Natural Cleaning: Green Housekeeping Kit

With Vernal Equinox around the corner, one way I’m celebrating is by doing the traditional spring cleaning starting with the physical. In my home, we avoid using chemicals as much as possible. While I would like to claim that it’s because we’re green, that part is honestly just an added bonus. The truth is that I’m incredibly sensitive to chlorine bleach and basically any chemical they use in common cleaning compounds.

And, let’s face it; the pre-made natural stuff is expensive. Being thrifty is something I pride myself on, but it’s also necessary for a young couple living on a small amount of money. Blow-by-blow, even with essential oils, you’ll find that using basic natural ingredients cuts costs – I’ve read that it costs so much as 1/10th what regular cleaning supplies cost.

I will note that with natural home cleaning, you’ve got to put a little more elbow grease into some jobs sometimes. The plus side is that you’re probably strengthening something muscle-wise by doing so. At least that’s what I tell myself.

This will be a short series that goes in depth on each item, but today we’re just going to go over building a basic cleaning kit for your home.

So what is in my cleaning kit?

  • Baking soda – This is hands-down my go-to product for basically any need in the world, including but not limited to home cleaning. It is a great non-abrasive scrubber, deodorizer, and mild detergent. We buy giant boxes of it in bulk because we use so much of it.
  • White distilled vinegar – The strong smell of this goes away after it dries, so don’t fear the stink. This is used in our house as a dissolver for the most part, but you’ll regularly see me sprinkling baking soda and dumping vinegar on afterwards to break up things like a funky coffee pot. Or anything else I can manage to do this to, because there’s nothing I love more than making things fizz and foam like an elementary school cleaning project.
  • Lemon – Strongly acidic and a great disinfectant.  I buy it in concentrated powdered form when I can find it since it lasts longer.
  • Essential oils – I try to keep clove and tea tree oil around as much as possible for disinfectant purposes. Lavender is also great for the same reason, but I find I get migraines from it.
  • Salt – Another great scrubber, especially when added to vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Soap – We have tended to buy natural liquid all-pupose cleaner in the past by either Simple Green or Method, but next time I will be purchasing castile soap in bulk along with a couple bars of unscented lye soap. The only thing to avoid are soaps with petroleum distillates.
  • Borax – We don’t use this much at this point, but I keep it around for soldering silver, and it sometimes spills over into housecleaning. I have used it in the past to kill roaches, so I’ve always been cautious of it. However, just last month I read that the Environmental Working Group has deemed it unsafe via Mother Earth News I mention it because it’s something you’ll find commonly in green lists. If you’re concerned about fertility, you’ll want to check out the links and consider all of this for yourself, too. Otherwise, just practice logical caution – Wear gloves and a mask when you have to use borax. And don’t eat it despite your whacky hippie recipes telling you to.  Links: Borax Has Issues; You Have Alternatives and Borax: Not the Green Alternative It’s Cracked Up to Be 
  • Ethanol or 100 proof alcohol – Not for sipping when you get too stressed out by housework! Okay, maybe a little, but we use it for a disinfectant. I’ve also used it for killing nasties like spider mites on plants. It works double-time for making tinctures. For those living in dry households, you may substitute with isopropyl alcohol.

Optional:

  • Cornstarch – Great for shampooing carpets and rugs or using to polish furniture.
  • Washing soda – Some use it for bathroom cleaning and using in their laundry. It can be a strong irritant, so use care. Don’t use it on aluminum.

As a note, Glad Rags is having a giant giveaway and they currently have a coupon for 20% off your purchase on their website – Including sale items. Ladies, if you haven’t made the switch to reusable menstrual products but have been thinking about it or are looking for period-friendly items I suggest you check out this great deal. The coupon code is MOVE11. To get in on their giveaway, you’ll need to visit their Facebook page. I’m admittedly a little disappointed by that, because I’d rather not have random people I went to high school with knowing about my feminine hygiene habits.  So I didn’t enter, but I figure I’d share for those of you who aren’t as inhibited as I am.  Haha.

And while you’re on Facebook, check out Ayamanatara who is amazing. She is a multi-denominational shaman. I have had the good fortune of sitting in on one of her classes, and she is truly gifted at her calling. Her Facebok updates are a service on their own, and I find myself pausing when I read them to reflect on what she’s saying.

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