Hannah’s blog, Life+Style+Justice, was one of the first ethical blogs I came across. For months, I had no idea there were so many great bloggers in this eco-conscious sphere that also posted outfits and natural recipes. Today, Hannah will go over her natural and sustainable cleaning routine with you! You can also check out my ethical outfit post on her blog today.
As I’ve become more aware of what my clothes are made of, where my food comes from, and how to make more ethical choices that are kind to people and planet, I’ve gradually ditched all of the plastic bottles of chemical-laden cleaning supplies lurking around my home. I now clean my entire house with just 6 simple, natural ingredients and minimal supplies:
- Baking Soda
- Lemon Vinegar
- Lemon Juice
- Olive Oil
- Dr Bronner’s Fair Trade Castile Soap
- Cleaning Rags (use cotton or other natural fibers- that way you’ll be able to compost them when they’re worn out!)
These naturally powerful cleaners are just as effective as chemicals, and don’t leave your house full of toxic fumes to breathe in. They’re also better for the environment!
My favorite cleaning “product” is vinegar: it kills 90% of mold and 99.9% of bacteria. Baking soda deodorizes and provides a mild abrasive for tougher scrubbing jobs, and A combination of oil and lemon juice works wonders on wood that needs a little TLC!
Here’s a breakdown of my natural cleaning routine:
- Windows and Mirrors : spray lemon vinegar (instructions below) onto mirrors, let sit briefly, wipe dry with a cotton rag or piece of newspaper (throw in the recycling when you’re done)
- Toilets and sinks: Spray with lemon vinegar, let sit briefly, wipe dray with a cotton rag. If you need a bit more cleaning power, make a soft scrub my mixing baking powder with a bit of water, scrub, and rinse. If you’ve got hard water buildup on your sink (I get this around my faucet in the bathroom and it’s disgusting!), simply soak a rag in vinegar, wrap it around the offending area, leave it for 30 minutes, and voila! It rubs right off like magic! To clean the toilet bowl, dump about 3 tbs of baking soda into the bowl, then add 3 tbs of vinegar. Grab your brush and scrub while it foams!
- Wooden Furniture: Use 1/3 cup olive oil mixed with 2/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice for a furniture polish that will leave wood conditioned and shiny (it smells way better than pledge, too!)
- Stovetop: This is one of my biggest cleaning nightmares! I LOVE to cook on my gas-burner stove, but I’m a pretty messy chef- I’m always letting things boil over or spill onto my ancient white stovetop. I used to use “barkeepers friend” scouring powder, a nasty toxic concoction of chemicals, since it was the ONLY thing I could find that would work to remove discoloration and baked-on crud. I finally found a solution! Save eggshells and bake them in the over on low heat until they are dry and very brittle. Let cool, then crush them into a powder with a food processor or mortar and pestle. Mix 2 parts baking soda with one part eggshells and enough water to make a paste. A little elbow grease is the only other thing you’ll need!
- Wooden Floors: After sweeping, put 1/3 cup olive oil mixed with 2/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice and 3 cups warm water in a spray bottle. Shake well and lightly spritz floors before dry mopping.
- Tub: make a paste with castile soap and baking soda. Use a stiff brush on areas that need a bit more scrubbing.
- Linoleum floors: use straight vinegar or dilute it in water- wet floor and then mop and let dry!
While vinegar is a great natural cleaner, it’s smell is a little… er… pungent? I like to solve that issue (and add a little extra cleaning power) by making lemon-infused vinegar. All you need is a jar of white vinegar and a bunch of lemon rinds. I like to drink water with fresh squeezed lemon, so I save my rinds to add to my vinegar mix. Peel out the bits of membrane that are left on the peel so that you’ve only got the pith (white bitter stuff) and the peel (yellow outside) left. This ensures that you won’t get any stickiness from any leftover bits of lemon juice. Chop up those rinds and drop them into your jar of vinegar- and you’re done. Throw it on your counter or under your sink and let it “brew” for a few weeks. You’ll watch the color and scent get sucked right out of the lemons and into the vinegar. When your vinegar starts to smell lemon-y enough for you, Strain out the pickled lemon rind chunks and bottle it up!
If you have any questions about my cleaning routine, let me know
Hannah is the blogger behind Life+Style+Justice, a personal fashion and lifestyle blog focused on fair trade, ethical, and sustainable living. Life+Style+Justice provides helpful resources and reviews for consumers who are interested in adopting a way of life that promotes justice and equality!