What helps us define clean, though? Is it a pine needle scent? Lemon? Chlorine? Does it need to be antibacterial? We now have cleaning products for every single item in the house. Floor cleaner, counter top cleaner, bathroom cleaner, toilet cleaner, tub and tile...the list goes on and on. Not only do all those cleaners get expensive but they aren't healthy for you. Unless you are buying all natural cleaners, you are essentially filling the air in your home with chemicals while trying to get things clean. Is trading a dirty floor for a chemical laden one any better? I think I'd almost prefer the dirt.
You need not despair. There are natural products on the market which are made of essential oils, or you can make your very own cleaners which are healthy for you and for your budget.
White vinegar is the jack of all trades in my house. Once I read that it killed 99% of germs (as effective as bleach) I was sold on it. I can buy a huge gallon of it at the store for less than $1.50 and it lasts and lasts. One reason some people shy away from it is the smell is quite strong. Once dry, you can not smell anything but a fresh smell. What do I use it for?
*Washing floors. As stated above, it kills 98-99% of germs, so it is as effective as bleach without being the poison that bleach is. Just add 1-2 c. of it to a big bucket of hot water and mop the floor.
*Cleaning counter tops. Mix 1/2 a cup in a spray bottle with warm water and wash the sinks and counters in the kitchen and bathrooms. It is excellent for removing hard water stains. Dampen a washrag with vinegar and let sit on your faucets for 15 minutes, then rinse clean.
*In the carpet cleaner. It kills germs in the carpet and softens the carpet fibers. Not so great with stain removal so along with your normal carpet shampoo. Just 1/2 a cup works well in the machine.
*Laundry. It makes towels and blankets soft and fluffy (no more fabric softener!). Vinegar also reduces soap residue, breaks up grease and oil, and is a natural bleach. Also prevents static cling. Pour half to a cup of it in the fabric softener dispenser.
*In the dishwasher rinse compartment. It clears detergent spots from glasses and silverware without having to buy those expensive, chemical laden rinses.
*Cleaning out teapots and coffee makers of hard water deposits. Just run a cup or two of white vinegar through the coffeemaker or teapot, then rinse.
*Mold. It kills mold almost as well as bleach. Also works wonders for washing musty smells out of clothing or other items.
One of my favorite natural cleaning books is Organic Housekeeping By Ellen Sandbeck. It has everything you need to know about changing your cleaning habits for the better.
I'm not sure why the price above says $700! It may be a wealth of information, but it shouldn't cost that much. :) You can find it on Amazon for much cheaper than that.