This post is part of my series, “Kickin’ It Old Skool: Why and How We Are Old-Fashioned” or KIOS for short. If you’re new to the series, please read my disclaimer before continuing on. I’m keeping a table of contents to this series here so you can see what I’ve already written about and what more there is to come.
Several years ago, health reasons prompted us to eliminate all harmful chemicals (as much as possible) from our house. This meant that basically all commercial cleaning products had to go. We also eliminated anything that had dyes or fragrances. The question then became, “Well if we don’t use any harsh chemicals to clean with, what will we use?”
The answer? Baking soda and white vinegar. (Here’s where my “technically edible” comment from last week comes in.)
That’s pretty much it. We use those two products to clean just about every room in our house. I use a baking soda scrub (recipe to come next week) for cleaning just about all the surfaces in our bathroom and kitchen. I also use it to scrub our pots and pans. We use vinegar (sometimes diluted, sometimes full strength) to clean our floors and as a disinfectant for the toilet and anything else that needs disinfecting. We also use it for cleaning our windows. I use either a microfiber cloth or just a damp cloth for dusting (that extremely infrequent activity in this household).
Here are my top four reasons why I love using baking soda and vinegar for cleaning:
1. They seem to work better than commercial cleansers. For example, I find my baking soda scrub to be far more effective and easier to use when scrubbing off soap scum from the bathtub than any commercial products (like Ajax or Softscrub).
2. Ellie love to help me clean the house (particularly the bathroom) and I don’t have to worry one bit about having her around dangerous chemicals when we’re cleaning. (That’s also true for me being pregnant right now as well as for anyone else in our house. Basically, it’s not good for anyone to touch or breath toxic chemicals.)
3. I hate wearing rubber gloves. I don’t feel like I need to wear any when I’m cleaning with these products because they don’t have any detrimental effects to my skin.
4. They are CHEAP. We buy 13.5-pound bags of baking soda and 5-liter jugs of white vinegar and they last a really long time. This helps balance out the more expensive products that we do buy.
Next week, I’ll write more about what I still want to do in this area (such as using hydrogen peroxide and essential oils for more disinfecting). I’ll also share my recipe for the magical, all-powerful baking soda scrub!
It’s hard to summarize in a short post why we don’t want to use bleach/chlorine, ammonia, solvents, phosphates, dyes, or synthetic fragrances in our household. There is conflicting information all over the Internet about how/why these things are/are not bad for you. In all the researching that I did (primarily in 2008/2009), I became convinced that it was detrimental to our health and to the environment to continue to use them. I’d encourage you to read more for yourself if you’re interested in this topic.
These books were particularly helpful to me:
- Green This!, Volume One: Greening Your Cleaning by Deirdre Imus
- Green Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck
- Easy Green Living by Renee Loux
This post is a compilation of a lot of posts related to eliminating toxins from your household/life.
One tip: When purchasing cleaning products, look for these words: plant-based, biodegradable, chlorine free, ammonia free, solvent free, phosphate free, no synthetic fragrances or dyes.
Like our food, we also prefer all our cleaning products to only have ingredients that we can understand and pronounce.