Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An All-purpose Cleaner you could drink, not that you’d want to!



I quit buying most household cleaning supplies.  I hated the toxic smell when I was pregnant.  I just kept imagining the fumes making their way to my tiny little baby.  I dreaded cleaning the bathrooms.

I tried buying some of the “earth-friendly” cleaners.  I guess I’m just too much of a skeptic.  It seemed to me that they were just reformulated to make a buck.  They still took up the same amount of room on the back of a truck and produced just as much trash.  I’m too hard to please.

So, I’ve taken a grandmotherly recipe and made it work for me.  Thought I’d share my favorite way to clean. 


An old spray bottle

An old plastic container with a lid



Something that smells good (essential oil or herbs)

Baking Soda


Pour vinegar about 1 inch high in the bottom of the spray bottle.  Add some yummy smelling stuff!  You can add 4-5 drops of essential oil or throw in something out of your herb garden.  I used lavender.  Fill the bottle the rest of the way with warm water. 


Fill the other plastic container with baking soda and make some holes the lid.


You now have everything you need to clean most of your house.  Small package, but huge results!  I love not having to tote around 17 different cleaning bottles.

For windows and mirrors; Just spray the vinegar and wipe with a soft cloth.  I find that old cotton napkins (the stained up ones you don’t want to throw away) work really well.

For sinks; Sprinkle the baking soda in the bottom and then spray generously with the vinegar water.  Use an old washcloth to wipe the sink clean.  The vinegar loosens the gunk and the soda provides a bit of scrubbing power.

For toilets; Pour a fair amount (about what would fit in the palm of your hand) of baking soda into the toilet and brush as normal.  Spray the seat and toilet with the vinegar water and wipe down with an old cloth.

For the bathtub; Pour soda in the bottom of the tub and spray entire tub with vinegar water.  Add a little water to the soda to make a paste and scrub the tub with it.  Shiny, bright bathtub with very little work.

For laminate floors; Spray with vinegar water and wipe down with your favorite, handy-dandy mop.

For vinyl floors; Same as laminate, except when they are really disgusting I put down some soda before I spray and then give them a quick scrub with a bristly scrub brush.

Kitchen; Just use the vinegar water to clean most surfaces.  Add the baking soda for stainless steel to get a pretty shine.

Laundry; Vinegar works well as a fabric softener.  Lightly spray clothes (or hair) that have a bit too much static. 

Insect bites; Make a paste of baking soda and vinegar water and apply directly to the bite.  It will take away the sting of bee bites and reduce itching of mosquito bites.  After the paste dries, just wash it off in cool water.

Cats that misbehave; Spray lightly with the vinegar water.  They will remember their manners next time!  We used it to train the cats not to run into the house and not to climb on the window screens.


I’ve been using these items to clean my house for a long time and have been truly happy.  It sounds entirely too simple, but I hope you’ll try it out.  I do think you’ll love it and you’ll love the lack of toxic fumes.  The most costly item on the list is the fragrance, and that can easily be left out.  I just add lavender because it makes me happy.

Try my cleaning methods and let me know what you think.  Do they stack up to your favorite store cleaners?  Do you have a recipe to share?  I’d love to hear from you.  Leave me a comment.


  1. I use pretty much the same thing!! Except I add a good squirt of Dr. Brunner's Peppermint castille soap, I think that probably does the same thing as the baking soda. The only difference is you can't do mirrors with it 'cause of the soap...streak city! I love it and use it to clean everything too :)! Sooo much cheaper. I will add that I don't like how it works on my solid hardwood floors I still have to use chemical stuff on them to get them clean and shinny :(.

  2. I think I will definitely have to try that. I hate buying all those chemicals! What kind of vinegar do you use?


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