Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Cleaning Products

Heather had asked in a comment about the cleaning supplies I use (with both my husband and son having severe allergies). I wrote an e-mail to my daughter, asking her because she deals with even more severe sensitivities than I do. I'll write out what I use and then I'll actually post my daughter's e-mail here. She gives a lot more detail than me...

I use the Mrs. Meyers (it doesn't seem to cause my husband or son any problem), Bon Ami for scrubbing (I have one grocery store that still carries it), and I find Dawn dishwashing liquid works fine most of the time for heavy duty things like cleaning toilets. I do use an actual toilet bowl cleaner about three times a year that is especially made for hard water stains but we have a well and septic system, the septic tanks do not like harsh chemicals so I have to be careful. Before Mrs. Meyers products, I bought Seventh Generation at the health food store. I use the Magic Erasers when necessary with no problem. We're switching to Charlie's Soap for laundry, ordering a bag as soon as we run out of our current supply of laundry soap.

(By the way, Mrs. Meyers is having a "No Shipping Charge" today...March 20th.

Here's my daughter's reply, her husband and son are extremely sensitive to chemicals:

We are successfully using Seventh Generation glass cleaner and dish soap, a mop that would be comparable to the Mr. Clean magic eraser mop (because it cleans with just water)...in the bathroom I spray some disinfectant on it first...I use the Shaklee Basic G for disinfectant and for all purpose I use Basic H with some drops of lavender or lemongrass oils.

If Basic G would be too strong (it does have a strong smell that could trigger some athsma issues), then disinfectant can be made naturally with Basic H and tea tree oil, or even with half water, half vinegar, tea tree oil, and some scented essential oil to cut the vinegar smell.

For scrubbing we use Bar Keepers Friend, it's great on sinks, faucets, and shower walls. We used to use Bon Ami but I can't find it anymore. I use a little tiny bit of Basic G to clean the toilet, but if it gets stained and I have trouble with the stain CLR can be used, believe it or not it's safe and very effective. To make my own antibacterial soap, I order castille soap by the gallon from the co-op and put it in pretty dispensers throughout the house, with tea tree oil and lavender or lemongrass essential oils. Castille soap can also be made into a solution that effectively cleans woodwork, including floors.

For really tough stains on hard surfaces I use Magic Eraser and water. I haven't purchased it yet, but for oven cleaner we can use Arm and Hammer, apparently they make one that's safe. The only things we use that aren't on the Feingold list (which would certainly be safe for allergies and athsma) are the Shaklee products but we have not had a problem with them. Believe it or not both J. and D. had severe reactions to OxyClean Free and Clear, so that's no good for us anymore.

Instead, Biokleen puts out a color safe Oxygen Bleach, and of course I use the Charlie's Soap for all my laundry, which is perhaps my best recommendation of all, especially since it eliminates the need for fabric softener and gets things so clean that I don't need to use as much of the oxygen bleach. Oh, and our automatic dishwasher detergent comes from Trader Joe's, it's very reasonable, but I think the Shaklee would be comparable in price if purchased in bulk, and Seventh Generation does make one that would be safe.

The really funny thing is, our house and laundry have never been so clean! Most of these products are more effective than the stronger cleaners I used to use. I like being able to go through my cleaning routine without getting lightheaded from the fumes, and without damaging my hands from the harsh cleansers (yeah, I guess I should have been wearing gloves).

I can make a similar list for Health and Beauty aids if anyone is interested.

Heather, hope this helps! My son had an asthma attack last week at work, the day after they had cleaned the carpets! That's terrible for allergies and asthma.


Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

I have heard such rave reviews on Mrs. Meyers I must give it a try.

(Love the music on your blog btw)

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I really like the Mrs. Meyers products. I didn't think I needed their counter cleaner but it came with the kit I bought. Wow, that stuff really works. It's great, cuts right through the grease (even on the stove).

I'm wondering if they are going to have a summer fragrance.

If I could get the castille (sp?) soap as cheap as my daughter can through her co-op, I'd make more of my own supplies, too.

Maggie Ann said...

That is really interesting that there are so many alternatives to commercial cleaning products. Every time I use a comm.product to clean the tub it comes to mind that I heard that there was found a link between comm.cleaning products and breast cancer. I don't know where I heard that but it stuck in my memory for sure. I use Target's 'Method' cleaners in the bathroom for the most part now.

Q said...

I also use Method Products. Very nice. I steam cleam the tolets and the tub and tile in the bathrooms.
As much as possible I use organic products or make my own. I think the chemicals in cosmetics and cleaning products are toxic and can cause all sorts of problems.
The natural products smell so nice too.

Manuela said...

Hi, just wanted to say I really enjoy your blog. I've been reading it for a while but have never commented. This is such an important subject in terms of the environment inside AND outside your home! I also use Method products, and alot of vinegar, dishsoap & elbow grease! Bon Ami is very good but sadly its getting hard to find.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I'll have to try the Method products, too.

My daughter is going to e-mail the other products she uses...if she doesn't go into labor first. :)

Heather said...

Brenda - thank you so much for compiling such an extensive list - it is really helpful! I am using a lot of the seventh generation products - they come on sale often at our local Kroger for much much less than the health food store - and I stock up! I have tried shaklee products but don't have the storage space to buy bulk right now - a bit more organizing needed! I will rpint out your list and your daughters and give her suggestions a try - as soon as I am feeling better and can use some energy in that direction - I'm just doing the basics these days!