I have a new found love for vinegar.  This simple, fermented, acidicy liquid is my new BFF.  A while ago I came to the realization that the SO and I are cleaning product snobs.  We have a separate cleaner for EVERYTHING in the apartment.  It is crazy!  We typically purchase Seventh Generation, a wonderful company from Vermont that uses recycled and post-consumer materials in it's packaging and is biodegradable as well as being chlorine- and phosphate-free!  So yes, environmentally, however a little pricey for our graduate student budgets.  Additionally, all of these excessive chemicals in the products (although compared it to what other cleaning companies SG isn’t too bad) is probably not great.  So I thought this would be a good time to investigate alternatives that would be kind to our health (our bunnies health) and to our budgets. 

We ended up borrowing a couple of different books from the library:

An oldie:
Cheaper and Better: Homemade Alternatives by Nancy Birnes 


The Complete Guide to Eco-Friendly House Cleaning by Anne Kocsis 


Honestly, for me I couldn’t sit and read these books.  They were a little too Jiminy Cricket, “you must keep a clean house and wash everything including the walls once a week”.  Ek!  Who has time for this stuff!  So most of it I quickly skimmed just to pay dues to the authors who spent time writing the books, but mostly I wanted some ideas for cleaners and I found that vinegar was used for most of the recipes.  And after careful selection (as to not mix certain chemicals together) I have a new set of cleaners.  Mostly various concentrations of vinegar in water (each one mixed with one or more essential oils) and I have a new set of cleaning sprays for the bathroom and kitchen!  I actually cannot stand the smell of vinegar.  So I ended up using a lot of essential oils (lemon and tea tree oils) to make these sprays smell nicer.  I even have the daily shower spray with sweet orange essential oils so every morning after the shower the bathroom smells like sweet orange!  

 I even took it one step further and cut up a bunch of old t-shirts and we now use these instead of paper towels (I’m usually a paper towel freak and go through rolls and rolls of Seventh Generation recycled paper towels).  So I’m feeling a little better about that as well.  All I know is that the disgusting mineral buildup that we had going on in the shower is now gone thanks to the vinegar… something my Magic Eraser and Seventh Generation sprays couldn’t do the past two years.  I’m now fully converted over to this simpler way of cleaning.  Well... we'll see how long I keep at this until I just go out and buy another bottle of Seventh Generation cleaner.    

Is anyone else a freak about cleaning?  What products do you use? 

Happy Cleaning!


Anthea said…
I`ve used a mixture of white vinegar, a bit of washing up liquid and baking soda to clean the bathroom surfaces, bathroom tiles, bathtub, sink well the kitchen sink and counter. Use an equal mixture of water and white vinegar to clean the shelves and walls of the fridge. Keep a box of open baking soda in the fridge to absorb the smells - it’s cheaper than buying one of those expensive fridge deodorants.
lunaticraft said…
I feel the same way about baking soda. It's cleaning magic.

Additionally, if you get BBC america, or do some digging via the interweb, I learned about a lot of alternative cleaning shortcuts via the show How Clean is Your House? Kim and Aggie are the BEST.
bunnits said…
Vinegar, baking soda -- and sometimes elbow grease

When I can I make my own laundry detergent, too. There are several recipes out there, all somewhat similar variations on grated Castille or Fels Naptha soap, washing soda, and Borax. I haven't tried the recipe for liquid, yet. The dry kind is easier for me, despite all the grating. Folks I've given it to say they like it. That reminds me that I need to get to work on another batch.
Anthea said…
I know which show you're talking about on BBC America. Yes, Kim and Aggie are the best and I can't believe the state of some of those houses! Ah!