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Green Cleaning on the Cheap

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello Ladies
I have been using some very nice very environmentally friendly cleaning products for my house and my dishwasher. However, they are kind of pricey. I need to know what are the best options for keeping it cheap but still staying green?? Or maybe not cheap, but at least not REALLY expensive..
what is everyone using?
post #2 of 21
doesn't get any cheaper than vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. you can clean ANYTHING. We use Ecover in the dishwasher, though.

ETA: we also use Bon Ami and diluted Dr. Bronner's castille soap
post #3 of 21
In the dishwasher, I have used a 1:1 mix of borax and baking soda with a sqirt of Seventh Gen dishsoap.

What other cleaners are you trying to replace. We could give you recipies.
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrabbit View Post
doesn't get any cheaper than vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. you can clean ANYTHING. We use Ecover in the dishwasher, though.

yep, same here. I really think ecover tablets are worth the little bit of additional cost... and someone on here mentioned breaking them in half to make a box last even longer.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrabbit View Post
doesn't get any cheaper than vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. you can clean ANYTHING.
are you mixing those all up together? In what ratio? Is there any kind of surface you should not use those on?

I am trying to replace the spray I use to wipe down my kitchen counter/table, also need something to mop the floor, clean bathrooms, etc...kind of everything I guess.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
I really think ecover tablets are worth the little bit of additional cost...
can you buy these at a regular store or a specialty store or do you have to order them?
post #7 of 21
For the kitchen: I use dishsoap on everything with the addition of baking soda for greasy/grimy stovetops and sinks.

For the bathroom: I use a spray bottle of 1/2 plain white vinegar (the cheap stuff) and 1/2 water on everything with the addition of a squirt of castille soap (from Trader Joes) and baking powder sprinkled on to clean the bathtub and sink.

For laundry: I use the expensive 7th Generation laundry detergant and Ecover stain remover and "bleach." Purchased at a local IGA, also likely available at Whole Foods.

For the dishwasher: I use the expensive Ecover tablets. Purchased at a local IGA, also at Whole Foods.
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Softmama View Post
can you buy these at a regular store or a specialty store or do you have to order them?

My albertson's sells them so I imagine they are at other stores as well. Otherwise, I've ordered from Drugstore.com

For cleaning counters, I mix half and half of vinegar and water. I'll sprinkle a little baking soda if it's somthing hard to get off.

For my tile floors, I use Ecover Floor soap which was probably about $5-6 but it has lasted almost a year as it's diluted with water a lot. Other people use vinegar for floors, too. I did when I had linoleum.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Softmama View Post
are you mixing those all up together? In what ratio? Is there any kind of surface you should not use those on?

I am trying to replace the spray I use to wipe down my kitchen counter/table, also need something to mop the floor, clean bathrooms, etc...kind of everything I guess.
I merely meant that you need those items in your cleaning supplies, and each will function separately or together for different needs. They are individually CHEAP. Get 2 or 3 spray bottles, and you're done! I've read that there are uses for ammonia, too, but I've never used it for anything.

I have a spray bottle with vinegar and one with hydrogen peroxide - I use vinegar by itself for a lot of cleaning needs. My housekeeper prefers diluted vinegar over straight - but I don't care. Vinegar makes a great mirror/window cleaner - and also a fabric softener in the washing machine. I use hydrogen peroxide by itself as a laundry pre-wash. I use the two together (mist one after the other) - to really disinfect stuff - i.e. kitchen/bath counters. (I cleaned my fridge after Hurricane Ike with vinegar/peroxide.) I use diluted vinegar to mop the floors. Bon Ami is great alternative to comet for any other scrubbing - but baking soda does the same. We use Bon Ami for the kitchen sink. Baking soda with vinegar does heavy duty things like unclog drains. Vinegar and salt clean brass. hmmm. thinking what else. I don't actually "clean" much! I use Dr. Bronner's to clean my toilet - vinegar works, too. I have another spray bottle with diluted Dr. Bronners or Mrs. Meyers for when I want a soapy cleanser. (or you could dilute any type of liquid soap product, like dish-soap) If I get something too soapy, I just follow up with straight vinegar. I use cotton rags or microfiber towels for dusting & cleaning, and a "swiffer-style" flat dust mop with microterry covers for the floors.

--janis
post #10 of 21
Most everything I do is covered here (1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water + a few drops of essential oils = my All Purpose Cleaner, use baking soda to scour), but I thought I'd add our toilet cleaning "recipe" since it's so much for the kids!

I pour about 1/2 cup +/- of baking soda into the tub and scrub that around with the toilet bowl brush. Then I let that sit while I clean the tub and sink. When I'm ready to finish the tub, I pour in about 1/2 cup (again +/-) of vinegar. We call it the volcano! It foams a lot, which is the part the kids love Once it finishes foaming (a few secs), I swish the bowl again and then flush. The rest of the toilet, I do with my APC and I sometimes use baking soda around the base where it meets the floor (I've got sons, who often seem to miss their mark, ifykwim!)
post #11 of 21
Here is my all purpose cleaner:

All-purpose Cleaner
Use on countertops, cabinets, bathroom, fridge, doorknobs, etc.

2-6 tbs liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronner's is one brand)
1 c. vinegar
purified or tap water
tea tree oil or some other essential oil for fragrance

Fill bottle almost full with water. Add soap. Add 50-60 drops of tea tree oil for antiseptic power; less if for fragrance. Shake. Spray shouldn't need to be rinsed. If too soapy, adjust.

I also make my own scrub, glass cleaner, etc.
post #12 of 21
I have to second (fifth?) the vinegar/baking soda stuff.

FYI... lemon juice and cream of tartar do a fantastic job of removing stains from regular counter top (don't use them or any acid - like vinegar - on marble, though!!). Just put them on and let them sit 10 or 15 minutes and then wipe up and rinse. Works well in porcelin sinks, too.

Baking soda can be mixed with water and used like soft scrub (and won't scratch). Vinegar and baking soda mixed together (slowly, it bubbles up!) to clean inside ovens... let it sit a few minutes and then scrub with a tooth brush. a little dish detergent can help.

I use a mix of 2/3 bakingsoda to 1/3 washing soda (made by arm and hammer - it's usually in the laundry aisle) on a damp rag to clean heavy, cooked on grease from my range. It also works well to get rid of soap scum in the bathtub (as does borax)

I also use baking soda and vinegar to wash my hair... dr. bronners for body wash.
post #13 of 21
oh yeah, definitely try Dr. Bronner's. It seems pricey but it has a million uses and can be diluted to last a long time.

Also, for laundry we use Charlies. Again, it seems more expensive than chemical filled detergents but it's concentrated and one bottle lasts a ton of washes.

For me, cleaning with "green" products has been so much cheaper than buying a bunch of different cleaners, ie: shower spray, toilet cleaner, windex, comet, etc. That nasty stuff adds up!
post #14 of 21
Like the pp's I use a lot of vinegar, baking soda, and TTO. However, I also use many of the Bi-o-Kleen products. (laundry, toilets-although I am going to try the volcano method, dish soap, produce wash, etc) I also use the Ecover tablets and may try breaking them in half as a pp mentioned. Bi-o-kleen and Ecover can be purchased at most HFS's, drugstore.com, and UNFI co-ops.

I have a friend who cleans w/Vodka but I think that w/b more expensive than vinegar.

Does anyone have a homemade recipe for cleaning granite?
post #15 of 21
Heres a great link that lists several non-toxic ways to clean your house as well as suggestions for various household messes

http://www.littleacornstomightyoaks....c_cleaning.php
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsam View Post
Like the pp's I use a lot of vinegar, baking soda, and TTO. However, I also use many of the Bi-o-Kleen products. (laundry, toilets-although I am going to try the volcano method, dish soap, produce wash, etc) I also use the Ecover tablets and may try breaking them in half as a pp mentioned. Bi-o-kleen and Ecover can be purchased at most HFS's, drugstore.com, and UNFI co-ops.

I have a friend who cleans w/Vodka but I think that w/b more expensive than vinegar.

Does anyone have a homemade recipe for cleaning granite?
If you're only using it for cleaning, you can get vodka for about $12 for a 1.75 L (the things we learn in college... ) and it would depend on how much you water it down and what you're using it for. It might be good to ADD to the arsenal...
post #17 of 21
Adding to the list:
-Borax: this is great for cleaning toilets and bathrooms, plus has a bunch of other uses & is cheap and available at the supermarket
-Country Save laundry detergent: $50 for a case of 4 boxes through Amazon that has lasted for about 6 months and is cloth diaper safe
-Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds: for when you want that pine scent and have some serious grime to get through. Makes a great soft scrub when combined with baking soda.
-A stash of essential oils for fragrance and/or disinfecting: these can be expensive upfront, but last so long that they end up being pretty cheap, plus they aren't as harsh as the chemical crap.
-Washing Soda: Cheap, available at the supermarket, and though I haven't tried it, apparently makes a good dishwasher soap when combined with Borax.

I also use the aforementioned baking soda, vinegar, tea tree oil and Dr. Bronners castile soap. Costco is a great source for cheap baking soda & vinegar - I get a 12 lb bag of baking soda and a gallon+ jug of vinegar for about $4 each.
post #18 of 21
The cheapest cleaner of all: FRICTION!! I learned this from FlyLady who advocates cleaning your bathroom daily. Just swish your toilet every day with your toilet bowl brush and with or without a little soap, and it will prevent yucky stuff from growing. Also works in the shower. I keep a spray bottle of diluted dish soap in the shower and every 3 or so days after I'm done washing myself, I spray the whole thing down and then wipe/scrub over all the surfaces.
post #19 of 21
I use some awesome cleaner that is also expensive, but mostly we use baking soda and vinegar. Our dishwasher we use baking soda, vinegar, and lemon essential oil - works great actually!

Counters and other dusting stuff - I use essential oils w/ water in a spray bottle (Thieves Blend Essential Oil usually). I love it and don't worry about all the chemicals like I did before I started using natural products!
post #20 of 21
definitely love the Ecover tablets here too.

i tried doing the diluted vinegar thing for a while and i just can't stand the smell. i can smell it through EO's and it bugs me.

so what i use is Citrasolv. i buy a bottle of the concentrated stuff about 1x a year. it's heavily concentrated so you really only need a tiny bit. it cleans everything really well, even gets rid of my hard water stains in the toilet and shower. and it smells divine. i use it for cleaning everything pretty much, including the floors (though i don't think i'd use it on wood floors regularly, seems like the citrus might damage the wood? i dunno). i buy it through a Frontier coop, but i've seen it at a number of grocery stores that have an organic section. just make sure and get the concentrate not the spray so you don't have much in the way of packaging to deal with.

for laundry we use Charlie's Soap. i love it. it cleans really well, our clothes are so soft, a small little package lasts for over 2 months (even with laundry for 5 people and diapers). even if you pay retail it's cheap, and i get mine through a coop and it's about half the price of retail. i also adore that it comes in a little brown paper sack - it used to drive me crazy that i had to recycle a big plastic container on a regular basis, and i couldn't find any eco-friendly laundry detergent before that in anything but plastic.
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