I am mostly down to baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide for my cleaning. I do use regular dish soap and laundry detergent. But when they are out, I hope to buy a large container of all-natural, earth-friendly stuff.
This is a list from 'Green This' (link and more info below) for such products:
There is a company that helps you to have a 'Green Cleaning Party' where you help your friends to make cleaning products from the above list. I want to have one sometime. It's so much cheaper and healthier. It's a win-win situation! Most people just have no idea how toxic the cleaners are-or how easy it is to make your own. The party is completely free and they give you all you need to print things and even what to say. If I have one, I'll be sure to post about it. :) I love parties anyway.
In 'Green This' by Deirdre Imus, she suggests for maintenance of your sink (in place of Drano and hopefully even a plumber) , is to boil a cup of water, add half a cup of vinegar and 4 tbls baking soda. Pour into the drain and cover with a cloth for half an hour and then rinse. She suggests you do this once a week and 'you should be clog-free for life'.
She goes through each room in the house and gives helpful suggestions for how to maintain and fix issues as they arise. And also how to choose more 'natural' products, such as linens, flooring, etc. It was an interesting read. Very quick, but helpful. I've read most of the info in other places, but there was some interesting ideas and esp facts that I did not know.
I also loved 'How the Queen Cleans Everything' by Linda Cobb. Chock full of awesome tidbits about cleaning everything you can possibly imagine. And most of her suggestions are homemade concoctions with natural ingredients. She too uses the list I started with for most of her cleaning. She even has a list of cleaning chores for daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually and even some in between. And she is funny. I refer to the book often and would recommend it for anyone.
My 4 top all-natural, inexpensive, non-toxic cleaning products (buy in bulk-they all last a long time and are cheaper that way).
VINEGAR: It's cheap and it's a great all purpose cleaner-esp when mixed with baking soda. I go through about 5 gallons a month. It's great for bathtubs, toilets and sinks, bug repellent that is safe for the skin, fabric softener (I put it in the little blue ball at the beginning of my load-about 1/2 a cup), air freshener, stainless steel sinks (along with some baking soda for scrubbing purposes), vinyl floors, drains, mirrors (equal parts water/vinegar), also in place of the toxic dishwashing detergent-I put in some dish soap, vinegar and baking soda and it works great.
BAKING SODA: It's a great deodorizer and makes a good abrasive for scrubbing things. It's great for the garbage disposal, cleaning gunked on foods on stainless steel pans, wall paper cleaning, grout cleaner and for the bottom of the litter box to neutralize the smell some.
LEMON JUICE: Lemon juice is a natural disinfectant and bleach. It's supposed to work good on clothes for a stain remover-but I've never tried it. I generally add it to my cleaning produts when I want a nice smell and a disinfectant.
HYDROGEN PEROXIDE: This is similar to lemon juice. If I'm particularly worried about germs (like when cleaning up from raw meat, or when we've been sick), then I will use it. I'm just getting into using the hydrogen peroxide. I also found out it makes a great mouth rinse. It's better then the chemical-laden mouthwashes in the grocery store. I did it once and it was kind of funky. I need to get into the habit of doing it every night before I go to bed.
I still like my all-purpose cleaner, although I did change it a bit. I stopped with the borax and I sometimes use lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide in place of the tea tree oil. Drew doesn't care much for the smell of the tea tree oil. I keep it in spray bottles and use it to clean the counters, table and bathroom. And I let the kids use it, which they love. It's safe and non-toxic and they feel so helpful.
I've also found that microfiber towels are great for cleaning and drying. And they are made without bleach and other chemicals. I use them for pretty much all of my cleaning (and other paper towel needs).
I enjoy cleaning-and I'm mighty lucky for that. But it's all the more fun to know it's safe for everyone.