One of my first dips into the crunchy mama pool started with our cleaning products. In fact, the desire to find an all-natural cleaner because the thought of using harsh chemicals around a new baby seemed like a really bad idea is what propelled me at 8 months pregnant to finally purchase the essential oils I’d been thinking about for so long. That then lead to personal care products, make up, cloth menstrual pads, and more.
But I digress.
Over the last three or so years I’ve been working to switch many of the items in our lives to healthier, safer alternatives. I shared with you recently the cleaning schedule that I follow to keep my house (semi) clean so now I thought I’d share what products I use to do that naturally.
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1. surfaces (kitchen counters, bathroom counters, tables, etc.)
Thieves cleaner. Thieves cleaner for everything. Thieves cleaner is a household cleaner that Young Living sells that contains Thieves essential oil along with other natural ingredients and it cleans AMAZINGLY well. I have been so pleased with how well it works. Plus it smells great and I don’t worry a bit about using it around my family; in fact, Hudson loves to help me spray the kitchen table and counters and wipe them down. I have some microfiber Norwex envirocloths and some e-cloth cloths (a brand with microfiber cloths similar to the envirocloth) but I tend to save those for jobs that need an little extra scrubbing power. For normal, everyday cleaning I use old washrags.
It’s super concentrated: they recommend a 30:1 ratio so 1 ounce of cleaner mixed with 30 ounces of water in a large spray bottle (which is what I use) would give you 14 large spray bottles (a bottle of concentrate is 14.4 oz). That’ll last a good long time for the average household! You can also earn it free this month with qualifying orders.
2. mirrors and glass
Ok can we be honest here? I clean the windows…like…never. No that’s not true, I clean everything when I’m nesting during pregnancy so maybe twice in the last four years. So the glass doesn’t get cleaned much but if it did, Thieves cleaner again is what I’d use. And I *do* clean our mirrors weekly and I use the Thieves cleaner for that (the same mixture that I make up for counters, sinks, toilets, etc.).
When I switched to Thieves cleaner I assumed it wouldn’t clean as well, being that it wasn’t full of super harsh chemicals, and I just decided that I’d rather have a safe cleaner more than I cared about spotless mirrors. To my surprise, it turns out the Thieves cleaner actually does a better job at keeping my mirror streak free than my old glass cleaner, so that was a nice turn of events.
I grew up dusting with rags or the brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner. When I discovered the Norwex dusting mitt and then later the Envirowand I was in love. They both use some microfiber magic that picks up the dust and hangs on to it instead of smearing it around like a plain rag.
I slip the dusting mitt on my hand or grab my Envirowand (which is really nice for high things like door facings or fans, as well as low things like baseboard so you don’t have to squat down) and quickly rub it over what needs to be dusted. It’s super fast. And Hudson loves to help me dust too so he wears the mitt or takes the wand and dusts with them too.
The outside of the toilet I clean with my all-purpose Thieves spray. For the insides though, that usually needs a little extra oomph. I (very unscientifically and non-measured) sprinkle some baking soda around the edges of the bowl, squirt a little Thieves cleaner (the concentrate straight from the bottle) on top of the baking soda, and then use a toilet brush (I like this one because it gets under the edges easily) to scrub, scrub, scrub.
I’ve already shared my stainless steel cleaning method in another post so check that out here.
I love my DIY hand soap but something about it (the castile soap, maybe?) causes some gummy build up in the sinks that takes a bit more than just spraying and wiping like I’m able to do on the counters. In our bathroom sinks I can usually get it up with Thieves cleaner and an e-cloth or Envirocloth. The kitchen sink is more stubborn though and on that I use the Norwex cleaning paste. The kitchen sink is usually the only place I use the cleaning paste and it only takes a dab so the container I have has lasted me forever and I still have a ton left.
7. shower and tub
This right here is my least favorite thing to clean, mainly because our shower is small and it’s a full on ordeal to get in the shower and clean it and get wet and so on. Because of that I’m really bad about not getting the shower cleaned as often as I do the rest of the house so it gets pretty icky. I have tried all manner of things that DO get it clean but require a TON of elbow grease. What I’ve finally found that is the easiest is a Magic Eraser, but I am sure those things are full of junk so I recently purchased some Norwex Micro Hand cleaning pads (their version of the Magic Eraser). I have not tried them yet (yeah…like I said, pretty bad about putting off cleaning the shower) but I’m hopeful they will be a good replacement. I’ll update this post once I’ve given them a try.
8. floors (sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting)
Our Neato robot vacuum is hands down one of my favorite purchases ever. I’ve blogged about it a little bit before but I need to do a whole detailed review sometime. Basically, it’s amazing. It does a fantastic job cleaning our house and I don’t have to do a thing other than turn it on. I no longer have to vacuum, sweep, or Swiffer the floors, the Neato does it all for me. We had a Roomba first and it was ok but then we switched to the Neato and it was a bazillion times better.
9. floors (mopping)
For years and years I’ve used the Rubbermaid mop and been pretty happy with it. I used its wet jet thing and filled it with my own mixture of Thieves cleaner and water. However, it broke recently and I decided to try something new so I went with the e-cloth mop, which is supposed to be comparable to the Norwex mop that everyone raves about but at a much lower price point. I’ll be honest that I’m not *quite* as enamored with it as many others are, but it’s ok. My floors aren’t magically a million times cleaner or more sparkly than before though.
It’s much easier to maneuver and fits under furniture much better than the Rubbermaid did, so that’s a plus. It doesn’t have a sprayer so I just wet the microfiber pad with water, ring it out, and use that to mop. If there is a particularly yucky spot (like the floor under Parker’s high chair), then I’ll take my spray bottle of Thieves cleaner, spray the area, let it sit a few minutes, then mop it up with the e-cloth mop.
And that’s it, folks! Those few products (plus a good schedule) is all it takes to keep our house clean yet free from nasty, harsh chemicals.