Natural Kitchen Cleaners: What’s Under my Sink?

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What’s under your kitchen sink?  When you have children and you start putting the Poison Center’s “Mr. Yuk” stickers all over your bottles, you really start to realize that there are far too many things under there that you wouldn’t want in your baby’s mouth…so then why are they in your kitchen?

If you had checked under my sink when I first got married, and even as a college girl in an apartment, I always had a spray bottle with a bleach solution ready to go for raw meat messes.  Had you observed me cleaning up after cutting chicken, for example, you would have thought I expected the cutting board and knife to detonate and throw shrapnel all over the kitchen, judging by the care with which I handled the objects and the great pains I took to sanitize everything twice and thrice over.

I still have a healthy fear of raw meat contamination, especially chicken, but I also have a healthy fear of bleach and its effect on my family’s health. (See the recent post on why bleach is dangerous for more.)  I’m determined not to use it except in very special circumstances (which happened twice in one week – a flood of poo-poo water overflowed from the toilet into the basement, and I made a load of white socks and T-shirts turn green), and I’m still a little uneasy about its presence in my home at all.

To help you get the bleach out of your kitchen, I’ve got two bottles and a box for you.  You could eat two of them with dinner, and the third is something that some folks drink and is even found in breastmilk.

3 natural cleaners that can do just about anything - and safe for kids, super important

I use white vinegar, 3% (regular pharmacy) hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda for pretty much every cleaning need in the kitchen.  Accept your Monday Mission to get the bleach out and try this instead:

  1. Bottle one: a mixture of white vinegar and water, about ¼ cup vinegar to 32 oz. water (just a “glug”, I never measure)
  2. Bottle two:  50/50 hydrogen peroxide and water
    *This bottle needs to be opaque, or as close as you can get.  Hydrogen peroxide breaks down with exposure to light, so keep this hidden if your bottle isn’t totally opaque (like mine).  I check it every so often to see if it still bubbles, and then I figure it’s still active.  UPDATE:  I finally tried putting this spray bottle top directly on a peroxide brown bottle – and it worked!  Ta da!  Buy a dollar store small spray bottle and you’ve got your opaque bottle with the peroxide already.  Thank you, dear readers!
  3. The box:  baking soda.  I actually keep my baking soda for cleaning in a repurposed Parmesan cheese container (one of my many repurposing opportunities in the kitchen).

added bonusAdded Bonus:  All three are totally frugal, (some might even say cheap) homemade kitchen cleaners, especially if you buy a big jug of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in bulk or somewhere like Save-a-Lot.

Disclaimer:  I’m not supposed to tell you to mix cleaners.  Someone could sue me, you see, if they have an issue. So I’ll just tell you what I do and ya’ll can decide for yourselves what you do in the privacy of your own home.  I am not backed by the FDA, the EPA, or even the ABCs…just common sense.  Don’t tell THAT to the government!  ;)

Note: I have since completed a comprehensive list of all my favorite green and natural household cleaners, from ceiling to floor, as well as natural body products, both homemade and the best commercial options I know of. I keep that list updated frequently!

What do I do with My Cleaners?

1.  Sanitizing Countertops, Cutting Boards, and Utensils

Research shows that vinegar and hydrogen peroxide sprayed separately is “more effective at killing …Salmonella, Shigella, or E. coli bacteria than chlorine bleach or any commercially available kitchen cleaner.”

I’ve seen this study quoted many, many places, but here’s the trick: the two solutions MUST be in separate containers and sprayed one after the other. I use the 50/50 blend of H2O2 and my vinegar/water bottle instead of keeping two more bottles of straight H2O2 and vinegar because I’m lazy, and I figure it will still kill *most* of the bacteria, and my hot water and soap will have already done the rest.

Super easy natural cleaners for your kitchen - kid safe!

If you really want to knock the little guys out (without choking on the fumes), use full strength.  I always try to let stuff like this dry on the surface, because I believe that’s where most of the sanitizing action happens.  It takes time to wage war on bacteria.  When you’re talking stuff like fish and raw chicken, it’s worth the wait.

UPDATE:  I was challenged on this one by a reader.  See more research on the sanitizing (or not?) properties of hydrogen peroxide.

2.  Mopping the Floor

So I don’t mop very often.  Every time I try, by the time I’ve swept up the peas, sand, pine needles and kitchen magnets from the floor, something else has demanded my attention.  When I do “get around to it”, however, it’s fairly painless and something my 4-year-old can help with (and has enjoyed doing for years).

Kids can clean too when you use natural safe cleaners!

Here he is at age two scrubbing away…yes, with a toothbrush. We’re really not militant like that! He found it under the sink in my stash of cleaning supplies. Do you know all the places an old toothbrush is good for cleaning? Lots!

I use my sprayer of vinegar-and-water and an old rag towel.  No need for buckets and drips and figuring out how to get the yuck out of a spongy mop.  This is perfect for a quick spill cleanup.  Just keep a small rag on top of the bottle and in seconds, your floor is safe to eat from.  Literally.

3.  Cleaning the Outside Table

If you could eat off my floor, you could definitely eat outside.  I just use another junk towel and my trusty vinegar water to get the pine pollen and bird yuck off our patio table.

4.  Washing Produce

The combo of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide is also a simple produce wash to make sure you’re not getting any field bacteria on your table with your 5-a-days.  Just spray them separately and scrub away with your brush.  And even if you don’t rinse it all off, you can eat without worry.

UPDATE:  I tested 8 different ways to wash produce!  See the results here.

5.  Cleaning Secondhand Baby Toys

I totally used to put a glug of bleach in soapy dishwater to clean grimy garage sale finds.  Not when baby was awake, thank goodness, but still.  Now I’m all about using any combination of these three standbys along with my trusty used toothbrush, and I get like-new toys with no fear of random kid-germ contamination.

6.  Scouring the Counters

Forget Comet.  I’ll take plain old baking soda over a commercial scrubber every day.  Use an old toothbrush and a sprinkle of baking soda, maybe a squirt of water (or one of the other bottles), and your countertops are GORgeous.  You do need to rinse the baking soda well, or it will leave a gritty feel.

7.  Scrubbing the Grout

I have tiled countertops.  There’s a post in my draft folder for a day when everyone deserves a laugh entitled, “10 Reasons I Hate Tiled Countertops”, and grout is included in most of them.  My grout is always stained, but hydrogen peroxide and baking soda does a decent job of getting rid of the coloring.

8.  Sterilizing Milk Jars

We get our milk from a farm, and since 1-gallon glass jars are rather (rather!) unwieldy to pour from, we transfer the milk.  It’s soooo important to get the milk proteins completely washed out of our containers.  I use the hydrogen peroxide method described here with my trusty 50/50 mix.

9.  Cleaning the Oven and Stovetop

Get a good laugh on me and check out my simple, frugal, non-toxic method to keep your oven and stovetop mess-free.

10.  The Big Kitchen Clean

Every so often I get a chance to completely clear my counters, wipe everything down with hot soapy water, and sanitize all the hard surfaces.  There’s no happier sight for me than an empty, sparkling white counter with a layer of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar glistening, left to dry until morning.

Two Bottles and A Box

I sure hope that’s easy enough for you.  :)  Three things under your kitchen sink. Use ‘em on whatever.  Consume dinner and inhale freely while you pad your budget and green up the earth, good kitchen stewards!

UPDATE:  See this chart of all my green cleaning substitutes.


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80 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    Thank you so much for this! I never thought of hydrogen peroxide; I can’t wait to try it!

    My one question is – what do you do about grease on cabinets? The only cleaner I’ve found to be effective is ammonia, but everyone complains about the smell. If I didn’t have white cabinets, it wouldn’t be such an issue.
    .-= Barb@My Daily Round´s last blog ..Daybook for Monday, September 14 =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Barb,
    I always figure that dishsoap is made to cut grease, so I would start with hot soapy water. Baking soda will make headway on a lot of grime on white surfaces, too. If those don’t cut it, I’ve had really good luck with orange based cleaners (natural ones out there or even Fantastic orange as a compromise – I don’t think it has bleach or ammonia, at least). Hope that helps!
    Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. says

    This is probably my favorite post of yours that I’ve read so far (and I’ve been reading a LOT!) – it’ll go in my weekly link roundup for sure. Thanks for sharing it!
    .-= Lenetta @ Nettacow´s last blog ..Motion Sickness Helps =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Lenetta,
    Very cool – thanks for the compliment, “old friend”! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Lenetta @ Nettacow Reply:

    :>) As promised, I linked – post is here. I feel like I told you this already, but it’s a good thing to put here – I found smaller bottles of peroxide at Wal-Mart with a sprayer top. It was still only like $1.25, so I felt it was well worth the “investment” of the smaller spray bottle in addition to the larger ones I can use to refill it. Now I need to go clean my bathroom and test it out!
    .-= Lenetta @ Nettacow´s last blog ..Freezing Tomatoes and Green Peppers =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Lenetta,

    I generally stay away from Walmart on principle, but I’ll have to keep an eye out for the h2o2 spray bottles!
    Thank you for the tip (and the link!) — Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Mary Reply:

    The spray top from my short spray bottle fit the top of the 16 oz. size hydrogen peroxide! If it can’t get to the bottom, the balance can be poured into the new bottle.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Mary,
    For some reason I kept thinking I tried this when others rec’d it at an earlier post, and obviously I hadn’t until this weekend – and it worked! Duh. I’m happy to have a completely opaque bottle now!
    :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    paws Reply:

    Upon what principle do you normally stay away from Walmart? Just curious.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    paws,
    I’m from a small town, one where Walmart came in nearby and overtook all the small retailers. I don’t love that tendency about the company, and I don’t like how they hire for 32 hours so they don’t have to pay insurance, etc, etc, etc, labor disputes. That’s all. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. says

    I haven’t bought much in the way of cleaners in ages. About 10 years ago I discovered the “vinegar/water and touch of dishsoap to clean windows and have never bought anything else to clean windows with since. And since that time, I have worked really hard to find household cleaner recipes that work for me and are gentle with no chemicals.
    .-= Diann @ The Thrifty Groove´s last blog ..Thrifty Halloween Decorations =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. says

    I use all these to clean, too. You didn’t mention how incredibly CHEAP it is to clean with these products. I especially love that my 3yo son can help me clean and I don’t have to worry about the cleaners being dangerous for him. He loves washing windows and wiping the floor! (I wonder how long that will last!)

    Thanks for the parmesean cheese container tip. I’ll move my baking soda over as soon as we empty one.
    .-= aimee @ smilingmama´s last blog ..It’s a Boy! =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Aimee,

    Good point about the frugality; I was thinking it for sure but apparently didn’t get that through to my fingertips on the keyboard. ;) Thanks for pointing it out! As far as the 3-yr-old son…hate to break it to you, but the second he’s old enough to play with neighborhood kids, you’re going to lose your cleaning helper. At least that’s what happened to me this summer!
    Best, Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  5. says

    I use the vinegar and peroxide, too. (‘Though I had forgotten about the need for an opaque bottle. Mine is in a pretty small bottle so I probably use it up quickly enough to be okay, but I’m going to give some thought to wrapping up the bottle with electrical tape or something.) These are most effective, in my experience, if your bottle has a fine mist – it makes it easier to coat the whole surface.

    We even use the parmesan cheese containers for our baking powder! lol

    [Reply to this comment]

  6. says

    2 questions

    do you have sources for your vinegar & hydrogen peroxide combo’s effectiveness

    &

    very cool that you drink raw milk. grew up on it. unless things have changed in the last 2 years, selling raw milk in MI is illegal. people got around it by leasing a cow (which stays on the farm) & thus owning rights to said cow’s milk. is that what you do? i was surprised (yet not surprised, left coast, hello) when i moved out here that you can sell raw milk outright in wa. i know you can get it at pike place market….there’s a place to put on your visit wish list!
    .-= tonya´s last blog ..rcwant2be: win some yougurt, kefir or sourdough starter! RT @kitchenstew Giveaway: Cultures for Health Starter Cultures http://bit.ly/4xUzag =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Tonya,
    The source I used this week was here: http://www.michaelandjudystouffer.com/judy/articles/vinegar.htm linked to in the post, but I know I’ve seen it many other places before I started using it myself. Your thoughts as an academic?

    re: raw milk. We own a “share” of a cow, yes. It’s a bit complicated to get it every week, but we share with 5 other families, so that’s helpful. Would love to buy it at the store!
    Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  7. says

    I can’t seem to find the direct reference to these studies, either, ‘though I recall having read about them a while back. I did find this reference to some references, though: “Articles on Dr. Sumner’s original research work appeared in the scientific news journal, “Science News,” in the issues that were published on August 29, 1996, and on August 8, 1998.” Perhaps this will be helpful.
    .-= Rachel R.´s last blog ..Reading Magazines (WFMW) =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Rachel,
    You’re the best! Thanks! (BTW, I can’t find the one bean spread I have tried, but it was only okay, so it might be better to google it!)
    Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  8. says

    This is great! I, too, grew leery of bleach and went to just vinegar/peroxide/soda 5 years ago when we moved to a place on septic. You want to keep all those good bacteria in the septic alive and I read that a lot of harsh cleansers can kill them.
    And I just used the last of a 9-year old bottle of bleach a week ago! It was the last resort for getting that pink-and-black mildew off the hem of our reusable shower liner- ugh, that stuff’s awful…
    .-= Jami´s last blog ..What’s Blooming Now? =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

  9. Katie says

    Jami,
    Welcome! I’m with you on that pink/black shower curtain yuck. I have a mildew-free curtain, and for 5 years it’s actually performed as advertised. I just wonder what kind of plastic it is and if it offgases! ? You can’t win sometimes… Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  10. says

    Thanks for the recipe. I’ve been using Mr. Clean for decades but I think it’s time he retired LOL.

    Going to put hydrogen peroxide on my grocery list for this coming week.

    Great post :D

    BevE
    .-= BevE´s last blog ..The Gift of an Ordinary Day Giveaway Winners =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    BevE,

    Welcome! Great humor…Hyd Per is on sale at my Walgreen’s for something nuts like 23 cents this week! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  11. says

    I am wondering if you have tried any essential oils to mask the smell of the vinegar. I have been trying to clean with just HP, V and BS but I don’t enjoy the smell of the vinegar. Any suggestions?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Natasha,
    I don’t love the smell either. You can use tea tree oil and water for the same antibacterial action as vinegar (no vinegar needed). I really like the smell of tea tree oil, but it’s not for everyone. I haven’t posted on it yet, so you’ll have to Google the proportions. Let me know if you try anything just for scent value w/vinegar and have success!
    :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Frances Reply:

    I add essential oil to my vinegar water…the first time I just put in 5 or so drops of lavender and the scent was minimal at first and undetectable after a couple weeks. The next time I needed to refill my vinegar water bottle I added 3 or 4 drops of tea tree oil (for the antibacterial properties) and around 10 drops of peppermint. The scent is great! I would need to add more to cover the vinegar smell more, but even that little bit helps.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Tawn Roddey Reply:

    Vinegar is a preservative. Try letting your favorite herb soak in it before putting it in the spray bottle (pour it through cheesecloth or a thin wash rag). I grow my own so that makes them cheaper. Mint is the best for me. You need to crush it before putting it in the vinegar. I don’t know that you will EVER not have that base smell of vinegar but it doesn’t last long after it dries.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Lenetta @ Nettacow Reply:

    Ooh, ooh, ooh! I just came back over to leave a link to how I made citrus vinegar – it’s here: http://nettacow.blogspot.com/2010/01/homemade-citrus-vinegar.html
    I much prefer the smell to regular vinegar myself. :>)

    (And, Katie, I linked to your 8 Ways to Wash an Apple post when I mentioned washing the fruit first!)
    .-= Lenetta @ Nettacow´s last blog ..Homemade Citrus Vinegar =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

  12. says

    My favorite orange-based cleaner is Orange TKO. This stuff is amazing. Totally organic, biodgradable – cuts grease and dirt better than any cleaner I’ve ever tried. TKO plus a little baking or washing soda scours away years’ worth of soap scum (found that out when I had the unfortunate duty of cleaning my fiance’s bathtub back when he was a bachelor *shudder*).

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Orange-based cleaners seem to be pretty tough cookies!

    [Reply to this comment]

  13. says

    I came to this post looking for help with my floor mopping dilemma: we recently moved into a house with tile floors in the kitchen and eating area, and they’re quite a bit larger than the tiny apartment kitchen floor I used to “mop” by hand. I am anti-mop for the same reason you mentioned (aren’t those things just bacteria colonies between uses and dirt movers in use?) but if I have to do the whole floor on my hands and knees it’s only going to be done once every two months, which is not enough!

    Anyway, I thought I’d add that I use hydrogen peroxide to clean my electric toothbrush head when it starts looking fuzzy inside. I put the brush head in a little dish and submerge it in hydrogen peroxide for 20 minutes or longer. Someday I’d love to have an electric toothbrush with one of those UV cleaning compartments, but for now, this is my frugal solution to make the expensive replacement heads last as long as possible.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Frances,
    Great tips about the essential oils and the h2o2 for toothbrushes.

    My mom always mops with a bucket and regular mop, using vinegar and water just like in the spray bottle. Or you can use the spray bottle system with a long-handled mop and just spray as you go. Hope you find something that works for you!
    :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Christy S. Lube Reply:

    My suggestion is to dampen a couple of cloths with the cleaning solution, and let one (or more) of your kids “skate” around the floor :) It may not be perfect, but it will be “done”, and they will have a blast! My kids love to do this with the Swiffer “wet” cloths, and when we use up what supply we have of those, I’m going to have them try it with regular cloths and more natural cleaners.

    [Reply to this comment]

  14. says

    you are a woman after my own heart! I am a baking soda and vinegar/water cleaner as well. It is so cheap and works very well. I’m glad to learn about peroxide as well, wonderful! When my daughter was crawling around, she ATE my dishwasher detergent when I wasn’t looking! Fortunately, 1) we had the Trader Joes kind, which is probably only slightly less toxic than the conventional kind, 2) she only got a small amt and poison control didn’t seem concerned, and 3) she is now 2 1/2 and is as feisty as ever! Thanks for the great information!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Great website! =-.

    [Reply to this comment]

  15. says

    We use a water bottle with either vinegar or tea tree oil mixed in for the kitchen. My question is what about the bathroom? Bleach seems to be the only thing that works to get the area around the bottom of the toilet even somewhat clean (I hate linoleum)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Stacy,
    Hmmm. I must not have linoleum in the bathroom! I just reviewed Charlie’s Soap All Purpose Cleaner here: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/01/20/charlies-soap-natural-laundry-detergent-and-all-purpose-cleaner-a-mixed-review/ and it’s pretty powerful. Straight vinegar left to sit does a pretty good job on some things, too. Hope you find something that works (other than ignoring the stains). ;) katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  16. Rebecca says

    I sometimes add a drop or two of spearmint essential oil to my vinegar mix, because I hate the smell of vinegar but adore the smell of mint. Apparently I’m not the only one!

    I never knew there was another way to clean the kitchen besides the commercial stuff until a few years ago. I think it is funny, because the reason I had my eyes opened to using vinegar/hp/baking soda to clean everything is because of rats. I’ve had rodent pets (hamsters, gerbils, and mice) for almost my whole life, but recently got a trio of rats (yes, domestic rats. more likely to get a disease from my dogs ;) ). A rat friend gave me the tip of using vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to get the not-always-nice rat smell out of the cage on cleaning day. It worked like a charm there, and I realized that it would be beautiful replacement for the terrible smelling cleaners I was otherwise using for everything. =P

    [Reply to this comment]

  17. Maria says

    Katie, you said you use a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. I just bought a new bottle of hydrogen peroxide at the store and planned to put my sprayer on the top. In order to mix it with 50% water, I would have to pour out half of my new bottle. What did you do when you first got started? Maybe I just need to throw half the bottle out and go from there.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Maria,
    I always used a translucent bottle until just recently, so I never had that problem. I would either find an opaque container of any kind to store the other half, or just use it full strength for some deep cleaning right away and dilute with water when you can fit it. Then when you buy a new bottle, you can pour into this one.
    :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Rakefet Reply:

    Hi Katie,
    Just to make sure I’m doing the right thing –
    50/50 hydrogen peroxide means you took a 3% bottle and divided half of it to another bottle and added regular tap water to each?
    so it’s actually 1.5% now and mixed with regular tap water?
    Thanks again, as always,
    you’re amazing and I love your blog,
    Rakefet

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Rakefet,
    Yes, exactly! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  18. Candis says

    Wow, I think we must be related! My re-purposed “sprinkle cheese” container filled with baking soda sits beside my spray bottle of vinegar on the kitchen sink. I rarely mop too, and use the rag and spray when I get around to it. And, my brown bottle of peroxide is hanging out in the bathroom. One thing I use it for every few weeks is to clean toothbrushes and holder. I just plop the whole thing in the sink, spray & walk away. When I come back, rinse the toothbrushes and then easily clean the sink. Your blog is a recent discovery and I am loving it. Now, off to learn about soap nuts. Really? Soap nuts????

    [Reply to this comment]

  19. Debbie says

    What do you use for the tub? Between soap scum and mineral deposits from the water I’ve had a hard time finding something natural that works well.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Baking soda! I wipe after each bath w/ a microfiber and spray w/ straight vinegar.

    [Reply to this comment]

  20. Jennifer S. says

    I was wondering if you have found any research about mixing baking soda and vinegar together as a cleaner?

    I am not sure if they cancel one another out or if it doesn’t matter. I just bought my first Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap in peppermint. I made a cleaner with a few inches of soap in a spray bottle, filled the rest with water, and then added 1/4 cup baking soda, and a 1/4 cup vinegar. This was something I read off of the Passionate Homemaking blog.

    I do spray hydrogen peroxide and diluted vinegar separately to sanitize my wooden cutting board. Just wondering if the baking soda and vinegar work better when applied separately as well?

    Kindest regards,
    Jennifer

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Jennifer,
    I used to make a homemade cleaner with baking soda and vinegar mixed, but I did read (and it makes sense!) that they more or less cancel each other out because a reaction happens as soon as they mix. I would use them separately myself. Good question!
    :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  21. Susan says

    Did you say somewhere NOT to use vinegar on tile but that its ok for grout? I have ceramic tiled shower stalls and kitchen/hallway floors. The kitchen’s non-slip tiles need some extra help these days but now I’m concerned about damaging them. I’ve just used baking soda and Hydro Perox (and a little H2O) on a a small spot. What do YOU think?
    Thank y

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Susan,
    I read that vinegar is not good for grout – after I used it on my tiled/grouted showers for a few years! Whoops! I do use diluted vinegar water on my tiled floors, and they aren’t falling apart. ??? Might do a quick Google search to see if anyone else has more info. Did the baking soda work out okay? :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  22. Belinda says

    Since you said you’ve seen the note about hydrogen peroxide and vinegar killing bacteria quoted several places just thought I’d post one source it came from: http://www.michaelandjudystouffer.com/judy/articles/vinegar.htm
    You also mentioned you combine the two solutions to make it easier saying it would probably kill most of the bacteria. You may also be aware of this but in the link above it says doing them separate makes them 10 times more effective. They also said mixing them together can actually be harmful so thought I’d pass that on in case you were interested. Also I wondered when using these two to disinfect can you use them on porous surfaces like granite without ruining the counter top? Thank you so much for this article! It has jump started a change to use all natural cleaners and I feel so much better about the air I breathe when doing so!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Belinda,
    Thanks for sharing the link! I do spray them separately, always. You may have misread the part about how I’m a bit lazy and use the vinegar and H2O2 mixed with water instead of straight. I edited the post for clarity.

    Not sure about granite, but I know that vinegar is NOT recommended for grout or treated wood floors. Would granite be like either of those? I think you could use it on wooden cutting boards, though, for an example of something porous.

    Good luck on your baby step changes! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Belinda Reply:

    Opps-sorry about that! I reread it again an noticed my misinterpretation of your post. I had heard vinegar wasn’t good on wood floors-I’m getting laminate wood floors in a day. Do you have any all natural suggestions to clean those types of floors? Thanks again!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Belinda,
    I feel like I’ve seen ideas, but I didn’t log them away in my brain b/c I don’t have wood floors. Something tells me plain water is not a bad option at all… :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  23. Amy says

    HI there! I enjoyed your post on using less harmful cleaners. I was wondering what type of cleaner I could use on carpet stains? I have an outdoor carpeting in our entry way and our dogs sleep there… it tends to get icky really quick. not to mention the occasional dog vomiting or other bodily fluids :O . by the way, we are getting a tile installed in the future, but for now the carpeting will be there. :(
    what would you suggest?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Amy,
    Believe it or not, these same 3 will do good work on carpets, too. I’ve used vinegar water with pretty good success (and elbow grease) on mud stains, hydrogen peroxide works on blood (but be careful if your carpet isn’t light-colored, it might bleach it out a bit), and baking soda for odors like tinkle accidents, etc.

    There’s also a homemade carpet cleaner made of equal parts cornmeal and borax: sprinkle on, let sit for 10-60 minutes, vacuum off. I don’t love borax for kids, though.

    Good luck! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  24. says

    After we juice free apples or pears we find, or peel them for dehydrating or canning, we save the resulting pulp or peels, throw them in a food-grade 5-gallon bucket, add enough water to cover, then cover the bucket with a pillow case (in lieu of cheesecloth). Let it sit a few months, strain out the solids, and there you have free vinegar. It’s incredibly easy.

    [Reply to this comment]

  25. Sarah B says

    I love these recommendations. I recently found your blog and I am enjoying reading old posts nearly daily.

    For those of you who are like me and cannot stand an old dirty mop, I have a solution. It is a mop made out of two dowel rods sometimes referred to as a cuban mop. One dowel rod is short and acts as the mop head while the other one is long like a handle. I found mine at Publix. You place a CLEAN cloth over the short dowel rod. This is much easier than hands and knees cleaning. It gets into tight spaces. The cloth is always clean (I use old tshirts or microfiber cloths). This is also frugal . . . no “Swiffer” replacements to purchase. I have had my mop three years now, and it is still working great. I get to use a clean “mop head” every time I mop the floor. I can also switch cloths between rooms AND put on a cloth to dry the floor if time is short for air drying.

    This works great paired with a bottle of water and vinegar or a sink of hot water with vinegar added!

    [Reply to this comment]

  26. says

    OK, the kitchen is the heart of the home and I am mad about keeping it clean and tidy. When I am in the kitchen, I keep a sink full if hot soapy water and I wash as I work: mixing bowls, knives, counters, spills on the floor. I also make sure the dishwasher is empty so I can put things into it immediately. If you get to the dishes BEFORE they are crusty, it helps everything to go faster. Your oldest is old enough to be a sous chef: running things to the compost bin, throwing things away drying dishes, returning things to the fridge and pantry.

    Also, I also fill stainless steel and enameled pots with water and a bit of soap and leave them on warm while we eat. I can dump them out and quickly wash them (usually there is no room in the dishwasher for the big things. And I have tried using vinegar to clean, but it is not a surfactant nor an enzyme which means it does not break down oils or organic stains. It just pushed them around. Drove me nuts! I use diluted Dr. Bronner’s.

    [Reply to this comment]

  27. says

    Melissa Naasko – you’d absolutely freak if you saw my kitchen right now. Why don’t I clean as I go? B/c I don’t have time to put away the clean dishes from yesterday before I begin cooking dinner,a nd it’s all rolling away from me from there! It’s the heart of my home all right, it’s just the epicenter of the messiness! :(

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  28. says

    Oh, Katie! I’d send a hug if I could! I can hear your frustration! My 2nd, 3rd and 4th were all born in 2 1/2 year (no twins) and I thought I pull my hair out! I found that picking the thing that bothers you most and developing good habits in the one area helped me. I picked laundry. Once it was under control with regularity, I worked on other habits. I wasn’t writing then, but having so many little ones and starting home schooling was overwhelming. You have three kids, one a nursling, and a lot on your plate.

    [Reply to this comment]

  29. says

    I have used these three cleaners for years and I just put the sprayer in the peroxide bottle, works great. I love peroxide for my windows. It takes a little more to dry them but them shine, the room smells clean without chemical smells and they shine! Same for the toilet bowl, I just pour it in at night, swish then or in the morning and it smells clean and sparkles!
    I used to use the either combination for my floors but I broke down and bought a steam cleaner. I love it! It is the easiest way to clean and sanitize your floors. Sweep, run the shark or whatever brand over it and where I started is dry by the time I finish. No odors except steam clean. If something is stuck on or gooey a knife or a spray with one of the two mixtures is enough to give any help to the steamer that may be needed.
    As for the cut thing, we live on a farm and tetanus can be a concern. Peroxide kills tetanus. So we wash with soap and water and follow with peroxide. Growing up it was soap water and peroxide or iodine and it served us well. Like Daddy use to say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

    [Reply to this comment]

  30. cathy says

    Hi thank you so much for this. I have used vinegar and baking soda for a long time, I’m about to go buy peroxide and another spray bottle. I ran across you when I was trying to find a green way to scrub some unknown burned on gunk from the bottom of my oven (thanks for that post too). Now I’m letting my baking soda paste sit for half an hour and exploring your site.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Hi Cathy,
    Welcome and enjoy! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  31. LB says

    You can also buy hydrogen peroxide in SPRAY bottles now. Just know, you will need to pour hot water over the threaded part of the bottle to loosen it up to unscrew the lid. Then use nail clippers to clip the little tabs/wings on the inside of the lid so you can put it on/off easily next time.

    [Reply to this comment]

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