I wasn’t always a self-styled “crunchy” mom. This transformation began years ago and really kicked into gear when I found out I was pregnant. Suddenly, with the announcement of the baby growing inside me, I was launched into a world of cloth diapers, natural birth, vaccine choices, and natural baby products. I truly became a crunchy mom as her due date approached.
But that’s another blog post entirely.
Years ago, when my husband and I were poor college students living in a comfortable apartment near campus, I couldn’t care less about organic products or natural cleaning supplies (much to his mother’s dismay). We were eating chicken nuggets and fries from the bag and I was a fan of the aerosol cleaners that sprayed out pretty colors and promised that no scrubbing was involved.
Recently, though, I’ve discovered the power of three simple ingredients to clean nearly every surface in the house: Water, vinegar and baking soda.
In the Kitchen
I’m never convinced my counter tops are clean enough, so I’m constantly wiping them down. I personally hate using washcloths on those surfaces because I’m brought back to the smell of an old washcloth from my children and I cringe at the idea of all those germs being spread with a single wipe.
For a simple cleaner, I fill a spray bottle halfway with white vinegar and fill it the rest of the way with water. Sometimes I add a couple drops of tea tree oil, because of the smell and its disinfecting properties. That’s it! This all-purpose cleaner can be used on the counter tops, sink and stove, and even travel to the windows and table top.
Speaking of the sink, do you happen to have a clog? Pour some baking soda in the drain and then a bunch of vinegar, let it fizz for awhile and sit for an hour, then rinse. It should clear it up in most cases.
On the Floor
I have a messy dog and now a baby crawling all over, so something had to be done. Besides vacuuming every day, I mop with my steam cleaner. No chemicals are involved; it’s just water and the steam it produces. Sometimes if I need an extra scrub, I’ll spray my vinegar-water mixture, let it sit for a minute, and steam clean that.
Let’s move on to the bathrooms. The vinegar-water solution works great with the counter tops, sink and mirror. In the toilet, I get a little more heavy duty. First, I sprinkle baking soda in the bowl. A minute later, I take another spray bottle filled with only vinegar and spray it in there. I hardly have to scrub the mess away! The rest of the toilet is treated with the vinegar bottle.
In the Bathroom
The bathtub was always a difficulty of mine. I hated seeing that ring but had no idea how to get rid of it. Here’s a simple trick that works better than anything else. First, spray the ring with pure vinegar and let sit for five minutes. Spray again for good measure and then sprinkle baking soda in there. Pour some water in the tub and then scrub around the ring with a brush or scratchy sponge. It shouldn’t take too much effort to lift off, unless it has been there for quite some time, then you might have to repeat. Treat the rest of the tub and shower with vinegar and baking soda, and make sure to rinse it when you’re done.
I haven’t bought another product from the store since discovering the magic of water, vinegar and baking soda. It’s good for everything! Taking out stains from the carpet, washing windows, and even help the dishes sparkle brighter. So try it out one day, you won’t regret it!
Chantal Shelstad, a self-proclaimed “crunchy” stay-at-home mom who lives in Alabama with her daughter, Penny and her husband, a pilot in the Army. Chantal is more than happy to own up to the fact that cloth diapering parents have to face plenty of difficulties, transitions, stigmas (and yes, plenty of poop!) …but it is still worth it in the end.
Image via Olivia’s Green Clean.