Green Cleaning Tips

I know you guys are all busy decluttering as part of your 30 Day Organization Detox but I do have a few other little tasks that we need to do this month as well.  Up first, is getting all of those cleaning supplies ready and organized!  

Green Cleaning Tips 101 - Tips for getting started on a green cleaning routine!There is so much talk about “green cleaning” these days that I thought it might be a good ideas to start with a little Green Cleaning 101 and a few green cleaning tips.  A few years ago, I got rid of about 80-90% of our chemical cleaning products in our home and made the switch to a more green cleaning routine.  In addition to all of the negative health effects of the chemicals that we were using, all of those cleaning bottles were taking up so much space in our home and were costing us a lot of unnecessary money.  Honestly, it was a really smooth transition and I don’t really miss any of those cleaners!

This week, I am challenging you to go through your home and get rid of all of those cleaners that you do not need!  Keep only those cleaners that work well for you and, ideally, can be used for multiple cleaning purposes.  Look towards more green cleaning options and think twice before you use all of those chemicals!  I think that we have been trained to overuse our cleaners and, in most cases, adding more doesn’t necessarily produce better results.  Just keep things simple and use as little cleaner as needed – you can always add more!

To help get you started, I have put together a list of some of my favorite green cleaning items.  I will be talking much more about each of these throughout the year and will provide some green cleaning recipes that I use as we go through each room in our homes.  But for now, here are my most used cleaning products:

Microfiber Cloths
I do A LOT of my cleaning with just microfiber cloths and water.  For me a good microfiber cloth is a must-have and I swear by my Norwex cleaning cloths.  They are definitely not cheap, but they stand up well over time and have a much better anti-bacterial cleaning effect compared to regular microfiber cloths {you can read more about them HERE and I also found a little video about them HERE}.   I also really love the Norwex window cloths – combined with water, they work much better at cleaning windows and mirrors than any of the chemical window cleaners that I have used and I also use them for cleaning walls and our stove top.  {Just in case you were wondering, this is not a sponsored post in anyway and I no longer sell Norwex products.  I just really, really love these cloths!}

Water Bottle
Never underestimate the power of water! :) I always have a water bottle handy to use with my microfiber cloths or to mix with other green cleaning products.  Invest in a good bottle – I have found that there is a big difference between even a $5 bottle and the cheap dollar store bottles that you can buy.   I also like to add a few drops of essential oils {especially lemon} to my water bottle to add an extra fresh scent when I am cleaning.

White distilled vinegar is an amazing cleaning solution and is really easy on the budget!  Vinegar loosens dirt, disinfects, deodorizes, and helps to remove mineral deposits and stains.  Although some people do not love the smell, it does dissipate quickly and will leave your home fresh.  Although there are many different ways to use it, a basic 50/50 mixture with water will get you started for basic cleaning.  One of the main areas that I use vinegar is in our laundry room – it is wonderful for getting rid of smells in clothes and cleaning the washing machine.  NOTE: DO NOT use vinegar on stone surfaces such as granite or marble as the acidic properties of the vinegar can eat away at the stone.

Hydrogen Peroxide
Like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide is a great non-toxic disinfectant and is also helpful for stain removal.   Make sure you use the three percent solution that is typically found in drug stores and keep it stored in the original container and out of direct sunlight.  I like to attach a spray nozzle to the top of my bottle so that it can easily be sprayed.  Once used, hydrogen peroxide simply breaks down into oxygen and water so it is a very environmentally friendly product.  NOTE: Hydrogen peroxide can have bleaching properties so be sure to spot check the area first.

Baking Soda
Baking soda is an amazing deodorizer and is great for removing smells from carpets and upholstery.  It also works wonders in the bathroom and kitchen as a mild abrasive.  I like to keep mine in a slat shaker so I can just sprinkle it on areas that need a little extra scrubbing!

Green Cleaning 101 - Tips for getting started on your own green cleaning routine!

Washing Soda
Washing soda is basically baking soda’s bigger, stronger brother.  It can typically be found in most grocery stores with their other laundry care items.  Washing soda is much more alkaline {pH of 11} than baking soda {pH of around 8} so it can be a bit more of a skin irritant, but it works great for washing laundry, removing stains, and other tough cleaning jobs.

Fresh Lemons or Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is good for bleaching and disinfecting and leaves a nice fresh scent behind.  Although you can use bottled lemon juice, I prefer to use fresh lemons and usually pick up a bunch of lemons every couple of weeks.  Fresh lemon juice will stay good for about 4 days but works best if used right away.  I just squirt the juice of one lemon in a water bottle {the tops of mine have a lemon juicer that will sit directly over the spray bottle} and use it to clean the kitchen or anywhere else that needs some quick refreshing!  I also frequently use them for cleaning my microwave and garbage disposal.  NOTE: As with vinegar, lemon juice is acidic and should not be used on stone surfaces.

Green Cleaning 101 - Tips for getting started on a green cleaning routine!
Castille Soap
Castille soap is made from 100% plant oils, is non-toxic, and completely biodegradable.  It is available in both a liquid from or as a hard soap.  I love the Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap but you could also purchase the non-scented soap and add your own essential oils for a customized scent {or leave it scent-free}. Castille soap is a great all purpose cleaner that also works well for handwashing dishes and laundry care.

Essential Oils
Essential oils can not only be used to add a more pleasing smell to your green cleaners, but they can also be helpful in many other areas such as removing mold and mildew,  killing viruses, bacteria, dust mites, and cutting through grease.   There is a ton that I could write on this so I am saving it for another post next week! {UPDATE: Read more about the best essential oils to use for cleaning HERE}

Although there are definitely many more green cleaning products that you can use, this pretty much sums up my basic list.  If you are just starting to switch over to green cleaning, just keep things simple and gradually start to switch over as your regular cleaning products run out.  I think that the microfiber cloths are a good place to start and will greatly eliminate your use of chemical cleaners right off the bat.  Don’t be overwhelmed by all of the DIY green cleaning recipes out there or the “101 uses for…” lists.  Just use it as you need it!

Green Cleaning 101 - Tips for getting started on your own green cleaning routine!
Before I go, I do want to give you a warning with all of the green DIY cleaning recipes out there.  Please remember that although these products are natural and safe to use on their own, they can react and form different compounds when mixed together.   Here’s a few things to keep in mind if you are mixing things up:

  • Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide should not be mixed in the same bottle {although they can be very effective if used right after each other} as the resulting peracetic acid can be harmful.  Combining the two directly also actually reduces the effectiveness compared to using them individually or in succession.
  • Combining baking soda and vinegar does produce an impressive fizzing effect; however, this does not necessarily mean that you are getting a better clean.  In fact, mixing the acidic vinegar with the more basic baking powder actually neutralizes them {remember high school chemistry?}.  I do find that it is still helpful when needing some abrasive powers, but in terms of actually disinfecting – not so good.
  • I have seen quite a few DIY cleaning recipes {especially for laundry cleaning} that involve mixing hydrogen peroxide and washing soda {or baking soda}.  Although this does work well for stains, the effectiveness of the hydrogen peroxide is only good for about 6-8 hours, so you will probably want to cut the batch size down to a single use.

Well hopefully that wasn’t too overwhelming!  If you have any questions, just leave me a comment below and I will do my best to answer it!  I’d love to know what your favorite products are too!

The Household Organization Diet - Get your home decluttered, cleaned, and organized once and for all!
**NOTE: This post is part of the 2014 Household Organization Diet series.  To learn more about this, you can catch up HERE  and HERE.  You can find other posts related to this under the “Get Organized” tab on the top of the page or follow along on my Pinterest Board.  Happy Organizing!

Check out these posts for more cleaning tips and tricks…

The best cleaning kitchen cleaning tips! Everything you need to get your kitchen sparkling! //
The Best Kitchen Cleaning Tips

How to Create a Cleaning Binder- Free printables included!
How to Create a Cleaning Binder



  1. Beckie says

    I feel so accomplished! I changed to diy cleaners over a year ago and will never buy otc again. So happy, the house smells great and sparkles! Thanks for keeping me on track to reorganizing my home.

  2. Kim says

    Hi! I switched over to “green cleaning” close to 10 years ago! It is so easy and cheap (except for the E.O.’s – I could spend a small fortune on those). Anyway, I wanted to say that Borax is one of my favorites! I make an all purpose cleaner with Borax, Castile soap, water, and Lavendar and Tea Tree essential oils. It’s wonderful!

  3. Candi h. says

    This is fantastic information. Can’t wait to try these solutions! Where did you get the water bottle with the juicer at the top?

  4. JOY says

    is lemon juice good for hair.?Have a lot of iron in my water turns my hair red rust color and very dry. Feels like straw,or is their another method you can let me know about..other than going to beauty salon for iron out treatment.and hair smells from iron. thank you for a reply

    • Jenn says

      I haven’t really used that natural products for beauty care – just cleaning! Sorry – I wouldn’t want to recommend something that I haven’t tried.

  5. says

    I actually don’t use Norwex myself BUT I have a friend whose husband is an accountant and she wanted to use all Norwex, so he did the math and figured out they would actually save money with Norwec than buying store bought cleaning supplies-I think it is because you can clean more with less and the cloths are reusable, of course.

    • Jenn says

      I also find that the Norwex cloths last a lot longer than the regular microfiber cloths – definitely a good investment! :)

  6. SaRah says

    I love the housekeeper’s bucket you have pictured? Any chance you could tell us where you picked it up? Thanks:)

    • Jenn says

      I bought it at a local store called Spruce Collectibles. Sorry there’s no other company logos or anything on it so I’m sure that is not very helpful for you.

  7. DAwn says

    Great read! What would you recommend as a daily cleaner for granite in the kitchen and bathrooms? I have been using a vinegar, water and essential oils mixture…oops!

    • says

      I don’t have granite coutertops so I don’t have anything particular that I have tried. I know that the castille soap can be used {just a few drops mixed with water} so you could give that a try. Depending on the color of your granite you may need to add a little rubbing alcohol if there are streaks. There are also a number of cleaners on the market specifically for granite countertops. Hope that helps!

  8. Andee says

    Great post! So glad you added the notes at the end. I have always feared that one day I’ll combine vinegar and hydrogen peroxide – because I just can’t seem to drill that rule into my memory! Maybe I will this time after your iteration. ;)
    I didn’t know about the 3rd note, that hydrogen peroxide looses effectiveness after 6-8 hours… is that when combined with any other product?
    Just a thought for another reminder (forgive me if you mentioned it but I overlooked it): Combining castille (or other) soap with vinegar — they cancel each other out rendering the cleaning properties much less effective — similar to vinegar & baking soda, but without the bubbly, abrasive action. It’s easy to forget that chemistry, and make a castille-vinegar cleaner that seems/smells great, but is actually fooling you. Just use them separately to get the awesome natural cleaning power from each! =]

    • says

      The hydrogen peroxide will also lose effectiveness if exposed to light – that’s why it is always sold in the dark brown bottles. Thanks for the castille soap tip!

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