Cleaning Our Home Naturally
This week I wanted to write a series, something a bit different then what I normally post about. I wanted to share what we do to try to be more environmentally friendly, to keep our home clean without toxic chemicals, and how we try to save money and time with the foods and products we chose to use. I’m still going to categorize these posts under Home Improvement, as they really do improve our home life 🙂 With that said, I realize that what works for us, wont necessarily work for everyone. But perhaps you might find one or two of these helpful.
Three Things To Keep Our Home Clean
I try very hard to find less injurious ways to keep a clean home. Less injurious to our home environment, to the planet, to our budget, and lastly to my sanity. Here are three things we forego to accomplish this:
No.1 No Vacuum. Granted, we do not have carpeted floors, I just can’t with my allergies. While there are vacuums for wood and tile floors, which I have purchased and used many over the years, none have done a better job than what I currently employ. I use this dry/wet mop (rugs are either shook out/beaten or for those really messy spills I do have this small hand vac). Unlike a vacuum that blows out debris even with HEPA filters, or a regular bristle broom that kicks up dust, the dry mop just glides along the floor grabbing everything. But here are some of the other reasons I prefer the mop:
- Not using electricity. I use only my own energy to push and pull the dry mop.
- Easily get under even large pieces of furniture without having to move them.
- Doesn’t damage walls or baseboards if ran into.
- Doesn’t damage/scratch floors.
- Can be used wet or dry. Double duty!
- No filters to clean or buy, no mechanical parts to break or replace.
- Washable/reusable mop pads.
- Doesn’t take up closet space when stored.
- Lightweight and easy to use.
- Quiet and peaceful.
- No cumbersome cords or attachments.
- Inexpensive and longer lifespan.
- Doesn’t blow out dust and dirt, doesn’t irritate allergies.
No. 2 No Harsh Chemicals. Many years ago, the cupboard under the kitchen sink was overflowing with toxic cleaning supplies. I have long since whittled it down to just three things that are nontoxic, do a better job and cost penny’s: rubbing alcohol, distilled white vinegar, and baking soda (separate, not mixed together). The rubbing alcohol is great for mirrors, glass, and fixtures. I dilute the vinegar with a tiny bit of water and use it to clean showers, sinks, toilets, counter tops, floors, walls, and even some woodwork. The baking soda is only for when there is some serious scrubbing to do, like a grimy kitchen sink (porcelain/ceramic sink), or a shower floor. The vinegar I buy is Four Monks Vinegar at Costco, comes as a pack of two gallons for under $4! The rubbing alcohol can also be purchased at Costco, 64 ounces also for under $4. To store the alcohol and vinegar in, I purchased these glass spray bottles that have heavy duty heads. For other things like dish soap, laundry soap etc. I use Ecover, Seventh Generation, and the like.
No. 3 No Wasting Paper Towels. Unfortunately we are still somewhat reliant on paper towels. We have been slowly working towards eliminating them altogether by using washable towels and rags. I use these birds eye cotton towels that are color coded via the stitched edges. I chose grey for cleaning counter tops, dusting, non-grimy stuff. Then white for food related jobs, like holding toast or a snack, covering bread dough, etc.. Then I have brown which is reserved for cleaning toilets, floors, and so on. They launder beautifully, you could use bleach, but I don’t. I also do not wash them together, for example the brown ones get tossed in the wash with work clothes. They are so light and small, they really don’t add more to the laundry. For the paper towels we do use, we have a rule: if it was used for something non-icky, we actually save it (if wet with water we let it dry out) setting it aside at the corner of the kitchen counter in a neat stack, and will reuse it for when there is something really messy that needs wiping up. Then, after that second use, it finally gets tossed in the bin. It takes us forever to go through a roll.
Those are the three main things we do to save money and our environment, to the best of our ability. There is always room for improvement, and we’re always looking for ways to improve. Up next, how we save money and time with bath and beauty. In the meantime, is there something you like to do in cleaning your home that saves time, money or the environment? Post a comment below to share!