I am not big on chemicals when I have the opportunity to avoid them. So, I have gotten more frugal around the house with what we use for cleaning. The third best cleaners are inexpensive but work well (DH loves to buy cleaners). The second best are kid safe! The VERY best are inexpensive but work well AND are kid safe.
Vinegar For general cleaning:
empty 20oz spray bottle (a window cleaner bottle rinsed well is good)
vinegar (has natural anti-bacterial abilities)
alcohol (optional --- use if you are cleaning glass and mirrors)
add to the bottle 2 oz vinegar, 1 oz alcohol (opt) and fill with water. My 2yo sprayed the 8yo in the face and his eyes stung for about 20 seconds, long enough for him to tell me then say they didn't.
Dish Soap For a little more power cleaner and single use:
1 large mixing bowl
antibacterial dish soap
Add 1 to 2 tbs dish soap to the bowl. Add hot water BUT pour it down the side of the bowl so it will mix with the soap but not make it suds a lot.
Oil Soap For hardwood floors, no-wax floors, wood cabinetry or furniture, walls and doors, single use:
--This is for washing not dusting--
1 large mixing bowl
Add about 1/4 cup soap to bowl and mix as described for dish soap.
Oil Soap for dogs:
--have you ever read the directions and precautions on dog shampoo? They are down right scary!
Empty dish soap bottle well rinsed
1/2 cup oil soap
(If you have a flea problem, add a little dog shampoo but not more than the oil soap)
Add oil soap and water to bottle. be sure the bottle is dull and cap is closed - shake well. Wet your dog and use the bottle to apply soap. Don't put to much on the dog as you can always add more. The squirt top makes it easy to get it where you need it and only as much as you need. Scrub up your dog you will notice the suds, you may need to add a little more water to the fur for spread-ability. Rinse, you will notice how easy the oil soap rinses off. Wash a second time if needed. --- close the top and save the remainder for the next dog/bath.
Baby shampoo for Exterior and vehicles (especially windows).
-This sounds crazy but it works, however you need to rinse it so that is why I say exterior.
Large bowl or bucket
rinsed 1 gallon milk jug
add 1 cup baby shampoo to gallon jug, add water to top, cap and mix well. Pour into spray bottle
Fill bowl with water for rinsing cloth/sponge. Spray area thoroughly with shampoo mix and scrub. Rinse cloth as needed. Rinse areas with hose as you finish them. If doing in a sunny area, rinse more often. Squeaky clean!
Baking Soda Scrubbing action
If you have an area that just needs some extra scrubbing like a bath tub, shower or a pot that has something burned to the bottom (scrape off what you can easily), dampen area, sprinkle baking soda on the area. Let it sit several minutes to an hour. Scrub with a cloth or sponge. Rinse and repeat if necessary.
If using this in a shower or tub, be sure to rinse the heck out of it because baking soda is VERY slippery!
I have also read that you can use it to clean your oven but haven't tried that yet.
Peroxide for some stains.
Peroxide is great for getting some stains off of laundry and counters. I prefer to try it before I use bleach. (If you are afraid of damage to material, test a spot that cannot be seen) Just pour the peroxide directly onto the spot and watch it bubble. Rinse with water. Some stains like blood can take additional time/applications.
Dish soap on grease stains
I so often forget to use this. What is better for getting grease off of dishes or your hands than dish soap. After DH has worked on a car, he steals my dish soap to wash up in the bathroom. SO, why not use it on his greased up clothes as well.
1) if applying to dry clothes, use a small bowl to water down the dish soap 50/50 and apply with an old sponge or scrubbie.
2) Fill a bucket with hot water and add dish soap to the water, add clothes and let them soak
3) Get the clothes wet and apply dish soap directly to spot as needed.
Each option I am sure would need som scrubbing to take place.
Rinse in washing machine or in the sink , THEN wash as usual. Remember dish soap suds a LOT and depending on the amount you used could cause a problem if not properly rinsed.
This is about the only chemical I really use. I use it when nothing else works. I do use it on loads of white clothes cause my kids are dirty little rascals. We also have well water issues that make our whites very dingy if I don't use bleach. I also use bleach (or a bleach based cleaner) on kitchen counters and the bathroom) on occasion but try not to in the winter since we are usually closed up and the fumes are horrible.
One of the few cleaners I do like to buy are orange cleaners. They usually clean well and have a pleasant orange odor. I could probably add orange oil to my vinegar spray for the same thing.
On the look out:
I am always looking for good basic non-toxic alternatives to the overly chemical cleaners. I found a laundry recipe but lost it again, guess I need to go looking for it. I am also looking for a good dust cleaner. I hope to get one of those little no-power vacuum sweepers to use for a daily sweeper. Anything to save the vacuum bags that I cannot find for our vacuum much anymore.
Hope this helps someone.