Thursday, October 10, 2013

Non-Toxic Cleaning Solutions : My top 7

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 Looking for ways to clean your home without using toxic chemicals? Here are my top seven! Why seven? Well, when I thought about what things I use to clean my home on a regular basis, that's how many I came up with! (It will drive my husband crazy that it's not an even number, he's funny like that. =) )

        I first started looking into cleaning my home with non- toxic cleaners when my first son was born about 8 years ago. At first, I bought store bought natural and organic cleaners but they were too expensive to keep in the budget. Then I started researching formulas for DIY cleaners, that was fun!

       In the long run as as we had more little ones running around making time scarce), they took too much time and effort. I believe in non-toxic, but I believe in easy more! So over time I came up with my own solutions. You'll notice that all my spray cleaners use the small travel spray bottles (I buy mine at Walmart), I have tried to use the larger cleaning bottles from Lowe's or Home Depot, they always clog or break (admittedly I am a huge clutz and break things often)! So, although these smaller bottles need to be refilled more often, I've stuck with what works!

NOTE: one thing I have learned about non-toxic cleaners, they need a little more time to be effective, so spray the surface you want to clean and walk away for 1 minute to let it do it's job- then wipe it away!
All-Purpose Cleaner

Fill your bottle with Plain Vinegar. Add 25 drops of Grapefruit seed extract(or GSE) (more if you have a bigger spray bottle) and 10 or 15 drop mix of cinnamon and clove essential oil(less if you buy more expensive therapeutic grade oils- but I really don't believe they are worth the expense for this formula). Shake before each use.

      Why do I believe this combination works so well? Lets start with the Vinegar. Vinegar is very affordable and we use it ALOT. it goes in the washing machine, in many of our cleaning solutions, even in our hair! Ironically enough, the one place we don't use it is in our food (we use raw apple cider vinegar for that)

     Vinegar has a long history of being used for cleaning, because it's so acidic it works to kill germs, mold and bacteria. However there is little data to exactly HOW much of the bacteria is killed by vinegar alone, so I add a few extra things to give it a little more punch! Grapefruit Seed Extract contains a natural antibiotic compound from the grapefruit seed. It has been shown to be effective against not only bacteria, but also many parasites, fungus, and viruses. The bottle will last you a LONG time, I have had this bottle for over a year and still have about 1/4 of it left!

     The last thing I add is the Cinnamon and Clove essential oils. Not only does this give it a very nice smell but these two essential oils have been shown to be some of the most effective germ killers out there! Cinnamon Essential oil has even been shown to be able to kill Staph, E.coli and MRSA. I use this cleaner in my bathroom, in my kitchen, on doorknobs, it even works well on glass if you have a good dust-free cloth to use it with (old birdseye cloth diapers work GREAT) But because cinnamon and clove oil can be caustic if they get in contact with sensitive skin, I change formula up a little bit and put it in another bottle for a few sensitive jobs. 
#2 Fruit and Vegetable Spray

This formula is the same as the one above but eliminating the cinnamon and clove oil. So fill your bottle with vinegar and add 25 drops of GSE, shake well before each use. I use this spray for the baby's highchair, for cleaning fruits and veggies (spray in a colander and leave for one minute, then rinse fully), and when the kids help me clean (this is why this bottle is such a horrendous bright pink- no mistaking which bottle is theirs!)
Microfiber Cloth
I am the first one to admit, paper towels are easier! and I do use them for certain(read:gross) cleaning applications. But Microfiber is antibacterial all by itself! Microfiber has been found to remove 80-90% of bacteria from surfaces all by itself! That's worth the extra effort of having more rags to clean! I buy mine in the automotive section of Walmart. There are companies out there selling more high quality cloths, but these are cheap and work well. (and when they get ruined- I don't mind throwing them out!)

Baking Soda

     This one ranks right up there with Vinegar as super useful! And there's no formula- just use it straight! I like to put some in a shakeable container (old spice containers or parmesean cheese containers are great for this) Baking soda is a great abrasive for the kitchen sink, toilet, shower. It also is very effective (when combined with vinegar) to get a clogged drain moving. and if you create a paste with it (just baking soda and water) and spread it on a really dirty stainless steel or stoneware pot  or pan, leave it on overnight, it will do a great job cleaning off stuck on/baked on food!
Room Disinfecting Spray

add 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol to your spray bottle, and then fill it almost to the top with water (I've seen a lot of recommendations for filtered or distilled water, I use tap water- the alcohol and essential oils should kill any germs that might be in there- if you have very hard water I might use bottled instead) then I add an antibacterial combo of essential oils. I make my own blend that I use based on the story of the four thieves who robbed the dead during the Plague but did not get sick themselves because of the herbs they used. My own formula is this: equal amounts of
clove oil, cinnamon oil, lemon oil(or another citrus oil if that's all you have- I have used orange or grapefruit as well),eucalyptus oil, and rosemary oil. I keep this in a little essential oil jar (one that I saved when it ran out of oil) and I add anywhere from 20 to 40 drops to the Room spray (more if we are fighting colds, less if we aren't) I spray the air, the beds, the furniture, the dog's beds, the carpet, the drapes, etc. This smells nice and it's got lots of potent germ killers in it to help keep us well!

Hot Water
I know, I know Duh! right? But I still wanted to add this to the list because it's what our healthy and robust forefathers used!  Don't underestimate the power of plain old boiling water! Great at unclogging sinks, removing baked on food. Pour it all over the bathroom sink and toilet if someone is sick in your house. Clean your floors with it(you could add a few drops of essential oil as well- maybe tea tree or lavender ) If you have a stubborn rug stain, try boiling water and a stiff bristled scrub brush. Also, it's a great way of making sure your microfiber towels, and various brushes are clean (hold your toilet brush in the toilet and pour boiling water over it to make sure it's not harboring germs- do the same with your plunger)
"Colloidal"(Ionic) Silver Generator
I debated whether or not to add this. It's not super cheap for the initial purchase (this one is similar to the one I have but not identical) I don't necessarily believe the claims of all the internal help this type of silver does. NOT because I don't think silver is a powerful antibiotic (it is!) but because these generators don't make "true" colloidal silver, they make ionic silver, which once it combine with HCL in your stomach will become silver chloride and no longer be effective (true coillodal silver wouldn't do this and would be more effective internally) However, when we first moved South we were BESET with skin infections. Every bug bite seemed to get infected! My oldest son, at one time had 5 or 6 VERY painful pus-filled spots on his knee. I tried Epsom salts and bentonite clay, antiseptic herb poultices, and essential oils, they kept spreading- until a friend gave me some of her home-generated colloidal silver. Within 24 hours they were SIGNIFICANTLY  better, and they healed completely with no other intervention than me rubbing coillodal silver on them with a q-tip twice a day. Since then I have bought my own generator and we have used this treatment on countless cuts and small infected bug bites, even sore throats and canker sores. Those uses are all great but why I am including it here as a cleaning supply is that it is an easy, fast and safe hand sanitizer for whenever you are away from a sink and have touched something germy! I keep it in the little tincture bottle you see here and everyone gets a dropperful on their hands to rub all over when we leave a store or public place. Simple and effective! If you are not interested in buying your own generator I've used this brand before with good effect.
I hope I've added something new here that maybe you hadn't though of before!  Please share in the comments ways you keep your home free from toxic cleaners! I pray these simple cleaners would help your family stay well this winter! 


Simple Saturdays

I am a blogger, not a medical professional. In compliance with the FDA regulations, any advice is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


  1. These are some fantastic suggestions! Some I'm never tried before. I use alot of vinegar and baking soda at my house too. :)

    1. Thank You Amy! I'm glad they were helpful!! It's so easy to think, "well everyone must know all my tricks already" =) Yes baking soda and vinegar are definitely my top 2!! =)


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