For the Home

Time to Use a Greener Cleaner

“We are an awesome team,” Holden my three year exclaimed. “Like ninjas!” He told me proudly. I had just thanked him for his help with mopping our hard wood floors. And yes, he really does help. He squirts the Method wood floor cleaner, and I wipe it down. It’s a really great system. And I feel ok letting him help me because Method products are plant derived, natural and based on the idea that people want “cleaning products they didn’t have to hide under their sinks.”  But this article is not an infomercial for Method, though we may share philosophy.

We’ve talked about simple tips for a greener kitchen, but I’m interested in green-cleaning as a whole because I don’t want poisonous, toxic and carcinogenic cleaning products in the name of making my home ‘sterile.’ Sure, I want a clean house – who doesn’t? At the same time, I want to be able to make a sandwich on my kitchen countertop without ingesting chlorinated bleach and be ok with my kids learning the value of work without their lungs suffering from harmful fumes.

Choosing a Greener Cleaner

Use a Greener Cleaner

Clean doesn’t have to equal toxic, in fact it shouldn’t. And while there are loads of green cleaning products out there (I’ve listed a few of my favorites *below), this is one area you can save loads of money by doing it yourself. Simple ingredients that you most likely already have on hand work wonders for getting your pad shiny and new.

I buy baking soda and white distilled vinegar in bulk from Costco; the combination makes an excellent –and green–replacement for Drano. (And you thought the combination was just for Volcano Science Experiments.)

At the Vinegar Tips website you’ll find 1001 uses for White Distilled Vinegar with two entire sections devoted to cleaning and laundry. We use vinegar (as opposed to Windex) for cleaning mirrors (Holden loves ‘playing’ with the spray bottle). Vinegar is also awesome for, among other things, getting the S-T-A-N-K out of extra tricky laundry (mostly my husband’s workout gear).

I’m also a fan of Borax, essential oils (tea tree, lavender and eucalyptus are my top picks) and Castile soap – (Dr. Bronner’s Almond is our family’s favorite). How cool to clean with a product you can brush your teeth with? Talk about being safe around children… Also, I cordially invite you to check out Apartment Therapy’s “25 DIY Cleaning Tips” It’s basically the ingredient list from above and a few extra gems.

So for this month’s challenge, I think we ought to try to green-up-our-clean a bit more. And I’m anxious to hear, what are you doing already in the realm of green-cleaning and what are you going to try?

Products I love (and splurge for):

*This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Make and Takes.

photo via Jennifer Burk


  1. Thanks for the links to the recipes — for a while now, I’ve kept a spray bottle of 1 c white vinegar, 1 c water, 1 Tbsp baking soda and a bit of lemon juice right by my kitchen sink for cleaning produce and kitchen surfaces. My kids (ages 3-5) are awesome cleaning helpers in the kitchen, and I don’t have to worry about them breathing in any fumes or ingesting anything that I have to call Poison Control for.

  2. I bought a pack of tea towels and a pack of microfiber rags (from the automotive section at Wal Mart) and use them for cleaning the mirros, windows, and shiny surfaces in the kitchen instead of paper towels. We still have a roll of paper towels around for incidental messes (especially cat hair balls!), but I’d say I use only 4-6 rolls a year now.

  3. I use white vinegar or tea tree oil in place of bleach for germ killing, and we’ve been making a lot of our own products. We make bar soap, shampoo, and deoderant because we have allergies and are trying to get away from products with scents and other additives that cause reactions.

  4. Hey! I’m a consultant for a company called Norwex. They are products for cleaning your home and self in a clean/green, quick and easy way! I was just wondering if you’ve heard of them? I am IN LOVE with their products. Their products are spun out of microfiber and microsilver. It makes them antibacterial and INCREDIBLE. They don’t cross contaminate and are heaven to clean with! anywho….just thought I’d throw that out there because I think you’d love them!!

  5. Hi, I would like to disclose Im the owner of Berkley Green S.G.K.We are and EPA certified producer of Household Cleaners and Laundry products. All of our products are Free and Clear no dyes and fragrances.100% plant based surfactants.VOC Free, 100% non -toxic. We also donate 10% of the cost of our products to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. We also donate baskets for all other fund raising events to help raise awareness of the household products we use in our home everyday. It is important to keep in mind the word Natural is not enough there are many ” Natural ‘ things that are toxic. Please look for the EPA certification if it is not there you have no way of knowing your products are truly SAFE for your families use.
    Best Regards,
    Sherry Berkley

  6. I put white vinegar in the opening for “fabric softener” when I wash anything smelly. I also mix it with water to mop the tile floors. I am sensitive to many of the commercial cleaners.

    I use Murphy’s Oil soap diluted in water to clean the wood furniture every so often. This is for regular furniture, not anything fragile or antique. In my area we get dust storms, and this method gets rid of all that fine dirt without using the commercial spray furniture cleaners.

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