Experts say that the average home has roughly 62 toxic chemicals lurking about. That’s significant! Government regulations regarding labeling of toxic chemicals in cleaning products are pretty lax. Rather than a list of ingredients, what you see instead are those little pictures, like a flame, or skull and cross bones, or even dynamite.
But, what those pictures don’t show you is how all those chemicals can affect even a healthy person over time. For example, many cleaning products use volatile organic compounds to enhance their performance (in other words, you don’t need to use too much elbow grease with these.) Over time, these compounds can impair neurological functions, cause respiratory irritation, and can even cause cancer or reproductive issues depending on the level of exposure.
Now, if you use one of these chemical-containing cleaning products occasionally with proper ventilation, it is most likely not going to harm you or the environment irreparably. The issue is when you use more than one cleaning product that contains harmful chemicals every time you clean. Just think of your bathroom for a moment. You probably have one product to clean mildew from your tub and tile, another for your toilet bowl, one for your mirror, and yet another to clean the surfaces. That can add up to a lot of harmful chemicals.
I know that greening your home can be a challenge. One of the easiest ways to begin making your home a healthy sanctuary is by removing the chemical-laden cleaning products you use and replacing them with greener options. You can do this as you run out of your current products and replace them one by one.
Here are 9 “dirty” cleaning products that I prefer not to use in my own home:
Disinfectant Powders and Sprays
The Environmental Working Group found 146 chemicals in Comet, one of the most popular household disinfectants. Some of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, asthma, and reproductive disorders. The most toxic of the chemicals found in Comet, including formaldehyde, benzene, chloroform and toluene, are not even listed on the label. Try Bon Ami as a safe alternative.
While technically not a cleaner, many people use air fresheners and deodorizers to cover up smells in their homes, especially if they have pets. But, air fresheners typically contain toxic chemicals such as 2, 5-dichlorophenol (2, 5-DCP) and 1, 4-dichlorobenzone (1, 4-DCB), as well as endocrine-disrupting phthalates. I prefer to use essential oils in a diffuser as an air freshener. You can also mix essential oils with baking soda and use as a carpet deodorizer. Opening a window can do wonders as well.
Tub and Tile Cleaners
Remember the Scrubbing Bubbles TV commercial featuring a cute little bubble that eats all the dirt and mildew? Well, that product — and many other conventional tub and tile cleaners — is filled with toxic chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors, and can also cause respiratory and nervous system problems.
We all have had moments where we spill something on the upholstery, or on a silk blouse, and have reached for the spot remover. Now you may want to think again. Spot removers contain a chemical known as “Perc,” (short for perchloroethylene,) a neurotoxin that is also classified as a possible carcinogen. Dry cleaning solutions used by commercial dry cleaners also contain Perc. Try a nontoxic brand of spot remover, such as Ecover, which you can buy at stores or online. For clothes that say “dry clean only,” try wet cleaning, a professional cleaning process that avoids the use of toxic chemical solvents. Or, look for a dry cleaner that does not use Perc in their cleaning process.
Liquid Dish Detergents
Most conventional dish detergent liquids, such as Palmolive Eco+ Gel, contain triclosan, an antibacterial agent (also found in antibacterial hand soaps) that has been associated with the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. In addition, these products contain ingredients with the potential for causing cancer, as well as developmental, endocrine and reproductive issues.
Most glass cleaners and all purpose cleaners contain ammonia, which is a powerful irritant. People with asthma, or other lung issues should avoid all products with ammonia. Plus, ammonia has been linked to chronic bronchitis and is very harmful to the environment.
If you have ever read the warning labels on oven cleaners, such as Easy Off, you probably realize that these are toxic. Ethanolamine is the main chemical in oven cleaners. It can have a negative effect on all of your organs and systems. Oven cleaners also contain sodium hydroxide (lye.) I definitely don’t want these chemicals getting in my eyes, lungs, or in my food!
Drain Clog Removers
The chemicals in clog removers, such as Liquid Plumr, are highly toxic to our water and wildlife. In addition, they can cause severe burns and eye damage. Try boiling water, baking soda and vinegar instead.
Lysol Bathroom Cleaner
The bathroom is probably the place where you use the harshest cleaning products. If the smell of bathroom cleaning products, such as Lysol, doesn’t deter you from using them, then you should know that they can put you at risk for a number of health issues, including asthma and other respiratory concerns, allergies, reproductive and developmental problems and even cancer.
Healthy Spring Cleaning Tips For Everyone
Nothing could be more Goddess-like than using products that are safe for your family and the environment. I am all for making life easy, so if buying green cleaning products is easier for you, then by all means you should purchase the highest quality products you can afford. When buying products at the store, look for a list all of the ingredients on every label.
If you choose to buy your green cleaning products, remember that just because something claims to be “green,” “natural” or “biodegradable” on the label, that doesn’t always mean it’s nontoxic. Be sure to use the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaners database to look up products and check their ratings.
If green cleaning products cost more than you are willing to spend, don’t worry. The good news is that cleaning like a green goddess can be just as easy and less expensive than cleaning with toxic chemicals. All you need are basic, every day items from your grocery store.
Here are some basic ingredients to keep on hand so you can clean just about anything like a green goddess:
- White Vinegar – Has antifungal properties
- Baking soda – Eliminates odors and can be used as a gently scouring powder
- Lemon Juice – Non-toxic bleach, grease cutter, and stain remover
- Borax (sodium borate) – Eliminates odors, removes dirt and acts as a disinfectant.
- Hydrogen Peroxide (3% concentration) – Non-toxic bleach, stain remover and disinfectant.
- Liquid Castile Soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s)
- Club Soda – Stain remover and polisher
- Corn Meal – For carpet spills
- Olive Oil – Furniture polish
- Essential Oils – Scent, antibacterial properties. (Always follow safety instructions as they are highly concentrated.)
5 Green Cleaning Recipes To Keep Your Home Healthy
Here are a few basic recipes and techniques to get you started:
All Purpose Cleaner
- 2 cups white distilled vinegar
- 2 cups water
- Essential oil (optional)
You can use this on hard surfaces such as countertops and kitchen floors, even windows and mirrors.
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1 quart water
Mix together in spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe with lint-free cloth. (Note: You can always add more vinegar for a stronger cleaning solution.)
- 2 cups baking soda
- ½ cup to 2/3 cup liquid castile soap
- 4 teaspoons vegetable glycerin (preservative)
- 5 drops antibacterial essential oil (optional)
Mix together and store in a sealed glass jar for a shelf life of 2 years.
Use this on kitchen counters, stoves, bathtubs and sinks.
- 1 cup soap flakes
- 1 cup washing soda (1/4 -1/2 if you have soft water)
- 1 cup baking soda (1/2 cup for soft water)
- 1-2 tbsp. oxygen bleach (optional for extra whitening power)
Mix all ingredients together and store in a glass container.
You only need one tablespoon per load, but you can add two tablespoons for more soiled laundry. Use in warm or cold water and it is safe for HE machines.
Note: You can make your own soap flakes by grating your favorite pure vegetable soap with a cheese grater.
Tips: Distilled white vinegar added to the rinse cycle makes a great fabric softener. It also removes odors. Hydrogen peroxide is a great whitener and, when used directly on clothes prior to washing, can be used in place of bleach to remove stains
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
- 20 drops Lemon essential oil (or 2 teaspoons lemon juice)
Note: If using lemon juice instead of lemon oil, you must store in refrigerator
Tips: Dip a clean, dry cloth into the polish and rub wood in the direction of the grain. Use a soft brush to work the polish into corners or tight places.
Some other easy ways to clean and disinfect without harsh chemicals include:
- Sprinkle a toilet brush with baking soda to scrub you toilet clean. To disinfect your toilet, you can occasionally use borax instead. To clean the outside of your toilet, just wipe with vinegar.
- Wipe away mold and mildew with straight vinegar.
- Sprinkle essential oil on a cotton ball and place it in a room to give it a fresh scent. (You can even do this in your car!) Experiment with different oils. Lavender is great for bedrooms to help you relax. Citrus oils smell wonderful for the rest of the house. Be sure to place out of reach of children and pets.
5 Healthy Reasons to Keep Baking Soda On Hand
In addition to the non-toxic cleaning recipes above, baking soda has a many more practical uses and can be a healthy way to save money on cleaning and personal care products.
Here are some of the ways you can use baking soda every day:
- Use as a roach killer. Mix with sugar to attract the roaches and place where you have seen the roaches. When they ingest the mixture, the roaches die from dehydration. And you won’t need to spray toxins in your house that can harm your pets. In fact, you can even sprinkle baking soda in your carpets to kill fleas. Just let it settle for up to 12 hours and then vacuum.
- Deodorize everything. If it stinks you can almost bet baking soda will absorb the odor. Here are few items you can use your baking soda on: Pour some in your shoes to remove odor (be sure to remove the baking soda before wearing your shoes). Pour baking soda down your sink disposer to get rid of lingering food odors. Open a box and set it your refrigerator to absorb odors. Add to your laundry to help remove odors and stains. And use it in your front-load washing machine to remove the mildew odor that can build up over time. You can even use it as an underarm deodorant. Simply add a little warm water until it forms a paste and then rub under your arms.
- Calm skin irritation. The same paste you make for a deodorant can be used as a salve to soothe skin issues such as sunburns and other minor burns, insect bites and stings, minor cuts, and scrapes, poison ivy, and even diaper rash.
- Soothe an upset stomach. Baking soda is alkaline (9 on litmus scale). Mix a little baking soda in a glass of warm water and drink to help minor indigestion and heart burn related to stomach acid imbalance. Drinking baking soda may also help ease inflammation in your body and help with pain caused by arthritis and gout. Add Celtic Sea salt, lemon juice and little honey to your baking soda and water to help your muscles recover from workouts.
- Simplify your bathroom routine. There are many ways to use baking soda in your bathroom. Not only can you clean your shower, toilet and sinks with it, baking soda can be used as a toothpaste. Not only can it make your teeth whiter, but it can help alleviate canker sores. If you don’t have enough time to wash your hair, baking soda can be used as a dry shampoo. You can also try using baking soda as a facial exfoliant and as an antimicrobial/antibacterial to treat acne and ward off future breakouts. Add baking soda to your bath water along with some Epsom salts for a great detox bath that will also relieve sore muscles and soften your skin. Sitting in a baking soda bath can also help alleviate the itching and burning associated with urinary tract infections (UTIs) and vaginal yeast infections.
Be sure to store your baking soda in a cool, dry place and away from sunlight. If you purchase baking soda in a box, once opened you will want to place the box in a sealable polythene bag. This will keep the baking soda fresh.
Don’t place your open baking soda in a cupboard near spices because it will absorb the odors of the spices. This reduces the baking soda’s life. And if you plan to cook with it, the absorbed odors will make your food smell funny. If you are not sure whether your baking soda is still fresh, place a few spoonful in a dish and add a couple drops of vinegar. If it bubbles, the baking soda is fresh.
Are there any commercial laundry brands recommended? I am a full time caregiver for my son with special needs. I would love to research and make my own organic laundry detergent and cleaning supplies, but I don’t have the luxury of time on my side. I would still like to use the least harmful cleaning supplies for my home environment. Any suggestions or recommendations would be most appreciated!
I am Dr. Northrup’s Editor. Please check the Environmental Working Group ratings for your favorite brands and see which ones rank as the best and worst.
Thank you for all your hard work and for caring so much for other souls!
Much love and light. Angie
my comments are being removed, I accuse this website of cencering my words. I am only trying to info everyone of the scientific truth of chemicals
Don’t think you know what the term chemical means,”A chemical substance is a form of matter having constant chemical composition and characteristic properties.” :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_substance
under the proper definition of chemical water, vinegar , baking soda, washing soda, essential oils and olive oil would qualify as being made of chemicals.
“Water is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical. Substance, Its chemical formula is H2O.”:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water
Vinegar is made of chemicals, “Vinegar is an aqueous solution (water base) of acetic acid”:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqueous_solution
“Acetic acid is a colourless liquid organic compound(“organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen bonds”:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_compound) with the chemical formula CH3COOH “:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetic_acid
“Sodium carbonate,(also known as washing soda, soda ash and soda crystals) is the inorganic compound with the formula Na2CO3”:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_carbonate
“Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda or bicarbonate of soda, is a chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3.”:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_bicarbonate
“Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from olives, The composition of olive oil varies with the cultivar, altitude, time of harvest and extraction process. It consists mainly of oleic acid (up to 83%), with smaller amounts of other fatty acids including linoleic acid (up to 21%) and palmitic acid (up to 20%). “:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_oil
“An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile (easily evaporated at normal temperatures) chemical compounds from plants.”:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_oil
So chemical free is impossible because everything is made of chemicals.
I demand to know why my past comments have been removed
Carpet cleaning is sometimes more trouble than it is worth. A very good vacuum cleaner is always the best first line of defense.
A helpful tips for cleaning homes. thanks.
Thanks for the unique tips on how to keep my home clean and healthy. I think that mixing chemicals could end in disaster. I would much rather just find a cleaner that is non-toxic and has great cleaning properties.
I found this Post very informative and helpful. I really like the good content you have provided. It is very useful and worth reading. Thanks for sharing this post.
I love all the green cleaning ideas! Making your own chemical free cleaning product has many benefits as one can change the ingredients according to their needs. Keep sharing!
Any tips for getting red wine out of a cream wool carpet arghh. I have cleaned once but stain still there.
white wine is a great red wine remover!
A friend of mine was able to get red wine out of her carpet with a non-toxic cleaner called Sol U Mel. I use it for all kinds of stain removing at my house. It has over 100 uses as a safe cleaner. I love it!!!
Thank you for compiling and sharing this information! I love this post <3 including all the inspiring comments!
Indeed it is all so easy and inexpensive – I went straight out and had a shopping binge :-))) But before I unpack it all and do my spring cleaning your style this year, I have to share this info:
I attempted to get some borax at the pharmacy, just like glycerin and hydrogen peroxide … well, what I learned was that it's not possible to buy any in Germany – and the rest of the EU, I assume – for it's coded as toxic and teratogenic. (Interestingly, there's a German article on wikipedia: https:// de.wikipedia .org/wiki/Natriumtetraborat which names the toxicity codes, including that nice little skull, while there's no warning to be found in the corresponding English article)
The consultant at the pharmacy recommended to use some hydrochloric acid instead to clean the toilet. Of course, like with all chemicals, cautiously 😉
Happy spring cleaning!
Christiane, You do realize that bar soap – ALL bar soap contains lye, some corn products that are more popular with certain segments of society (such as hominy) are also made with lye… Liquid soaps (such as the liquid castille you mention above) are made by shredding and adding (usually) glycerine to regular castille soap which is lye-water, olive oil and (traditionally) tallow or vegetable oil (the modern alternative and normally 100% soybean oil.
All soaps are created with either sodium or potassium hydroxide. Chemistry has never come up with its replacement.
Lye is made from wood ash and has been used for centuries. Not the sort of thing children or klutzes should mess with, but the chemical reaction that creates soap is the same that turns corn into hominy. It is only a few steps up the alkaline ladder from baking soda, which does not produce as much heat, but is essentially creating a similar reaction when combined with water.
After saponification and aging of soap bars, lye is “used up” and neutral. It chemically changes.
I am so grateful for these suggestions! I fortunately have not been using most of the toxic products, but it’s great to know what to avoid, and to have the helpful alternatives to dry cleaning and ammonia, for instance!
Thanks a million!
I love The Simply Co.. Lauren makes her own laundry detergent using only three ingredients in glass jars. The smell is amazing!!! She also has great zero waste tips. Check out her site thesimplyco.com
Thanks for this. I’ll check!!
This is a great list and I have been cleaning with these for many years. However, PLEASE BE CAUTIOUS WITH ESSENTIAL OILS IF YOU HAVE PETS! Many that we love are toxic to pets. They absorb them through their paws and cannot metabolize them. Cats are more at risk than dogs. After reading many tragic stories from well intentioned per owners, I stopped putting any essential oils my cleaners so that they cannot come into direct contact. If you want to diffuse, be mindful that their sense of smell is incredibly sensitive. >3
Essential oils that are therapeutic quality are safe for animals. There are veterinarians that use them on animals. If the essential oil is NOT therapeutic, it is probably cut with toxic chemicals and not good for ANYone.
However, essential oils should usually be used in a “carrier” oil–like olive oil or almond oil–always dilute the essential oils when using them on animals and, usually, on people, too.
If they are used in water or salts, they are probably OK.
great to talk about this subject, i have for years been using enjo microfibre cloths and also more recently norwex cleaning cloths, they are chemical free and work great, i don’t know if you can get them in the U.S but in Australia we can get them. Thanks Christinane for once again bringing up a really important subject
I have a big farm sink that is white. It gets yucky pretty quickly. Instead of using a cleanser, I often take the rind of whatever citrus fruit I have juiced recently, turn it inside out, and wipe down the sink and the drain with it and then put it into the disposal for a fresh scent. This way, I keep that stuff off my sponges and don’t have to resort to a scrub more than once a month or so.
I love this idea. Thanks!
I hate the idea that commercial shampoos are only sold in plastic, plus they contain lots of harmful chemicals. Here’s something i found on making your own:
Easy Homemade Natural Shampoo
1/2 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup Castile soap
10-15 drops essential oil of your choice
2 teaspoons almond oil or olive oil
Mix together all the ingredients in the bottle and shake thoroughly. Just give it a shake before you use.
The Center for Environmental Health based in Oakland, California, performed a study on shampoos and soaps and found that 98 included a possible carcinogen known as cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA). Ingredients such as Cocamide Diethanolamine (cocamide DEA), have been found in body care products. Cocamide DEA is a suspected carcinogen.
Some of the products that contain high levels of the illegal chemical are sold under well-known companies such as Colgate Palmolive, Paul Mitchell, and Prell. Lab tests also found the carcinogen in children’s products, such as a store brand bubble bath from KMart, and a shampoo/conditioner from Babies R Us.
Unfortunately, manufacturers can put any toxic chemical they want into shampoos because the FDA allows all sorts of chemicals to be used in these products, including chemicals that are known carcinogens and that contribute to liver failure and nervous system disorders.
What is the shelf life of this home made product? Does it need to be stored in the refrigerator?
Baking soda is a wonderful grease remover, as well. It wipes away all that gummy kitchen grease that collects on the range hood or on things that might be sitting near the stove, like canisters or salt and pepper shakers, that your sponge normally just smears around. Just be sure you rinse the object after you use it; it will leave a white residue behind when it dries if you don’t.
Thanks for providing such valuable information. These chemicals are harmful to humans and even more harmful to our pets. It’s no wonder we hear about so many dogs and cats getting cancer!
I use all Amway cleaning products. They are all green, very concentrated & work great!
Thank you very very much Dr. Northrup for all the wonderful extensive information for green cleaning. It is is the most informative list of tips on this subject I have read. I plan to make good use of what I have learned from you and share it with my friends.
Much thanks again,
ESSENTIAL OILS CAN BE DANGEROUS TO PETS-PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION IF YOU
DECIDE TO USE THESE IN ANY FASHION.
AS WE KNOW, NATURAL DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN SAFE .
To get water stains out of your wood furniture, sprinkle with some ash (I take it from my fire place – in the 70s, my mother would empty take it from the ashtrays after a dinner party) before polishing with olive oil (my mother used mayonnaise) – stain gone and wood grain pops!
Hi Dr. Northrup,
Thank you for this wonderful blog. I just found out about Methylisothiazolinone a toxic chemical in hand soaps, dish soaps, laundry detergents, lotions, shaving cream, etc. The friend that told me about this was having hair loss, from her shampoo, and numbness and tingling in her arms and hands. Since she has stopped using this chemical her issues have resolved. I went around my house and found it in my son’s shaving cream, shampoo, body wash, hand soaps, even in my favorite hand and body lotion. I thought I was doing a decent job around my house not using toxic house cleaners, hand soap and lotions for myself but apparently I wasn’t doing the best job for the rest of my family, who could care less. What is deceiving is how they market these products to be clean and natural. I have started gathering the products in my home that have this chemical in it to dispose of them, and the list just keeps getting longer. I’m in shock and very upset about this because I’m realizing this chemical is in almost everything we use. I too have been having numbness and tingling down my left arm over the past few months now. I thought it was a pinched nerve from tight muscles, I have been to the doctor. I also have suffered from hair loss. I’m not sure if my issue is related to all the chemicals but it will be interesting to see once I rid my house of all chemicals if my issues resolves. Thank you again.
I am interested to know which products you had that contained this chemical. I checked my Burt’s Bee’s lotion, Alba Botanical shampoo and Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap and they did not contain it luckily. My Husband’s shampoo, that he bought on sale, did contain it and lots more chemicals (Suave Men 3-in-1 shampoo, conditioner and body wash). That is going out and he can use the Alba. He had been using Head and Shoulders for years and recently replaced an empty bottle with the Suave. I hate the fake chemical smell of products like that. Thanks for sharing this info.
I found it in my son’s Dove bodywash & Tresemme shampoo & conditioner. I also found it in Trader Joe’s Midsummer Night’s Cream- Extra Dry Formula, My Super Dog’s Lavender Dog Shampoo. Benzisothiazolinone is in our Shout stain remover for clothes. I can’t see the ingredients on the bottle of Ajax dish soap but when I look the product up on line it lists Methylisothiazolinone & Benzisothiazolinone as a preservative. I have used Alba lotion & Burt’s Bee’s products previously, thank you for the information.
I hope this is helpful.
I just found those two long named chemicals in two laundry soaps sold in a health product aisle, which are on TY BOLLINGER’s – OF TTAC (the truth about cancer) REPORT … for laundry soaps considered SAFE!
Whose going to change these ingredients, if not the manufacturers? Manufacturers need legislative regulation. OR, I need to invent my own line of soaps! It’d be big business$$&
Thanks for sharing this! Going to go check every thing!
Thank you for sharing such a thorough list on products you can use to clean your home in a more effective and eco-friendly way. That being said, you talk about how White Vinegar has antifungal properties and Baking soda eliminates odors and can be used as a gentle scouring powder. Additionally, you talk about how these can clean just about anything, so I was wondering if you think that these two ingredients together can help to clear and clean clogs effectively? I have heard that this is a great way to regularly maintain your home’s plumbing, but I wanted to hear if you would agree? Thank you for the help!
There are enzyme culture cleaners for drains like “Biokleen.” I’m not sure if vinegar and baking soda will do exactly what you described but I feel like the effervescence of them together is effective. I also ‘soak’ my gemstone jewelry in baking soda and vinegar, then give a little scrub and rinse. A spray bottle of pure white vinegar and box of baking soda replaces so much!
In conjunction use a plunger on sink or tub clogs works like a charm. No chemicals
If that’s the case, you should consider hiring a professional duct cleaner — this is probably not a job you can safely do on your own. Your basic vinegar and water solution is really the perfect choice for cleaning most types of bare floors in your home.
Thank you very much for all these green ideas. I have very successful experience with soap nuts. We boil them and put the liquid in the bottles. For half an hour I soak the clothes in the liquid. The clothes becomes clean. sometimes I brush the clothes if needed.
Use ordinary table salt to soak up and eliminate red wine spills on carpets or table linen.
Sprinkle liberally and leave overnight
using olive oil is far better than anything you can buy in the store. with bees wax 3T wax to 6T oil in a double boiler and the wax helps seal the wood so you don’t need to polish as often
You can also use your own rose vinegar. It´s very easy to make it by yourself.
Just take a small bottle (250 ml) and fill it with about 2/3 with dried rose petals. Add organic apple vinegar.
Leave it at least for 2 weeks at and filter the amount you need. you can use it in salads, for cleaning or even also to rinse your hair after shampoo. It is great multi-purpose vinegar. I always have some.
Oh I love this idea!! We have Rosa Ragosa bushes all over so many beaches here in Maine. And the petals are fragrant and wonderful. So thank you. I’m trying this!!
There is a wonderful thing called Soapnuts which do so many wonderful things.
1) I put 4-5 in a lill pouch for my laundry and my clothes come out lovely.
2) It is a natural softener for clothes especially wollens and silks and washes even carpets!!
3) It is used in every Paraben free hair/ body wash in India.
4) It washes jewellery wonderfully and lastly – I soak my veges and fruits in it – they come out free of any chemicals , pesticide that might be there on the skin.
5) Oh yes- it is a natural and healing berry so works beautifully for people who need to go detergent free!
I’ve used a drying rack for years instead of my clothes dryer. I hang everything on there regardless of the fabric. The next day I throw all the clothes (in smaller fast drying portions) in the dryer to fluff up just for a couple of minutes. I then either pull them out of the dryer and hang on a hanger or fold and put away. I also use my cloths line outside weather permitting. I love it & it has saved me a lot of money over the years. Saves on the life of my dryer too!
Where can I get “oxygen bleach”, “washing soda” and “soap flakes”/
I’m so grateful for all your tips and advice thank you!
I’m trying to make as much as possible at home. For all the common reasons. I will be using your site. Thanks so much
So glad you like these ideas. I also love all the others that are being shared here!!!
THANK U FOR SHARING!
Green cleaning is so important. Have you heard of e-cloth yet. No chemicals at all!!!!
I have just discovered it and am ahhhhed at how well it works on everything with just water.
Check it out.
Thank you for all your wonderful help in all areas of my life.
Cleaning glass coffee pots
When I worked as a waitress, they had us clean the coffee pots every night with a scoop of semi-crushed ice and some salt. Swish it around and rinse! You can add a slice or two of lemon for a fresh scent.
This is fantastic!!! I have run diluted vinegar through my coffee maker. And it works. This is also really good! Thank you.
Baking soda & hot water work great too. Epecially to eliminate the odor from flavored coffee. If you want to use your coffee maker for hot tea or another coffee flavor
I live in Southwest Florida and am as green as I can be for several reasons. But, I cannot get my shower clean without bleach. Straight vinegar does not work on the mold and mildew we have down here. It even grows on my shower curtain – in a few hours. Any other ideas – I know bleach isn’t great for the environment or for humans/pets, but I’m at a loss. I’ve already tried food grade peroxide and that didn’t work either.
I wonder if a stronger concentration of hydrogen peroxide would do the trick Mary Ann?
Good old bleach is actually non-toxic. And is easily broken down organically. I researched this after our last blog on cleaning products.
I have never heard of bleach being non-toxic.
Bleach is non-toxic?
I have very successfully used baking soda and hydrogen peroxide mixed in a paste for mildew in my tile grout. Apply this directly to the grout lines, leave on for 5-10 minutes, then scrub. For severe mold problems, bleach may be required. It can be diluted in a spray bottle and the shower sprayed after every use.
How about the oven? I’ve been inquiring about a safe and EASY way to clean it and never found.
Vinegar and bicarb of soda – sprinkle on bicarb spray vinegar over top , leave a while and wipe off , it’s fabulous!
Thankfully, I learned about all of these from my grandmother. I’ve used them for the past 30 years when I noticed that I got awful headaches after using a popular commercial “disinfectant”.
My godmother used to polish up her sink with good old velvet soap on a little steel wool. It shines up like a mirror. I love doing this.
I use distiller vinegar and baking soda as s fabric softener in the rinse cycle. And eco minded, hang the clothes on an outside line. Haven’t had a dryer for years.
If I did this, half the year, the clothes would be FROZEN on the line!! But love the idea!
My mother always hung out clothes on the line in winter as we didn’t have a dryer for a long time. The clothes freeze dry and when they thawed they were dry. I always marvelled at how that happened. I live in Canada.
When we lived in Saskatchewan when I was a preteen I had to help my mom do laundry. We had an electric wringer washing machine and a clothesline. When our clothesline broke I had to walk next door with my mom, to hang them on the neighbours clothes line. I remember going to get them one winter day and having to “crack” the clothes over my knee to try to fold them in half so I could try to put them in the basket to carry them home! LOL!!
I live in snow. I rack dry all year, with a fan pointed at the racks. Planning is required for sheets and the duvet cover, but it’s easily doable.
Involved, teaching and doing with Astrology charts for about 50 years…Old pro they call it. You got it exactly right, the stars do not compel.
We all have free will, but astrology is all about timing and you, inside. We are all connected even to the stars.
Thanks for recognizing.
ps..have always loved you, and watched everything you have done on PBS
Thank you for this wonderful post!!!
Great read! I’m bookmarking it for future use. Thanks.
when u return from the market fill your (clean) sink with cold water toss in your fruit and veg and add 1 tsp hydrogen peroxide to the water. Leave for abut 20 mins. It is not necessary to put things like bananas as the skin is not likely to be eaten but if u have a birds nest plant, toss the skin into the center of it and watch it thrive. Meanwhile your food will be cleansed from pesticides and other unwanted chemicals.
Mix in sink or bathtub: In a gallon jar or larger bucket, combine 2 cups white vinegar, 1/2 cup baking soda….fill with water (after dramatic fizzing) and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. In a small 1qt plastic or glass container, place 3 or 4 sponges cut in half and fill with prepared liquid. Place 3 or 4 of the sponge halves in your dryer with clothes. When done, place dried sponges back in container.
To get rid of toothpaste residue in your bathroom sink or ring around the bathtub try this trick to give your baking soda a little “oomph”. Spray down the sides of the tub/sink with the vinegar and water solution. Sprinkle baking soda over that so it sticks to the sides. Then use the cut side of a lemon as a “scrub brush.” Leaves everything squeaky clean and lemony.
I am SO doing this. Thank you!!
For anyone else that is just reading through these notes 2 years later – this works! Just cleaned the shower with this method – loved it! Thanks Karen Malay!
I became more aware of how we clean our homes when I went back to school to get a degree in Environmental Studies. I was educated on this matter when raising my 3 sons but now that I have a granddaughter, I’m much more aware. I’ve even started a business to help people detox their homes. I was also inspired by so many people with or recuperating from Cancer that had never thought about changing their habits. I’m finally doing something with purpose. The Green Makeover Team. Thank you so much for all you do to hep women know their strengths and to stay on “Goddess mode”.
Many people these days have granite or marble counters in the kitchen and bath. Vinegar is acidic and will etch the stone over time, unless the sealing coat is good (and sealing need to be redone every few years). We discovered that on the marble counter in the bath when a bottle of vinegar left a nasty white ring. I now use this formula for my stone:
2 cups distilled water
1 1/2 to 4 tsp liquid castille soap
1 tsp tea tree oil
essential oil for pleasing scent
I have marble countertops in my kitchen and bathroom. So thank you for this!
Thank you so much for stating the importance of getting rid of the over use of chemicals. I have promoted natural living for a long time but your fame and recognition make your words carry a greater impact. I know my health is improved by eliminating so many of the products that people don’t even think about. Thank you, again
I’ve used vinegar to clean sinks and counters with great results. I even remember my mother using a vinegar and water solution to wipe down her sofa and chairs. But I did have a problem using vinegar as a cleaner myself. Vinegar will take the color out of fabrics. I kept wondering why my t-shirts had large sections where the color was faded out. And it was always in the same area! Then it dawned on me. The spots were right where I leaned against my kitchen counter when preparing meals. I also ruined a set of beautiful bath towels by placing them on a bar that had been wiped down with a vinegar and water solution. Again, the color was removed right where the towel and towel bar met. Yes, I did dilute the vinegar and the area was dry. It may have been that I didn’t dilute it enough. Still, please tell everyone to be careful!
Here is an easy, economical and eco friendly way to shine up your stainless steel sink using mineral oil.
Clean sink throughly (using whatever method suits you)
Shine sink with a moistened towel (handi wipes work well) using mineral oil. VOILA’
(Slip towel into a zip lock bag and re-use)
thanks for the cleaning recipes. I really needed a laundry detergent.
I am still looking for a non-toxic drain cleaner for slow drains. Any ideas?
Try a cup of baking soda and a 1/2 gallon of white vinegar. It works great.
For slow drains, put 1/2 cup baking soda in the sink and then pour 1 cup vinegar over it. It will fizz like crazy. Let sit over night and in the morning pour a tea kettle full of boiling water down the drain. It works great!
I did read somewhere to remedy a slow drain required dropping several spoonfuls of baking soda down the drain. As much as you want, depending on how slow it is. Then pour white vinegar (from bottle) down the drain. It will froth up like a volcano. Quite fun actually! It worked for me.
This is something that the adolescent boys ( of all ages) in my life would LOVE. Thank you!!
I found even a tiny amount of coffee grounds made my drain (sans a disposal ) slow. Once I put them elsewhere. No slow drain
A great way to a clean cast iron skillet is to pour some table salt into the skillet, rub it around with finger tips, add a small amount of olive oil, rub with fingers. Rinse out skillet, wipe dry with paper towel.
Throw out your Dryer Softening sheets and use wool balls that help the clothes dry faster and add a softness to the clothes. To scent the balls, add a few drops of a high quality essential oil much as lavender. I purchased my wool balls on Amazon.
I do my clothes washing in the washing machine – then I hang it all on a dryer rack – next morning it’s all dry and some of the clothes nee fluffing up I put them 5 min. into the dryer and most of it I don’t even need to iron – just fold immediately.
I too use the wool dryer balls and love them. I don’t use any laundry detergent in the washer because I have a Pure Water system which adds oxygen and negative ions to the water to clean the clothes. Love it. If you don’t want to spend the money on that look for soap nuts. They work great in the washer, too and are safe and natural. They even come in a capsule form. So great for travel, too. You can also make a multi-purpose cleaner from the soap nuts.
I use organic hair conditioner –about a dime size_ on a wet garment before turning on the dryer. Works GREAT!! But I also love these other ideas!!