Thursday, September 2, 2010

Green Cleaning - Getting Started

Green Bubbles from brhefele

I've recently become pretty enamoured with the whole green-cleaning movement, and have thrown myself headlong into learning all there is about cleaning sans chemicals.

It's been really interesting, and aside from an unfortunate smelling homemade laundry powder (which I will use up, begrudgingly) I've been stoked with the results.

I'm keen to share a few of my favourite recipes today, and can keep adding them if folks are interested.

Getting Started
Before you start, there are a few items and products that are pretty important to have at home, otherwise you'll feel like it's a huge chore to go out and buy them as you come across the need. The key things you'll need to begin:
  • A collection of spray/spritz/squirt bottles (I bought half a dozen from the Reject Shop for $2 each and that's been plenty for me. I have some recipes made up all the time while others are just a one-off use).
  • Old tea-towels or cloth nappies for wiping down surfaces
  • Various sponges, Chux wipes etc
  • Empty jars or takeaway containers to store made-up formulas
  • Baking soda (known as bi-carb soda here in Australia)
  • A good quality, genuine castile soap. You can either get a hard bar and grate it up where needed or a liquid version. I use Dr Bronners Liquid Castile in Lavender (naturally) and Orange Citrus. Castile soap is supremely gentle on your skin but still quite concentrated and a really effective cleaner. I'll put together a post on how much I love the stuff shortly.
  • Borax - a natural mineral found in powdered form in your laundry aisle
  • Washing soda - also in your laundry aisle
  • Vinegar (white vinegar is fine, or cleaning vinegar)
  • Tea tree oil
To get through a typical cleaning week, these are the formula I need, and for a less frequent clean (the oven for example) I just make the relevant formula up when I need it:

         All purpose spray cleaner
         Tea tree oil spray (Water and 10 drops tea tree oil)
         Vinegar/Water Spray (1:4)
         Straight Vinegar


I use this recipe to clean kitchen and bathroom benchtops and cupboards, the outside of the microwave, fridge and oven and the wall tiles when they only need a light clean. It's fairly mild, but I find that because I wipe down the kitchen bench after use that there's never a huge scungy later of grease to remove. If you're after something to remove that, then vinegar and water (one part vinegar to three parts water) in a spray bottle will help, or the Kitchen Scouring Paste (2 tbsp vinegar, 3 tbsp baking soda combined).

     1/2 tsp washing soda
     1 tsp borax
     1/2 tsp castile soap
     2 tbsp vinegar
     2 cups hot water

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well until solid bits have dissolved. Spray surfaces and wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge.


     1/2cup borax

Sprinkle inside toilet bowl liberally with borax and spray with straight vinegar until thoroughly wet. Leave on for 30 minutes. Use a scrubbing brush as normal and flush.

I usually then clean the toilet suite with the All Purpose Spray Cleaner. Comes up a treat, every time.

There are recipes for more stubborn stains, but I can't recommend them as I've never had to try. If I do I'll be sure to tell you about it.


To clean mirrors, windows and shower screens I use the vinegar/water spray. Spray the glass and wipe well with newspaper. Sparkly McGee!

I also use the same vinegar/water spray on tiles in the bathroom and kitchen if they need a good clean. Spray, leave, rinse and wipe dry.

Straight vinegar sprayed into the bath or shower and left for 10 minutes is the best way to get rid of soap build-up or a bath ring. Just spray, leave for 10, wipe/scrub with a sponge, rinse and wipe down.

Tea tree oil spray is used on high rotation in our house. It's an awesome bactericide, smells lovely and is gentle enough to use on almost everything. I use it for:
  • A super excellent nappy spray. (I spray Isy's used nappies and pop them in a dry bucket until washing time)
  • Spray down bathroom tiles after cleaning, leave for 10 minutes, then wipe dry. This stops mould/mildew build-up. Keeps the tiles cleaner too.
  • Spray on washed shower curtains to stop mould/mildew.
  • Fabulous deoderiser
I also use green cleaners in the laundry, the rest of the kitchen and around the house, but I'll save them for another post (or seven.)

Brooke, the cleaning nerd.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Brooke, I'm loving your new blog :)
    I went through a similar journey when Amelia was a bub. It was hard to stop and re-assess my priorities but now I couldn't be happier. I wish you all the best. Great cleaning tips! x


Merci! Ta! Xie xie!