**UPDATE**4/21 new posthere to confess.. - Mothering Forums
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Organize & Declutter > **UPDATE**4/21 new posthere to confess..
mommaof3boz's Avatar mommaof3boz 04:50 PM 03-22-2007
I fell off the natural cleaning wagon today with a LOUD thump. : I just couldn't get things "clean" with the vinegar, baking soda and EO's. I know it probably was CLEAN, but it didn't look that clean or smell clean. My kitchen floor in point. After I bought Pine Sol lemon and used hot water and scrubbed the heck out of it the microfiber cloth was BLACK. Even though I had been using vinegar and water and TTO. Around the toilet linoleum I sprayed it down with Clorox spray cleaner and it got up so much junk I didn't even know was there. Please tell me I'm not the only one? Has anyone else had this experience? Or was I not doing something correctly with the natural cleaners? I also went out and bought Tide with bleach and Downy and our clothes look so much brighter and they even smell cleaner. All the stains came out. I am almost ashamed of myself for breaking down and buying the toxic stuff. Someone out there make me feel better and tell me I'm not alone.

Maybe we need a support group for this....You know..."Hi my name is Melissa and I use Tide and Downy and CLorox"

Bimmergal2005's Avatar Bimmergal2005 05:06 PM 03-22-2007
Don't feel bad! You have to use what works best for you. I tried baking soda and vinegar and just wasn't thrilled with the results. I do, however, use Biokleen and Seventh Generation products, but sometimes have to dust off my toxic stuff.
Leta's Avatar Leta 05:31 PM 03-22-2007
I am not here to judge. At all. So please don't take this the wrong way.

If you want help with more effective natural cleaning products, I am here to help.

For example: Use Simple Green on super grungy stuff, and to get stains out of laundry. Put OxyClean in your laundry powder. Buy Bon Ami and Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. And do things a la Flylady- do it frequently but imperfectly, and you will need less toxic stuff to blast the crud off.
mommaof3boz's Avatar mommaof3boz 05:45 PM 03-22-2007
I thought the Mr Clean erasers had formaldehyde in them? If I am incorrect I am more than happy because I love them

I was using the OxyClean. Maybe its our super hard well water even though we have a water softener, that's not letting it do its thing.

I haven't tried Bon Ami. I am very willing though.

Please don't think I'm a nut but Simple Green sends me into a coughing fit everytime. Has this ever happened to you?
Stone Fence's Avatar Stone Fence 06:01 PM 03-22-2007
I am so tempted. I bought Method tub and tile cleaner (Target natural brand stuff). It seemed to help. It also smells nice (mint and eucalyptus).

I thought I'd try it (not cheap) before I went for the Comet bathroom cleaner.

I keep bleach in the house for the occasional really yucky laundry load. I use conventional laundry detergent but dye and scent free. I'm making the switch to Ecover for some stuff soon.
Leta's Avatar Leta 06:08 PM 03-22-2007
Oooh, if your water is hard, you're screwed. I'm sorry. Water is the single best cleaner for anything, so you may really need detergents. We have really good water here, so what works for me probably won't work for you.

I have no other suggestions for you other than to invest a really expensive water filtration system...:

I dillute Simple Green because full strength, it does make me cough.

Formaldahyde is used in the process of making Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, but the Erasers themselves do not contain any chemicals and are non toxic.
siennaflower's Avatar siennaflower 06:17 PM 03-22-2007
Same here. I use Dr Bronners Sal Suds or vinegar for pretty much everything, plus Ecover toilet bowl cleaner and Melaleuca floor cleaner (which I know isn't natural but I had already bought a ton of it : ) and I still occasionally break out the Clorox cleaner. I figure its only once in a while, so its not too bad. Oh and I use Shout on dd's stained clothes But hey, I wash with Biokleen so it evens out right? :

I also can't use Simple Green...dh uses it at work to clean the ship and he despises the scent. I do have some Magic Erasers though, and yes, they rock.
sparkprincess's Avatar sparkprincess 06:40 PM 03-22-2007
I have a feeling this is what I'm going to end up doing too. I am very good at keeping up on cleaning so I'm going to use the natural stuff 80% of the time, but I'm keeping a few nasty chemical cleaners in the back of the cupboard for a good cleaning twice a year.
Bimmergal2005's Avatar Bimmergal2005 07:18 PM 03-22-2007
Originally Posted by FlutterBee View Post
I also can't use Simple Green...dh uses it at work to clean the ship and he despises the scent.
My husband is Coast Guard and while he's aviation now, whenever I used Simple Green (hate the stuff now), he'd complain about having to clean the boats with the stuff when he was right out of boot camp.
shershine's Avatar shershine 07:28 PM 03-22-2007
How do you know if you have hard water? I have no idea about my water...: I clean with baking soda/vinegar too and am pretty pleased with it but my laundry is another story! EVERYTHING has stains! I used Trader Joe's detergent for years in combination with All Free & Clear. I just broke down the other day and bought some Tide w/ Bleach but I'm planning to just use it for dishtowels and rags and stuff that is just really dirty. I have had no luck with Oxyclean either! This may be a dumb question....but does hard/water vary according to the city you live in? Or does it vary from house to house? We rent so we can't change the filtration.
organicmommy's Avatar organicmommy 08:01 PM 03-22-2007
I too use mostly vinegar and baking soda, but there are times when I break out the other stuff. I use Tide for my laundry because I don't feel that the other stuff was getting my clothes clean and I have a very sensitive nose and dd has sensitive skin that doesn't tolerate much else. I use all natural stain remover for clothes and we go through a lot of that because I am pretty anal about stuff staying stain free.
I use oxyclean to clean my toilets and sink and things like that but other than that if I feel it needs a GOOD DEEP clean I will use bleach and the like. But I don't keep much in the house so I have to go buy it when I need it, I do a major clean of the entire house and it is usually gone by the time I am done.

Hugs and don't feel bad you are doing what you ahve to for a clean house!
mommaof3boz's Avatar mommaof3boz 08:20 PM 03-22-2007
How I know we have hard water is because if the water softener pellets get just a little low all my glasses start coming out of the dw whitish. And because its straight out of our well I think you can get a test kit even at a fish store for basic water tests.

I feel much better knowing I'm not the only one. I just did a big write up on my blog about bad cleaners. I'm going over there to fess up. I can't stand it when anything seems fraudulent, even my blog

How interesting Simple Green makes other people cough too, wierd. But it is great they use it to clean Coast Guard ships!!!!
MommyErin's Avatar MommyErin 09:08 PM 03-22-2007
Honestly, if your laundry isn't getting clean, we just need to tweak that. What were you using? And were you using too much? Too much detergent is worse than not enough for getting clothes clean.

My laundry is just as clean, if not cleaner, than when I used Cheer Free. I make my own detergent and for really dingy whites, I use a little plain Clorox bleach. I would use a less toxic laundry detergent than Tide and add your own bleach. Tide is really bad for people and the planet -- chemicals, dyes, perfumes ... and Proctor and Gamble has a horrible environmental record with both pollution and animal testing. At the very least, I'd get the Tide Free.

As for the cleaning, I suspect you are just not using enough of the right stuff. I have found that there is a period of adjustment when switching to natural cleaning alternatives. There is also a learning curve as you tweak what you use. You may want to consider some more natural yet still commercial alternatives as a starting point (or even an ending point if they work well for you and you don't mind the expense). I recommend Mrs. Meyer's cleanser, Ecover Toilet Cleaner, Ecover's Laundry Stain Stick, and Holy Cow Degreaser. I also use Oxyclean Free and Clear, Method Dish Soap (they have a new "naked" line which is dye and scent free), and I use the Seventh Generation shower cleaner as my daily shower spray.

For windows, I've had the best luck with club soda in a spray bottle. This works really well if you hate the smell of vinegar. To clean my shower, I use the Earth Scrub recipe from "Clean House, Clean Planet". It rinses really well. If you have hard water, like we do here in the 'nati, make sure you use plenty of vinegar with your baking soda.

(NOTE: if you have City Water where you live, it's going to be the same all over your city. The water in Cincinnati is very hard, for example, but the water in Salt Lake City if very, very soft. If you are on well water, they you are in control -- otherwise it's the sanitation department who decides.)

But, FWIW, I'm not pointing a finger -- Goddess knows it took me long enough to not only commit to natural but get the hang of it. And I'm still learning. If you ever want to talk about it or need some advice, feel free to PM me. Good Luck.
mommaof3boz's Avatar mommaof3boz 10:02 PM 03-22-2007
I have used the Method cleaners in the past and was generally pleased with them. In fact I still occasionally use Good for Wood on my hardwood floors.

For the laundry I was using All Free and Clear and oxyclean, with very very diluted fabric softener.

For the bathrooms I was using Dr Bronners, vinegar and water with a little TTO. Windows was alcohol and water and lemon EO. Furniture was olive oil and lemon EO. Floor was vinegar and water and lemon EO.

Today I used -gulp- cloros clean-up around the toilet, bathtub, sinks and toilet seats/rim. On the floor I used Lemon Pine Sol and a microfiber. Furniture I used Method dust spray almond I think. And I went and attacked my laundry with Tide with bleach and full strength Downy and a scoop of Oxyclean.

I gotta admit I love the way the clothes smell after tide and downy.
MommyErin's Avatar MommyErin 10:52 PM 03-22-2007
Originally Posted by mommaof3boz View Post
I gotta admit I love the way the clothes smell after tide and downy.
Well, personally I think Downy smells like sh**, so I'm not remotely tempted! And that's what makes the world go 'round ...
cdmaze's Avatar cdmaze 12:15 AM 03-23-2007
Hi, I'm Carolyn, and I'm addicted to Soft Scrub.

Just for my sink and for when my un-natural blue hair color stains my sink.

Okay...i've confessed. Thats the first step.

In others words...I'm subbing...
nourishing's Avatar nourishing 12:55 AM 03-23-2007
I use Planet laundry detergent and LOVE it!!! Totally unscented (so I can add my own eo's to the dryer if I want) and totally undyed - it's the most simple detergent I've been able to find.

(Of course, I love my friend's homemade stuff, though if she's a little slow to make a new batch, I reach for the Planet!) :
L&IsMama's Avatar L&IsMama 01:35 AM 03-23-2007
Originally Posted by mommaof3boz View Post

I haven't tried Bon Ami. I am very willing though.

Please don't think I'm a nut but Simple Green sends me into a coughing fit everytime. Has this ever happened to you?
Bon Ami is excellent stuff! And I cannot use Simple Green,it does make me cough,big time. I dunno why,but it's terrible.
mommaof3boz's Avatar mommaof3boz 02:05 AM 03-23-2007
OK does anyone find it disturbing that Simple Green is making so many of us cough? What a wierd thing.

MommyErin-that is about the funniest thing I have seen for a bit.

Carolyn-OMgoodness you reminded me how much I love Soft Scrub. Great another thing to confess. I don't currently have any but...

I am going to try Bon Ami. Is that like Bar Keepers Friend?

We also have Japense beetles in our house. I put Borax in the basement window wells to prevent more coming in. Now I question is it pet toxic?
gracefulhome's Avatar gracefulhome 02:49 AM 03-23-2007
Originally Posted by mommaof3boz View Post
OK does anyone find it disturbing that

We also have Japense beetles in our house. I put Borax in the basement window wells to prevent more coming in. Now I question is it pet toxic?

Yes, Borax is pet toxic, so please find a way to keep it from your pets.
chel's Avatar chel 12:48 PM 03-23-2007
totally agree. Hard water is a pain! I'm in an apartment and don't have a water softener. I can't use the dishwasher as it just makes the dishes dirtier.
J-Max's Avatar J-Max 12:55 PM 03-23-2007
I am so glad someone mentioned hard water, duh. I fall off the natural cleaning wagon 2-3 times per year. I just can not get everything clean enough with the natural products and a little bleach seems to help so much. We have very hard water, so this make sense. I hate the chemicals in cleaners, so I rarely use them. I have found that a pumice stone make a huge difference. I use it every where (tile walls in bathroom, around the edge of tub, sink, toilet)it really gets those hard water buildup off.
Leta's Avatar Leta 03:07 PM 03-23-2007
I am not a Simple Green salesperson, I swear! But, just like Dr. Bronner's, you must dilute. The strongest concentration I use is 1:1 with water, and that's as a stain pretreat for laundry.

You get Method dish soap at Target, right? We use Ecover, and while it works really well (better than Dawn IMHO) it's a little pricey, so I'd be willing to explore alternatives.
deeklaver's Avatar deeklaver 03:22 PM 03-23-2007
We used homemade laundry soap and my husband just hated it.. So, we're back to regular laundry soap. He did however do some research or something and make up our own household cleaner, it's amonia, alcolol, water, 3 drops of dish soap. It's the best stuff !! I never thought of adding an EO. I think I'll add lemongrass to it today. Should have thought of that myself as I am a soap maker..

Mom to 4
Help Meet to Andy
nadia105's Avatar nadia105 11:41 PM 03-23-2007
If you were mixing the Dr Bronner's with the vinegar, that may have been part of the problem. The vinegar would be a good rinse to get any residue left over from the Dr Bs, but I think they kind of cancel eah other out if they are mixed -- maybe someone else has more info?
anamama's Avatar anamama 01:09 AM 03-24-2007
We have hard water, and I haven't had any problems with our natural/homemade stuff and I've been using it for 5 years! I think MommyErin is right, you just have to work with different formulas, find the ones that work for you, and stick with them. Baking soda works as a softener, no? Make sure you include it in your formulas if you have hard water.
The other thing to consider, is if you have well water, where does your greywater go? Wouldn't you want it to be as nontoxic as possible?
I've been using a squirt of dish soap and a sprinkle each of baking soda and borax in my tub and sinks, and it works beautifully! Then I wipe down the faucets with a little white vinegar and water and the bathroom just shines.
It takes dedication to have a green, healthy home, but it is so worth it for soo many reasons.
If you use a nice scented castille soap in your laundry mixture, and then hang your stuff to dry outside (or in), it smells so fresh and truly clean. Why buy "Spring Breeze" softener/detergent when you can have the real thing?
I think the other thing that is really important about cleaning your home naturally is being very thorough and methodical in how you clean. It seems to me that using all those strong smelling chemical cleaners may make you think stuff is cleaner because of the smell.
We have all grown up in a time where we have been influenced by advertising to think "Oh, clean laundry smells like Downy." If you're interested in keeping house naturally, you have to quiet a lot of those little voices in your head and find a new way to think about clean. To me, when I walk in my neighborhood and smell really strong fabric softener, I think, "Yikes, that smells toxic!" Plus, that stuff is made from animal fat and petroleum derivatives... If you have to have smelly laundry, there are more natural products out there to try. Mrs. Meyers dryer sheets and the Good Home Company (their Beach House laundry fragrance is my naughty indulgence once in awhile) are both healthier options.
Good luck! I hope you find your way back to the light! :
Plaid Leopard's Avatar Plaid Leopard 02:40 AM 03-24-2007
I've had good results with olive oil Savon de Marseille (French nautral soap). You can use it for everything, from washing hands to dishes to laundry to floors.
My bathroom floor was NASTY and I used the soap, hot water and a scrub brush and got all the dirt and grime right off. Plus my kids thought it was a fun game to get the floor as sudsy as possible, and since it is not toxic it's ok for them to help.
kandkrose's Avatar kandkrose 05:06 AM 03-24-2007
is simple green natural? i LOVE that stuff and use it all the time!!!
Frogmorest's Avatar Frogmorest 06:36 AM 03-24-2007
We dilute our simple green 1-15 for general use. I don't find it cough inducing at that strength.
Kavita's Avatar Kavita 06:48 AM 03-24-2007
I'm about 80-90 percent natural, 10-20 percent toxic with our house.

For windows I use vinegar and water. For laundry I use Mountain Green (which I LOVE) and oxyclean, for stains I use an oxyclean spray. Once in a blue moon I'll use a little bleach in a load of whites. (Like DH's undies and socks, which otherwise get pretty dingy over time. Every six months or so I'll take a notion to bleach them. Dishcloths/dishtowels too.) For floors (tile) we use plain hot water with a few drops of eucalyptus E.O. Scrubbing sinks or counters or bathrooms I usually use either baking soda or Bon Ami. Once in a while a little Comet finds its way in there, however.

My other un-natural cleaner indulgences--
I have the lysol toilet brush with the squirting foaming cleanser. : I love the way that smells! I don't always use the cleaner, often I'll just swish with the brush. Sometimes I use lysol or clorox wipes on the toilet, too. Also, I use Dawn Complete dishwashing soap. I have tried numerous "natural" types, and have never found one that truly does as good of a job and is gentle on my hands too.
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