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Kitchen greenification

Harder than it had to be

I’m doing pretty well so far with my new routines & task list.  One benefit of that?  I’m actually cleaning up the supper mess before leaving the kitchen in the evening.  And my counters are actually getting cleared off on a regular basis.  Did you think I always had a nice clean kitchen?  Oh, no, you’d be sadly mistaken about that.  They’re messy these days more often than they’re not, so having them cleared-off regularly is a bit of a novelty for me.   And having them free of debris means I can get in there and clean them properly.

Looking to green my kitchen

My usual method?  A few spritzes of all-purpose cleanser and a paper towel.  But I want to rely less on chemicals and disposable items around here.  I have a pile of wash cloths that I’d bought for a project that never panned out, and I’ve decided I’d like to clean the kitchen with them, whenever it’s practical to do so.  But I’m feeling somewhat clueless about the cleaning agent I should use:

  • I’m thinking I can just use water by itself most times – is that true?
  • And if the mess is stubborn, then what?
  • Would a Windex-like cleanser like I usually use be a good idea on a wash cloth?
  • Is there a good homemade substitute?
  • And if so, do I need to rinse it off the counter when I’m done?

Looking to green my kitchen

Told you.  Clueless.  I’ve been so happy with the way cloth napkins have worked out for us for the past year, though, that I really think it shouldn’t be too painful to take another step or two in a green direction.  I just need some common sense guidance from people to whom cleaning comes more naturally than it does to me.  Hopefully one or  more of those people is reading this.  We can’t all be slobs who hate to clean up after ourselves and who rely on bottles of heavy duty cleansers we buy in the supermarket when we do finally get around to scrubbing something, can we?  Gosh, I hope not.

So, please educate me.  How can I build upon my success with cloth napkins and further greenify my kitchen? More specifically, how can I clean it in a more earth-friendly way?

Thank you in advance for wowing me with your wealth of knowledge 🙂

34 thoughts on “Kitchen greenification

  1. Hi Lisa.

    I have been on the same quest. I have found a great website to help me out http://www.stretcher.com/index.cfm.

    I usually use water and vineagar for daily cleaning and if I really need to disinfect good I follow it with a hydroxogen and water spray. That website listed there has a lot of good ways to save your dollar.

    If you want something organic Melaleuca products are really good too.
    http://www.melaleuca.com/ps/index.cfm?f=ps.contentPage&sCatID=100147

    Hope that helps.
    cindy

    See what cindygert has been blogging about:

    1. Thanks for the links – I’ll check them out!

  2. Vinegar is a good natural cleaning agent and for tougher messes baking soda, but don’t mix the vinegar and baking soda unless you want to make a volcano or blow up a balloon attached to a pop bottle, LOL. I know there’s a book or website on “natural cleaning solutions” but I don’t know what or where. Hugs, Sue C

  3. About a year ago I bought the book “Clean house, clean planet” (see Amazon). It’s full of recipes for making cleaners for you house and I highly recommend it.

    The one thing that I’ve actually stuck with is using baking soda to clean my counters. I use a cheese shaker (with big holes on the top), put the baking soda in with a few drops of peppermint essential oil (so it smells pretty). Whenever I wipe up the counter I shake a bit of the baking soda on it first. The counter smells clean and so do the dish cloths. I hope that helps!

    See what Karyn has been blogging about: The first (of many)

    1. Book duly added to my Amazon wish list. Thanks 🙂

  4. Greenificating your kitchen isn’t that difficult if you know what to do. =) One of the things I use to clean off our counters is white vinegar. It’s a cleanser but without the chemicals. It’s good for stains, often too. Depending on what you use to clean your sink, you can always use baking soda and water. Mildly abrasive and cleans up stains really well! I’ve even used it for stuck-on stuff on the stovetop and it’s fine. Also, baking soda in your drains followed by more white vinegar is an excellent drain unclogger! Hope that helps. =)

    See what Laura has been blogging about: Vibrant necklace – karmabeads

  5. Hi Lisa,

    It’s been awhile since I left a comment, but I have to say this post left a good impression with me. I am really going to try to make my kitchen a lot more green now! Thanks for the inspiration : )

    Jamie

    1. Glad I could help – hope we both have some luck!

  6. Hi,
    I have heard get things about both vinegar and baking soda. One guy I know uses vinegar for almost all of his cleaning. He thinks it is just the best thing ever. I have got to try it myself.

  7. Yep! Vinegar and baking soda.

    Also there are lots of recipes for things like window cleaner and such. Water, alcohol, ammonia and a drop of dish soap. All natural and extreemly cheap!

  8. I also use vinegar…for a deep scrub on counters I sometimes combine it with a little borax which basically makes a soft scrub kind of thing. Baking soda too – with vinegar it foams nicely. I also LOVE Dr. Bronners hemp mint soap. It can be used in the above combos to make everything smell good. It is also biodegradable, fair trade, organic, and not bad for anything. Cuts the vinegar smell. Or, I also add some sort of essential oil…like mint, lemon, etc.

    We also use washcloths in our kitchen and don’t buy paper towels or napkins any more. We sew napkins from favorite fabrics. Works great!

    See what Denise has been blogging about: cool beach fun.

    1. Good tip for making the whole thing smell better – I love vinegar on my salad, but I don’t particularly want the house to smell like it 🙂

  9. I use cleaner for most things as well – either mixed with one thing or another. I’ve been “green” cleaning for years now and have a catalog of different cleaners that I’ve picked from here and there. Anything you want to clean, just ask.

    Great all-purpose cleaner for kitchen counters and glass:

    Need: spray bottle, lavender essential oil, vinegar, water, borax

    mix a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water (preferably distilled or spring – doesn’t matter, though) in the spray bottle. I then add about 10-15 drops of essential oil in the bottle with 1 tablespoon+/- of borax powder. This is a great cleaner that lasts a long time. The lavender is somewhat antibacterial and much better than triclosan (evil stuff!). You can replace the lavender oil with rosemary eo and you have a great glass cleaner. I keep a bottle of both beneath my sink.

    See what Missy has been blogging about: Working time out

    1. Thanks for the recipe. Where do you get supplies like essential oils and borax?

      1. You can get borax at most grocery stores and big box stores, like target and K-Mart. You’ll find “20 Mule Team” borax distributed by Dial at most places. It’s pretty cheap and lasts a while. Essential Oils can be purchased many places online or at a Natural Foods Store, such as Wild Oats or Whole Foods. If you live in a smaller town (like me), you can find them at small nutrition/herb shops (locally owned ones – not the GNC types).

        Good luck!

        See what Missy has been blogging about: Working time out

        1. Oh, cool, I have a Whole Foods relatively close by. Thanks!

  10. I bought the Clorox “Green Works” natural cleaner & it seems to work fine (but probably not as green as vinigar & water, which I have used on cat pee & it does a great job of neutralizing the odor). & I use baking soda to clean my stainless steel sink.

    I confess that I still use paper towels & paper napkins, but I put them in our compost bin. If you don’t have a compost bin, that is a wonderful way to reduce your garbage, I throw everything in there except meat and fatty food. Our family of 4 is down to about 1 1/2 bags of trash for pick-up each week. We are fortunate enough to have a recycling center nearby to take bottles, cans, newspaper, cardboard, and #1 & 2 plastics.

    Good for you – every little bit helps, I say.

    1. No, we haven’t tried composting. We do have recyclables picked up here every 2 weeks, but I’m sure we generate more than 1.5 bags of garbage/week.

      I initial made cloth napkins because I was learning to sew and thought it would be cool. Now I wouldn’t ever go back! They are so nicely broken-in and soft. Way better to the face than paper napkins, and I just throw them in the regular laundry when they get dirty. I have a set of 25 or so, and I very rarely run out of them before they get washed again.

      1. After clearing the table tonight & only two people had even used a napkin, I think making cloth ones would be a great way to break in my sewing machine. And apparently not over-use the washer.

        Do you have a recommendation for fabic to use (yup, I’m clueless!)?

        You have got to try composting – I got a 32 gallon garbage can fron KMart and drilled holes around the top to let air in. I roll it around periodically to mix it. I grow the coolest maggots. Your boys might love it. (ewwwwww, but we have hard GA clay w/ little soil here, when I can dump a load out on my “garden”, for free, ahhh it’s nice…).

        Thanks!

  11. I use Method products. They’re mostly natural, and smell fantastic (my favorite is cucumber for the kitchen, and lavender for the bathroom.) I also have a stack of washcloths that I rotate daily, since I think it’s kind of dirty to use them more than that. At the end of each day I toss the old one in the laundry pile, and put a clean one next to the sink.

    I’ve also tried the vinegar and baking soda solution, but I don’t like the smell.

    See what Jessie has been blogging about: Preserving

    1. I bought a Method cleaner yesterday for keeping the shower clean. Haven’t tried it yet.

      That’s my plan with the wash cloths, too.

  12. I use “Seventh Generation” products, kitchen and laundry. I also use a probiotic cleaner as well for my kitchen, from my company at http://www.carlacollier.mionegroup.com called BioPure Probiotic Cleaner. And if you really want to kill nasty bathroom and shower germs, try grapefruit extract (found at any vitamin shop), just mix 15 drops with a gallon of water, place in your favorite spray bottle and spray away germs. I also place several drops in my laundry when i’m washing pet beds and toys. It’s actually used in hopsitals as a cleaner, very safe. Baking soda, lemon and vinegar are also great cleaning agents, i have them all at hand, labeled and ready to go! Hope this helps. P.S. Let me know if you’d like a pdf of others uses for the grapefruit extract, happy to send it.

    1. I have been using Seventh Generation all-purpose cleaner lately, myself. I like it. Thanks for the link!

    2. Yes, I’d like to know more about using grapefruit extract.

      Thanks!

      1. Kelly,

        Here is a website that contains many many uses for grapefruit extract, the different links are at the bottom of the home page. It really is a very helpful and safe alternative to other chemical products!

        http://www.pureliquidgold.com/

        Carla

  13. A simple vinegar, borax and a drop of liquid soap will do the job. I was worried about my kitchen smelling like vinegar too, but it doesn’t. Since I’ve decided to ban chemicals, this book has been very useful to me: Better Basics For The Home by Annie Berthold-Bond. There is a site too http://www.betterbasics.com/

    1. Thanks for the suggestion – I’ve added the book to my wish list.

  14. […] Kitchen greenification […]

  15. There are two natural cleaners we use often around here: vinegar and baking soda! They work wonders!

    See what Teresa has been blogging about: Aprons, Aprons, And More Aprons

  16. the new Fresh and Wholesome (formerly fountain of vitality)on springfield ave in Berkeley Heights has a lot of good cleaning stuff – and ingredients to make your own (castille soap, etc)

    1. I forgot all about that place! I’ve been meaning to check it out. Thanks for the reminder.

  17. I use regular cleaning products (sigh, I know) but I dilute them by 75% with water. I do however use washclothes to clean everything mostly ’cause I think they work better. I actually prefer the cheapest, nastiest thin washers from WalMart. They have more rough terry that scrubs better.

    I have then a wire basket that serves as a hamper right under my sink. those washers get washed in a load by themselves with hot water and/ or bleach every other time.

    Yes I have a lot of them. Like 25-30. The only down side is the washers you use for your face always get mixed up with the kitchen ones till you realize you gotta just start over with the face ones. But by that time the kitchen ones are pretty much shot and get regulated to car wash-craft room -animal clean up duties.

    See what ella has been blogging about: Sticker Shock

  18. […] around the kitchen.  So, I went with it, and I whipped up a batch of all-purpose cleaner a la Missy.  Then I put on an apron and my “Sweater Weather” playlist, and made some […]

  19. I’ve been using this spray on my kitchen benches for about 15 years… 1 tablespoon of eucalyptus oil dissolved in about 1/2 tablespoon of methylated spirits. Put these into the bottom of your empty sprayer and swish them until the oil is dispersed in the metho (you can use vodka if you don’t like metho) then fill up the sprayer with water. Give it a shake and away you go. Smells great as long as you don’t put too much metho in.

    This is my first time here at your blog. I found it by searching Flylady on flickr. I’ve only just found flylady too. I was looking for some crafty homemade examples of a control journal pouch. Do you know of any?

    See what Jan has been blogging about: Painting and studying painting

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