix all ingredients well. It will look like yellow & white granules. Use 1 tablespoon for light, small loads & 2 tablespoons for large loads. Store in recycled, air tight containers.

Here are some websites with other tips and information:
Vinegar Kills Bacteria, Mold, and Germs
Natural Remedies for Disinfecting Your Kitchen
Vinegar Tips
More Vinegar Tips
Hydrogen Peroxide Uses
More Hydrogen Peroxide Uses
Lemon Tips


  1. Neat ideas--I love using cloth diapers to clean with too!

  2. It doesn't get much more organic/green and safe than water. Save money and the Earth and be clean at the same time...yes! Get serious and add Bathroom Bidet Sprayers to all your bathrooms. Available at with these you won't even need toilet paper any more, just a towel to dry off! It's cheap and can be installed without a plumber; and runs off the same water line to your toilet. You'll probably pay for it in a few months of toilet paper savings. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. Now we're talking green and helping the environment without any pain. Don’t Say It Spray It!

  3. Jeff, I hadn't thought about a bidet sprayer. I bet my diaper sprayer would work the same.

    A lot of people are using "family cloth" these days. It's just like the cloth wipes I use with my cloth diapers. Hubby's not too keen about family cloth, though.

  4. Thanks for the tips.

    A friend of mine has started using family cloth for everything but bowel movements. She has 6 girls & says it certainly saves on the cost & use of toilet paper. Just a thought for those not keen on the whole "adult #2" issue with family cloth.