Now that you know what I use for green and clean all purpose cleaning and why we’re letting fewer chemicals into our home, let’s get a shine on with this green ‘cleaner’ – which is probably in your pantry already. You simply won’t believe how easy this is!
As consumers, we’re told by companies that ‘green’ and ‘natural’ and ‘household’ and ‘anti-bacterial’ cleaners are what we need. But they’re not. We can keep our homes clean and healthy without them. After spending the last year revamping all of the cleaning supplies we use, our house is clean, our health has improved (more on that later), we’ve saved a ton of money by skipping the cleaning aisle at the store, and we’re not continually buying plastic spray bottles filled with mostly water and harmful chemicals.
My resource for all of this? Environmental Working Group (EWG). Before I buy any products to bring into our home, I check there. Here’s why:
The Environmental Working Group is an online, independent resource for consumer health products. And it has lists of what’s in our cleaning supplies and laundry detergents. They also share which ingredients have been banned in other countries, but not in the U.S. They rate the products based on their ingredients. I think it’s important to note that the EWG does not endorse any products or brands.
“EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning is an online safety guide for household cleaning products, launched in 2012 to help people find safer products that fully disclose their ingredients and contain fewer ingredients that are hazardous or that haven’t been thoroughly tested. The database combines product ingredient lists gleaned from product labels, company websites and worker safety documents with information in more than 16 standard toxicity databases and extensive searches of peer-reviewed scientific literature. The database provides easy-to-navigate safety ratings for more than 2,000 cleaning products.”
These are the questions EWG used to rate cleaning and household products:
- Does the product contain hazardous substances?
- Do we know about all the ingredients?
- Do other factors come into play?
- How does this product rate overall?
There are only two spray solutions we use at home – one is for cutting grease and the other for shiny surfaces. Here’s the all purpose grease cutter and here’s the shiny solution!
Green and Clean Glass and Shiny Surface Cleaner
Let’s think shiny. Windows, porcelain, damp mopping wood floors, bathroom floors, cleaning cutting boards, and wiping down after using the general all purpose cleaner. It’s also our daily, after shower spray.
Here’s my go to formula:
- 1 empty bottle – empty vinegar glass bottle works – 32 ounce bottle/1 quart/ 946 milliliter
- white vinegar – the best deal I’ve found is the box with 2-gallons at Costco
- Fill the empty bottle with water to half full.
- Add white vinegar to the top.
- Add sprayer and shake – a little.
That’s it. It’s so easy.
One of my dearest friends uses a similar mixture to clean her home. Janis, who worked with me at Polo/Ralph Lauren years ago, uses only 1/3 white vinegar and the rest water. Her house is cleaner than mine so she may be onto something! It seems that either formula works – except using straight vinegar. It’s very acidic – more chemistry here – and so can be too strong for many surfaces.
Here’s how I clean the outside windows:
- Fill a bucket with warm water and a few drops of liquid dish-soap (here’s what I use for doing dishes in the sink and the rating on it) or 1-Tablespoon of Sal Suds (here’s why I use Sal Suds from Dr. Bronner’s and the rating on it).
- Next, with a sponge, wet the sponge in the bucket and wipe the window down.
- Rinse with water and quickly wipe – or if it’s warm out, it will dry quickly and you can skip this step.
- Then, spray glass with white vinegar and water mixture and wipe with newspaper or a clean towel/fabric that has very little lint. I honestly prefer the newspaper for wiping. Yes, your hands will get newsprint on them but your windows won’t have fuzz. You can recycle the newspaper, too. No laundry for you!
Here’s how I clean the inside windows:
Spray on glass windows or mirrors and rub with newspaper or a cleaning rag. That’s it. It works just like Windex or other window/glass cleaners only no harsh chemicals. (Find out how we eliminated paper towels from our home.) I use a cleaning rag for this job because when I’m done, the ‘rag’ goes into the laundry with our other clothing.
After shower spray
We keep a plastic spray bottle of this in both bathrooms. After showering, spray the shower curtains and the tile or tub. No need to rinse – just let it air dry. This keeps the shower curtains from growing that red-ish moldy stuff and it’s an easy routine.
Damp-mop floor cleaner
This mixture is what we use on all of our floors – wood, painted concrete, and Marmoleum. Either vacuum or use your favorite method for picking up the big stuff (here’s my favorite – reusable Swiffer cloths made from polar fleece).
Porcelain fixture cleaner
This ‘porcelain fixture cleaner‘ is my fancy term for toilets, sinks, and tubs, etc. It’s for shiny surface cleaning. Spray on a cleaning rag and then wipe. Or spray directly onto the porcelain surface and wipe.
When cleaning toilets, be sure and clean with this solution underneath the rim – where the water comes out to fill the toilet bowl. It’s a nasty job – but it’s the spot that gets forgotten about most often. Spray on toilet paper and them wipe underneath all the way around. Yuck!
This spray is great to use after using baking soda to clean the sink or after I’ve scrubbed the stove top. It takes any leftover residue away and leaves you with a sparkly shine.
Light fixtures and other shiny objects
Sometimes there’s such a greasy build up on the clock and light fixtures in our kitchen that this mixture isn’t enough. When that’s the case, I use a rubbing alcohol on a cloth and wipe the fixture down with that first and then use this spray. It works wonders.
Not sure if this will work on your fixtures? Do a test run, first. Try it on the back side or in an out of the way spot.
A cleaning solution that’s easy to make and it’s probably in your pantry already. Think shiny and make this today! You’ll never buy harsh chemicals for cleaning again. You can ask, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the smartest cleaning person of all?” The answer will be you. Your home is healthier, there’s less waste by reusing the container, and you’ve saved a bundle of money.
Do you use vinegar and water for cleaning? What’s your favorite green and clean toilet cleaning method?
Go Gingham related links:
Natural rinse aid alternative for the dishwasher – it’s in your pantry already
Sort of homemade dishwasher detergent – 2 ingredients make up the new mix!
The mop cover is a re-purposed t-shirt: how to make a mop cover
Green and natural laundry detergents – what to use and why
Cute and clean for the kitchen: make a baking soda shaker for soaking those stubborn pots and pans