Cotton Strudel

  1. Natural cleaning


    Thanks for all the welcome backs. It feels nice to know you were all still checking up on the blog.

    So, one of my resolutions for this new season was to try and be more earth-friendly while cleaning the house. I wasn’t sure where to start and so I bought a copy of “Clean House, Clean Planet” by Karen Logan (ISBN 0-671-53595-1) to get some ideas.

    I don’t like being black and white on things as I believe it’s always wise to listen to all sides of the equation. There’s always something to learn. However, I strongly urge you to have a look into “green cleaning” as it does seem to make a lot of sense.

    The main idea in this book is that you can clean pretty much anything by combining basic, non-toxic ingredients such us vinegar, baking soda and liquid soap. I was very much sold on the idea when I read about the effects chemicals have on people and the environment. The tone of the book can get a bit alarmist at times, but why use chemicals when you can use a healthier alternative with the same results.

    I stocked up on baking soda and gave a few recipes a try this weekend and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Who knew vinegar would be so great at cutting grease?

    Looks like this will be one of those resolutions you keep.

    Does anyone else out there use homemade cleaning products? Any good books and/or websites out there to learn more? Any tips? Please share!

    23 comments. Comments are closed for this entry.

    1. Margot | 15:29 | 8.04.07

      It sounds like an interesting book, I’m going to check it out. I use vinegar and baking soda for quite a few things. Vinegar and water for the floor can’t be beat. Baking soda and vinegar for hard water soap scum, the kids like to make a vocano with it and then help me clean the shower. I’ve tried to go without bleach but I still seem to need it for some things. I’m very conscious of things that float thru the air and we breath in, so no room smelling things for me.

    2. kyrie | 16:24 | 8.04.07

      my FAVORITE cleaning book (that also happens to be a green cleaning book) is Organic Housekeeping, by ellen sandbeck. she gives you all the nitty gritty on how to clean without chemicals, plus the chemistry that makes it work (and the chemistry of why we shouldn’t use chemicals). the only cleaners in my house are vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and a very mild dish soap- and they work for everything!

    3. hazelblackberry | 17:54 | 9.04.07

      Here in Australia there is a woman on national radio who gives household cleaning tips, and she’s put a book out combining all this wisdom. The name of it escapes me…Spotless! That’s the name. It’s fantastically useful, though reading it through one could decide to turn cleaning into a full-time job. Anyway, she recommends baking soda and vinegar for just about everything. It certainly worked at de-stinkifying our microwave after I’d accidentally let some honey burn in there.

    4. samantha | 22:09 | 10.04.07

      I’ve been seeing lots of stuff about cleaning with bicarb recently, and it makes you wonder why did we have to go so high tech with our cleaning when really we already had THE product?! sometimes I get tired of all the time saving stuff that now surrounds us – a little elbow grease is not only good for our bodies but good for our soul too.

    5. nickie | 11:46 | 12.04.07

      Thanks for the terrific topic and for the great response suggestions. I’m a fan of vinegar and water for the floor and occasionally even put a few drops of lavender essential oil in which gives a very subtle nice aroma when drying. Hey…anything to make the housecleaning a bit more pleasant! I am currently trying to find an alternative to using nasty products for the toilet bowl. Does anyone have any suggestions for this?

      A bit away from topic, but wonderful nonetheless, I find these two sites worthy of a bookmark: and


    6. Rockhopper | 11:59 | 12.04.07

      I’ve been using vinegar and baking soda in my household cleaning ever since university and to those who haven’t converted I really wonder why! The chemicals and scents in commercial products are so tough on us and the environment that I just can’t imagine cleaning that way.

      Another tip if you have trouble “cleaning” your carpet is to sprinkle baking soda on the floor before vaccuming it. The soda somehow sucks up odours and dust.

      For other tips you may want to check this posting from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

    7. RI GRIMMETT | 13:17 | 12.04.07


    8. Carolyn | 23:46 | 12.04.07

      I’m a recent vinegar and bicarb soda convert. I used to think a cleaner needed to strip the lining from your throat to be any good! I had a slightly neglected bath that I gave a huge soak with vinegar and bicarb and was amazed that I could then rinse the gunge off. I agree with Hazelblackberry, ‘Spotless’ and ‘Speed Cleaning’ by Australian Shannon Lush are just great.

    9. Gigibird | 3:35 | 15.04.07

      A month or so ago I did a couple of posts about ‘natural’ cleaning v conventional – you might find it intersting.
      Natural does work, but there are a few things you need to consider, the amount of extra water neded to rinse off and time.
      My conclusion was that I have a real mix of cleaning products – some natural, and some not.
      It’s good though we’re all having a go:)

    10. Lynn in Tucson | 12:13 | 20.04.07

      Here you go:
      It’s a link that I found via The Worsted Witch ( – her “green” links will keep you busy for a while!

    11. Amber | 12:00 | 23.04.07

      I’ve been leaving comments on everyones sites for YEARS about that book. I don’t know which recipes you tried first, but I HIGHLY recommend the stain spray and “Alice’s wonder spray”

    12. Tracy | 19:55 | 2.05.07

      For the microwave, put some water in a bowl (about 2 cups) with a few slices of lemon. Run on high for 5 minutes then wipe all the splatter clean. Works like a charm.

      For toilet bowl – put some Borax in swish around then let sit overnight. Flush in morning (From Karen Logans book)

      Some other great cleaning products are at All natural and organic.

    13. Talia Norris | 20:09 | 15.05.07

      Hi – I was hoping you might be able to help me. My brother borrowed my car over the weekend and smoked in it and the new car smell is gone – and I hear a cleaning book by Lush has a tip on how to get rid of the smell in the car but I can’t afford to buy the book – are you able to suggest anything?

    14. Shay Simmons | 7:37 | 23.05.07

      SewGreen is a great source for lots of eco-friendly homekeeping tips including an alternative washing soap that’s touted for it’s frugality as well as it’s green-ness.

    15. Cindy | 8:00 | 6.06.07

      Amazing Cleaning Products I Recently Discovered!

      I recently discovered these amazing Organic cleaning products. I never thought something “organic” could be so good at cleaning my home. I have used Clorox bleach and Windex among other name brand chemical cleaning products for years and have hated the harsh smells and reactions to my skin every time I used them. But when my 3 year old developed sensitivity to the chemicals in the everyday cleaning products that were being used in her school as well as in our home I had to take action. I needed to find something that was just as strong and gentle enough that I could use them around my family and pets. It seems like more and more I am hearing negative reactions to all these everyday cleaning products in homes and in schools. There are cleaning products out there that are safe and effective and I wholely stand by BabyGanics. I have done a lot of research and have found a very enlightening from their website about BabyGanics I would like to share:

      Why is it so important to use BabyGanics
      Healthy Home Cleaning products?
      Babies and children are particularly at risk and more vulnerable than adults. Their bodies are rapidly growing and developing, so exposure to harmful chemicals can cause maximum damage at this critical time.

      When children play on the floor they can ingest chemical residues from cleaning products which are left behind. These toxins are easily absorbed into the skin and travel through the blood stream of babies who are much more susceptible to the dangers they pose. Children can be directly ingesting potentially harmful, chemical residue invisible to us.

      Chronic symptoms can develop and lead to debilitating developmental problems. For example, toxic materials found in common window and surface cleaners include ammonia, which can lead to eye, respiratory and skin irritation. Leading bathroom cleaners include compounds such as sodium acid sulfate, oxalate, hypochloric acid and chlorinated phenols which are very toxic and can cause respiratory, circulatory and cardiac damage.

      Many of these chemicals can be fatal if ingested.

      All BabyGanics Healthy Home products are:
      • Superior in performance to conventional cleaners
      • Safe for children, pets and the environment
      • Non-toxic/chemical-free
      • All natural/organic
      All BabyGanics Healthy Home products contain:
      • No Fillers or dyes
      • No Pollutants
      • No Caustic ingredients
      • No Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

      If we can use something that is “Natural and Organic” and that is just as strong and effective as all these name brand cleaners then why not? This is my opinion and I hope whoever reads this finds this to be helpful.

    16. KBG | 4:59 | 18.06.07

      I use vinegar instead of fabric softener. This was a HUGE switch for me, even though I knew how bad fabric softener was for the environment. Bad, bad, me. I just wanted fluffy clothes. But vinegar washes out without a smell and is safe for the water system, so now I use it!

    17. M2O | 20:46 | 23.06.07

      Howdy Everyone I am Very concerned with what I am Reading on this website. Shannon Lush’s Cleaning Book as far as I am concerned is a little outdated. Her Cleaning methods offering Vinegar + Bicarb is causing more Environmental Problems by not telling her readers that

      Vinegar + Bicarbonate = Sodium Acetate + Water = CARBON DIOXIDE!!
      The Number one contributor to GLOBAL WARMING!!

      Shannon Lush Recommends Bicarb and Vinegar in alot of her cleaning methods little does she know that she’s making Australian Women Produce CARBON DIOXIDE INSIDE THEIR OWN HOMES were there are usally children!!… The reaction or FIZZ that occurs when mixed is CARBON DIOXIDE!!…

      People Need to be made aware this is not a Very GREEN CLEAN for the environment or ones health. If you wish to find out more you may contact me or Enjo Australia and ask for a copy of there “FOR YOU” Brochure!

      But your readers have the right to know that this cleaning method is very outdated, and obviously Shannon Lush, has not scientifically tested nor researched her findings before producing this book!.

      If i brought this book and then found out i was contributing to the environmental changes in my very own home, I would of been devasted as I attempt to use “NO Chemicals” and use microfibre cloths to clean my House… and if thats not possible I would research the products and look for the most natural product I could use.


      Thanks m2o
      MAID 2 ORDER
      Cleaning Services!

    18. India | 15:06 | 24.06.07

      A great podcast that includes green cleaning is ‘More Hip than Hippi’ – a great green cast that goes out of its way not to be preachy.

    19. Sherry | 15:01 | 22.07.07

      I just started using more baking soda and vinegar myself, after finally (finally) getting it through my thick head that cleaning sprays were not only bad for the environment, but causing problems with my asthma. I’ve recently become a fan of the BBC show “How Clean is Your House” (they have a book by the same name) and they perform cleaning miracles with baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, borax, and the occasional few drops of concentrated dishwashing liquid.

      I went looking for articles on the harm of producing CO2 while using a combined mixture of vinegar and baking soda to clean, and Google kept sending me right back here. We exhale carbon dioxide, even children and pets are constantly exhaling carbon dioxide. Producing a puff of carbon dioxide while cleaning is not going to harm anyone in the household. With global warming we may not want everyone combining the two to do all of their cleaning, but really, its a drop in the bucket compared to other sources of the gas (including all that breathing,) and still better than harsh commercial chemicals.

    20. geri | 18:42 | 30.07.07


    21. susan | 20:04 | 7.11.07

      i agree about the carbon dioxide, it has to be better than what the chemicals are putting out there. even organic compounds can be hazardous, but i think this is a better alternative than toxic chemicals that outgas, just existing.
      once a month i clean my drains, with 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 salt, and some vinegar. then flush them with boiling water. i do all my drains, sinks and tubs.
      baking soda is great for cleaning jewelry, just make a paste with a little water and rub them with an old toothbrush, then rinse. dont do this on pearls however
      for talia norris, putting a mesh bag of charcoal under your seat helps to get rid of smells, but i dont think you will ever get that new car smell back
      a lovely little device i bought that cleans wonderfully with simply water is a steamer. it gets rid of guck in the frig and gross stuff in the grout.

    22. Christine | 17:34 | 24.01.08

      Hello Everyone,
      If you want an all natural cleaning product that is backed by a great company go to my website
      Shaklee has been around for over 50 years and has been Green before everyone started paying attention. I throw all the chemicals out of my house and only buy Shaklee. My son had allergys and ADD, not anymore. I can not believe how much the chemicals effect your mind and body. Even my husband noticed a difference (that says alot ). Oprah has had Shaklee on her show 5 times now and said this product is used by all of her staff. Have a good day.

    23. Amanda | 17:25 | 27.03.08

      Hi. I have used natural cleaners for years, and saved a ton of money. The reason I changed to green, was because every time I used the harsh chemicals, my chest would hurt for days. I now use vinegar by the gallon. It is the best cleaner in the world. I use it in about everything. I have found a wonderful window cleaner recipe. I also use news paper to clean the windows and mirrors. Check out my site for more.

      Best-Ever Window Cleaner

      1 cup rubbing alcohol
      1 cup water
      1 tbsp. vinegar
      1 tbsp. lemon juice
      Couple drop blue food coloring
      Mix all together in a spray bottle. This is the best window cleaner I have ever used. It’s even better than Windex.

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