Monday, September 10, 2012

Finding Clean Cleaning Products

I have been purchasing "green" household cleaners, laundry detergent and have made an effort to clean with a vinegar solution (see recipe below) for years now.  Environmental Working Group (EWG) has recently come out with a database which rates cleaning products based on the safety of a product's ingredients.  You can search your own household cleaners and see what they rate.   

I was disheartened to see that a few of my go-to products received D's (Seventh Generation, whyyyyy?!). This has inspired me to continue to make my own cleaning solutions and to find new home-made recipes to replace my not-so-great "green" cleaners.

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner, Lemongrass & Thyme : D
Murphy Oil Soap Original Formula  : C
Citra-Solv Citra Wood Wood & Furniture Polish, Valencia Orange : D
Green Works naturally derived bathroom cleaner : C
method Smarty Dish Dishwasher Detergent Tabs, Free of Dyes + Perfumes : B
Seventh Generation Natural Glass & Surface Cleaner, Free & Clear : C

General All-Purpose Cleaner
* Spray bottle (not one that used to have toxic chemicals in it- they can leak chemicals back into your solution)
* 1 cup white vinegar
* 3/4 cup water
* 5- 10 drops of essential oils (I recommend Tea Tree or Thyme).  Also, essential oils (EO) are not the same as fragrance oils. Fragrance oils can and most likely contain toxic ickies like Phthalates 

I use this cleaner for counters, door handles, toilet.

I use a plain vinegar/water solution for windows/glass (I feel like EO may streak?)

Image: Blue Spray bottle has 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water, baking soda, sea salt, Puri-fizer EO (Tea Tree, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Lavender, Cintronella, Myrtle), Tea Tree EO,  Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap  Hemp Almond,  white vinegar.

To clean my bathtub I sprinkle baking soda all over the tub and then spray with the vinegar solution.  It fizzes up just like when I was in 6th grade and made a volcano that erupted (used similar ingredients!).  Then I scrub the heck out of it, for those of you who work out, I consider this an arm workout.  It takes more time than using a conventional cleaner but at least I know my baking soda mixture does not contain asthma inducing chemicals.

Does anyone have a good recommendation for an oven cleaner?  I have been using a paste of baking soda & water but it is messy to wipe up.

I am going to write up a separate post on laundry detergent. I could go on all day about different ingredients in most household products.  Please check out EWG's new cleaners tool   


  1. Love this... I am super disappointed about the 7th Gen stuff too... I can't wait to hear about Laundry Detergent and maybe you can share what you use/recommend for dishes/dishwashers?

  2. I second you on looking for a good oven cleaner - been doing the same baking soda/water/sometimes vinegar, works but messy. Hmpf.

  3. This is crazy. We have some kind of cosmic connection - just tonight, I mixed up my own cleaner to mop my hard wood floor: 4 liters (about a gallon) of hot water, about 1/2 cup lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of olive oil (for a shine). Worked great!
    For my kitchen and bathroom floors, I used the vinegar-water thing.