Eco-friendly cleaning. Those words tend to sound kinda scary or, worse, fluffy to most people. What they don’t realize is that you can start making some simple changes to your everyday habits to make your environment healthier for you, your family, and the planet. I was first turned away from green cleaning because of the cost. All of the essential oils, the different ingredients, everyone had different opinions and it was just plain confusing. So, I started with what was simple and worked best for my family. Our goals were to be wallet friendly and to use less chemicals – keep it simple as the saying goes.
Now, my best friends are baking soda and white vinegar. Baking soda is a nice abrasive that isn’t too rough and white vinegar is antibacterial; together, they are even more powerful (remember science class and that volcano?). You can buy both at about any store from your neighborhood grocery to your corner pharmacy to the big bulk discount stores. Now, for some cleaning tips/recipes that I have discovered.
My arch nemesis is our shower floor. It has a grip to it so you don’t slip and slide. I guess that is great for when you are showering and all, but afterwards, it grows this grime that bleach, magic erasers, ammonia and the list goes on would not remove. The trick? Baking soda and white vinegar. Sprinkle a generous layer of baking soda all over the tub. Fill a spray bottle full of white vinegar and start to spray. You want to spray enough that you hear the reaction starting to happen and so that, if you wanted, you could create a paste with the baking soda. You don’t want the baking soda to get wet enough that it runs down the drain. Let this sit for at least 5 minutes, preferably 10. Then, grab your scrub brush and give the tub a scrub. You shouldn’t have to work hard. If you find that you are, rinse and repeat the process. The chemical reaction actually loosens the grime and kills the bacteria making the tub sparkling clean for you! Don’t worry, the yucky vinegar smell will go away too.
Cleaning Up After Pets
Anyone who follows @oldtownsuds on twitter knows that we have two cats and two dogs. Sometimes, like last night, accidents happen. We only wash with our detergent but have a trick for when we are washing things that have pet stains on them: white vinegar. We discovered this searching pet forums many years ago when Mr Darcy (our male cat) was just a kitten and having some litter box issues. White vinegar neutralizes the waste, removes the smell, and we are all happy campers! Depending upon the accident size (and how frustrated the owner is) determines how much we’ll use. A small accident means a half a cup is added to the wash at the beginning of the wash cycle. A larger accident means more. It’s simple!
You can make your own dishwasher detergent with simple ingredients, but I’ve found that most people prefer the commercial tabs. An easy way to be more Eco-friendly is in the rinse agent. Can you guess what I am going to suggest? White vinegar. This trick is super simple. Instead of the chemically based commercial products, put the super inexpensive white vinegar in just as you would the rinse agent and set the dishwasher as normal. The white vinegar smell goes away as the dishes dry and there are no spots!