home + garden

Cleaning and Detergents Follow Up

ReThinking Cleaning Supplies by www.GoGingham.comEver since I became enlightened and began to pay attention to what’s in our cleaning supplies, laundry detergents, and consumer products, thanks to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) website, I have completely turned our house upside down with what we use and no longer use. It’s never easy getting used to a new routine and there were plenty of eye-rolls around here with a few, “Oh, great, what are we washing our clothes with now?” tossed in for fun.

The truth is this: if you want to save money on household supplies, be gentler on the environment, and reduce the amount of trash you’re generating, stop buying spray bottles today. Save the ones you have and reuse with the recipes that are following.

Rethinking cleaning my kitchen sink
My kitchen sink – clean and sparkly – for a second!

Here are the types of supplies I’ve reworked and have been using for the last 9-months. I have been very pleased with the results.

Cleaning and Detergents Follow Up

  1. Liquid hand soap
  2. Laundry detergent
  3. Automatic dishwasher detergent
  4. “Rinse aid” for automatic dishwashers
  5. Window, glass, and porcelain surface cleaner (think shiny)
  6. Grease cutter spray for kitchen (think grimy)
  7. Ceramic cook-top smooth scrub
  8. Painted surface cleaner (wood trim, plastic, etc.)
  9. Wood polish (not painted wood surfaces but with a clear finish)
  10. Stainless steel sink scrub
  11. Daily use tub and shower spray
  12. Damp-mop floor cleaner (wood floors, painted concrete, and marmoleum)
  13. Drain cleaner (this is a monthly maintenance routine)

Here’s the criteria I used in coming up with what to use.

Good for you…

Just like checking the ingredients of the foods we buy and put into our bodies, these all get the approval and received A’s on the EWG website. Sometimes it made sense for me to buy products and sometimes it made sense for me to make them myself – and at times I went hybrid – bought some and added to it.

A word of caution: while the internet is full of recipes for make your own laundry detergent, just because it’s homemade doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Be sure the individual components are still getting A’s on EWG.

Good for the environment…

This is simple: we all have to think about what we’re putting down the drain. Yes, I know large companies, parts of our country or other countries may not be doing enough but we have to start somewhere. This is where I’m doing my part.

Good for the budget…

I don’t buy all organic fruits and vegetables because it’s not feasible for our budget. The same holds true for other aspects of consumer products and cleaning supplies. Buying organic or natural cleaners can be very expensive and even then, the products didn’t necessary get all A’s on the EWG website.

What I am happy to report is that even though several of the products we’ve incorporated into our home cleaning routine are organic, I’m spending less money. How is this possible? Oh you’ll see!

ReThinking cleaning and laundryTruth in blogging…

Have I eliminated all other cleaning products in our home?

No, but, mostly. While I reach for the new arsenal first, I still use a couple of items that I’d rather not but occasionally still need to and here’s where I’m coming clean! (Pun intended.)

  1. “Comet” for the toilet bowl: Honestly, we don’t flush our toilets often in the summer and when the bowl doesn’t get cleaned well, it’s a bad combination. I’ve used this cleaner twice since January but only after teens cleaned it and still proclaimed, “The toilet bowl still smells like rotten fish.”
  2. Throw away cleaning wipes that come in a plastic tub: These I keep around for our home swap partners to use. While we’re accustomed to cleaning with rags and what cleaners are used where, it’s so much easier to have the wipes on hand in case our travel guests want to clean the bathroom or kitchen sink before they leave.
  3. Pre-packaged dishwasher tablets: These are leftover from when I used to buy them for our dishwasher but I’ve since stopped purchasing. Again, I keep these on hand for our home swap partners to use. It’s easier than my new routine and everyone knows what to do.

A new routine isn’t easy but with determination and savings – health, environment, and pocketbooks – I think you’ll find it’s easy to adopt these into your cleaning arsenal – and life.

Are you ready to add to your cleaning arsenal? Have you made your own cleaning supplies?

Go Gingham related links:

Green and frugal living – the sweet spot where green and frugal meet
Cute and clean for the kitchen: make a baking soda shaker for soaking those stubborn pots and pans
The mop cover is a re-purposed t-shirt: how to make a mop cover
Why I use an inside laundry line and not an outside laundry line
How to install an inside your home laundry line my son helped me install ours and it can be used year round!

Other related links:

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), is an online, independent resource for consumer health products, lists all of what’s in our cleaning supplies and laundry detergents. They also share which ingredients have been banned in other countries, but not here. They rate the products based on their ingredients. It’s important to note that the EWG does not endorse any products or brands. I am not associated with them but I really like the work they do.

4 thoughts on “Cleaning and Detergents Follow Up

  1. I’ve found so much useful information on the EWG website, too. I make most of my cleaning supplies, but we still use a commercially available toilet bowl cleaner. We have low-flow toilets and I’ve noticed it’s more difficult to keep their bowls clean.

    Thanks for pointing out that “homemade” doesn’t always equal good for you. I sometimes equate homemade with natural, but I’ve definitely seen some recipes for homemade cleaning products that are likely just as bad as their premade counterparts.

    I’d love to hear what you use for a ceramic cooktop scrub. I have such a hard time keeping mine clean!


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