Welcome to the fourth week in our 10 week series on Natural Living! I hope that you learn something that will help you on your journey to natural living. Wherever you are, just jump right in! Hopefully we can all inspire each other to live more mindfully, one step at a time.
This week’s focus is on natural cleaning. I have been slowly working towards all nontoxic cleaning methods for years now. One of my first blog posts was on that very subject. I wrote again when I was starting to try some less toxic products, but still some of those products weren’t as good as I would have liked. It’s hard to sort through all the green washing and find truly clean, natural products. I’m getting there though, slowly.
A few good places to start can be found at I Thought I Knew Mama who has some tips on detoxifying your house and Nine Naturals who has a post devoted to the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. I also like these posts from Diary of a First Child: 5 recipes for chemical free cleaning, an intro to 3 common household supplies that are perfect for cleaning, 10 uses for lavender around the house and a recipe that doubles as salad dressing and disinfectant.
I’ve recently had the opportunity to try some new-to-me natural cleaning products I’m looking forward to telling you about later this week. I’ve got some guests writing as well with some good information about cleaning naturally.
I thought I’d do a breakdown by room of what I’ve been using for cleaning or would like to start using (baby steps, right?) for my home, and I’d love for you to share in the comments your natural cleaning routine.
They say the heart of the home is the kitchen. FlyLady even suggests the very first place you should start cleaning your messy house is the kitchen sink. But she suggests you use bleach. I like to use baking soda and a little dish soap to get my sink shining personally. I have a white sink so it starts to look dingy really quickly. A little baking soda and dish soap perks it right back up though. For the countertops and tables, I use my homemade multi-purpose spray. I alternate using lemon essential oil or eucalyptus essential oil. I’ve also just started using a nice counter spray from Radiantly You I’ll be writing about later this week. Both have disinfecting power. My oven is self cleaning, but it still needs some TLC sometimes. Baking soda and water to make a paste and then scrub, scrub, scrub is the perfect remedy for stove ick. I don’t currently have a natural alternative for my stovetop, however so feel free to suggest something! I have a smooth top range so need something that won’t scratch it up. That means my go-to, baking soda, is out. The microwave gets sprayed down with my multi-purpose spray but I use it less and less these days so it doesn’t need as much TLC as it used to. I use the multi-purpose spray for all wiping down in the kitchen, including the refrigerator. Or I just use dish soap when I need to take the shelves out and really get them nice and clean. For right now I’ve been using Seventh Generation Dish Liquid(affiliate link) for handwashing and something conventional for the dishwasher. I was using an eco-friendly brand and my husband hated it so I switched back to the old one for him. I’d love to find something better that worked well without the chemicals, like maybe the one Melissa from Vibrant Wanderings recommends in her natural cleaning post. For our hardcoat vinyl kitchen floor, I currently use a steam mop (so just hot water), but I am very tempted to switch to a Norwex mop. You’ll be hearing a lot more about Norwex this week, by the way! Norwex cloths work great for kitchen cleaning, too.
Living Areas & Bedrooms
We mostly have carpet, but our foyer is hardwood. For the carpet, I use vinegar for stains and spills and vacuum, obviously. I recently read a natural way to freshen carpets from a friend. Simply sprinkle baking soda and cinnamon on your carpet, leave for 30 minutes then vacuum up! Sounds nice! I’m going to try to remember to try it this week. For the hardwoods, I spray my multi-purpose homemade cleaner and use a standard mop with some water. For dusting, I am going to be trying a Norwex cloth this week. I’ll be letting you know what I think later this week. I had been using a 7th generation furniture spray, but I’m not too thrilled with all of the ingredients. I’d also be interested in trying a homemade furniture spray sometime. For windows and mirrors, you can also use the Norwex cloth, followed by their Enviro cloth. Vinegar and an old newspaper work, too.
I love, love, love Soap Nuts for all of our laundry, even our cloth diapers. They naturally soften so no need for fabric softener and they rinse clean, so need for an extra rinse when I wash my diapers. Soap nuts come in powder, liquid or just use the soap nuts in a muslin bag like I do. I also have some wool dryer balls in my dryer for adding even more softness. I love the rainbow dryer balls from Anktangle but if you prefer a more natural look, Yellow Elm makes some nice natural white dyer balls. You can even make them yourself if you’re so inclined. I have use Maylee’s Laundry Detergent but then discovered that the yummy scents I loved were fragrance oils and not ideal. She does have some scented with essential oils but I haven’t tried them since I’ve been so thrilled with my soap nuts.
Bathroom cleaning is probably my least favorite thing in the world to do but unfortunately it still needs to be done. I have started to hate it less since my switch to natural cleaners though. No more having to open all the windows and turn on all the fans just so I can breathe! The toughest job is the shower. I’ve found the soap nut powder to be effective for both the shower and bathtub cleaning. It has a nice scent I think, too. It’s interesting to sprinkle down powder and then see it suds up slightly. It works really well on my shower door which is one of the things I have so much trouble looking clean. Baking soda works, too. I use baking soda to get the sinks looking fresh and my homemade multi-purpose spray for the kitchen counters and toilet surfaces. For the toilet bowl, I use vinegar and a toilet brush. For the floors (vinyl in one, tile in the other) I either use the steam mop or my homemade spray and a standard mop. Mirrors can be cleaned with vinegar and an old newspaper. Also effective for bathroom cleaning are the Norwex cloths (and Enviro cloth for the mirrors).
Another natural cleaning tip I have is to declutter. I posted through some of the decluttering I did awhile back with Project Simplify, but I definitely need to do this project again! If there’s less to clean, you are using less cleaning products so that’s definitely natural, right? 🙂 I also shared some natural spring cleaning tips here on the blog awhile back.
So what did I miss? I’m sure I’ve forgotten some area I clean to mention but hopefully you can fill in the blanks in the comments.
Natural Skincare (May 5 – May 11)
Natural Baby Care (May 12 – May 18)
Natural Haircare (May 19 – May 25)
Natural Wellness (June 2 – June 8)
Eating Naturally (June 9 – June 15)
Eco friendly Clothing (June 16 – June 22)
Reducing, Reusing and Recyling (June 23 – June 29)
Natural Mouthcare (June 30 – July 6)
What Living Natural Means to Me (July 14 – July 20 )
Want to participate? Learn more in my Call for Submissions post.