When it comes to my home, I prefer things neat, clean and orderly. I have a simple routine in place to help me stay on top of things. The easier it is to accomplish a task the more likely I am to make sure it happens. When I can save time by not having to choose and tote around a ton of different products for each room of the house it makes the overall cleaning process that much simpler.
Marketing companies put so much effort into making us think we need products that are job specific. Look through any store’s weekly ad and you will find a barrage of cleaning products tailored to each area of your home. Toilet, tub, tile, wood, floors, laundry, dishes, and so many more! It is astounding to me how much one could spend buying the “necessary” products. We have bought into the lie that we NEED all these things. And that is just cleaning products. That doesn’t count outdoors, gardening, cars, or beauty products. It goes to show the vanity of our current culture. The amount of these things we actually NEED is minimal. I do my best to keep our toiletries budget low by not buying unnecessary products.
I try to choose products that are environmentally friendly and health conscious while also being effective. I have found it difficult to find products that meet all of that criteria. I will not waste my money on products that don’t give me the results I want in the name of being green. Personally, efficacy is my highest priority. I have tried all the DIY cleaning recipes and none of them cut the mustard. There are certain products for a reason. For instance, there is a difference between detergent and soap. Detergent is a necessity in getting my laundry and dishes clean and is absent in homemade options. The cleaning capacity of soaps are greatly reduced in hard water. The term surfactant or surface active agent is a word that has a negative connotation. Surfactants attach to dirt, break it up, and let water wash it away. They are essential to achieving a clean finished product.
Despite being a sucker for pretty packaging I have pared down my regular cleaning products to those that work for me. It is a rather simple list. Keep reading to see the products that I choose on a regular basis.
Mrs. Meyers multi-surface cleaning concentrate in lemon verbena is at the top of my list. I love using a concentrate because I can make a concentrate that is specific to the task at hand. It is my go-to surface cleaner. I keep a spray bottle in the kitchen, under each bathroom sink, and in my laundry room. It takes no time at all to spray down all the surfaces and wipe them down. If it needs wiped down this is what I use. With this product I clean all of the following replacing the need for one job products:
- Glass tables
- Doors and windows
- Wood furniture (mixed with 1 tablespoon olive oil)
- Stainless steel appliances
- Bathtubs and sinks
- laminate and tile floors
- Glass cooktop
- Stains on rugs
I have a large selection of cleaning rags that I have collected. I have quite a few microfiber cloths that are specifically for cleaning and never go through the dryer as not to collect lint or other fuzzies. Others are cut up old towels and sheets that had seen their better days that I use for the messier jobs. The microfiber works best on glass while I find the old towels give a good scrub on the tub and the inevitable layer of hair products that collects on my bathroom counter.
Tide Free and Clear Powder Laundry Detergent is our all around go to laundry detergent. Between my husband’s scrubs from his job as an ICU nurse and our baby’s cloth diapers we have some seriously dirty laundry. There is a noticeable difference in the cleanliness of our clothes when I use this combined with my washing soda. My laundry is left with a smell that is clean….it’s not flowers or mountain spring…it’s just clean. For stains I mix some of this with a little water and let it sit to pretreat before washing.
Washing Soda is a staple for my laundry. We have hard water and the washing soda gives my detergent the boost I need. It also works great for cleaning stains from my stainless steel kitchen sink. I sometimes mix it with a little water to create an abrasive paste for stuck on gunk.
Seventh Generation Free & Clear Liquid Hand Dish Soap is a an environmentally friendly choice that works well for me. There is no fragrance, all the packaging is recyclable, and is effective. It easily replaces Dawn Dish Soap in my opinion.
Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus Dishwashing Detergent Gel is an eco-friendly option that I find works well even with the hard water in our area. It leaves my dishes clean with no film or residue.
Wool dryer balls cut the static cling replacing the need for dryer sheets. They also noticeably decrease the amount of time it takes for my clothes to dry. If I am looking to add a little fragrance to my laundry, I will put a few drops of lemon, lime, and orange essential oil on them before tossing them in the dryer.
When it comes to cleaning the tools you use are almost as important as the products. I have quite a few tools that I use on a regular basis.
An old paintbrush comes in handy so often. I use it every time I change my air conditioning filter to remove all the dust that collects on the vents and on the air return grate. It also works great for cleaning blinds and in the grooves of our glass sliding doors.
An old toothbrush is something I find myself reaching for all the time. It gets in all the little nooks and crannies. The rim of my washing machine lid? Check. Removing mold from around sink faucets and drains? Check.
A Long-handled dish scrubber doesn’t require much to figure out.
A Cordless vacuum keeps me from making excuses to not clean my floors. The one we have can do the whole house including rugs on one charge. It even has a concentrator nozzle for getting in the corners and sucking up cobwebs.
Easy wring mopping system. I prefer a mop with a washable head over a mop with a disposable pad. Reducing waste is the first step in reduce, reuse, and recycle. It is simple to use and came with a bucket that has a spinning section to remove excess water powered by a foot petal.
These are seriously all the products I use to keep my house clean. It is simple, affordable, and really takes most of the thinking out of the cleaning process. I am confident in my choices. I feel good about reducing my use of chemicals and plastic by not having so many different products. Maybe it’s time for you take inventory of your cleaning products and see which ones are staples and which ones need to go.