Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cleaning the environmentally safe way

Have you ever looked at the label on common household cleansers?

I recently looked at the label on a popular brand and the active ingredient is sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione dihydrate ... a fancy name for chlorine bleach. That accounted for 1.2% of the ingredients. The other ingredients, 98.8% of them ... were left nameless (hm ... curious).

The label also included lovely words like "scratch free", "disinfects and cleans tough stains" and "club size" (don't we just love anything that's larger than life). There were words on how to use the product ... everything from brightening the kitchen sink to disinfecting the toilet bowl. There were even a few words on how "green" this company is ... "package contains at least 7% recycled material" and "contains no phosphate".

And then ... there was a block of warnings ... "do not use on painted surfaces" ... "do not mix with other products". At the bottom of the label ... "HAZARDS TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS". This section included cautions and first aid instructions if one were to come in contact with the product ... and even included a hot line for emergency medical information.

Wow ... who knew that cleaning a house could be so dangerous? And if this product has the ability to hurt us ... is it hurting the environment when it's washed down the drain and into the water system? I'm guessing that it is.

While I'd love to use this information to forgo cleaning forever ... it turns out that there is a product ... an inexpensive, environmentally friendly, easy to find product that does the job perfectly. Vinegar! Yep ... white distilled vinegar. Because of it's level of acidity, it does a great job killing most molds, bacteria and germs. It's scratch-free and can be purchased in larger than life quantities. And guess what ... it brightens the kitchen sink and disinfects the toilet bowl.

Here are few ways to use it:

  • To Clean Windows: Combine 1/2 cup non-sudsy ammonia, 1 cup white distilled vinegar, and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a gallon of water.
  • To Remove Pet Stains on Carpets: Blot up the area and then add a solution of white distilled vinegar and water. Blot until almost dry ... then sprinkle baking soda over the area and let it dry. Once completely dry, vacuum the residue.
  • To Mop No-Wax Vinyl or Linoleum Floors: Use a solution of one cup white distilled vinegar for every gallon of water.
  • To Clean the Toilet Bowl: Pour at least one cup of white distilled vinegar into the bowl and let it sit several hours or overnight. Scrub with a toilet brush and flush.
  • To Remove Bathtub Film: Wipe it with white distilled vinegar and then scrub with baking soda.
  • To Remove Grime, Mildew, and Scum from the Tub, Tile, Shower Curtain or Door: Wipe with undiluted white distilled vinegar. Rinse with water.
  • To Kill Germs on Kitchen and/or Bathroom Surfaces: Spray full-strength white distilled vinegar on surface and wipe with a damp cloth.
  • To Kill Germs and Eliminate Odors in Sponges and Dish Clothes: Cover with water then add 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar. Soak overnight.
  • To Clean the Refrigerator: Use a 50/50 percent solution of water and white distilled vinegar. Wipe down all areas and dry.
These are just a few of the many cleaning uses for vinegar. For more, click HERE.

What could be better ... an industrial strength cleaner which is inexpensive and earth friendly ... not to mention friendly to our bodies.

As always, I would love to hear from you.

The Breast Cancer Site


  1. Thanks for sharing these. I always like to hear of more natural cleaners b/c even breathing the scent of most cleaners bothers me. I can only imagine what they do to the environment.

  2. hello small footprints :)
    thanks for visiting me at pimp & paint, and thanks for the lovely comments. pls do come back often :)

    you've got a really informative and interesting site going on here... i'm gonna be following it! :)


  3. I hate the way marketers and advertisers have sucked people into believing they need these hazardous substances to have a clean, safe house. Everyone is so germ-phobic these days and everything has anti-baceterial agents added to it. It's ridiculuous.

    I have recently converted to vinegar and baking soda to clean and it does a good job - and it makes me think of salt and vinegar chips while I'm cleaning!

    Lemon juice and eucalyptus oil are also good to have in your natural cleaning product armoury, though I haven't tried them.

    I have attempted to make my own laundry detergent, but it wasn't colour-safe, so I'm using it in my dishwasher instead! It's just soap flakes, vinegar, lectric soda and water. Works fine.

  4. Any cleaner that contains chlorine is hazardous to life and the environment. Here in Brazil it is used with abandon. It's easier to bleach whites than wash them properly, really weird mentality.

    Off topic, look for a post called Fake Plastic Fish:

    This is serious stuff to some people and if we all took such measures, the world would be a different place.


  5. Hi, this is a great post!
    I'll keep it in mind when shopping for cleaning products, considering I have three small children and am always scared as to what they might be up to when in the kitchen while I do other stuff.
    Your blog is very interesting. Thsnks for visiting mine and leaving a lovely comment.
    Cheers from Chile.

  6. I'm a vinegar lover too. It's one of the best for clean ups and people-friendly to boot. Drop by for Halloween for some great photos.

  7. I haven't tried them all but washing windows does work. When I was a kid we just used white vinegar in water and wiped them down with newspaper. Got them sparkling clean.

    Here is a bathtub and sink cleaner that works great (and this will make enough for two tubs and two sinks - it doesn't keep - gets hard after awhile so only make enough to clean what you need to clean at the time): 2 heaping tablespoons baking soda, a squeeze of dish washing liquid - maybe a scant teaspoon, and enough water to make it creamy. You then have "Soft Scrub" without any of the chemicals except the tiny amount in the dish washing liquid.

    Jill (from Delphi Forums)

  8. That is similar to what I do in my tub. I spray with a safe cleaner and then dust the tub with baking soda. It works really well with very little scrubbing. Much better than soft scrub if you ask me--cheaper too!

    contemplating Christ (from Delphi Forums)

  9. Speaking of baking soda, I have found that when I have a Tupperware container stained from a tomato sauce, if I pour in some baking soda and soak it, it will take away the tomato stain. Even some of my baked-in old tomato stains are now gone. Baking soda and vinegar both can do so many things.

    Judi (from Delphi Forums)