Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cleaning Naturally with the EtsyVeg Team

by Jennifer of jakrandomart,
EtsyVeg member and leader of Cruelty-Free Etsy

Household cleaners are full of toxins that are harmful not only to ourselves, but also to our families, our animal companions, and the planet. The EtsyVeg Team has compiled this helpful list of recipes and tips for cruelty-free alternatives to harsh cleaning products. Many of these recipes can be made from things you already have in your kitchen such as baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice. I know I feel a lot better using items that won't harm me or my loved ones if they are ingested.

There is also a big economic incentive to giving those commercial cleaners the boot. PLUS, if your water is draining into a sewer where fish and other critters might dwell, you can take solace in knowing that you're not contributing to their suffering!

All-around Cleaner (found in a book, unsure of title/author)

2 C water
3/4 C vinegar
1/2 C hydrogen peroxide
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
20 drops of lemon essential oil (EO)
20 drops of tea tree EO

Use for cleaning areas like the sink/tub that require some light scouring power. Just spray a little of the mixture above, throw down some baking soda, spray a bit more cleaner on top of the baking soda, and scrub away.

Natural Cleaning in the BATHROOM

Drain de-clogger: Pour 1/4 cup baking soda down a clogged drain, followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar. After all the fizzing and bubbling has subsided (which is kind of fun to watch) pour boiling hot water down the drain.

Bathtub and shower Cleaner: Sprinkle baking soda and dish soap (dye- and fragrance-free) directly onto tub surface and scrub with a sponge--it actually works a lot better than the cleaners bought off the shelf.

Toilet and floor Cleaner: Mix: 2 TBSP Borax (boric acid minerals, found in laundry aisle), 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 2 cups of hot water. Your bathroom will be disinfected and smell lemony fresh, not to mention that you will breathe easy while cleaning!

Shower curtains can be renovated by being washed, on gentle cycle, with a pint of white vinegar.

Build-up remover (on shower doors): Wipe with lemon oil to remove current build-up and keep doors protected longer from future build-up.

Fighting MOLD and MILDEW

Vinegar kills mold and mildew and removes soap scum. Mix one part vinegar and one part water. Spray liberally on affected surfaces and let sit for a 20 minutes. Spray more and scrub. Rinse and dry. The vinegar smell will dissipate as it dries. Tea tree oil is also an excellent killer of mold and mildew.

To keep mildew at bay: Squeegee the shower down in the morning before drying yourself off, to help keep mildew at bay. Additionally, ventilate the room well. Using a heat lamp or space heater can also help to dry up moisture, as well. This may not eradicate mold and mildew completely, but the reduced moisture will prevent it from taking over as easily.

ODOR Removal

Baking soda is a great odor neutralizer and abrasive (but not harmfully so) cleaner. Plus, it's inexpensive!

~Keep an open a box of baking soda in the refrigerator to reduce odor.
~Keep baking soda in an open container by the litter box.
~For drain odors -Dump a cup of baking soda in drain and allow to sit for a bit. Follow with some vinegar (enjoy the volcano) and then rinse with boiling water from the tea kettle.


Use vinegar and a page from yesterday's newspaper to clean windows and mirrors- it won't streak!


Vinegar can fight tough laundry smells (like mega armpit odor) and help to protect colors of clothing, too. To remove perspiration stains in clothing, soak in warm vinegar and water before washing.


Run a cycle of vinegar through the coffee pot to clean it.

Use Dr. Bronner's Eucalyptus liquid soap to clean floors and and the bathtub...works great. I'm trying to reduce the amount of products I have at home, and with Dr. Bronner's I can shower, wash my hair, and clean the bathtub and floor!!

For more effective dish washing, add a few tablespoons of vinegar in with the dish washing detergent when washing dishes.

To clean up spills in the oven, sprinkle the spills immediately with salt. When the oven has cooled, brush away the burnt-on food with a damp sponge.

To whiten an old, stained sink, pour 1/2 cup of salt in and scrub with a lemon. Let stand for a few minutes and rinse.

To prevent odor producing mold and bacteria in garbage cans, sprinkle 1/2 cup of
Borax in the bottom of the garbage can.

Use cooking or salad oil for lubricating non-essential mechanical things like hinges, tools, etc. A light coat of oil will keep tools from rusting.

Enjoy cleaning naturally for a better environment for you, your household, and the planet!


claynfiber said...

This is great! Thank you for promoting better choice cleaners.

FireHorse3 said...

Thanks for this useful article. I've recently started using a homemade laundry liquid (more of a jelly!) made from grated laundry soap, water, borax and washing soda. It's working really well so far - and very cheap to make. I will try out some of your suggestions for other areas :)

JulieWebb Photography+Design said...

Who told you I need to clean my apartment?! Just kidding, thanks for all the excellent tips.

I should go clean my apartment...