If you walk down the cleaning products aisle of any store, you will find a cleaner for everything! With multiple brands and multiple fragrances and multiple uses. It’s a recipe for cleaning product overwhelm! But there is a simple way to lighten up your cleaning products.
Note: This post includes affiliate links for items that I use and love.
I want my house to be clean. Make no mistake about that. The funny thing about what our society has done with household cleaning products, is that it’s supposedly helped us “clean” our homes, but in many cases it has us “dirty” up our homes with chemicals and substances that aren’t very good for our bodies.
Let’s get back to basics.
Cleaning our homes in it’s simplest form is removing dirt, germs, and other substances that could negatively affect our health. So what is the best at removing these substances?
First, if the substance comes up easily enough, good old fashioned water is the preferred method of removal. The key to making this effective is… microfiber! This is where I actually give modern technology a thumbs-up. The creation of microfiber cloths makes it possible to actually pick up the dirt, germs, etc. and not just move them around.
I admit, I have a favorite brand. For the past few years, I have been using Norwex microfiber cloths in my home and I’m a believer. For everyday cleaning, their basic cloth coupled with water does wonders for cleaning. They also have a smoother cloth for cleaning windows and mirrors (again, with just water.) And a fuzzier cloth for picking up dust.
My favorite tool by far is their mop. I have the wet cloth and the dry cloth and they make cleaning the floors a breeze. And without harsh chemicals, I can let the little boys clean the floors too!
In addition to being fantastic about picking up all the dirt, etc. the Norwex cloths are woven with micro threads of silver which kill any germs that get captured by the cloth. Extra win. I wash all of my microfiber once a week in hot water and Norwex detergent and it keeps everything in tip top shape.
I love just using water and microfiber for the day to day cleaning in my home. But occasionally there is something that doesn’t quite wipe up with water and microfiber. That’s where my next two powerhouses come in to play.
Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) is mildly abrasive, which means if you rub it on that dirt, etc. it’s going to help loosen it up for removal. Baking soda also absorbs odors, which is always helpful in cleaning. Here are a few ways you can use baking soda to clean:
- Cleaning tile grout
- Removing hard water spots
- Removing baked-on food
- Deodorizing your refrigerator
- Deodorizing your garbage can
- Deodorizing your cutting board
- Freshening up a reusable water bottle
- Cleaning dentures or retainers
There are a hundred different ideas, recipes, and instructions online for how to use baking soda as a cleaner. A little research can help you find a way that’s perfect for you. And as always, because it cleans by being abrasive, take care not to use it on surfaces that can easily be scratched.
Vinegar is my second powerhouse. While natural vinegar is produced by a double fermentation process that produces acetic acid, the best vinegar for cleaning is distilled white vinegar which is usually laboratory-produced acetic acid combined with water. It’s the acid in the vinegar that gives it its cleaning power and white vinegar is the most acidic. The acid is what breaks up the icky-whatever and makes it possible for you to wipe it away. Here are a few ways you can use vinegar to clean:
- Removing soap scum from glass
- Cleaning the washing machine tub
- Cleaning off battery acid
- Removing left-over sticker glue
- Soaking your shower head to remove mineral deposits
Again, there are a hundred different ideas, recipes, and instructions online for how to use vinegar as a cleaner. And because it is acidic, use gloves to protect your hands and take care what surfaces you use it on.
But wait. There’s one more secret. You can use baking soda and vinegar together!
If you ever did the classic “volcano” experiment in school, then you already know what I’m talking about. When you combine baking soda and vinegar, a chemical reaction occurs. That fizzing, bubbling foam can be used to help capture, suspend, and remove whatever ick you are trying to remove.
Here’s the catch. Once the chemical reaction is complete, you basically have a type of salt water. The super scrubbing power of the baking soda and the acidity of the vinegar are no longer options for cleaning. So no matter who tells you that you can combine these two ingredients and keep the mixture for later cleaning… don’t believe them!
The cleaning power only comes in the chemical reaction. Here are a few places it works well:
- Cleaning out drains (where the reaction in the pipes helps loosen the yuck slowly without washing through.)
- Cleaning shower walls (or somewhere that having the clinging power of the foam helps remove the mess better.)
I’ve got a few other bottles in my cleaning cabinet that I do use on occasion (liquid castile soap and rubbing alcohol being two of them) but really that’s all I use to keep our home clean!
So light, right?
I store everything in a cabinet in my laundry room and use my handy dandy tote to carry what I need to whatever I am cleaning that day. (Read more about my chore schedule here!)
It really is simple to lighten up both your cleaning products cupboard and your cleaning products!
And… I’m just about to begin my annual Spring Cleaning! Are you? (You can totally join me… I’ll be posting about it next month.) Now is a great time to lighten up your cleaning products in preparation for a Spring Clean!
Do you use cleaning products that you love that are light?
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