Monday, February 01, 2010

Hairy issue; advise, please

On Saturday morning, Harry came skittering and sliding into our room like Kramer

We attacked him with the camera,

so in awe of his hair were we

Harry, though, had no idea what al the fuss was about

Ben let Harry borrow some hair putty, and he rocked the giant hair all day long.

But what I really want to talk about today is cleaning products. I am working on getting rid of all of our toxic cleaners, but I am less than impressed with their replacements. I want something better than Method Good for Wood (but not toxic furniture polish-- just something that cleans like the poison stuff). Any suggestions? I have been using the lemon-scented JR Watkins stuff as an all purpose cleaner/ bathroom touch up spray, and it is pretty okay. Is there a better one out there? I use good old Clorox to clean my bathroom, but are any of the 7th Generation, Method, Watkins, etc. cleaners as good? Anybody just use vinegar and love it? How about the 7th Generation dish soap (there's a bottle in my cabinet ready to replace my toxic Palmolive) and dishwasher detergent? Laundry soap?

We've gotten rid of red and yellow dyes, HFCS, hydrogenated oils, non organic dairy and produce, processed and snacks with more than five or unpronounceable ingredients, and we are working on eating only local meat. Cleaning products are the last thing standing between us and total d-bag yippie status-- can you help? Rec your nontoxic, effective cleaners! Please?


  1. I use a brand of products from a company called Melaleuca which I really like. You can read all about their history on their website. They are mail order only. You can join their "club" or not. Be careful of the bleach. It is very toxic.

  2. Good for you guys! I am replacing my toxic cleaners with better alternatives as I run out of them. Although I did just buy a giant honking thing of Mr. Clean for my fug kitchen floor because I need POWER for the kitchen floor. So far I've loved the Method version of Windex. Works great and smells minty! Do you have a stainless steel sink? What do you use on that?

    Love Harry's hair! Baby bed head cracks me up.

  3. Evan lives and breathes for a 50/50 vinegar/water mixture for our floors. His mom uses it on her laminate wood, and he uses it on our kitchen floor. He loves it. I think it smells horrid, but I don't ever clean the floors, so I try not to complain.

    Good for you for switching!!

  4. Have you checked in the natural foods section at your grocery store? Our grocery store has this whole little section with all of the natural/organic food (I started shopping there when we found out Sam was allergic to wheat/milk) and now probably 90% of what we eat comes from there.

    I haven' switched our cleaners over yet... hm. But there's a great selection in our store, maybe you could find something there?

  5. I use primarily Method products because they are readily available at Target and the grocery store. I really like the glass cleaner (smells minty, yum), and the multipurpose cleaner works nicely too, although I wish they had a lemony scent (sometimes I still use Clorox Greenworks for the smell). I also have the floor cleaner, but i haven't tried it yet bceause I'm still using up the last of my Swiffer Wet stuff.

    Keep us updated on what you find - I'd love some suggestions on less toxic/more effective cleaners.

  6. Short list of ideas here, but stay tuned...

    Vinegar-and-love-it! Shines glass, cuts grease, removes limescale to name a few. Dilute in water for delicate surfaces, or add a bit of (non-anti-bacterial) dish or hand soap for an extra kick.

    Slice up a lemon and put it in a bowl of water. Let this boil in your microwave for a few minutes, then open the door. Wipe with a rag and watch the goop just fall off.

    Biological washing powder for greasy pots and pans. Wet just enough to make a paste and glop it on there. Wait a few minutes and wipe with a rag.

    Credit where credit is due: I get almost all my natural cleaning tips from Channel 4/BBC America's How Clean is Your House? (link goes to a cleaning tips page).

    I know they had a furniture polish mix that was awesome -- it involved lemon and beeswax and I think tea tree oil. Since I have no wood (only laminated cardboard), I didn't make a strong mental note of it.

    DVR this show! You'll never be more motivated to stick your hand down a toilet bowl.

    P.S. I tried to make my link open in a new window but Blogger spat it back at me. Sorry...

  7. Anonymous9:54 AM

    according to RealSimple, a toilet cleaner is two AlkaSelzerPlus Orange cold tablets in the water, then swish with a toilet brush..don't know how or if it works...Bomma

  8. I have nothing helpful to say on the subject of cleaners but I would like to note this: your boy's hair ROCKS.

  9. Martha Stewart just came out with a non-toxic line. I got the carpet stain cleaner @ Lowes a couple weeks ago and liked it!

    I've liked the Clorox green stuff (can't remember what it's called and I'm covered in cats so I can't go look right now), BUT I am not as enthusiastic a cleaner as you, so take my suggestions w/ a grain of salt! LOL

    And seriously? Harry's hair is AMAZING!

  10. Awesome hair. I would have laughed for hours.

    Have nothing on the cleaning suggestions. Still using the terrible stuff.

  11. Bon Ami (it's like Comet) is my favorite thing for scouring bathtubs and sinks. If we're out of Bon Ami I also like using baking powder plus a squirt of liquid Dr. Bronner's soap (or rather, the generic Trader Joe's version of Dr. Bronner's.)

    Floors get a generous glug or two of vinegar in a bucket of hot water with just a tiny splash of the Mrs. Meyer's all-purpose concentrated cleaner.

    The 7th Generation dishwashing stuff (both liquid for handwashing and the other kind for the dishwasher) both have always worked well for us.

    Kitchen counters get the Mrs. Meyer's all-purpose spray. You can buy a bottle of the spray plus a big bottle of the concentrate. When the spray bottle is empty you just add a couple tablespoons of the concentrate along with water to the spray bottle. The big $8 bottle of concentrate usually lasts us close to a year.

    For laundry I like Ecos liquid. If you have a Sam's Club nearby you can buy HUGE jugs of it for $13. We do tons of laundry and one bottle still lasts us 4-6 months. Fels-Naptha and Oxy-Clean generally get most stains out for us, but I do still use bleach now and then for super stinky sour dishclothes and a little splash in cloth diapers from time to time if they start to retain an odor.

    I still haven't found a glass cleaner or furniture polish that I like very well. The Method products just don't seem to cut it for me. I've been using the multi-purpose Pledge stuff for all glass, our stainless steel appliances, etc. I'm curious to see if I can make up a batch of that beeswax/lemon stuff that Misty mentioned...