Chemical Free Cleaning

Some of you may already know that I have started writing for Kleenex Mums. My articles over there are a little longer and more in depth than you usually find here at SquiggleMum, but I hope you enjoy them and find them informative.  Jump over to read my articles on Water Wise Families or School Projects, or read this one below on chemical free cleaning:

going green no chemicals

Before having children, cleaning the bathroom tiles involved holding my breath and squirting around the strongest chemicals I could find.  Now that I’m a mum I find I am more conscious of what I use to clean our home, and I’m endeavouring to replace many of these toxic products with natural, chemical-free alternatives.  I have actually been rather reluctant to make the change to green cleaning – partly because I was sceptical it would really work, and partly for fear of being labelled.

Yes*. At least, so far so good in our home.  The first green-clean change I made has proven to be incredibly effective, and it’s my number one chemical free cleaning tip.  All I did was switch to using environmentally friendly microfibre cloths.  These cloths have eliminated three quarters of my cleaning products.  There are a few brands on the market, some of which can be purchased off the shelves in the supermarket, and others which are sold through party-plan schemes.  They clean efficiently using only water, and work by trapping dirt in their teeny tiny fibres.  They can be washed and reused many times over too.  We have a lot of glass in our home and I am amazed at how easily I can clean it all with only two cloths and a little water.  And because it’s completely chemical free – the kids can help with cleaning the mirrors, tiles, benches, windows, table and kitchen chairs too!

The next green-clean change I am making is to replace the remaining chemicals I use in our home with natural alternatives.  Instead of viewing the remedies my great grandmother may have used to remove mould as outdated, I am starting to appreciate them for their simplicity.  (Mould has been a widespread problem in Queensland following the drenching we received earlier this year.)  I can only wonder what’s in the bottle of spray in my laundry which claims to eradicate mould, and the smell of the chemical concoction is unbearable.  My great granny would most likely have used tea-tree oil, borax or vinegar.

chemical free cleaning tips

Try these cleaning tips from yesteryear to keep everything from the carpets to the tiles clean in your home.  Always remember to spot test in an inconspicuous area before trying any cleaning remedies.

Help me!

Chemical Free Solutions

The walls are growing fur. Tea-tree oil is one of the best natural remedies for killing mould and is readily available in Australia.  1 tsp of tea-tree oil to 1 cup of water in a spray bottle should do the trick.
Baby’s change table area stinks! Leave an open box of bicarb or baking soda in the room to absorb the smell.
Our windows are smudged with hand and face prints. Just wipe over once with a wet microfiber cloth, and once with a glass cloth. Or, try vinegar and newspaper.
The bath has rings. Wipe over with vinegar. Sprinkle bicarb or baking soda and scrub with a damp sponge (and a little elbow grease).  Rinse.
I’m spending a fortune on stainless steel cleaners. Use the same cloths you use on glass!
The kids have spilled something on the carpet (again). Borax is a naturally occurring mineral (but keep out of reach of children).  Make a paste with equal quantities of borax, vinegar and salt, rub into the stain and leave for a few hours before vacuuming out. Repeat if necessary.
I can’t get rid of soap scum around the taps. Soak a piece of paper towel in vinegar and wrap it around the taps. Leave for ten minutes, then rinse.
Oops. Something went off in the fridge. Cut some lemon wedges and leave in a bowl in the fridge, or try wiping the area with vanilla.
The bathroom tiles never seem clean. Wipe over with undiluted white vinegar.

The NSW Department of Environment and Conservation also has a great pdf you can download and print called The Easy Guide to Natural Cleaning and for further tips on cleaning your home with baking soda check out McKenzies BiCarb.

going green in the home

I wouldn’t call myself a Green Queen yet, but I am definitely making better choices for my family and I am much more aware of the toxins I use in our home.  I still use the odd chemical here and there, which I hope to eventually replace with alternatives that are better both for the environment and for our health.

Are you paranoid about germs?  Are you a self proclaimed Green Queen?!  Or like me, do you fall somewhere in between?  Oh, and if you have another green cleaning idea, share it below so we can all try it out!

*NB:  Mum, if you’re reading this article – please don’t say “I told you so…”

10 thoughts on “Chemical Free Cleaning

  1. Clove oil is even more effective on mould than Tea Tree oil. We cleaned all our bathroom ceilings (11 ft, 85 years old) with a mixture of clove oil and vinegar, all the mould was gone. :)

  2. I’ve been using oil of cloves too – the house smells like chai – yummy! Health food shops often have it. Thanks for all the tips – I’ll definitely be using them!

  3. I need to go green. The cleaner we use for the shower is so strong that my hubby has to do it – although maybe that’s a good thing?!

    I have a few microfibre cloths and used them for a while but I worry that using water isn’t really getting things clean.

  4. These are such great cleaning tips… I am always looking for the answer to solve that stain or spill… all for going green as not only less chemicals around the home, but I get conscious of nature and always remember those adds about what happens to our water ways

    these days there are so many eco friendly products it makes it a whole lot easier :) thanks for the tips xx

  5. Highly recommend the book “Saving Money Made Easy” by Cath Armstrong from http://www.cheapskates.com.au. Great cleaning recipes on page 162. I absolutely *swear* by the home made laundry spray, much more effective on stains and stinky underarms LOL! I also love the general purpose cleaning spray, and have just made and started using my first batch of washing powder. They’re heaps cheaper too!

    For sparkling clean glass shower screens I clean with a paste of bicarb soda and water. Bicarb (and vinegar if I feel like it!) is also fab for the toilet bowl!

  6. I have the book Spotless by Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming, it has heaps of great green cleanning ideas. Unfortunaly I can get lazy and just use spray and wipe – really should get back into green cleaning.

  7. This is exaxtly what I was looking for! I have been searching the web for natural cleaning methods. There is one thing you didn’t cover and that’s washing clothes.
    If you haven’t tried them by now (I know this article and its responses are a few months old!) I would love you to try Soapnuts!! I sell them on by website. If you’d like a free sample, please let me know and I’ll post them to you! They’re a natural tree berry and you use the shell to put in your washing machine to wash your clothes. You can also put them in the dishwasher and make a multipurpose cleaning liquid out of them to use as a shampoo, hand wash, wash your pets, spray and wipe, etc.
    I love your site, it’s fantastic! Thanks for the tips and keep up the fantastic work!

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