Green cleaning solutions

As I mentioned, I’ve been doing some green cleaning research. I’ve been considering converting for a while, but becoming pregnant made me even more motivated (all those toxic fumes).

Plus, I’m just plain cheap (like everyone, about particular things). And I’ve learned that for once, being good to the environment and your health is actually more cost effective.

I started with searching for a vinegar-water floor cleaning recipe. In that effort I came across a bunch of information on essential oils, which very much intrigued me.

Apparently these oils, which need only be used in small amounts, have great disinfecting and cleaning agents in them. They are the very ingredients used in products sold by Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyers, two brands I use and think work well in my home.

This coupled with the information I have recently learned about using tea tree oil and lemon oil to clean cloth diapers has gotten me excited to try some of them. I did a search online at The Dandelion Botanical Company (located in Ballard) and most of the oils seemed quite reasonable in price.

Here are a few good links on essential oils and green cleaning:

List of some essential oils and their uses

Cleaning solutions using essential oils & basic household ingredients

Also, there are a few safety concerns to consider when using essential oils, especially for pregnant women. I am going to ask about this upon purchasing anything. You can read about them here and here. I guess, as with anything that has the powers to disinfect and clean, you need to be careful in your usage of them.

As for cost, I was an English lit major so I have an excuse for not doing the exact math (my expensive liberal arts education does come in handy sometimes!). But here’s a meager, almost-numberless guesstimate:

A big jug of white vinegar is a couple bucks or so. If I use a 1/4 cup of that and a few drops of, let’s say, lemon oil ($4 at The Dandelion) mixed with water in my cleaning bucket, I’m confident I’m cleaning cheaper (and smarter) than using a store bought product. The savings become even greater when you make a basic kitchen disinfectant spray. I go through that pretty quickly and Seventh Generation’s version is at least $3 per bottle.

As a side note, Kim mentioned in a comment on my last post that she likes the white bleach smell of a clean home (maybe similar to my weird taste for the smell of gas when I fill up my car . . .?).

Well, Kim, I don’t know if anything natural can really simulate that odor, but I did read that tea tree oil has a very medicinal, clean smelling aroma (but I’m sure you know that from your cloth diapering adventures). Maybe that will work?

I haven’t tried any oils yet (just the basic water-vinegar solution, which works well). So, I will put a disclaimer on all this information–I could be wrong. If you’ve gone down this route before and found it to fail, please do let us all know. I am not a cleaning expert, but merely someone trying to figure it all out.

I do plan to go down to The Dandelion in the next few days and buy some oils. If you do use these methods and have recommendations on your favorite essential oils or cleaning recipes, please comment. My plan is to make a basic kitchen disinfectant and add to my floor cleaner solution and go from there.

Also, something I forgot to mention last time–I read that Bon Ami, which I used to clean my glass shower doors, also works great to get stains and grime off of enameled cast iron cookware, such as Le Creuset. Just make a water-paste solution and use a gentle scrub sponge. We’ll see how that works!


3 responses to “Green cleaning solutions

  1. okay so i’m not as good as researching online as Elisabeth, but i do have a chemist’s love of potions and health. if you’re not opposed to the alcohol, i invented my own quick-drying glass cleaner (and anything cleaner, really) with some vinegar, water, rubbing alcohol, and yes, a little bit of minty-fresh mouthwash. 🙂 a few drops of a good 7th generation dishsoap and water go a long ways on almost anything. also, cash and carry has a few DIRT cheap natural cleaning products, too.

  2. Stephenny Stiles

    Hi E,

    While you’re out at Dandelion, check out the tea she makes for breast milk support. It tastes so good and all of the things in just help promote good healthy lactation. Can’t wait to see how your experiment works out!

  3. Jason and I were at Costco yesterday and saw that a 2 gallon pack of white vinegar was only $3.56.

    For those of you who make your own cleaning solutions (or want to attempt to try!), you may want to stock up on this steal.

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