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The Whole Deal™ on Homemade Cleaning Products

By Winnie Hsia, January 15, 2009  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Winnie Hsia

The whirlwind of the holidays (and my own post holidays travel schedule) have finally settled and in its wake, I find a messy house in desperate need of a good deep clean.  Pots and pans in my sink, spots on all my mirrors and a sadly neglected wall-to-wall carpet are all weighing on my mind.  Yet, somehow, I'm still using the excuse of an empty cleaning supplies drawer as an excuse to not take on these tasks.  Thankfully, our wonderful customers and their helpful tips are giving me a bit of a kick start - vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and essential oils?  I have all those hanging around in my kitchen and bathroom and what better way to get clean than the natural way?

Remember, each week, we choose customer tips to be featured in our weekly The Whole Deal™ blog post. Every chosen tip gets a $25 gift card, so submit your tips and recipes herePlease note that this weekly giveaway will be ending at the end of this month on January 29th, so get your tips in soon! From Holly:
here are just a few handy helpful hints: lemon juice removes stains from clothes as does the sun. salt works as a lovely scrubber when cleaning. vinegar and water can clean almost anything. baking soda is a great cleaner and deodorizer. adding a few drops of dishwashing liquid to a bucket of warm water will do wonders for linoleum floors. plus, your home will smell wonderful and your pocket book will thank you. also, my beautician told me, do not wash your hair everyday, washing will ruin it. wash every other day. anytime you can use cloth products as opposed to paper, please do.
From Lori:
For enviro-friendly people like me who also like to save a little money, I have just discovered the power of one of the most basic baking ingredients, baking soda. As a cleaner, it is non-toxic and even more effective than most of the toxic name brands. I use it for polishing silver, cleaning soap scum from the shower floor, cleaning out pots and pans, taking out carpet stains, freshening up the carpet and dog beds, and I’m sure there are countless other uses. During my weekly shopping trip to Whole Foods, I pick up a box and use it to my hearts content because it is non-toxic, refreshing, and inexpensive!
From Larry:
Conventional cleaning supplies are not only bad for the environment, they are also bad for your health. As an added incentive you can save money by making your own natural cleaners. Mix 2 tbsp of white vinegar in a gallon of water with your favorite scented oils (soften the smell of the vinegar). Pour into a spray bottle and you have a all natural window cleaner.
Category: Value - Whole Deal




Watty says ...
wet sponge with a little water and lemon juice and put in microwave for a 30 seconds or a up to a minute. This will disinfect sponge. If any stains are in the microwave, leave sponge in microwave a couple minutes so steam from sponge can loosen stains in microwave. Then use the same sponge and wipe clean!
01/15/2009 10:53:06 AM CST
Jenny B says ...
For cleaning mirrors and windows, you can actually use water if you clean with a microfiber cloth. Microfiber is woven so tightly that it will remove all the deposits that water might leave, in addition to the dirt. No chemicals required! To clean an oven, leave 1 cup of ammonia in it overnight, and in the morning wipe the inside. Use water and baking soda to scrub off anything that is stuck. Taking stains off stainless steel pots and pans - warm (not boil) vinegar and water in the pot, and then rinse and wash. I got a lot of these tips from three books on vinegar, salt, and baking soda, links to them on my blog.
01/15/2009 10:59:14 AM CST
Nikki says ...
There is some controversy surrounding whether essential oils are harmful to cats, but FYI, just to be safe, I'd avoid it. Otherwise awesome advice!
01/15/2009 11:00:22 AM CST
Carolyn G says ...
I love using baking soda. I use it straight from the box as a scrubber. It really works on getting the grime out of the tub and sinks. I also mix it with some water and use it clean the refrigerator and microwave. The baking soda really freshens up the frig.
01/15/2009 12:55:48 PM CST
Linda says ...
I have a quick question for Nikki regarding something that was mentioned about essential oils and cats. I am not familiar with any problems with that. Please advise.
01/15/2009 2:07:40 PM CST
Rainbow Tree says ...
Great tips & advice! I too just wrote a short blog post on some of the Green Cleaning I do around the house. My title was called "Green Laundry Tips for the Domestic Goddess" for anyone interested in visiting my blog and clicking on my archives. These small and handy blog posts with environmentally conscious tips, ideas and money saving suggestions are wonderful to read, share (and post). :-)
01/15/2009 2:12:37 PM CST
emily says ...
does anyone know of a natural cleaner that actually kills germs. i know that baking soda and vinegar make things look clean- but do they actually sanitize?thanks
01/15/2009 3:28:04 PM CST
Rubleaux says ...
I save newspapers and take them to the recycling facility near my home, however I save a few pages for cleaning glass and mirrors. Because I use as few chemicals as possible in my home, I simply wet the newspaper or spray the glass/mirrors with water and shine with the newspaper.
01/15/2009 4:22:09 PM CST
LobotoME says ...
For disinfectant spray in bathrooms and for the kitchen sink (if I run out of Mrs. Meyers all purpose lavendar cleaner) I'll use the following recipe: 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract to 1 quart of water.
01/16/2009 4:47:42 PM CST
Jason Hamzy says ...
After you are done with your dishcloths and sponges, rinse and squeeze out excess and microwave for 45 to 60 seconds to prevent mildew. Black tea has natural tannins that really make hardwood floors look great! Make the tea as normal, but just maybe a little bit weak. A couple gallons usually is enough for a couple rooms.
01/16/2009 9:32:12 PM CST
ter says ...
i always use borax and a little bit of vinager and dishwashing soap. for everything
01/16/2009 10:18:02 PM CST
F. Dorothy Halcomb says ...
If you have a problem with fleas, roaches, ants or other pests, the natural cleaning agent Borax can help solve it. Sprinkle Borax behind appliances, in cabinet drawers, and under the sink, taking care that the treatment is not accessible to children or pets. Although Borax has no toxic fumes and is environmentally friendly, it should not be ingested by humans or pets. An even safer insect repellent is baking soda. You can even use it on your dog's comb or brush to deodorize him and in his bath. Roaches dehydrate and die after eating baking soda.
01/17/2009 10:45:05 AM CST
sara says ...
As far as chemical free cleaning goes, baking soda works wonders. Pour it down any drain, followed by a 1/4 cup of vinegar,and it de-gunks out any drain. Cut half a lemon, place it in a small dish of water, and place inside your microwave. Nuke on high for 1 minute, and any greasy residue will wipe right off. Make a paste with cream of tartar and lemon juice, this will brighten up anything porcelain,toilet-bathtub-sink.Olive oil, mixed w/a few drops of any essential oil,shines all wood surfaces.Lastly,in the winter time,I like to annoint the lightbulbs through out my home with either tea tree oil, or lavender,both of these essential oils are said to be antibacterial.
01/19/2009 8:41:40 AM CST
Juliane says ...
to clean my kitchen grout which is light colored, I sprinkle baking soda on the grout then squeeze fresh lemon juice over the baking soda and use the lemon half to scrub. works great and make the whole kitchen smell wonderful.
01/19/2009 9:59:03 AM CST
Ron Davis says ...
I have a coment to the offering of Dorothy Halcomb. I utilize Twenty Mule Team Borax to brush my teeth. I am a coffee drinker ( non smoker ) and apply the toothpaste normal and sprinkle Borax on top of the tooth paste. Tooth paste is moist enough that the Borax sticks to the tooth paste. Brush my teeth as normal and presto. Teeth stay white and bright and the plaque build up remains minimal. I think with Borax in my mouth that would be considered ingested. I love it and have no side effects. Have been doing this type of tooth brushing for at or excess of 3 yrs. Very reasonable teeth maintenance $$$. Leaves fresh breath also.
01/19/2009 10:48:23 AM CST
Edna says ...
You will not find a more powerful, effective or safe natural disinfectant than Organic Oil of Oregano (because none exists in nature!). It has countless uses for health and home. I use it for virtually everything. Do a search on it and you will be pleasantly surprised. :0)
01/19/2009 12:37:56 PM CST
Nicole says ...
I used to love the carpet fresheners that you sprinkle on the carpet to make the room smell nice. However, with a baby crawling around I hated the thought of that powder on her hands, and eventually, in her mouth! I started to sprinkle baking soda on the carpet at night before I lay her down and then I vacuume it up in the morning. Her room always smells fresh and it is totally safe!
01/20/2009 12:33:22 PM CST
GBS says ...
There are many books out with such advice as posted here. None of the books say that any of the green products will disinfect. They say that the green products will disinfect almost as good as a chemical cleaner. (Which means to me that they do not disinfect and/or that I should not think of there use to be for disinfecting.) I am getting the idea that most think, if unless one has a condition or health problem that requires the chemical cleaners, that the natural/green cleaners do about as good a job. You can find a list of Green Seal products at the PRN website. There are many that have not been "Green Sealed" such as 7th Generation that appear to meet the Green Seal criteria. There are two ISO standards now, GS-8 for home use and GS-37 for industrial use. The GS-37 is a more strict standard and the products can be used in the home. There will be a new GS-8 standard out that is stricter soon. The EPA also has a program but it does not certify - it consults companies to help them become more green.
01/26/2009 1:02:34 PM CST
Shannon says ...
I cannot take credit for these tips but here is a great website with a slew of green cleaning concoctions from laundry cleaners to bug products to dish cleaners, you name it. http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Prairie/8088/clngrn.html
01/29/2009 3:18:58 PM CST
Cynthia Niernberger says ...
I put regular white vinegar down into my dishwasher before I run a cycle...the glass and plastic come out especially clean and sparkling...and the dishes have no smell at all. 1/2 to 1 cup)
03/18/2009 4:32:47 PM CDT
Ronnie K. says ...
@Sara, Thanks for the tip, Vinegar/Baking Soda cleared a backed up Bathtub in literally 2 minutes. Total estimated cost $0.35. Liquid Drano ($5.39 a bottle).
05/26/2009 2:19:56 PM CDT
jessica says ...
I would like to get a few tips to clean my sofa and carpet, I have a 10 months bay and she started to crawl for all my home,any help? thanks
05/27/2009 1:22:19 PM CDT
Helen says ...
What can I use that is natural and anti-bacterial to clean my childrens highchair/ table?
08/27/2009 1:15:41 PM CDT
Sandra Dearlove says ...
Thanks very interested read, I run a <a href="http://www.cleaninghero.com/office-cleaning.html" rel="nofollow">office cleaners in bradford </a> but some of these ideas can be used even in the commercial cleaning industry. Nice Read, i'll be sure to pop back.
11/17/2009 6:04:02 PM CST
Alicia Lopez says ...
I have used natural cleaning products for many years now. My favorites are flat club soda for cleaning windows. It leaves behind a light fragrance and leaves no streaks! I also like to use vinegar for everything, from washing floors to sanitizing toys and softening clothes! I add about a half cup vinegar to a bucket of hot water and add a few drops essential oil to mop floors or clean walls etc... you can also soak non-porous toys in this solution! Instead of hazardous fabric softener, fill the dispenser with vinegar, which softens clothes naturally and dissolves buildup left behind by other detergents!
04/07/2010 12:00:56 PM CDT