Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Our Cleaning Journey

When we first got married, I cleaned house (or crackerjack sized apartment!) with a vast array of your typical cleaners...409, Clorox, Scrubbing Bubbles etc. I never really thought anything of it until I got pregnant and was warned to stay far away from those nasty chemicals in cleaning supplies. This got me thinking about why it was alright for me to be breathing those chemicals in when I was not nurturing a life inside me, but, for those nine or so months that I was pregnant, I absolutely should not be around the chemicals in those cleaners. Instead of doing something about it, I just decided to have my husband do the cleaning while I went out somewhere...good plan, right? It worked for the most part, until the day I came home and he had splashed bleach on our black bathroom rugs while cleaning the toilet. Maybe we should clean the toilet with something that won't immediately ruin whatever it lands on...

This incident happened a few weeks before Julian was born. To be honest, cleaning was the farthest thing from my mind in those first six weeks or so. I really don't remember how we got clean clothes and diapers, even, let alone how our apartment was habitable, because I certainly was not cleaning it! My thoughts about switching to safer cleaning products were revisited when we were moving out of our old apartment towards the end of June. Kerry and I, along with Julian, had gone back to the old apartment one last time so Kerry could clean one more thing in hopes of getting a little more of our deposit back. Julian and I were sitting on the floor when all of a sudden Kerry told us to get out immediately. Apparently he had accidentally mixed two cleaning products that, when mixed, emit poisonous fumes. Lovely. That experience solidified for me that I needed to find new cleaning solutions right away.

In the spirit of motivation, I threw all of our old stuff away, which meant I needed to replace everything if I wanted to clean our new apartment. I trotted off to the local health food store in search of all natural cleaners. I found them, bought them and just about cried when I saw how much it all cost. I reassured myself that the cost was worth it because I was not going to be inhaling toxic fumes or exposing my baby to them while I cleaned. I was not thrilled with the way these products cleaned, but they were all natural and I figured I would just need to get used to them. Well, fortunately, I got used to them, however, our budget did not. We just simply could not continue to purchase these cleaners and afford to pay for everything else we, electricity etc. Back to the drawing board.

I was conflicted. I knew that I did not want to go back to the conventional cleaners, but I also knew that we could not sustain buying these all natural products. So, I did some research. Lots of research. I tested several homemade cleaning recipes. Some worked, some didn't, some smelled awful and others used things I would never have around (vodka as a glass cleaner?...I wouldn't even know what vodka looks like if I did want to buy it!). Finally, after a couple months of testing, I have tweaked and revamped several recipes and come up with homemade cleaners that I love and that won't break the bank. With nine items, I can make cleaners that will clean everything that would need to be cleaned in my apartment. Of these nine items, only four were new purchases that I was not already buying for other uses in my home. Without further ado, here are the nine items I need to clean my home!

Super washing soda
Liquid castile soap
White vinegar
Baking soda
Coconut oil
Essential oils

With these items, I am able to make an all purpose spray that I use on all hard surfaces as well as toilet bowl cleaner, shower cleaner, dish soap, glass cleaner and dust spray. I just used the shower cleaner for the first time yesterday and my husband commented today that the tub looks cleaner than it has in a long time, which is a BIG DEAL coming from a man who claimed nothing could clean a bathroom better than a can of scrubbing bubbles :)
Have you thought about the cleaning products you use in your home? Have you tried making products yourself? Check out the DIY page on my blog for the recipes for these cleaners.


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