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Monthly Archives: May 2012

8 Ways to Make Cleaning Your Kitchen Less Toxic

The kitchen is a great place to work on being more eco friendly and less toxic, and it goes beyond buy local and/or organic produce for your family. How you clean your kitchen matters too.  These cleaning products are easy to make and use, and of course you can use them beyond the kitchen when appropriate as well.

1. Vinegar

My favorite! I use diluted vinegar for all kinds of cleaning. There’s a reason why I buy it at Costco and not the grocery store. Besides, Costco’s price is better by about $1.50 for the gallon and a half size than what my grocery store charges.

Mix water and vinegar about 2:1 in a spray bottle and use for general cleaning purposes. You can add a few drops of tea tree oil or lavender essential oil to get rid of the vinegar smell. Another alternative is to place orange peels in a jar, then fill with vinegar and wait two weeks. Filter it into your spray bottle and dilute with water, and you have a great smelling cleaning spray. Lemon works as well.

2. Baking soda

Baking soda does some cleaning on its own, but it’s also vinegar’s loyal companion. Baking soda gives that little bit of grit to help with scrubbing. Sprinkle it where you need it, then spray with vinegar to get the fizzing going. The reaction really helps with cleaning.

3. Castile soap

For those times you need soap, castile soap should be less toxic than the usual sorts of dish soap. You can use it as is, or water it down just a touch.

For dishes, combine a cup of castile soap, a quarter cup of water. Use as you would other dish soaps when hand washing dishes. If you’re having trouble with a film left behind on your dishes, have vinegar mixed into your rinse water. According to the Dr. Bronner’s website, mixing lemon juice or vinegar directly into the soap just doesn’t work that well.

4. Cleaning rags

Old towels or burp cloths which aren’t good for anything else are great for cleaning anywhere in the house, not just the kitchen. I have a bin full of old burp cloths, most of which have been in use since my 10 year old was an infant, first as burp cloths, but now for general cleaning. They work great.

You can cut up larger towels for use as rags when they get too old too. Think about what sizes you need, and trim by your preferences.

5. Steam mop

I hate mopping floors, but using a steam mop makes it more pleasant and doesn’t require anything other than plain water. I like that. Haan and Enviro Steamer are both considered good brands and are reasonably priced in my opinion.

6. Credit card scraper

When you have tough foods to get off, an old credit card is pretty effective as a scraper, as are similar cards. Obviously you have to be more careful about leaving it out, especially if it’s expired but otherwise a current card number. If you have a card of the same sort of material as a credit card but without such risk to your personal information, it will be a far better choice. Some store loyalty cards may be appropriate, especially if you use your phone number rather than your card when you’re at the store anyhow.

7. Recycled dish scrubbers

Full Circle makes a variety of cleaning supplies made from recycled plastic, plant based plastics and other generally eco friendly materials. A few other companies also make scrubbers. Natural fiber scrubbers

8. Skip antibacterial products

Antibacterial products have great marketing, but the way most people use them, they aren’t as effective at killing bacteria as many think.¬† In fact, antibacterial soaps may kill only about as many bacteria as regular soaps. With the environmental hazards of triclosan, it’s better to skip the antibacterial soaps.