Thursday, April 14, 2005

Cleaning naturally

Since Ava was born I've been starting to make and use some natural cleaning products for our home. I'd never really thought much about it before Ava, but it just doesn't seem safe to me to have a bunch of chemical-laden products in the house anymore. I don't want to worry about her accidently getting into something, not to mention that I don't want her ingesting the cleaners' residue or breathing the fumes either. God knows she'll be exposed to enough polutants in this world without me using them all over our home.

My first natural cleaning creation was an all-purpose scrub made from baking soda, water, dish soap and a few drops of an essential oil (for fragrance). I've been using that for cleaning the bathrooms for a while now, but I realized that I need other products for windows, wood, etc.

It so happens that I recently ran out of Windex, so instead of buying a new bottle I made a mixture of water and vinegar to which I added a couple drops of blue food coloring (all in the Windex bottle) and voila - natural window cleaner! It takes a little more elbow grease to get all of the streaks out, but it works. And I don't have to worry about what Ava is getting in her mouth when she licks the sliding glass door, something she seems to enjoy doing. ;)

Then I made a wood polish using vegetable oil and lemon juice and polished my coffee and end tables, as well as the kitchen table and hutch. It worked really well and I feel a lot better about using it, especially on the coffee table where (again) Ava is often putting her mouth. How long does this oral phase last anyway? :oP

I found those two "recipes" on this website which has a ton of safer alternatives to hazardous household cleaners, as well as natural ways to kill ants or garden pests. It's amazing how many uses there are for things like vinegar and baking soda or borax! Guess it's good that I bought that 10 lb. bag of baking soda from Costco a while back!

I think I'm going to freecycle most or all of our regular household cleaners to get them out of the house. Then I won't have to worry about locking them up or putting them on a high shelf, etc.

Now if only there was a simple, natural way to clear all the clutter from my house, I'd be all set. ;)


At 4/14/2005 9:58 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

oh, my gawd, your site is awesome! I just found it. I never dreamed there was a way to make your own wood polish, and your "recipes" for making safer household cleaners, natural ways to kill ants and pests--you're my hero! I also heartily support breastfeeding. (Please e-mail me at I've gotta tell you about my site, which I think you'll love as much as I love yours. (note: see my recycling blog.)

At 4/19/2005 6:31 PM, Blogger myrmom said...

Hey Amy,

I just wanted to let you know that a plain wash cloth and newspaper works awesome on windows and mirrors. Just wet the cloth and wipe down the window or mirror and then wipe it off with newspaper. It's great and leaves no streaks.

At 4/22/2005 8:14 AM, Blogger Tanya said...

Just wanted to say I tried Maggie's method of a wet washcloth and works AWESOME!!! Better than any cleaners I have ever used, wow!

At 4/23/2005 10:13 PM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

Thanks, Darlene. I'm glad you are enjoying my blog. :)

Maggie and Tanya - thanks for the window cleaning tips! I don't subscribe to the newspaper (cuz I'm a cheapskate), but they drop off freebies every now and then. I'll have to remember to keep them for cleaning windows. ;) Your suggestion reminded me that my mom used to use newspaper for getting the streaks off windows and mirrors too.

At 5/23/2005 4:00 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

Amy, I think of you as my "natural problem-solving guru," and I need your advice again. One of my friends has a problem with moles that have created havoc in her garden. Do you know of any natural way to get rid of them? Besides putting your suggestions here, could you go over to my site,, go under "Garden Pests," and tell my readers, too? Would so appreciate your insight.

At 6/09/2005 8:51 PM, Anonymous Elizabeth said...

Hi Amy,

I'm glad you commented on my blog and I have enjoyed reading yours! This is one of my favorite books that I got as a wedding gift. I'm sure it was meant to be rather ironic, but I really have tried most of the suggestions in it.

At 1/26/2006 10:07 PM, Blogger purple_kangaroo said...

I had to LOL at the window-cleaner recipe. Does the blue food coloring actually serve a purpose?

I use vinegar a lot--in my laundry, for cleaning floors, etc. I also like Windex with vinegar--it doesn't have that sharp smell.
Recently I bought a cleaner with tea tree oil in it at Trader Joe's and it smells so good!


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