WFMW: Eco-friendly cleaning

As I've mentioned, smells are not my friend. That means I can't tolerate the horrible stench of bleach or ammonia, and even the "fresh" scent of Pine-Sol makes my brain throb. But the house needs to get cleaned, and it needs to be done in such a way that I feel comfortable with a two year old rolling around on the floor.

That's where the oldies-but-goodies come in handy. I remember a neighbor once making me wash his car windows with vinegar and newspaper*, and when I was in ROTC, we couldn't always afford brass polish, so I learned to clean my brass with vinegar and baking soda. Over the years, I've learned that you can get a really good clean with some of the simplest, cheapest ingredients.

So now when I want to clean, I pull out my $0.99 spray bottle that's filled with equal parts water and white vinegar with a splash of lemon juice thrown in (because the smell of lemon makes me happy). If I encounter a particularly dirty area, I'll sprinkle it with baking soda and then spray it down. Let it set for a while and the wipe right up.

Not only does my house not smell like a bottle of bleach, I'm not exposing anyone to harsh chemicals, the surfaces are squeaky clean, and I haven't used anything that will harm our the outside environment, either.

* I don't use newspaper because we don't subscribe to one, but they work wonders. I don't know why or how, but once you try it, you'll see. I use rags that we wash and reuse.

This cleaning tip works for me. What works for you?


  • suzannah | the smitten word

    we do a lot of cleaning with baking soda, too.

    i bought a steam cleaner online, and i love using that. (i'm embarassed to admit how infrequently i ever got out the mop and bucket.) now, mopping is a super quick, chem-free task, and it dries almost instantly. love!

  • Cheryl

    I need to try this water/vinegar/lemon mixture. I hate the cleaning supply smell.

  • Angie @ Many Little Blessings

    I can just imagine how lemony fresh your house smells. What a great, clean, fresh smell!

  • Courtney

    okay so I am going to sound like a nutball but i never thought to add a squirt of lemon!! ha what a dork huh! will start doing in the future

  • Michelle

    My husband taught me the newspaper trick for cleaning mirrors. It seems to weird but makes a huge difference. Do you use the same mixture for glass cleaning as you do in the shower or counter top?

  • Kelly

    Courtney - I used bottled lemon juice because it's weird having lemon pulp in your cleaning bottle. Just fyi. :)

    Michelle - Yes, I use the same mixture for pretty much everything. I even use it on my carpets when there's a spill or stain. Sometimes if the windows are really grungy, I switch to apple cider vinegar rather than white vinegar. It might be psychological, but I feel like it's a stronger cleaning agent.

  • Moore Minutes

    This is a fabulous idea...I'm writing it down! ;) Thank you so much.

  • Eliza Welch

    Such excellent tips!

    I really enjoyed looking around your lovely blog and would absolutely love it if you would stop by my blog!
    Eliza's Blog

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