So yesterday we talked about Greening My Nest and how I've eliminated a lot of chemicals from our home by switching to much greener (and cheaper!) alternatives. I know this isn't the most exciting topic, but I do believe it's important...we vote with every dollar and we're sending a clear message about what's important (our family's health!) Today we're going to talk about how I clean everything else. I use the same cleaners I use in the bathroom: Orange Disinfecting Spray, Thieves Household Cleaner, vinegar and baking soda.
The kitchen is a super-easy place to keep clean, if you stay on top of it. I don't always, but I really try. :) My general goal is to go to bed with my sink empty. I heard this years ago from flylady and it's stuck with me. It really does help if you get up in the morning and the sink isn't full of dirty dishes! Now, last night I went to bed and my entire kitchen was a mess, but I was too tired to tackle it. The result? A messy kitchen this morning and a rough start to the day.
Do you get as excited by a clean sink as I do? No? You might after these few easy tricks. :) I like to use just plain white vinegar or Orange Disinfecting Spray. Both products disinfect, get rid of water spots and really help with that gross ring that forms around the drain of the disposal. For a more thorough cleaning of the metal drain, I will pour baking soda over the area, then white vinegar around the edge. It foams up, cleaning as it goes. Let this sit a few minutes, then scrub, rinse and dry (I do this once every week or so.)
At least once a month I cut up a lemon (or lime or orange...anything citrus!) and put down the disposal. You can also add a handful of salt or baking soda to this mix, too. Let it sit for a few minutes, then turn on cold water and the disposal. Any odors will be eliminated and the drain will be cleaned. And all for less than 50 cents! I just did both of these things this morning (baking soda/vinegar and lime/salt)...here is the before and after of the sink. Nice and shiny, without the use of harsh chemicals!
Counter tops, the dining room table and Miss A's high chair get sprayed with the orange spray or with Thieves Household cleaner (for more info, read yesterday's post). I use the bottle of Thieves/water or vinegar/water (whichever I happen to grab!) to clean windows and mirrors. A note: do NOT use anything with castille soap (i.e. the orange spray) to clean glass. It will streak. You will not be happy.
Now for the ugly truth: I still use regular dishwashing detergent in my dishwasher. I have yet to find a natural solution that works for us. I've tried homemade versions, but we have very hard water and none of them seem to work. I've tried Thieves cleaner in the dishwasher (as suggested by a friend) and haven't had success with that either. So until I find something that actually works, we're still using the yucky stuff. I also haven't found a good liquid dishwashing soap, either. I will be placing an order with Frontier soon though and am going to try some products from them. If you have suggestions, please share in the comments! If I find a solution, I'll do another post.
I used to buy several bottles of heavily scented antibacterial soap from the bath store each year. I'd have a bottle in each bathroom and one at the sink (Kitchen Lemon was my favorite!) But now I'm on the hunt for a much more natural alternative. I'll keep you posted when I find "The One." :) I'd love to be able to say, "So long, SoftSoap!"
I think that about sums up my cleaning routine. Now allow me to make a disclaimer: I am not a neat freak or a germaphobe. The kitchen is a major exception to that rule...I try to keep it cleaned up after each meal (and at the very least, before bed!) However, having cleaners already mixed up and ready to go, makes it much easier for me to grab a bottle and wipe down the bathroom counter or do a quick mop over the kitchen floor. Whatever cleaning products you decide to use, make it easy on yourself by having them in a handy location, with your cleaning cloths nearby. You'll be more likely to use them and less likely to waste the money you spent!