Project: Spring Green

April 7th, 2010 by Dionna | 14 Comments
Posted in Compassionate Advocacy, Environmentalism, Healthy Living, Homey Goodness, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, natural parenting

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bucket of household cleaning productsChemicals = Gross

Before Tom and I met 5+ years ago, he was comfortable in his bachelorhood. So comfortable that he bought a condo here in Kansas City. When he moved to New Mexico to be with me, he tried to sell the condo; but the housing market was beginning its downturn and it proved impossible to find a buyer. He decided to rent it out, and so it has been for the past five years. Every year or two we have a tenant flake out on us and we scramble, and this year is more of the same.

April 1st-3rd this year found me scrubbing someone else’s soap scum from their shower walls, scuffs and food bits from their walls, undesirables from their carpets, and trying to entertain a two year old as I cleaned.

It was a nightmare.

Because I knew the condo was in need of a good deep clean, I brought over all of my chemical-laden cleaners and went to work. I’ve slowly been transitioning away from those cleaners – we just use a vinegar/water solution for 75% of our cleaning at home.

I seriously almost died from the shower cleaner fumes. I made Kieran go outside while I scrubbed the shower (he happily pranced about clad only in a diaper on the balcony), and I scrubbed with one hand while holding a towel over my face with the other.


I knew it was time for a change.

Project Spring Green

Megan from Sorta Crunchy has challenged her readers to a “Project: Spring Green” for the month of April. Here is the jist:

To honor the earth and it’s delightful display of green, choose one goal that would bless your family and the planet, and throughout the month of April, we’ll all work on this goal together.

I had already been planning on researching “green” household cleaners for a series of articles, and I took almost all of my toxic cleaners out of the house to clean the condo. What better time than the present to introduce all new green cleaners into our house?

Do you have a favorite “green” cleaner? I am particularly worried about shower and toilet cleaners.

Photo credit: lusi

14 Responses to:
"Project: Spring Green"

  1. Melodie   bfmom

    I find that most vinegar and baking soda concoctions work fine for most jobs but the ones that require more elbow grease, in tubs, shower stalls or ovens, for me, require a commercial cleaner. Now before you recoil in shock and horror let me defend myself by saying that “ha ha, I kinda gotcha!” I only use the enviro cleaners when I buy any cleaners at all. There are a number of them that work great to get off the tough soap scum. I use mostly 7th Generation and ECOVER. The ECOVER cream cleanser is great for kitchen sinks and bathubs. The all-purpose cleaners are great for all other jobs when B. Soda and vinegar just don’t do the trick.

  2. I’m in the process of switching us to all non-toxic cleaners too, I really don’t have any “toxic” cleaners left except for window cleaners, but I’m trying to phase out Seventh Generation, Clorox Greenworks, and Mrs. Meyers. I read online somewhere that even “green” cleaners are not always clean, at this point I’m trying to switch to an all home-made cleaning arsenal.

    Here’s the all-purpose spray I’ll be using.
    1 t. liquid castile soap
    2t white vinegar
    1/4 t. each eucalyptus and lavender oil
    3 drops tea tree oil
    1 t. borax
    2 c. hot water

    My QFC (the local Kroger store I like) had sample sizes of castile soap so I bought a few different scents to use in different areas of the house. This is good for everything but glass, but needs to rinsed off with a clean damp cloth.

    Like I’ve said before the book Make Your Place by Raleigh Briggs is a life saver.

    I’m also switching us to a home-made laundry soap after this bottle is gone, I’m hoping it’s a little easier on my eczema than the store-bought stuff.

  3. oh…as far as toilets go…

    2 c. water
    1/4 c. liquid castile
    1 T. tea tree oil or grapefuit essential oil

    put in spray bottle, spray and wipe off.

    for the bowl:
    1/2 c. baking soda
    1/4 c. vinegar
    10 drops tea tree oil

    obviously this is going to be a toilet volcano, so be careful! it’s for 1 cleaning only! and until I’d tested it I’d probably halve the recipe JUST IN CASE.

    This also came from the book by Raleigh Briggs. I’M TELLING YOU DIONNA, BUY IT. :) It’s so cheap! haha

  4. Sharon Aguilar

    I love Shaklee’s Get Clean product line. All of their cleaners are completely non-toxic. This means they will not harm you or your little one. Sometimes the chemicals used to “clean” are more harmful than what we clean off the floor. Also, you save so much on packaging because their products are diluted. For $150, you get over $3400 worth of products because you don’t pay for all that packaging. This also means less packaging that you throw away to sit in a landfill somewhere. Take a look at my website and watch a video on the Get Clean line. Go to – click on the Why Now tab at the top and then watch the “Healthy Home” video. Also, you can google Shaklee and Oprah and find a lot of videos on there as well.

    I hope this info helps!

  5. mamapoekie   mamapoekie

    I just did a post about this. You can find basic cleaning recipies there

  6. I use mostly baking soda and vinegar. I love Biokleen products for laundry and dish soap. They use 100% green energy in their manufacturing process and there products really are green. We use a steam mop on the floor, so no cleaners there. I did get a soy cleaner for the toilet but don’t like it, I think I will try the toilet volcano, sound like fun!. I also use just b. soda for washing my hair, works like a charm!

  7. Mammapie   Rainbowsouffle

    I use and love Soap Nuts. They *really* work and are great for counter tops, table, carpet spot cleaning, the bath tub, windows (for windows, this works great with old newspapers) AND cloth diaper laundry.
    We have carpet currently as I mentioned above and i love adding drops of essential sweet orange oil to baking soda and shaking over the carpet for a while before vacuuming. For air spray I just add essential oil to water and spritz too but Im sure you knew that one!
    Im sure theres more but My goodness my tot is a mess and I have to go.

  8. I mostly use 7th Generation for things that just vinegar/water/baking soda don’t cut it for. Their carpet cleaner was actually rated by Consumer Reports to be one of (if not the no. 1) most effective carpet cleaner.

  9. Sheryl   sheryljesin

    We’ve been using the EcoMe products. It is basically a blend of essential oils that you mix with vinegar and water to make an all purpose spray, and that you mix with baking soda and water to make a scrub. I find that it works really well and the smell is great! Makes me feel like I’ve been at a spa.

  10. Dionna   CodeNameMama

    Thanks all! I’m researching for a follow-up post (reasons why parents should consider switching to natural cleaners) and have found lots of recipes. I’ll try some of the things you all have recommended too!

  11. When I don’t use vinegar based solutions because they aren’t enough, I get kinda lazy. I mostly use 7th gen because I trust the company but will use Method (questionably truly green) sometimes too. I love their tub and tile cleaner. It just requires so much less scrubbing on my shower doors than any baking soda concoction I’ve tried.

    I wrote a post on being aware of how green your conventional cleaners are (SC Johnson’s Green line of products)
    I just encourage a little research before going out to buy those cleaners.

  12. I only skimmed some of the previous comments so if I am duplicating anything someone else uses, I apologize.

    As for your concern over toilet cleaner, I know there are a lot of homemade natural solutions you can use for that but I also use “Green Works” brand from the store for both toiler cleaner and for household cleaning (Although I intend to read Acacia’s link after I post this so forgive me for my potential ignorance in making that statement!). Seventh Generation also makes a lot of environmentally concious cleaners for several purposes around the house and I am also happy with that brand.

    I’ve used baking soda to clean out my oven. Baking soda is a miracle worker!

    Those are what I use…

  13. Megan@SortaCrunchy   SortaCrunchy

    Yay! So glad you are joining in the challenge, and I think this is a great goal to take up. Can’t wait to hear about how your successes in making the switch!

  14. I love Shaklee too.

    It’s hard cleaning with kids for a living! Just ask me how I know!!

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