Safer Household Cleaning Products

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Looking for Nontoxic Cleaner

I have a 9-month-old son who is beginning to get into everything. My goal is to make my cleaning products as safe as possible for our whole family without spending a fortune. I've disposed of most of my cleaners and use only dishwasher detergent, vinegar/ammonia window cleaner, and bleach water (both homemade). Are there any safer homemade alternatives? Has anyone had any experiences with the "organic" (and very expensive) cleansers?

Tea Time Cleaner

I use tea to clean my wood furniture and hardwood floors. Just brew two teabags in four cups of water and allow it to cool to lukewarm. Soak a rag in it, then squeeze until damp. Then you can just wash away. Apparently, the Tannic acid in the tea cleans the wood. It works great to take off furniture polish buildup. Also, to clean any kind of linoleum, mixing a gallon of water with a tablespoon of borax works wonders.

Great Book for Nontoxic Cleaners

I purchased the book Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan after checking it out from the library three or four times. Her recipes are all natural, cheap, and they really work! She has a recipe for furniture cleaner with which you can clean your table or dress your salad! I use club soda and coffee filters to clean windows and mirrors. One of the only store-purchased cleaning items that I have in my house is dishwasher detergent; I found that the store bought "natural" stuff didn't work. I also recommend Fresh Breeze Laundry Powder by Soapworks. I like it but it's still a "keep out of reach of children" item.

Simple Cleaner Solution

When I was a new mom, I bought every cleaner that I found that was safe. I guess they were safe, but did not work. I found that vinegar and baking soda would clean just about everything. I still use baking soda instead of Comet to "scrub" pots and pans!

Easy, Inexpensive Cleaning Ideas

I share your concerns. There are simple, safe and effective cleaning solutions and products, which are easily accessible, inexpensive and safe for the whole family. Following are just a few, which I recommend:

Use a solution of vinegar and water to clean just about any surface in your home! Vinegar, unbeknownst to many, is a natural disinfectant. I use it for cleaning my wood floors. Do not allow the vinegar and water to saturate the wood or remain standing for long periods. Rinse and dry after using as a cleaning agent on kitchen countertops, chrome appliances, refrigerator/stove/dishwasher exteriors, glass tabletops, linoleum floors, mirrors, TV and computer screens, sinks, and toilet bowls/exteriors, etc. For TV and computer screens, spray the vinegar/water solution on a paper towel as opposed to spraying directly on the appliance. Full strength vinegar may be used inside the toilet bowl as a disinfectant. Allow it to sit for a bit before wiping and flushing. Tubs may be cleaned using plain old baking soda, which when combined with hot water makes an excellent cleaning solution. The natural "grit" in the baking soda makes it an excellent cleanser. For extra cleaning inside the toilet bowl, add a bit of baking soda to the vinegar/water solution. This will cause a fizzing reaction, which helps to clean the bowl.

For stubborn or slow drains, try a solution of vinegar and baking soda poured directly down the drain followed by very hot water. This again causes the fizzing reaction, which can help to clean and clear the drain.

These are just a few safe, inexpensive, and easy to find suggestions. If you are interested in commercial products, I might recommend a company located in Utah by the name of Neways, Inc. They are on the web, and their cleaning products are certified as chemical free and non-carcinogenic. There is documentation within their web site, which explains the safety and certification regarding their products. I have used quite a few of their soaps and cleaning products. They are not overly expensive and work well. The best of luck to you! What a shame that more families do not take the safety of their children as well as their own safety into consideration when purchasing and using cleaning solutions and products around the home.

Good Thing It's Shaklee!

We have found Shaklee produces the safest and most organic cleaners. We heard of where a child got into the sink paste cleanser, ate some, and the parents called Poison Control. Poison Control said, "good thing it is Shaklee, he will have a tummy ache is all". The products are very concentrated so you aren't paying for the water. They have a website you can order through if there isn't a distributor in your area. I love the fact that I can have only three different bottles of cleanser (one is disinfectant) and still cover all of my cleaning needs. I have so much room for storage of other things. Get rid of the ammonia and bleach, both caustic to your child and harmful to a septic system. Just think ammonia is an ingredient in bombs!

Simple Green Is My Favorite Cleaner

I, too, have a small toddler whose hobby it is to figure out how to open all the new and exciting locking mechanisms her parents install for her. To prevent accidents, I use Simple Green products for most of my cleaning. They have a marvelous general purpose cleaner which I find better than most other, more toxic products. It is safer than ammonia-based products. I use it in different dilution strengths depending on the job at hand. I have different spray bottles for different types of jobs for convenience, but it's all the same stuff. Directions for diluting Simple Green are on the bottle and I have found them to be very appropriate. No need to waste a tablespoon when a teaspoon will do the job.

Simple Green Cleaner is essentially non-toxic, which means that when your little munchkin has a taste all you need to do is have him drink some water to dilute it. They have other products too, which may require different first aid measures. But for the general purpose cleaner, this is what's recommended by their Material Safety Data Sheet. They have a nice website with information, including where to buy it, at

The Simple Green sits on my windowsill in the kitchen, together with the dishwashing detergent. In addition to using Simple Green almost exclusively, we have also banned most other toxic cleaners to a high shelf in the garage where our little one cannot get to them as we keep the door locked.

Non-Toxic, Organic and Biodegradable Cleaning Products

My own personal experience is with Seventh Generation products. The web site Seventh Generation prides themselves on creating non-toxic, totally organic, and biodegradable cleaning products. We've used their glass and toilet/bathroom cleaners, laundry detergent, dish soap, and non-chlorine bleach alternative. We've been very happy with the results. Their products are beginning to appear on the shelves of select grocery and natural food stores.

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