Quick note from Haley: Because keeping a sparkly clean house has never been in my skill set, when we had to put our house on the market in February, I had a little bit of a panic attack. OK a big panic attack. Because if somebody’s going to offer to buy our house….they’ll want to walk around inside and check it out first.
But we LIVE here! And there’s five of us. And the three smallest always have blackberry jam on their hands. So I called my friend Jen because she used to clean houses professionally and asked if she could come over, make my house clean, and kind of talk me through how to keep it that way. And then as I watched her clean I realized she was making it sparkle with GREEN cleaning–just using safe products that wouldn’t be toxic to my family (and since we’re both daughters of women who have had cancer, having non-toxic products in our homes is important to us). After she taught me a thing or two, I wanted her to share some of her wisdom with y’all! – Haley
When Haley asked me to do a guest post on green cleaning I was impressed at the impeccable timing of it all. It just so happens that I am right in the middle of spring cleaning my house! I’m knee deep in dust, dirt and sticky substances I choose not to try and identify. My two little ones feel the need to touch everything on a regular basis… never mind the remnants of peanut butter and jelly all over their hands or the sneeze that found its way between chubby fingers. It’s a good thing I like cleaning!
Maybe those of you with kids can relate to finding questionable dirt and goo in the oddest of places. We may not know exactly what the stickiness is that regularly graces our walls, but one thing I’m sure we all want to know is what’s in our cleaning supplies.
Having cleaned houses for over a decade I’m convinced I’ve used every cleaning product on the market. It never even occurred to me that the ingredients in the products I was using might be more harmful than the labels let on. About three years ago however, after my mom was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, my dad asked me to read a book. It changed my life and my perspective on things like food, personal care products and even cleaning supplies.
I’ve discovered that many of the chemicals in cleaning products might get the job done, but it comes at a price. “Yes of course,” you say. “The price is usually somewhere around $4.50.” Okay, okay, perhaps I need to elaborate…
Why Green Cleaning is Something to Consider
One of my favorite go-to resources is the Environmental Working Group. They are a non-profit organization whose mission is to “empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment.” Based on their research only 7% of the cleaning products in stores have fully disclosed their ingredients. 7% you guys! So what’s in the rest of those spray bottles?
Many of the cleaning supplies we use actually contain ingredients that can harm the lungs, cause asthma and trigger allergies (and that’s just naming a few). Some products even contain carcinogens. I won’t even go into the damage some of these chemicals can have on the environment. To learn more about this take a look at EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.
But let’s not dwell on the negative! There is something we can all do to avoid the perils of cleaning chemicals. So let’s talk about a few tips for cleaning your home in a safe, affordable and effective way. I’ll be honest in saying this may require a little more elbow grease in certain situations, but these staples are still an excellent non-toxic alternative. Our grandmothers didn’t use ‘em for nothing!
5 Tips to Start Green Cleaning Your Home
Would you believe I only use just a few things to clean my entire house? Of course there is the occasional need for something stronger, but overall these guys do the trick! Here are a few tips to start green cleaning your home…
Vinegar contains acetic acid which makes it a great disinfectant. It’s safe to use almost anywhere (except for a few things that you’ll probably want to take note of). The sour smell disappears after it dries which is great! You can even add 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil to a 12 ounce spray bottle to make the vinegar smell more pleasant. I love adding lemon essential oil. It leaves everything smelling so fresh! For more info on the amazing uses of vinegar be sure to check out these vinegar tips.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda is an awesome cleaning staple! It’s biodegradable, inexpensive and you can use it to scrub practically anything.
Try sprinkling a little baking soda in your toilet with a cup of vinegar and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. I usually let it sit for 10 minutes and then scrub the bowl with a toilet brush. Flush and you’ll be amazed! You can use baking soda as a scouring agent in your sink and tub to remove grime and hard water stains too. For extra stubborn spots add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the mix. Baking soda is also an odor eliminator, which you may find helpful in garbage cans, laundry bins, diaper pails and even closets. Here are a few more ideas on how to clean with baking soda.
3. Olive Oil
No, really. Olive oil works! Remember those messy little hands I was talking about? We don’t think about that when we get really excited about stainless steel appliances, do we? Would you believe I’ve found a quick and eco-friendly way to get those fingerprints and smudges off of stainless steel? Just pour a small amount of olive oil onto a microfiber cloth and voila! Go ahead, try it! Just make sure you come back and finish this post, okay? Use the olive oil sparingly as too much can leave behind unwanted residue and don’t forget to wipe with the grain.
4. A Few Secret Weapons
To maximize the effectiveness of green cleaning I suggest always having Magic erasers, microfiber cloths and a few old toothbrushes on hand. They do a great job removing all sorts of things!
- Magic erasers remove a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g!
- Microfiber cloths are great for things like streak free mirror cleaning with a little vinegar.
- Old toothbrushes help remove dirt from small corners and other hard-to-reach places (did you see what I did there?).
I find these 3 secret cleaning weapons really help lessen the elbow grease factor too.
I am pretty new to the world of essential oils but so far so good! Thieves Household Cleaner from Young Living is something I have been using for years and it’s my absolute favorite floor cleaner (although it has many other uses). I like it because it’s safe and eco-friendly. Did I mention it smells wonderful? I have wood, tile and linoleum floors in my house. It does an excellent job on all of them.
Essential oils are also a safer alternative to air fresheners and scented candles. For example, try adding a couple drops of Purification essential oil to your garbage cans. I use it in my bathrooms. It makes them smell great! If you have kids in diapers add a few drops to your diaper pail (this works wonderfully in cloth diaper pails especially). Diffusing your favorite oils is another great option to make your home smell fantastic.
Perhaps my favorite discovery has been adding 2-4 drops of lavender oil to my loads of dirty towels (if you have a top loader you may find you need a few more drops). I’ve had a problem with my towels always smelling sour. I’ve tried baking soda and vinegar (along with detergent) but I didn’t see any real improvement until I also added lavender. Keep that in mind the next time you do a load of towels!
The Safer Choice Logo
I have just one more thing I think you’ll appreciate knowing. In their most recent issue, Consumer Reports magazine shared some very encouraging news! I nearlyfell off my chair when I read it. According to the Consumer Reports article, “The brand-new, leafy-green Safer Choice logo… will soon be on hundreds of household cleaning products, signaling those that the Environmental Protection Agency says are least harmful to the planet and your health.” HUGE! So when you see that label on a cleaning product you may want to think about choosing it (of course, that’s only if my 5 green cleaning tips aren’t really your thing). For more information check out the Safer Choice website.
So let me know if you try out some of my green cleaning tips. I’d love to hear how it goes! For more info on green cleaning and other healthy choices you can make, come visit me over at my blog, Our Tiny Revolution. Happy cleaning everyone!
Jen Stewart is a coffee drinking, cheese loving, Christ following, dinosaur chasing wife and stay-at-home mom who lives in sunny Florida. Her mom’s battle with lung cancer motivated her to start her blog, Our Tiny Revolution where she shares what she’s learned (and continues learning) about living a safer and healthier lifestyle affordably. When she’s not blogging or hanging out with her family and friends she loves the time she gets mentoring young women at the church her husband helps pastor.
If keeping your home beautiful (or at least livable!) is a 2017 priority for you, too, I’m SO excited to offer you a special treat from one of my favorite companies: Grove Collaborative. One of the best things about blogging is finding great offers to give my readers! And this one is fantastic.
What’s Grove? I’ve been using Grove to order our household supplies for years and I adore them. They ship fantastic green cleaning and non-toxic household products to your door and they’re offering a fresh start kit: $40 worth of free product for new users (they’re most generous offer yet)!
(If you already use Grove, don’t worry, there’s a free gift for you, too. Just click here!)
The set includes a super cute enamel cleaning caddy stocked with supplies from Grove Collaborative and Mrs. Meyer’s.
I love that the caddy comes with a Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap, hand soap, and the brand new hand lotion, too. The kit also comes with these Grove Collaborative walnut scrubber sponges. They’re actually made from crushed walnuts, so they’re non-scratch and non-toxic. I’ve been ordering these for a couple of years and they’re my favorite sponges.
Once you sign up for your free kit, Grove will ask you a few questions about your home and recommend products you’ll love from brands like Seventh Generation, Method, and Mrs. Meyer’s (don’t miss their house brand too!). They deliver everything you need right to your doorstep, on your schedule so you never run out.
Just so it’s clear, a $20 purchase is required to get your $40 of freebies. But wouldn’t you be buying $20 of cleaning products, toilet paper, toothpaste, and such anyway?
Right now, when you sign up for Grove and place your first order of $20 you’ll get this Fresh Start offer for free:
- Free Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap
- Free Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap
- Free Mrs. Meyer’s lotion
- Free Grove Collaborative Enamel Cleaning Caddy
- Free Grove Collaborative Walnut Scrubber Sponges
- Free shipping
Choose your favorite scent — honeysuckle, lemon verbena, or lavender — when you check out. These brand new lotions are only available at Grove, so don’t miss out on your chance to try them! The offer ends Tuesday, January 17th and supplies are limited. Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for Grove Collaborative here. You will receive the Fresh Start Kit for free when you sign up!
- Answer 4 quick questions about your home that Grove Collaborative will then use to customize your first basket — this takes under 30 seconds!
- Once you’ve answered the questions, you can finalize your basket of products to suit your household needs by adding or removing items.
- To receive this offer, your order needs to be a minimum of $20. Choose the combination of products and scents you love and receive in your first box.
- You made it! Click Finish & Pay and place your order.
Once you have submitted your Grove order, you’ll be signed up for the free 60 day VIP trial. For 60 days, you’ll save even more with free shipping, free gifts, price matching, exclusive sales and personal service. (I decided to keep the VIP membership after my trial ended, and I can say it’s well worth it! It has paid for itself in free shipping alone.)
If you’re already a Grove customer, you’ll get a free Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap with your next order when you use my link.
Grove has a limited number of fresh start kits to give away and the offer ends Tuesday the 16th at 6pm, so be sure to grab yours right away!
This post contains affiliate and referral links.