Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Change the World Wednesday - eco-friendly cleaners

Here's the latest challenge from Reduce Footprints:

This week, if you've never tried Eco-friendly cleansers (either commercial or handmade), please try one out.

Or ...

If you've used commercial Eco-friendly cleansers but have never made your own, try making one (a simple cleanser can be made with equal parts vinegar and baking soda, with a few drops of essential oil added in to make it smell nice ... it's perfect for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens). We'd also like to know which commercial brands you use and your analysis of them.

Or ...

If you always use homemade cleansers, please share your recipe with us. We'd also like to know what you've tried, what works and what doesn't.


Since I recommended this one, I think it would be a good idea for me to actually put up my post on Wednesday (and give myself a pat on the back for being able to do so).

Last year was the first time I actually thought about  making my own cleaners.  I had decided that normal cleaners weren't good enough for me, I don't want the chemicals, and had decided going to an eco-friendly/green cleaner was the way to go.  Some companies do publish coupons so I could still get the items frugally if I paid attention to sales.  I did get a great deal on some already too.

Then one day while cleaning the granite counter tops in the kitchen I realized I was almost out and needed more.  This made me frown because granite cleaner is expensive and there aren't a lot of options out there (at least not in local stores without having to buy online). Plus they are a bit expensive. 

So the next day I decided to research home-made granite cleaner.  I found several that wanted me to use rubbing alcohol, pure grain alcohol, lemon juice, and/or vinegar.   However I did find several that listed biodegradable liquid soap and water.  Hmm....I would much rather try the one with only two ingredients, especially when I already had those two ingredients at home.   So I made a batch and used it the following weekend and I loved the results!  I found it cleaned better and it left the counter shinier.     I knew I found what I wanted.  I did use up the rest of the bought cleaner, but since then I've been making my own.  It lasts a long time and it's super easy to make.  Incredibly in-expensive too.   I admit I did wonder, at first, if it was going to get my counter tops clean enough, after all we do put food directly on the counter.  Then I thought..if I trust the detergent to get my dishes clean and I eat off of my dishes, wouldn't I also trust it to get my counters clean enough?

One day almost 2 months ago I was cleaning the kitchen and I had already cleaned the stainless steel fridge but noticed I missed a spot.  I had my home-made granite cleaner in hand and my rags and without thinking I sprayed the cleaner on the fridge and wiped.  I'm sold.  I will use the rest of the stainless steel cleaner I bought, but once it's gone I will use this cleaner for all the stainless steel appliances as well. It cleans very easily and it leaves the surfaces shiny.   

You're ready for the easy as pie recipe right?

Granite Cleaner
2 tbsp biodegradable liquid soap (I just use whatever green dish detergent I have on hand)
4 cups water
32 oz spray bottle.

Pour soap and water into the spray bottle and shake gently until completely blended.

That's it folks.  Anybody can do that.

Here's how I apply it.   I spray it on the surface, use one very soft rag/towel to rub the surface. You will get suds.  I then use a different super soft rag/towel to wipe it off. 

One batch lasts me a couple of months, and I have a lot of counter space.  So you can imagine how much cheaper this is than buying a commercial cleaner. 

As far as other cleaners in the house. I had found several multi-purpose cleaner recipes and I was planning to try them.  I'm not so sure I will though. I kinda like my soap and water combo.  And again..if I trust this soap to get my plates and glasses clean enough to eat/drink with, then I believe I trust it enough to clean all surfaces.   That being said, I do look forward to seeing what others use and perhaps I will give one or two a try to see how I like it.

Oh, and one other thing I know I plan to start doing.  As soon as I finish withe the current bottle of jet-dry in the dishwasher, I plan to use vinegar.  I hear it's just as effective with the added bonus that it's cheaper and better for you and the environment.

Currently, because I tend to buy when things are super cheap, I do have a collection of non-green cleaners at home.  I will continue to use these until they are gone.  I've already bought them, I'm not going to be wasteful and throw them away.   

Now I have a question for you, dear readers, does anybody have a great home-made cleaner for a smooth top stove?  I've read that you can use water and baking soda, but I've tried that and wasn't too impressed.  Of course, I did try it on the old cook top that had years of build-up from the previous owners and nothing got it all off.  I haven't tried it on the new one yet. 


  1. I love homemade, Eco-friendly cleansers. The commercial brands gave me a headache every time that I used them ... even the Eco-friendly commercial versions had pretty strong smells and I found it hard to believe that they were environmentally safe. So now, I use my own. They clean better, are cheaper and don't give me a headache!

    I'm passing the word to see if we can find a homemade smooth-top stove cleaner. :-)

    Thanks for suggesting this challenge ... it's a good one!

  2. Small Footprints - Thanks for passing on the word! I just love the one home-made cleaner I use, feel so comfortable with it and it works great. The fumes don't bother me, but I do worry about how they effect me.