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Elleshoodat 09-23-2012 08:17 AM

Budget-friendly green cleaners
We want to make the transition to cleaning our home with green products, but don't know where to start. What have you had success with -- preferably something that's easy on the pocketbook?

Colleen27 09-23-2012 09:01 AM

I use very basic cleaning products, mostly vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and essential oils. It tends to be cheaper than store bought products and I prefer not using a lot of chemicals or unnecessarily anti-bacterial products around the kids and the pets.

There are a bunch of recipes to get started with here: You might also want to check Real Simple magazine's web site. I'm pretty sure the print mag is where a couple of my concoctions came from.

rdevine10 09-23-2012 09:05 AM

I use a lot of baking soda, perioxide, vinegar, etc as well (sometimes essential oils too). That being said, I LOVE the trade joe's cedarwood cleaner. Its 2.99 a bottle and its pretty much made of essential oils, etc. I use it on my counter tops (granite) and my bathroom fixtures all of the time.

crisi 09-23-2012 09:12 AM

In addition to the vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide.....

Citrasolve - its concentrated so you mix it in a bottle. Its a good degreaser, which baking soda or vinegar don't tend to do.

Borax. I use a lot of borax in my house. I barely use detergent in my washer - about a tablespoon, but I use a quarter cup of borax.

hsmamato2 09-23-2012 09:26 AM

best and simplest spray I have is 1 cup water,1cup white vinegar,1 cup rubbing alcohol. Works on everything, but it's esp. great for stainless steel appliances!
I use it 2nd choice is trader joes green cleaner bon ami cleanser or if I'm out of that I use baking soda plus the spray.

So-#1 homemade spray
#2 -Trader Joes green spray (2.99 bottle)
#3- Bon Ami cleanser for scrubbing (.97)
#4- baking soda added to any of the above (.39)
newspaper for windows (with the spray) a scrub brush for the tub,etc. That's it,other than the occasional load of bleach laundry.(white socks)
Wh. Vinegar works great as a rinse aid in dishwasher,and I add a cup to each load of laundry to boost clean and disinfect clothes.

Elleshoodat 09-23-2012 12:09 PM

Thanks, everyone! These are all great suggestions. It never occurred to me to make my own, but that does make the most sense.

disney_me 09-23-2012 02:20 PM

I also am trying to do the green cleaning. I'm slowly getting into making my own products. I have been using vinegar and baking soda. Ive also using Borax in the wash with less and less detergent. You can also use Borax to clean with. ......... Anyone making their own laundry detergent?

Mic 09-23-2012 03:01 PM

I make my own laundry detergent...I LOVE it! The only cleaning supplies I ever buy anymore is baking soda, borax, vinegar(by the gallon), washing soda, and bleach (I use the bleach sparingly to disinfect with). And I LOVE me some microfiber towels...I have a different color for kitchen, bathroom, general cleaning, pet dishes, etc. I also buy Fels Naptha for my laundry detergent, and essential oils for soap making and as an anti-fungal for my cleaners (lavender, lemon, orange, and eucalyptus are great). I bought a bottle of Tea Tree Oil for $7 at Walmart to use in my homemade cleaners to give them a little added boost and disinfecting power, but am not too crazy about the smell. The one bottle will probably last me for years, as will the bottles of lavender and eucalyptus I bought at GNC when it was buy one get one half off. Another easy/cheap thing I tried that really works is to put orange or lemon peels in a jar, cover with vinegar and put the lid on, and let it sit for a week or two. Strain the vinegar out and dilute with water for a nice, clean-smelling all-purpose cleaner. I sometimes add borax to this for a little more cleaning power (maybe a tablespoon or two per spray bottle). Trust me, that jar of orange peels on my cabinet has been the subject of many questions the last 2 weeks! A great tub/sink/shower scrub is just baking soda mixed with a tablesppon or two of dishwashing liquid, followed by a good hot water rinse and a spray-down of disinfectant (like the citus vinegar spray or essential oil added to hot water and vinegar). Mirrors and windows are cleaned with vinegar and water or rubbing alcohol...both are great; I clean them with coffee filters or newspaper mostly, or a shammy towel. I use hydrogen peroxide (yep, what you have in your first-aid kit) to disinfect my cutting board sometimes, and rubbing alcohol to clean my iphone almost every day (Cell phones are incredibly germy). I have noticed that my house is cleaner, smells better, and my drains never get clogged since I went to natural cleaners. Most of us buy soap and cleaners that say "antibacterial" thinking we are helping fight infection, but some researchers believe that ingredients in these soaps are contributing to super-strains of bacteria that are drug-resistant. Also, the over-use of hand sanitizers is cause for alarm. I am required to take yearly classes on infectious diseases and sanitation for my daycare license. The one thing that has not changed in the last 23 years is, one should never underestimate the cleaning power of good ol' soap and warm water...this is all it takes to clean a lot of things.

leahjade 09-23-2012 04:45 PM

What works for soap scum? I've tried several natural cleaners and they never seem to work as well as Soft scrub with bleach!

disney_me 09-23-2012 06:21 PM


Originally Posted by Mic (Post 46243874)
I make my own laundry detergent....

How do you make your own detergent?

Mic 09-23-2012 07:22 PM


Originally Posted by disney_me (Post 46245756)
How do you make your own detergent?

For the powdered (which I prefer):
2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda (NOT baking soda)
1 bar of finely-grated Fels Naptha soap(or you can use Ivory soap)(I use an old cheese grater to grate the soap)
Optional add-ins:
1 cup baking soda(seems to soften the clothes and keep them smelling fresh)
1-2 cups Oxi-Clean or color-safe bleach (or can just add as needed to individual loads)
1 cup kosher salt (helps clean)
Essential oils (just a few drops goes a long way...too much will clump. Lavender and Citrus are good anti-fungal agents)

Mix everything up very well, and use 1-4 tablespoons per load. I have gotten crazy wild with my laundry detergent making, and started making laundry soap that I now use instead of Fels kids think I'm nuts, but I smell good and I'm clean.

For the liquid version of this recipe: Add the grated soap to boiling water until it is completely melted. Then pour into a big 5-gallon bucket along with a gallon of water. Mix the dry ingredients in slowly, stirring while you do. Then finish filling the bucket up with hot water. Let it sit will gel. Use an old laundry scoop to get it out.
I am not a big fan of the gloppy texture of the liquid detergent, but adding essential oils to this is easier. I have tweaked the method a little bit: I add the melted soap to 2 gallons of hot water and all the dry stuff, and use a good old hand mixer to mix. I split this concoction between 2 very large laundry jugs (the gigantic ones that held 128+ loads), and finish filling with hot water. I shake them up before I use them, and use the "spout" and the cup that came with the original jug. These jugs last a LONG time.

For a low-cost, green fabric softener, plain white vinegar works well. Vinegar is a great rinsing agent (in your dishwasher as well), and your clothes will not smell like vinegar once they dry. My best fabric softener recipe is:
In a gallon jug, mix 16 oz white vinegar(can use up to 32 oz.), 1-2 oz. cheap hair conditioner (Suave is $1 a bottle), any essential oils you like, and fill the rest of the jug with hot water. Give it a good shake to dissolve the conditioner, and use no more than 1/4 cup at a time. My washer has NEVER had that funky smell so many people complain about in HE frontloaders... and my dishwasher is very clean as well because of the vinegar.

I also use dryer balls (picked up at Walmart) in my dryer, and that seems to cut the drying time a little. I only buy regular detergent for my kids to take to college...they refused to take my homemade:confused3. My son-in-law was very skeptical, too, until I used my homemade laundry detergent on his nice workshirts...he is a homemade convert now because he likes not having to iron his shirts when he takes them out of the dryer!

Mic 09-26-2012 08:24 AM

There's a great article on the home page of Yahoo today about the toxins in everyday cleaners. I think it was originally printed in Prevention magazine. It suggests using baking soda and vinegar for green cleaning! Just thought some might find it interesting.

jgreco 09-26-2012 09:29 AM

Soap Scum
Here is a great "recipe" for tub and shower cleaning:

Colleen27 09-26-2012 10:16 AM


Originally Posted by Mic (Post 46246353)
For the powdered (which I prefer):

What temp do you use for your wash cycle? When I've tried homemade detergent in the past it never seems to work well in cold water, so I revert right back to store bought.

I'm going to have to try that recipe for fabric softener. I've been using diluted vinegar, which works fine for clothes that go through the dryer but isn't as good as Downy when I'm line drying, but maybe the conditioner will perk it up enough to do the trick.

SDSorority 09-26-2012 10:32 AM


Originally Posted by Colleen27 (Post 46241217)
I use very basic cleaning products, mostly vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and essential oils. It tends to be cheaper than store bought products and I prefer not using a lot of chemicals or unnecessarily anti-bacterial products around the kids and the pets.

There are a bunch of recipes to get started with here: You might also want to check Real Simple magazine's web site. I'm pretty sure the print mag is where a couple of my concoctions came from.

This was going to come right out of my mouth but Colleen beat me to it! :thumbsup2 :wave2:

I also use Sun and Earth products. I buy them online and use them because they're gluten and soy free ;)

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