Slow Home: Green Cleaning Tips

Slow Home: Green Cleaning Tips - Episode 144 of The Slow Home Podcast

Just quickly, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has given such great feedback on our new Monday episode format. It’s been fun to make a shift after the experiments last year, and we’re really enjoying it, but to hear that you lovely folk are too is so ace.

I thought I might be testing the friendship by having a series of shows about cleaning, but it turns out many of you are keen on learning more about how we’ve shifted to sustainable products over the past few years, as well as the ways we’ve simplified the whole she-bang. I’m not going to lie and say I love cleaning the bathroom or anything, but being able to do it with minimal fuss, minimal toxins and minimal stress is pretty great.

Today we wanted to go a little further than last week (where we extolled the significant virtues of white vinegar when it comes to cleaning) by looking at a handful of additional products that when combined with vinegar and a little elbow grease, will help you clean virtually every surface in your house.

As we said last week, making these really simple changes helps you to:

    • save money
    • keep it simple, as most products have many uses
    • minimise harmful chemicals or harsh commercial cleaners used in your home
  • protect yourself and the environment

So what are these additional products we speak of?

Bi-carb soda can be combined with water or vinegar to create a scrubbing paste and used to clean:

    • grout
    • bath ring
    • soap residue
    • kitchen sink
    • oven
  • vanity
You can also use bicarb to deodorise carpets, fridges, drawers, fabrics etc, and unclog drains. Just pour a handful in the drain, pour in a cup of vinegar, let it sit, then rinse down with boiling water.

Citric acid is excellent for cleaning toilets.

Just sprinkle the toilet bowl with citric acid, spray with vinegar, leave for a while, scrub well with a brush, flush and wipe with a dry cloth.

You can also use citric acid for tougher buildup in grout and on tiles, but it’s harsher than bicarb to be careful not to use it on a smooth/shiny surface without testing first.

Essential oils (particularly tea tree and lavender oils) are an antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial addition, and can be added to your vinegar spray or combined with water and used as a disinfectant spray, dusting spray or linen spray.

Tea tree oil is also great to add to the water when mopping floors, and as a topical way of treating mold. (Avoid if you have cats though, as it can be toxic).

We also talk about the commercial products we do still use, and why, as well as the importance of being consistent. These products aren’t as strong as the bleach-based products you find at a supermarket and as a result won’t be as effective at cutting through heavy-duty dirt.

I know lots of you tried the vinegar challenge last week (let us know how it worked for you!) and this week I’d love to offer this action to try: Buy a box of bicarb soda and simply use it to clean your kitchen sink. Sprinkle the bicarb around lightly, spray with vinegar and then scrub using a cloth. Rinse and dry. Then tell me if it’s as effective (or more? or less?) than the products you’ve been using previously.

That’s it! In the meantime, have a great week.


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8 Responses to Slow Home: Green Cleaning Tips

  1. Loving these short series, simple and effective. I recently went back to the Bea Johnson interview you made and changing our cleaning routine was something I wanted to dive in, so in good timing! thanks! Going to get my vinegar bottle!

  2. Thanks for your blog and podcast. I’m jumping back through old episodes and loving them. I’m researching to go to Japan for my 40th next year after hearing your story of your trip. I’m also inspired to keep writing. I haven’t blogged in 2 years. I especially loved your interview with Rhonda Hetzel. I’m a long time fan of her. I’d love to hear you interview Amanda Soule from Keep up the great pogpasts.

  3. Hello, I am an owner of a cleaning company and in my opinion, the article is useful. Definitely, if you have a free time these methods are really effective, but in case that you are busy, I think the right option is to call a professional cleaning company.

  4. Love the tips. I just cleaned my tub, it’s squeaky clean and I didn’t have to wear gloves. :)

  5. I have tried the vinegar in a spray bottle as I’m trying to reduce the chemicals I’m using in my kitchen. However it left the whole downstairs smelling like a fish and chip shop! I forget, am I sulloswd to dilute it? Add lemon juice? Any advice gratefully received.