Cleaning House

Call it nesting, but my latest home project had me attacking our cleaning products with a vengeance looking for all-natural, sustainable and low-waste ways to keep mi casa fresh.

First up, the holy grail. These are the products I use on a daily basis. An all-purpose cleaner that I make by soaking oranges in white vinegar for three weeks, diluting it with filtered water by 50%. This is great for sinks, ovens, showers and other solid surfaces. For granite countertops and my hardwood or anything porous, I use Dr. Bronners Sal Suds diluted to the point where it doesn’t bubble up and wipes clean. It’s super concentrated so a squirt will last you a long time.

I love Dr. Bronners.

I’m one of those gals.

Aside from a surface cleaner, I use the Sal Suds for laundry, floors, dish soap, fruit and veg wash and a diy soft scrub that’s made with a couple drops mixed with some baking soda. Essential oils if you’re feeling fancy.

The last is a disinfectant from rubbing alcohol and vinegar in equal parts to roughly 5x parts water. This is used after cleansing to blast bacteria. So think cutting boards with meat juice. Showers and bathtubs. I like to think of it as anything gross, but not so gross that it requires bleach.

Rounding out the rest of my kit are the remnants of some store bought goods that I’ll use up before attempting to create my own versions, including furniture polish and Windex. Though the recipes for glass and windows have me a bit skeptical. As for toilet bowl cleaner, I’m not quite ready to give up the commercial brand.

But we’ll see.

A couple other big wins I’ve had in going zero-waste around the house include a massive reduction in paper products. Who needs them? Old dish towels cut up into squares work wonders and last forever for kitchen messes. I’ve been so impressed with the results that I’m planning to have a bidet brought in from the States so that I can start doing family cloth for myself. Number one only. Which will take the place of toilet paper for me. The primary user in my household at the moment and if I must admit, it can be excessive at times. Plastic dish sponges replaced with an all-natural loofah that’s compostable with excellent scrubbing power and a softness that won’t scratch delicate surfaces. Saving glass jars for all types of storage. Silicone sandwich baggies. Bamboo toothbrushes that actually feel good on the teeth. The switch to bar soap over liquid for hands, face and body – Dr Bronner’s Unscented Castile Soap, of course. A little bit shaved into hot water and you’ve got yourself some shampoo.

It’s a journey, but one that has been fun to experiment with. Because it’s not just about the products. It’s about the implementation and the usage. Finding things that have many valuable applications that can either be bought in bulk or without plastic packaging. Mixed and matched in different ways to create a clean and healthy household environment for both the inhabitants and the earth.

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