One thing I hadn’t considered when we bought the cottage was … we have 2 homes to keep clean! How do you clean effectively and eco-friendly?
I’ll be honest, I’m not the most diligent house-keeper I know. I have good intentions to get my cleaning on some kind of schedule but it hasn’t worked out so well. I often find myself whipping through the house to clean whatever I can between the time Brian leaves for work and when I have to head off to work. I’ll often work up just as good a sweat on those cleaning mornings as I do when I work out – so the clean house is a bonus! HAHAH! And at the cottage, I’m usually running around like a madwoman, vacuuming, changing linens and wiping down the kitchen at the end of the weekend so that I’m not coming back to a mess the next time. I guess you could say I want to be efficient and eco-friendly even if I’m not always consistent.
In my quest to simplify, and ditch the chemicals (sulfates, parabens and other chemicals) at the cottage and in the city, I’ve tried it all! I’ve whipped up DIY concoctions, tried network marketing products and “eco-friendly” grocery and specialty store products. Many of the purchased products turned out to be not as eco-friendly as I’d like.
I could go into a great big story about all the money I’ve spent trying to avoid the grocery store cleaning aisle chemicals and even on the ineffective DIY concoctions but I won’t – this time. Instead let me cut to the chase and tell you about the real winners in my quest for clean…
– for counters, window cleaner, fabric softener, air freshener & so much more.
That’s right! Good ole vinegar. No harsh lingering chemical smells – just good clean fun.
For all purpose cleaning and glass cleaning just dilute 1 part vinegar with 1 part distilled water in a spray bottle and you’re good to go. I keep a bottle in each bathroom and in the kitchen.
Vinegar also makes a great fabric softener, especially for towels! I use it at full strength in the fabric softener section of the wash machine. It just couldn’t get simpler! I’ve also tried the wool balls with some success and do sometimes use dryer sheets when the load is more synthetics than natural fibers. When I do use dryer sheets I use unscented ones and I am trying to wean myself off of them altogether.
Every now and then there can be some pretty strong smells in the house or cottage – like when we had a small propane issue with our fireplace that resulted in the place smelling like something died! Or when cooking smells get just a little overwhelming. Simply put about 1 cup of vinegar in a small pot and put on the stove to simmer for 15 – 60 minutes. The smell of vinegar will overtake the other smells at first but once the vinegar cools down there is no residual smell at all.
– for laundry booster, kitchen scouring, oven/stove cleaner.
Sprinkle up to ¼ cup of baking soda in the laundry tub while it’s filling (or before loading if using a front-loading machine) and that’s it! I’m not a scientist but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with softening the water that helps the detergent lift soil from the fabrics. It’s also a great deodorizer for gym (or fishing!) clothes and beach towels.
In the kitchen simply make a paste using baking soda and water. This is great for cleaning burnt pots (not that I’d know about that hahah) and hard to clean residue in the oven. Be sure to rinse well as it can leave a cloudy residue on whatever you’re cleaning.
– oven cleaner, floor cleaner
Who would have thought that hot water alone can do so much? My new oven even has a steam-clean setting … and it works! But before this stove I’d put about 1 cup of water in an oven proof dish, put it in a 375° oven for 20 – 30 minutes and wipe it clean. Be sure to let the oven cool before you get “all up in there.” Use your baking soda paste for any stubborn spots.
When using a steam cleaner on your floors (or whatever your steam cleaner can do) be sure to use distilled water so that you don’t end up with hard water/mineral spots when it dries. Those spots are probably more difficult to get rid of than the dirt you were initially trying to clean.
I’m not saying these three things will solve all your cleaning problems but they certainly will help. I still shake my head at the simplicity and cost effectiveness of these three house-cleaning heroes. Do you have other heroes in your cleaning cupboard? Let me know in the comments!