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Clean with Green from Floor to Ceiling

Best natural green cleaning household solutions

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by natural green cleaners.

You see a tip about using vinegar to clean – where do I use it? you wonder.

Your grandma emails you 50 ways to use baking soda in the home – how do I remember these when I need them?

And Pinterest serves up “50 green cleaners” or “101 ways to clean a non-toxic home” and you suddenly have 5,000 changes you need to make THIS WEEK!


My mission here at KS has always been to make the baby steps possible. We focus on what creates the biggest impact on your health and environment while also respecting your crunched time and budget.

So even my list by itself might be #overwhelm, but here is the most important part:


Determine what cleaner you use on the most surfaces or most times per week, or the one you spend the most money on. Pick THAT one. Change it this week. Then figure out another change to make another week.

You can even commit to changing after your current bottle/bag/box runs out if getting rid of something you purchased makes you squeamish. Make a little sticky note and write, “When this runs out, I’m switching to…” so you don’t forget! If you do that, you could probably even make a couple sticky notes right now since they likely won’t run out all at once (built-in baby steps!).

When I started the whole natural living journey, it was just one change at a time, baby step style, and before I knew it I was rightfully being accused of being “crunchy” from head to toe and ceiling to floor.

Now it’s your turn…

Ditch Your Toxic Cleaners for Natural Green Cleaners!

This was an old “Monday Mission” back when I would challenge readers to make one positive change per week – to choose just ONE cleaner to “green up” that week. But it’s such a helpful list and one that I want to make sure is up to date, so here it is in “helpful list” format!

If you are using mostly conventional cleaners, take the challenge: “Green up” one bottle of something this week. Choose another one for another week. By the end of the year, you’ll realize that you’ve switched up your whole house and you can breathe easier!

If you really get motivated, here’s a natural personal products list too, since what we put ON our skin is as important as what we put IN our bodies!

Need More Baby Steps?

Monday Missions Baby Steps Back to Basics

Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.

That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.

Sign up to get weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.

Ceiling to Floor (Natural Green Cleaners)

Streak-free (and Toxin-free!) Mirrors/Glass

  • My favorite method is just plain water and a microfiber cloth – no product needed, and a perfect shine, every time.
    • Be sure to wash microfiber cloths withOUT other towels in the same load, and hang them to dry for best absorbency retained.
  • Norwex also has some very good mirror cloths that leave fewer fuzzies behind compared to my normal microfiber, which I found in the automotive section of my local big box (or hardware) store, also found on Amazon.
  • Grove Collaborative sells eCloths, which are very nice as well!
  • For tougher dirt, vinegar and water in a spray bottle (or in a bucket for outside windows) always does the trick. No more than 1/4 cup vinegar to a quart of water should be needed, usually much less.
  • Use old newspapers to wipe clean if no microfiber around.
  • Most green cleaning companies offer a glass cleaner, but this is one place I would never buy commercial. It’s too easy to DIY (do it yourself)!

No Chemicals in the Bathtub/Shower

Natural Green Cleaners for the Home - Reviews and Recipes
  • Spray with straight vinegar as an after-shower spray that you just leave on. The smell dissipates as soon as it’s dry. Some people add a few drops of essential oils for a nicer scent. (My favorite essential oils are on my resources page.) Especially effective for hard water stains, like on the shower curtain. Let it sit for 10 mins. before scrubbing the curtain, and for faucets, soak a rag in vinegar and wrap around the affected area for a 10-minute soak. *Do not use on tile and grout as it may eat away the grout.
  • Scrub with baking soda when you get scum that needs some extra elbow grease. I regularly hit the “ring around the tub” with my Parmesan cheese can filled with baking soda that I keep under the bathroom sink, and it’s good for grout too – use an old toothbrush to scrub each line.
  • Commercial green cleaners feel like a nice option to have on hand here – but it’s very hard to find them without questionable ingredients.
    • I’ve used Charlie’s Soap All-Purpose Spray (I’m not a fan) and Seventh Generation bathroom disinfectant (which unfortunately uses methylisothiazolinone, which is may be “natural” but not so safe).
    • Method has a few options offered at Grove, but the tub & tile spray has methylisothiazolinone in it and the all-purpose anti-bacterial spray has some vague ingredients. The orange bottle of all-purpose cleaner looks better though! (also available on Amazon, and other scents are fine too)

Cleaning Toilets without Bleach

  • Straight vinegar in a spray bottle does a fine job cleaning the bowl (double duty for one bottle if you use it in your shower). I actually have a peri bottle (many women have one from the postpartum time) of vinegar to squirt under the rim even better.
  • Baking soda and lemon juice make a paste for nasty stains.
  • I like the 50/50 hydrogen peroxide solution to clean and sanitize the outside. With further research, I figured out that fancy marketers are charging the big bucks for pretty much the same thing! This post has great info on cleaning vs. disinfecting vs. sanitizing (and more).
    • Important note: always keep hydrogen peroxide in an opaque bottle (so no clear glass obviously!). I find that a short spray top will fit on top of a normal H2O2 bottle, and I’ve heard that they’re even sold with spray tops now. My advice: You should still cut it with water or you’ll end up bleaching out your clothes. 
  • I collect the family’s holey socks and use them to wipe the outside of the toilet. Then I can throw them away and not waste paper towel, but not have to juggle the “which towel color cleans the toilets and never the kitchen???” issue.

Non-Toxic Counter Scrubs and Cleaners

Cleaning with baking soda
  • For a quick clean in the bathroom, I wipe down with a microfiber cloth only.
  • When I want to disinfect and really clean, I like a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water, followed by a good shine with my microfiber. (See above for more notes on that.)
  • To scrub nasty stains (like Comet): use straight baking soda, sometimes with a bit of water. I keep some in an old Parmesan cheese container under the kitchen and all bathroom sinks. You can also try oxygen bleach, sold by Biokleen and many other brands (watch for additives). You can likely find some in your basic big box store nowadays, or from Azure Standard.
    • I use baking soda on stainless steel and ceramic sinks on a regular basis. Nothing makes them shine like baking soda and just a little elbow grease!
  • Try an old toothbrush to really get stains out of grout and around sinks and faucets! (I run ours through the dishwasher first when they’re ready to retire.)
  • To sanitize after raw meat or the like in the kitchen, you’ll need two bottles: one with vinegar and one with hydrogen peroxide. Spray separately, one after the other. (More details in my triple threat natural cleaners post.) You don’t need bleach!
  • Essential oils offer other options for sanitizing. A few drops lemonorange or tea tree oil in a bottle of water acts as a disinfectant. I actually like the smell of tea tree oil, but not everyone does. (Directions: Mix 10-20 drops oil in a half cup witch hazel, vodka or vinegar. Allow to sit a few hours. Add water to fill at least a 2-cup bottle, up to a quart (32 oz.)).
  • There are natural disinfectants approved by the EPA that are botanical and truly natural, like thymol. I’m impressed!
  • You’ll find all-purpose counter cleaners from most commercial green companies, too – but watch those ingredients.
  • Drain clogs don’t need harsh chemicals either! Use the reaction between baking soda and vinegar to your advantage. Pour some baking soda in – jam it down there if you have to. Pour a glop of vinegar and CLOSE the drain as fast as possible so the bubbles have to go DOWN and push the clog, not UP. Follow with at least a few cups of boiling water (teakettle, pot – have that ready before you start). This work for partially clogged drains, but if you’re 100% stopped up, I’d recommend a manual removal with one of those plumber “snake” thingys from a hardware store.

Did you know that essential oils have a shelf life?

Katie here, popping in to tell you that those essential oils that have been sitting in your cabinet for a couple years and are still half full may have expired. Read more about what I learned when researching this topic, and you can even have the handy printable I made to help me remember how long which oils last.

Keep That Oven/Stovetop Clean With No Chemicals

  • Straight baking soda or salt make the perfect scrub for the stovetop. You’ll be amazed at all it gets out. More details at how to clean a stovetop, naturally.
  • If you have a spill inside the oven, the best line of defense is to sprinkle salt on while it’s still hot, then tackle it as soon as you can touch it while it’s still warm.
  • Sometimes I need a degreaser, and I’ve grabbed a commercially produced natural orange-based cleaner…although I bet diluted castile soap would also do the trick. Here’s an awesome and super frugal way to make DIY orange power cleaner.
Orange power cleaner

Green Cleaning Dishes For Hand Washers

Green Cleaning Dishes For Dishwashers

Natural Green Cleaners for the Home - Reviews and Recipes

This is one subject I’ve exhausted, and it exhausted me (and my husband)! I tried many, many homemade dishwasher detergent recipes, and unless you love pre-washing your dishes, I wouldn’t recommend ANY of them.

  • The first natural success was with Mrs. Meyer’s
  • Then we had another homemade detergent failure (and a husband about to throw me and my experiments out of the house!)
  • In 2010 I finally, I found my favorite natural dishwasher detergent — at the time. Biokleen was the winner but has since been trounced mightily. I also tried Seventh Generation’s products, and the powder was almost as good as Biokleen, while the liquid took two weeks of hubby-grumbling about rejected dishes (still dirty after the cycle) before I just gave it away. The 7th Gen pacs are decent, but still only about a “C+” on the scale.
  • 2011: I went back and forth on Biokleen after it stopped working for me in the spring. Readers convinced me my dishwasher just had terrible buildup or that I needed to pour a cup of white vinegar in the bottom of the machine just before running it.
  • 2012: We got a new house and a brand new dishwasher – but Biokleen still stunk it up for us! I got up the courage to try a number of other brands and reviewed my favorites HERE. The top contenders include Ecover’s tablets. I’ve since tried the method brand tabs from Grove and they also get the job done.

 More Dishwasher Tips

  • Instead of Jet Dry, use straight vinegar in your machine’s rinse agent dispenser. Works wonders on cloudy spots!
  • Some baby steps for going green include eco-conscious pre-rinsing and running machines only when full – simply to save resources, which is important along with non-toxicity. See more here.
  • When your dishwasher gets gunky, get back to normal with this natural dishwasher cleaning method. I try to clean out this way once a month.
  • For powder detergents, use less than what’s called for generally – a Tbs. or 2 will do (from a dishwasher repairman). I experiment to find out how low I can go and still get good results, then mark a scoop with permanent marker. Better on  your dishwasher, gentler on your dishes, better for your budget.

Naturally Clean Laundry

  • Charlie’s Soap works for a lot of people, many of whom love it for cloth diapers, but it was only acceptable for me. Here’s my review. (But Booooooo to them for their yucky ingredient in the all-purpose spray – who can trust the laundry soap? Not me!!!)
  • I’ve also tried Seventh Generation, Mejier brand, and maybe a few other liquid versions, all just fine – but most if not all include that /methylisothiazolinone sodium benzoate preservative, so it’s not worth it.
  • One favorite that I used for years is NaturOli soap nuts. They grow on trees, and I don’t think you can get more natural than that! Here’s my soap nuts review for more info. (I got some Maggie’s brand on accident, and they have two problems: they stick together and can stain clothes if they sit wet against them. I also tried Laundry Tree and just didn’t think they cleaned as well, hands down. NaturOli is better!)
  • How to tell if soap nuts still have cleaning power
  • To pretreat stains: I usee Biokleen Bac-Out mixed 1/3 strength with water for years in a spray bottle. It got most stains out before the clothes even hit the washer (scrub them well). Trouble: tomatoes, mud, and mustard.
  • Branch Basics (new formula, even better!) (product being reformulated, check back later!) diluted 50/50 does even better though, even mustard! Branch Basics’ new formula should be coming out soon! 
  • To soak laundry – necessary with kids! Any brand oxygen bleach dissolved in tepid water (don’t let bold colors touch whites!). Pour the soak water right into the washing machine for a boost after soaking.
  • Grease stains: Evil nemesis. Your best line of defense is your strongest dishsoap, undiluted, directly on the stain with a tiny bit of hot water. Let sit. Wash on warm or hot if the fabric can handle it. Hang to dry in case you failed… You can see all our crazy grease stain tests, from chalk to borax, HERE.
  • I like wool dryer balls instead of fabric softener or dryer sheets.
  • Stinky towels? Add vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine.
  • Truly Free (formerly My Green Fills) is another natural option, and I highly recommend the fragrance-free version. The scented detergent smells nice but it has some questionable fragrance ingredients. It’s a great option if you miss the fresh laundry scent that conventional detergents have and don’t mind somewhat synthetic “plant-based” fragrance but want to avoid phthalates and SLS in conventional detergent, or just want to reduce the amount of plastic you throw into the landfill. (Use code KATIEKIMBALL for 30% off!)
My Green Fills (Laundry Detergent Subscription)Truly Free (Laundry Detergent Subscription)

This detergent is a relatively new discovery on my part. I’m in awe over this brand for so many reasons:

  • Refillable so you only have ONE jug of plastic, ever, and then you order teeny tiny refills in the mail and add your own water. This is the most eco-friendly laundry I’ve ever seen as far as carbon footprint for shipping.
  • Includes a fabric rinse/softener! I haven’t used this in …well, forever, because I used to be too cheap and then I learned about toxic chemicals!
  • Committed to giving back, too – their dryer angels are made by members of the Jamaica Deaf Village (a community where the Deaf are provided education, housing, and employment opportunities) and although they smell a little too strong for our family, they’re super cute.
  • Non-toxic – this of course is the first litmus test for me, and I wouldn’t even have allowed the brand into my home if I wasn’t sure about their ingredients being safe for my family.
  • Make sure you grab the unscented versions if you want to avoid artificial fragrances. Their website claims the scented detergents use essential oils, but upon further investigation, I found that although they are, in fact, plant-based fragrances, they aren’t exactly natural essential oils.

Check out what Truly Free can do for your family! 

  • Molly’s Suds became my new stand-by after getting tired of chasing soap nuts through the dryer (when I started sharing laundry duties and others in the house just couldn’t remember to look for the little bag).
    • I use the powder for hot or warm loads, because it wasn’t dissolving well after we got a new washer that wouldn’t allow water to run in while the lid was open. (I used to swish it around a little while adding the clothes and it did much better! I hate this style of washer but they’re all that way now…)
    • I use the liquid All-Sport for any cold loads, which is the majority of the clothing I wash.
    • And of course I use the cloth diaper powder for all my cloth diapers!
  • Best Natural Green Cleaners

    Non-Toxic Furniture Polish

    • The simplest option is just a microfiber cloth, sometimes with one corner dampened, then polish with the dry part.
    • You can use a touch of olive oil for polishing, mixed with lemon juice or lemon essential oil if you love that Pledge smell!
    You Really Could Eat off That Floor!
    • Vinegar and water (no more than 1/4 cup to a 32 oz. spray bottle) is my weapon of choice, with an old towel for wiping.
    • Your mop bucket is another place for warm water and a glug of vinegar.
    • No vinegar if you have hardwood floors – vinegar can strip the finish and water really isn’t the best idea either. If you feel the need to disinfect a bit (crawling baby, perhaps?) you can use quick sprays of 5. See my all-purpose hardwood floor cleaner recipe here.
      0/50 hydrogen peroxide and water. Just don’t let hardwood floors stay wet at all or they’ll start to look like my poor floors… 🙁
    • Of course pretty much any multi-purpose spray works well for floors; I’ve used Branch Basics along with all my homemade sprays.
    • Just use a microfiber cloth on a Swiffer with any spray for simple green cleaning!

    Now I’d love to hear from you –

    What natural cleaners, homemade or purchased, do you love? 

    For further reading, try these natural body products and see if you have any to add!

    Disclosure: Affiliate links included to Amazon and other companies. See my full disclosure statement here.



    Need More Baby Steps?

    Monday Missions Baby Steps Back to Basics

    Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.

    That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.

    Sign up to get weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.

    Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

    84 thoughts on “Clean with Green from Floor to Ceiling”

    1. I, like you tried so many green cleaners, my favorites are force of nature and branch basics (its also the best green laundry soap, removes coffee stains without pretreatments).

    2. I think I remember you saying that you don’t like pure castile soap for handsoap any more because of scum it makes in the sink. I agree cleaning the sink is a hassle! Do you have a better suggestion?

      1. Hi Sarah,
        Baking soda is great for scrubbing sinks clean, and gets rid of that build up you’re talking about too. If you need a little extra oomph you could try adding a little bit of Method all-purpose cleaner and scrubbing with the baking soda. Sometimes I think that combination will get anything clean!
        Happy Cleaning! – Laura, KS Team Member

    3. Becca @ The Earthling's Handbook

      Method antibacterial cleaner is 5% citric acid and 95% “inert ingredients” which probably means mostly water. Environmental Working Group gives it a good score. I use it almost every day! It works really well as a cleaner, in addition to sanitizing.

    4. So the Costco dish soap is effective and good on ingredients? I saw it recently and wondered about it.

    5. Beth @ Turn2theSimple

      Costco has a natural dish soap?! Is that the Kirkland brand? Dish sop has been my last hold-out to transferring to all natural cleaners — the rest of the house is good, just the kitchen sink!

      I also recently switched back to a “not-s0-natural” brand of laundry detergent. Over my 6+ years of cloth diapering Ive tried many brands (Charlie’s Soap, Biokleen, Soap Nuts, Rocky Mountain and finally homemade) but I was never completely happy with the cleaning power, price point and ease of use/ease of access. Switched to Arm and Hammer Free and Clear for Sensitive Skin. It is free of phosphates, whiteners/brighteners and enzymes, fragrance and is one of the few “non-natural” ones recommended as safe for septic systems. I figure, if it is safe enough for healthy septic system bacteria then it is safe enough for my family!

    6. Becca @ The Earthling's Handbook

      I’m surprised there have been so many comments without anyone mentioning that your link for methylisothiazolinone is broken, both places you linked. Maybe it’s just not working for me?

      Here’s what I use in my home after 20 years’ experimenting with green cleaners. I use somewhat more bottled non-DIY cleaners than you do, so it may be helpful to people who just want to buy something ready to use!

    7. I was diagnosed with asthma almost 12 years ago, and I realized that all the typical store bought cleaners were a huge trigger for me. They always made me wheeze & cough, which should have been a clue way before I was diagnosed, yet I continued to use them. 🙁 Long story short, I learned about Norwex microfiber cloths. I had tried store bought microfiber cloths, and they hadn’t worked either at all, or they were just mediocre. The reviews about Norwex, though, were convincing enough for me to buy a kid’s sample pack. I was very pleasantly surprised at how well they cleaned—just by using them with plain water–no chemicals at all. Yay!! The glass cloth was the only thing that worked on our shower door to remove the hard water crust–with a little elbow grease. The enviro cloth very quickly became my favorite cleaning cloth. That was about 6 years ago, or longer, when I bought the kids set. I have since added more & more–a little here, a little there, and I now have a great stash of cloths for the kitchen, bathroom, floors, etc. I even felt safe giving them to my four year old who loved to play with water in the bathroom sink. She was beyond excited when I gave her the cloth & gave her permission to “play” in the water—as long as she made the sink & the faucet shine. 😀 At 10, she now asks if she can clean—just for fun. That makes this mama super happy! 😀 The only negative thing I have to say about Norwex is that I only use their wet mop to spot clean spills. We have tile all over our house, and I would need 4-5 extra pads just to clean all the rooms on the same day. Their superior dust mop is great, though, for daily use when you have a dog that sheds a lot, like a golden retriever. 😀 For my floors, I use a steam mop. I can not recommend these enough. Again, they only use water & steam, so there is no sticky residue to rinse or mop up a second time. Also, it dries quickly, so I don’t have to worry about my children slipping & falling if they just happen to run into the room immediately after I’ve mopped. The only down side to steam mops is that you have to keep refilling the water reservoir. I’m still waiting to find a steam mop that works great & allows me to mop more than one or two rooms without having to refill the water reservoir. 😀

    8. Its too bad the EO I put on the wool balls each load doesnt transfer to the clothes. It smells nice while the dryers running but then the clothes have no scent. 🙁

    9. You asked about how others liked the Branch Basics ~ I have switched from all the other cleaners to Branch Basics. I love how you can use their concentrate to make various strengths of cleaner for your needs. Their bundles include spray bottles and foam pump bottles to make your cleaners, and they have the various strengths on them. I use Branch Basics for cleaning EVERYTHING in my house. While they have food-based scents to ADD to their cleaner if you desire, I love that their cleaner does not have ANY kind of scent that would aggravate my gag reflux, nausea-feeling, or headache/migraine, since I am very sensitive to smells in this regard. I even try the Branch Basics in the normal 1:5 ratio to soak price/other stickers before ever thinking to reach for the GooGone. Works great! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Branch Basics, and so does my hubby who HATES the smell of bleach, vinegar, etc. Happy dance!!

    10. what are your thoughts on if using tea tree oil could create superbugs? since it acts as an antibacterial…

      1. Nicole’,
        That’s a great question, and I wish I knew the answer. The good thing is that it’s been around a lot longer than some modern antibacterial agents, so if bugs were going to adapt, perhaps they already would have? Here’s a little on how superbugs happen to help the conversation:

        (And I’m sorry to be so terribly late on this reply – your comment just got a bit lost!!)
        🙂 Katie

    11. Katie: so what do you use for dishwasher machine? With all the homemade food stuffs that we want to make , the dirty dishware are unbelievable. I can’t wash them by hand anymore and I’ve been wanting to try the dishwasher but don’t know which dish washing soap work the best without breaking my wallet. Thx

    12. Still searching… want to rid more chemicals but keep hitting roadblocks. Vinegar gives me migraine headaches, so I no longer use it in my home. Baking soda is hit or miss. It is quite frankly a pain to then have to wipe things down 3-4 times to get rid of the grainy residue and streaking. I was intrigued by Norwex, but after seeing the prices, no way. A tbsp of bleach in a gallon of water costs 2 cents and is highly effective at cleaning and germ killing. My steam mop is great for the ceramic tile floors but can’t exactly wipe down counters or clean toilets with it. I will not use anything other than commercial dishwasher soap because other products void the appliance warranty. Threw out the homemade dishsoap because I had to wash the dishes 3 separate times to get them clean and not greasy. I am using all commercial stuff again because I just can’t find anything more economical that actually gets things clean the first time. I have all but given up. Any suggestions appreciated.

      1. Pam,
        for dishwashers, I won’t use homemade either – here are my choices for commercial soaps:

        For sanitizing, I use 50/50 hydrogen peroxide and water (toilets, counters, not greasy stuff). I just find a natural dishsoap, store brand, and call it good usually. I hope that helps!
        🙂 Katie

        1. Katie,
          Just wondering why you dilute the peroxide for sanitizing?
          I use straight vinegar for everything but windows, mirrors and the tub and have been happy with it. We got used to the smell:-)

    13. Pingback: Necessity is the Mother of Invention: Living naturally on a Budget | Landon Gilfillan

    14. Slowly switching things over to natural products in my house and came back to this post yesterday to look up a couple more tips. Noticed the note about GSE but ran across this ~
      ~ when doing a bit more research. Thoughts?

      1. Tanja,
        Wow…I guess since I’m not already using it, I see no need to seek it out myself when there’s this much controversy/bad press. I’ll have to look at my Biokleen BacOut now, but I’m hoping he was referring to Biokleen’s DW detergent…

        Thanks! Katie

    15. greenhills12345

      Hi, I’m wondering what you use if you have this problem: mildew growing under caulking where tiles meet the shower base/tub. I want to use something natural and NOT bleach. Thank you!

      1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

        It’s worth a try to start with hydrogen peroxide, straight vinegar, or an antibacterial essential oil like tea tree or doTERRA OnGuard. Sometimes I think the mold/mildew is killed but leaves a stain…but that’s one of my worst enemies, too! Good luck! 🙂 Katie

    16. Hello Katie,
      I’ve started cleaning with vinegar and hydrogen peroxide like you wrote,
      but I didn’t quite get the rule of thumb-
      when is it best to use one and when the other?
      and when one after the other?

      1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

        For really sanitizing, like after raw meat, use one after the other. I tend to use vinegar water for about everything, really, but h2o2 would be pretty interchangeable I guess. Good question! 🙂 Katie

        1. Thanks for the really quick reply :))
          Another question – I know you dilute the h202 w/ 50% water, I was wondering if you do the same with the vinegar? b/c you wrote “vinegar water” in your response. Thanks again :))

          1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

            This one wasn’t so quick; sorry about that! My vinegar water is about 1/4 c. to a 32 oz. bottle, or less. Very mild. I don’t measure, just “a glug” in my spray bottle. 🙂 Katie

            1. No apology needed – I think you’re wonderful for replying, and I bless you all the time, with every change I make thanks to your amazing blog.
              You are an amazing woman!!!

              So you mean about a 1/4 cup vinegar in about 4 cups water?

    17. Pingback: A Confession and Preparing for GAPS Intro | The Urban Hearth

    18. via Facebook

      Alexis Ridgway – the series is actually from Tsh’s book, One Bite at a Time, so it’s not on my site….I’m just playing along on Facebook. 😉

    19. Just found your website 🙂 Thanks for all of the great tips!! I am going to start collecting all of the worn out socks 😉

      Did you know if you add tea tree oil to your cleaners it functions as a natural antibacterial? I have a great recipe on my blog, The Prudent Life ,for a natural anti-bacterial spray. I have been using it for a long time now and I love it!

      I have been using homemade powdered detergent now for a few months, as well, and I love that, too! Let me know if you would like the link to that (it’s not on my blog)…I have it on Pinterest somewhere 🙂

    20. I was so happy to see Norwex products on here! I started using them when I was pregnant and even vinegar would make sick. Cleaning with a cloth and water has been wonderful and is a great way to get kids to help clean without chemicals too! Way to go on this blog! Loved the tips!

    21. You ladies should check out Norwex ( These products have saved me so much time and money on my cleaning and they are totally natural and safe to use around my little one! A mommy friend turned me on to them about a year ago. Best thing I’ve ever invested in. Before that I spent a lot of time researching and trying homemade recipes. Now I can save my time mixing recipes for my cooking! The cloths clean just about everything with only water. There is one for windows that is amazing – leaves no streaks and no lint whatsoever. I’ve been using the same cloths and mop pads for a over a year so the initial investment really pays off.

    22. hydrogen peroxide

      Thank you for all your fabulous posts. You constantly help me improve my life 🙂
      I went to buy hydrogen peroxide yesterday, and the clerk told me it’s better not to clean with it (the 3% one) during pregnancy because it’s not good to smell it. Is this true?
      Also, I was wondering if you plan on writing more pregnancy posts? Like what you recommended to eat, which supplements to take, which books are recommended in the subject, which tests and ultrasounds to skip etc.
      I love your advice and would love reading your take on all of this.

      1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

        So sorry it took me so long to respond…I got absolutely behind on comments when I released the second edition of the snacks book and truly have never caught up.

        As for the hydrogen peroxide, the clerk must have been mistaken as it has no smell. Guessing s/he meant bleach!

        Some of your pregnancy questions (all but books) are already written: – be sure to go back to page 2 and 3 to get the first trimester stuff. 🙂 Katie

        1. hydrogen peroxide

          Thanks for the response 🙂
          I trust you more than him….
          as for the pregnancy posts, I read all of them because I follow your blog closely… I was hoping for more 😉

    23. Hi there. I’ve been following your blog for several months now (since going on the Maker’s Diet). Seems like you always have information I’m looking for at the time 🙂 Just came across this one. Looking forward to reading all the way through it but I wanted to make sure you knew about a company called Norwex. I am an affiliate but only because their products changed my life – seriously! Here’s a link and I’d be happy to tell you more. Basically clean with cloths and water – naturally antibacterial. Saves alot of time and money.

    24. My oven is a disaster. I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t cleaned it in 2 years… and I use it A LOT. So many chickens have spattered, pizza cheese fallen and burnt on the bottom, etc. Anyway, we are moving now (yay!) and I have to clean it (we rent). I refuse to use commercial oven cleaner, despite it’s effectiveness. It seriously makes me choke and I haven’t brought any into the house since I’ve had kids. I know that warming the oven will help my efforts but I’m not sure what kind of natural concoction to use to help me… any suggestions?

      1. Tif,
        Salt. Elbow grease. 😉

        Actually, find details here:

        Good luck! 🙂 Katie

        1. Thanks Katie! I should have searched KS a little harder. Loving the skinny jeans bit about cleaning the way back of the oven lol 🙂

      2. Oven and grill cleaner by Norwex ( It is made with natural enzymes that break down the burnt on food. Totally safe for you and your family, very easy to use, barely any scrubbing necessary!

      3. mom-in-the-city

        you can make a paste of baking soda and water. you sprinkle the baking soda on the areas of the oven that need cleaning and you spray water on it, leave it overnight, and the next day you mop it up. it is a little messy, but better than breathing all those chemicals. it does a really nice job.

    25. I recently switched to “green cleaning” many areas of our apartment and love it! It’s so nice that I don’t have to worry about the harsh chemicals and can actually breathe easy (literally) during and after the time that I clean. But I am having a hard time combating mold in our bathroom. We rent so I don’t have many options for combating the moisture by replacing our inefficient re-circulating bathroom exhaust fan. I feel like I’ve tried all the “green” options and nothing is doing it – vinegar (before I realized that I shouldn’t use it on grout/caulk which is of course where the mold is growing, made the caulk bubble – oops!), hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil & water solution (1 t/1 cup), GSE and water solution (10 drops/1 cup), straight lemon juice – nothing. I’ve had to resort to breaking out the bleach to get rid of it and I don’t want to be using bleach anymore! Any suggestions? I’m open to buying a natural/safe mold cleaner if that will do the trick w/o bleach – recommendations welcome!

      1. Patty, this is my worst nemesis, too, mold on the grout. I swear it gets down in there where you can’t even get to it. 🙁 Sometimes I do try bleach, and even that doesn’t work. Does bleach work for you? I wish I had a good solution, but that’s a stumper for me so far! So sorry! Katie

        1. Thanks for the reply Katie! Bleach does work for me (but I use it most on the sealant/caulk area around the tub & sink in our bathroom…don’t need it as much on the grout thankfully though it has worked for me in the past). I’ll keep experimenting/searching

    26. I am on a mission to green up my cleaners as well! With baby #3 on the way (due around Easter!) it seems more like crunch time than anything. 😉

      I am not sure if I was reading in this post or in the “triple threat” post about the man contacting you in regards to using vinegar and H2O2. I was stewing on that all night last night.

      As a microbiologist, I have had a hard time switching over to “green” cleaners as well. I know about the efficacy of vinegar and H2O2 for certain things, but am not convinced of their killing powers, especially in regards to some of the nastiest bugs out there. I am currently an at-home-mom, and don’t have a lovely lab with petri plates and swabs at my disposal, or else I’d do a bunch of testing and let y’all know what I find! 🙂

      That said, it still doesn’t help my dilemma of using safe, natural cleaners in the house. Until recently….

      Unfortunately, my FIL brought MRSA into our home. For those unaware, MRSA is methicillin-resistant Staph. aureus. A very dangerous little bug – Google it, but I warn you, it’s not pretty. My son contracted it from my FIL when he was between 6-8 months and had a HUGE boil. I lanced it and drained it, but had to use colloidal silver and tea tree oil to clear it up.

      I am a member of the forum on Well Tell – a very informative site where you can get lots of information on how to naturally treat lots of things (Group B Strep, morning sickness, allergies, eczema, you name it!). A wonderful woman on there also has problems with MRSA in her home due to her son in law being in Iraq and shared this wonderful natural cleaner with me. It is my “go to” antibacterial cleaner.

      Mix in a spray bottle:
      2 cups hot water
      1 tsp. essential oil (tea tree, eucalyptus, or any other antibacterial essential oil)
      1 tsp. washing soda
      2 tsp. Borax
      1/2 tsp. liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
      10 drops GSE
      Mix well. Spray on hard surfaces.

      Not as cheap as the vinegar, but I feel confident knowing it is taking care of the bacteria I don’t want in my home. It does smell like tea tree oil (I use TTO for my cleaner) but another oil may work well for you and not smell so strongly.

      HTH! 🙂

      1. Vicky,
        Oh, in-home petri dishes would be a science geek’s dream, don’t you think? 😉 Thank you so much for this recipe! I wonder if the washing soda and Borax are essential for germ killing, or more just the oils. I would think the castille soap would do a good enough job cutting grease or dirt if that’s necessary. Any thoughts on their purpose? Scary to have MRSA in your tiny one though! Yikes!
        Thank you – Katie

      2. I know this post is from a long time ago. I’m just wondering though, if this could be used on toys, like in a daycare or church nursery setting. Any other suggestions for how to clean (and kill germs from) baby and kid toys in such a setting? Thanks!

        1. Hi Patti- I’d recommend a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water (with added tea tree oil maybe) or go with something totally proven:

          Hope that helps! 🙂 katie

    27. Pingback: Tuesday Links — 03.15.2011 — The Natural Cleaning Edition « Kinda Crunchy Kate

    28. looked for hydrogen peroxide at meijer today to add to my cleaning kit. i was thrilled to find one with a sprayer top on it! score!

    29. When you say 50/50 hydrogen peroxide and water, what concentration of H2O2 are you starting with? 3% or 35%?

      1. Jason,
        A very important distinction – just the regular old 3% stuff in the brown bottle. 🙂 Katie

    30. I’ve been a believer in tea tree oil for several years now, but would like to note to use caution around pets (especially cats). . .it can be toxic to them (my 2 cats are fine, but I reduced use of it after finding this out a couple years after starting tea tree oil & I hadn’t used it in “their” areas). As a child, my mother taught me the vinegar/water/newspaper combo for windows & mirrors & we never have streaks- I love it!! Thanks for all of the other ideas!!

    31. Tan @ Tan/green

      After similar battles with my dishwasher I found LemiShine…an intense concentrate of fruit acid that knocks out hard water and seems to aid the detergent. Can’t say enough good things about it.

    32. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

      Let’s see….

      Love my soap nuts. I rinse stains out with cold water immediately and use a little plain blue Dawn if necessary — gets EVERYTHING out so far. I like RLR to help get my diapers clean, and putting them out in the sun too. Don’t forget about the sun for stained laundry!

      Seventh Generation and white vinegar in my dishwasher, though I also like Shaklee. Have not found a good homemade solution either (hmph).

      Most things I honestly use plain water, or baking soda. I do have a bunch of Seventh Gen stuff around, which I’ll use in my kitchen or bathrooms on occasion, if there’s a need or it’s been awhile. Fun fact: their “all purpose” cleaner will get ANYTHING out of my carpet, even blueberries! Love that….

      Toilets — the two we don’t use as often, Mrs. Meyer’s or Seventh Gen stuff. The one we use a lot (and don’t always flush, to save water) gets HORRIBLY dirty and I use the cheap, caustic stuff in it. The other stuff doesn’t get it clean, no matter how hard I try.

      Showers — Baking soda HANDS DOWN! I even once tried CLR and lots of nasty, caustic stuff (a couple years ago) and nothing. Plugged the drain, flooded with warm water, dumped baking soda in it, let it sit maybe 10 minutes, and it all wiped clean like a dream. Seriously. Love it.

      I do love my essential oils (I have a lot of them — tea tree and lavender being my most common for cleaning, but also oregano and thyme). Seventh Gen has a new oregano-oil-based antibacterial cleaner that I like all right.

    33. We use club soda (defizzed) 16 oz, 24 drops tea tree oil, and 24 drops grapefruit seed extract for a disinfectant spray/all purpose cleaner. Either the tea tree or the GSE in the above concentration would have enough disinfecting power all by itself. However, we were replacing Clorox wipes, and my husband and I wanted to be extra sure we were killing bugs on the counter after raw meat, etc.

      Works great, no soapy residue…

      We use plain defizzed club soda for a glass cleaner and an olive oil/vinegar/water with lemon oil combination for wood cleaning.

        1. The de-fizzed club sofa has sodium citrate in it, I think. My husband insists it doesn’t streak like plain even distilled water does.

    34. I can’t wait to check out those dish soaps. I’ve had a favorite one we’ve used for awhile. Just bought another bottle and now they’ve made it antibacterial and it contains triclosane so I’ve been wanting something different.

      I need a cleaner for my hardwood floors though, especially in the winter. I’ve actually used vinegar and water for the past few months and won’t now! Thanks for stating it strips. Before that I used diluted oil soap. Is that safe for hardwood floors? or any other recommendations? I especially need it in the winter with all the salt outside.

      1. Shannon,
        Oil soap is definitely recommended for hardwood. I have only carpet and tile, so I don’t have a lot of experience with it, but that’s what the sites that said “don’t use vinegar” recommended. 🙂 Katie

      2. Becca @ The Earthling's Handbook

        We’ve been using Earth Friendly Products’ Floor Cleaner for 14 years, with great results! It’s convenient because instead of mixing up a bucket, you just spray an area and mop it. For heavy mess like sidewalk salt, spray thickly and let it stand, and maybe do a second round if the first one doesn’t get it completely clean.

    35. I use 2-3 Tablespoons of dish soap (Mrs. Meyers) and about 20 drops of tea tree oil mixed with about 2 cups of warm water in a spray bottle as my all-purpose cleaner/disinfectant…Love it! I (and my kids) love the smell! Vinegar and baking soda are used abundantly here too! Thanks for the peroxide idea, haven’t tired that one yet!

    36. Oh, Milehimama beat me to it!

      I use all these things for cleaning. I made the mistake of putting the H2O2 in a clear bottle, also. It turns to water quickly. There is a reason that hydrogen peroxide is in a dark bottle.

      I use it far less often these days, because it just isn’t as convenient to use.

      1. Kathryn,
        My spray bottle top fit right on the brown plastic bottle it came in! That was a cool discovery. 😉 Katie

    37. Any suggestions for a slate kitchen floor? I know vinegar is out. I have been just using water, but I feel like I should be doing something more since it is the kitchen.

        1. I just remember noticing a little blurb about not using it on natural stone like slate or marble in a This Old House magazine once.

          1. don´t think that is valid for all stones… for sure keep all acids (vinegar, lemon, onion……) off marble and limestone (that´s why they are not good for kitchen counters). These stones get dissolved by acid, but that wouldn´t happen to granite, for example. So it depends on the stone.

      1. Hate to sound like a broken record here but I’ve been there asking all these same questions while trying to find safe yet effective things to use in my home after my son was born. Norwex ( really does have a solution for everything. The cloths and the mop pads can be used on all surfaces and clean with just water so you don’t have to worry about them damaging anything. The silver embedded in the cloths makes them naturally antibacterial.

    38. About the hydrogen peroxide- the bottle you show is clear, and it breaks down into oxygen and water pretty quickly if exposed to light (that’s why it’s sold in dark bottles). So a new batch will need to be mixed up each time you clean.

      Myself, I just use a vinegar spray for toilet cleaning and bathroom mopping.

      You can make your own oxygen bleach from washing soda and peroxide. For laundry, it’s important to use 3%, not 6% hydrogen peroxide because the stronger stuff could bleach your clothes or fade them.

      I saw on an old post that you had tea tree oil, which was costly. A lot of people use a drop or two in thier mop buckets. We’ve used it to kill lice without using pesticides (worked GREAT on eight people with varying hair lengths) and it can also be used for fungal infections, scabies, and other first aid.

      1. Yep hydrogen peroxide is best stored in a cool dark place. My mom keeps her food grade stuff in the fridge. When I have a mixed clear bottle, mine goes in the back of the fridge too.

      2. Milehimama,
        Yes, that photo was taken before I knew better. I used to test it to see if it bubbled, and if it did, I knew it was still active. The bottle is kind of translucent…and kept in a dark cupboard. ??? Now I have the spray top right on the brown H2O2 bottle. 🙂

        If I could find my tea tree oil bottle, I’d know it was under $5 and will last a really, really long time b/c you use so little. Thanks! 🙂 Katie

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