Greening the Cleaning

This kid lives his life at floor level.
That means the floors should be clean, right?

As a New Year's resolution I've decided I have to take the next step in crunchy-motherhood and eliminate chemical/non-green cleaning products from my house. This decision is two-fold -- 1) My sneaky little crawling baby can open cabinets. He also chooses to learn more about things by putting them in his mouth 2) It's good to eliminate as many toxins in your life as you can. Duh. Even someone as low as me on the granola scale knows that.

This decision was not made lightly. I grew up with the old school homemaking philosophy that bleach and disinfectant were the only way to keep your house clean and your family healthy. Killing all viruses and germs that could get my baby does sound appealing since flu season is upon us. Plus, my mom used eco-unfriendly cleaning problems and I turned out OK. (The previous sentence is a joke -- the phrase "my mom did it and I'm OK" is the bane of my parenting existence.)  However, after reading this post http://www.phdinparenting.com/2010/12/06/my-babies-were-healthy-without-lysol/ I've been thinking limiting kiddo's exposure to chemicals might not be a bad idea.

My biggest problem with switching cleaning products is that "green" means expensive. Spending money on fancy natural or organic brands goes against every penny-pinching, discount-loving bone in my body. Those kinds of products easily cost 25% more than their chemical-laden counterpart and they rarely go on sale. As to not go into some sort of anti-frugal state of shock I've gotten my hands on a few good green coupons. The products are still expensive, but at least I feel like I'm getting a bit of a deal.

Of course, there is always the super-thrifty, super-hippie cleaning route of DIY cleaning supplies.Soap buds, vinegar and baking soda can do just about anything. But I am not a DIY kind of girl. I do well if I DO the laundry, if I have to make my own laundry soap nothing will ever get done. Promise. I know that about myself. But, if you're into that kind of thing (and I'm reallllly not) Real Simple has a great article on natural cleaning http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/all-natural-cleaning-solutions-00000000011547/index.html.

I'm probably just going to take the lazy(ish) route of purchasing the store bought green products. If you're a lazy(ish), crunchy(ish), practical(ish) mama like me, check out this fantastic list of safer/BPA-free cleaning products and kids gear from Safe Mam http://safemama.com/cheatsheets/


  1. gOing green in cleaning agents isn't hard at all. We wash with eco wash balls now, which is even easier than with detergent and we add a splash of white vinegar instead of softener. Floor is green soap, lemon and a few drops of tea tree. No magic there.
    It may sound challenging to make your own cleaning agents, but it's actually much easier than it looks. In the end green cleaning is not more work than mixing your household product in your bucket
    Here are some 'recipies' to get you started
    Happy trip down eco-cleaning lane, you'll quickly find that the store type is actually quite chemically smelling

  2. What are eco wash balls? I haven't heard of them. I know about the wool dryer balls, but that's about it. I'm a green mama novice as you can tell! I'm such a novice that chemically-smell doesn't bother me yet. Chemically still smells like clean to me!

    I think sometimes people who have been really into eco-friendly living for a while forget how hard it can be for newbies. That's kind of why I wanted to write about it. It's like that also with cloth diapers, organic gardening, etc. If you don't know someone in your family or your circle of friends that does those things and you have no books, background or prior knowledge it's really difficult and intimidating to get started.

    And being green is harder than not being green.(What's the opposite of green? Red?)Being green is harder than being red? That doesn't sound right. Mainstream things are mainstream for a reason. They're easier and cheaper. Sometimes money and convenience are hard to sacrific.

    I'm so glad you shared those tips and that link! Thank you!

  3. AHHH I changed my mind! I just looked closer at the supposedly natural products I have the coupons for and they have bleach in them. Ummm. No. If I want bleach I'll get bleach, not your expensive, quasi-green crap. I'm thinking more and more about those soap nuts...

  4. I agree, going green isn't easy. I've got Crunchy friends making their own cleaners, making great efforts to go completely green. Nope not me, I need easy and convenient grocery store options.


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