21 April 2010

And There Was Vinegar, And Behold, It Was Good

Today the kitchen floor started screaming at me. It said unpleasant things like "I am filthy!" and "nobody cares about me!" and "for gosh sakes, woman, get down here with a sponge!" So I obeyed. With Riverdance turned way up and a bottle of vinegar in my hand.

I'm tired of paying through the nose for manufactured cleaners, so I'm on a quest to find natural-- and cheaper-- solutions. This afternoon was an experiment in vinegar. I sprayed the floor with a mixture of half plain white vinegar, half water, and mopped it down as usual. Seemed to work quite well.

Then I opened a package of O-Cel-O sponges and went on a cleaning spree (new sponges make me weird like that). Result: the stove has no more grease and the floor has no more sticky. The strong smell was worth the sparkling counter.

Vinegar is good for more than pickles.

But wait! There's more! Baking soda works well on steel sinks, as it turns out, and also on tea kettles like ours. A little goes a long way. I'm keeping a stash in the sugar shaker I have left over from the wedding-- I definitely plan to scrub my sink more frequently than I host 100-guest parties.

I buckled down and used Clorox on the moldy chest freezer, though.

Do you have any good "natural cleaning" tips?


  1. Oh, I have had some successes and failures in this department!

    One I love: homemade powdered laundry detergent. 1 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated; 2 cups borax; 2 cups washing soda. You only need one tbsp. for a whole load, and it makes the bath towels ridiculously soft and absorbant.

    Failure: homemade dishwasher powder. I was using a half-and-half mixture of borax and washing soda for that, but it left a residue on the glassware. I went back to the Walmart brand.

    I also have a Windex-type window cleaning mixture that works fine, with vinegar and a few drops of dishsoap in it.

    Baking soda paste+elbow grease took a whole bunch of stains out of my kitchen countertop.

    And finally, I've been using baking soda for shampoo and apple cider vinegar for conditioner. I love the vinegar hair rinse, but I'm not totally sold on the baking soda shampoo. I think it would work better on shorter hair, but mine's down to my waist and gets really dense and heavy when wet. The baking soda requires some scrubbing, but it's hard to get at my scalp.

    Still looking for: something that gets rid of soap scum. Ick.

  2. A friend taught me to wash my windows/mirrors with a soft, wet cloth. While the glass is still wet, go back over it with a crumpled piece of newspaper for a streak-free sparkle. I'm delighted about the fact that I haven't needed to purchase paper towels in over a year! A book that has a lot of great recipes for homemade cleaning products is, "Clean House, Clean Planet" by Karen Logan.