10 Tips: Green Cleaning on a Budget

I love cleaning green. There are so many harsh chemicals in cleaning products, and it’s a beautiful thing to clean naturally. Especially because that means saving money!

green cleaningI own a cleaning business, Polished Cleaning Services, and we put a HUGE emphasis on natural products. I’ve used both natural and chemical cleaners, and I find that when I stick to the natural stuff I’m a happier healthier creature. Chemical products give me a sore throat and a grumpy spirit. Chemical laden cleaners are also EXPENSIVE. So to me, natural products are a no-freaking-brainer.

There are a LOT of very specific cleaning recipes out there, and I’m here to tell you, it’s really not supposed to be that complicated. Natural cleaning products are truly a dream team, a triple threat of easy, cheap and natural. If you find a recipe that asks you to pull out your measuring spoons then say “See ya later” and re-read this post.

PRODUCTS:

1. White Vinegar. Guys, you can buy one gallon for $4 dollars at Wal-Mart. That’s right, 128 oz for 400 pennies. Pour it in a squirt bottle to clean surfaces, windows, toilets, bathrooms, walls and kitchens. Consider this your all-purpose spray.

– If you hate the smell (and I don’t blame you if you do), add a little bit of Meyers counter spray to your vinegar spray bottle. Honeysuckle is my favorite. Though Lavender is also heavenly. Oh and basil is amazing. Ok, they’re all great. You can get 16 oz in a spray bottle for $3.75. Or add lemon juice for it’s disinfectant properties.

– Pour a bit it in your washing machine as a fabric softener (without the Meyers, of course. I promise the smell will go away.)- Oh and one more thing, HERE is a list of things that you should NOT clean with vinegar

2. Baking Soda. A true queen of green cleaning/household/beauty. I’d love to tell you how I use this to make my own tooth paste but that’s a story for another article (also EXTREMELY EASY). Here’s how to use Baking Soda while cleaning your house: Ask yourself, “Do I need something abrasive to remove this scum/crud/mold?” If the answer is Yes — USE BAKING SODA. Typically one small box is under $1.00 so stock up!

– Sprinkle onto pet throw up/poop to dry it up for easy cleaning (nasty.)

– Use it in your washing machine (or see below where we make our own laundry detergent).

3. Hydrogen Peroxide. I have to tell ya’ll a secret. I was at our local “organic market” the other day searching for a bleach alternative. (I confess, my husband and I have been married almost 2 years and I finally bought my first bottle of clorox bleach.) Being the focused shopper that I am, looked on the back of this “chlorine free bleach” selling for $12.99 and realized that it was nothing more than watered down Hydrogen Peroxide. Guys. IT WAS NOTHING MORE THAN HYDROGEN PEROXIDE. CVS sells that stuff at $1.77 for 16 oz. Water that down and use it, baby! (I also use this to whiten my teeth…but that’s another story.)

4. Dr Bronner’s Castille Soap. I’ve seen this from $15-$20 a bottle – ouch. But, two things to remember: 1. It’s concentrated. So take one third of your bottle, mix it with equal or double parts of water and you’re golden. 2. It’s fair trade, organic and amazing.

– I put a squirt of Dr Bronner’s in the toilet, scrub it with a toilet brush and let it sit. Smells amazing. (Remind me to never again use “squirt” and “toilet” in the same sentence again.)

– Warm water + Dr Bronners to clean out the fridge, wipe down counters, clean floors. This is definitely another “all-purpose” option, HOWEVER, since it’s soap you need to be careful that it doesn’t leave a residue.

CONCEPTS

5. Buy natural hand soap (Meyers, Honest Co., Method) and water it down, 2-to-1. Sounds cheap and tacky but who cares? That stuff is expensive (though natural, which I appreciate) and I’m not here to flush $$ down the drain.

6. I have a story to tell you, I tried and tried to make my own laundry detergent. I bought the ingredients and tried a recipe and it wasn’t my fave (it used shredded Fels Naptha, and apparently I didn’t shred it enough so I had chunks of it in my laundry every time I put it away). I had some leftover stuff from those previous recipes (Washing Soda, Baking Soda, those yummy smelling Downy tablets that make your laundry smell like heaven, Borax…) but I didn’t have the correct ratios for the recipes on Pinterest. Being the crazy free spirit that I am, I dumped everything I had left in a pretty jar and used it up. Seriously – BEST EVER. And you know what was the best part? I didn’t stress and it STILL WORKED. And I have a landscaper for a husband, so the fact that the detergent worked on his muddy work-pants means that it’s a miracle. The moral of this story is, go to Pinterest for a concept and adapt it to your life with as little stress as possible. Next time I make detergent I’m just going to buy probably two boxes of baking soda, a box of washing soda, a box of borax and a container of those yummy smelling things (not natural, but I’ll make a sacrifice) and just mix them all together. No bigs, guys.

7. Make your own dryer sheets (See Pinterest), or do as I do and just don’t use them! I ran out of a purchased pack a couple weeks ago and really haven’t noticed a difference since I’ve not used them anymore. Zero waste and budget friendly is a total WIN in my book!

8. As we said above:
Vinegar + Water = All Purpose Spray.
Hydrogen Peroxide + Water = Bleach.
Dr. Bronners + Water = Yummy smelling clean.
Baking Soda + Water = Scrub

9. Buy a scrub brush. Elbow grease is cheaper than an ultra-intense chemical filled cleaner.

10. Re-use old rags. Say “Goodbye” to paper towels. (You can find cheap rags at thrift stores).

+++ So, in a nutshell – Don’t complicate things. Just make good, natural, simplifying decisions. I promise I am not some ultra-energized Susie Homemaker (only in my dreams) who makes everything from scratch and goes a mile a minute. I want to do more than just make cleaning products all day – and these are the tips that I use in my own home. I hope they work for you! +++

What tips and tricks for Green Cleaning do you use in your own home? I’d love to hear!

xo!