I only buy two and one is free. Baking soda, vinegar, and water.
I first tried baking soda and vinegar when I read about earth-friendly cleaning methods for the 98th time and how Martha Stewart does everything with lemon juice and salt, and I knew I could do better. Plus, I had splattered bleach on more pairs of pants than a frugal mama wants to remember.
For a while I would still use some traditional products, because I am kind-of a clean freak. Then I realized that baking soda and vinegar worked just as well. The turning point was when I asked my daughters, who were then five and seven, to help me clean the house. Gentle cleaning products made more sense than ever, and we’ve never turned back.
(Cleaning the house with my kids is a whole other story, but I will say that it is a perfect example of how I think saving money has made our lives better. Working together as a family has brought us closer and seems to center my children.)
Why I Like Cleaning with the Natural Trio
No mental clutter.
I never have to worry about which product is best for which room. Which brand is on sale, which one is offering a coupon. Whether this soap is eco-friendlier than that. I just buy the largest container of generic baking soda and white vinegar, and done.
It’s good for us and all the plants and animals and the water and the air.
My children learn life skills, responsibility, and good habits by helping us keep the house neat and clean.
Baking soda and vinegar are less-expensive than factory-made cleaning products. For example, my vinegar/water solution costs $0.03 per ounce, whereas Windex is four times more expensive at $0.14 per ounce.
How We Clean with Baking Soda, Vinegar & Water
1. Surfaces that need a little scrubbing — such as sinks, toilet bowls, countertops, or tubs — get a sprinkle of baking soda. (We used to use a shaker like the one pictured to sprinkle the powder, but then the top got jammed shut, so now we just pour it from the cardboard box.)
2. With a spray bottle filled with a one-to-one solution of vinegar and water, we spritz surfaces that need to be wiped down.
3. Dusting is done with a damp rag (either water or the vinegar solution).
4. We clean our floors with this steam mop, which cleans with hot water only, and throw the fabric pad in the wash afterwards.
And that’s it. Occasionally I will use a Magic Eraser sponge on walls, and of course, clothes and dishes have their own detergents, but most household jobs can be done with these simple solutions.
I’m curious to hear: how do you simplify cleaning? Let me know in the comments.