My Arsenal

We like earth, pet, and conscience friendly products at our house. I always felt there was something wrong with cleaning chemicals that made me feel like I needed to wear a gas mask when I used them. How could that be clean? Some of my favorite cleaners are made by Mrs. Meyer's, Method, Caldrea, and Biokleen. Not pictured in the line-up above, baking soda, and distilled and white vinegars - true cleaning champs.

Of course, to be really earth friendly, I could make my own cleaners. I recently came home with this book, which is full of recipes for doing just that. It also has recipes for homemade first aid and body care products, as well as tips and instructions on organic gardening - all in a hand lettered and beautifully illustrated little book. Get your copy here or here. You need very few supplies to make your own cleaning products, and doing so really saves a ton of money. I plan to gradually start switching over, though I'm sure there will be some store-bought products I just won't want to give up.

I was just checking out the cleaning tools at Caldrea, which are 25% off 'til March 28, by the way. They are gorgeous. This is their French Door Cleaning Brush. I think there is something to be said for using high-quality tools, or just plain fun tools. They really make doing a job more pleasant. Caldrea's products are really a luxury. Their fragrances are so wonderful, and their tools are made to go the distance.

Speaking of fantastic fragrances, I really love Mrs. Meyer's. Right now we're using a couple of products in Basil, which is just lovely. However, I think her Lemon Verbena is my very favorite. I should really pick up some of this hand soap refill. It really bothers me that more makers of earth-friendly hand soaps don't offer refill packs. I'm glad Mrs. Meyer's does.

While I'm giving shout-outs, I can't say enough good things about Biokleen. We LOVE them, and they are located in Vancouver, WA, which means they don't have to travel very far to get to us. We use several of their products, but my favorite-ist is the Soy Cream Cleaner. This stuff is amazing. I use it to keep my pots and pans shiny, to get gooey labels off jars, to soften the baked-on crap that clings to the sides of my glass baking dishes, to clean the oven... It's the best.

Anyone out there have go-to cleaning tips/tricks/products? What are your cleaning rituals? What do you most hate to clean? What bothers you most when left undone?

edit: Check out these tips for safer Spring Cleaning at Environmental Working Group's site. You'll also find lots of great articles here.


  1. What do I most hate to clean? Everything. After 38 years of house cleaning I would like to aviod all of it. I really hate cleaning things that need scrubbing and using cleaning products the most. Like a shower. YUCK!

    I wanted to earn money to buy a birthday present for your dad the first year we were married so I got a job cleaning the apartments in the complex where we lived. What an awful job! I remember going into some places that were so full of cockroach egg bodies that I was confused about what they were. GAG! My coworker who was a young enlisted man's wife who lived across from us in the apartments told me what they were.

    I did learn how to deep clean through that job and have used those techniques since that time. I try to avoid the cleaning products that I used to use on a regular basis. I sometimes wonder if that is part of the reason I have bad lungs. But I have discovered that some of the green products don't work as well. For instance we used to use a green product for the dishwasher but had to give it up. We thought the dishwasher needed to be replaced but it was just the soap we were using.

    So there you are.
    Love you, Mom

  2. This is really helpful. I mean, really. We are trying to switch over to natural cleaners, but it's hard to spend the money on the natural products if you're not sure whether they work properly or not. Or, for that matter, if you'll have a skin irritation from one of them. (for those of us with sensitive skin. ugh.)

    I LOVE baking soda though. We buy it in bulk and it does just about everything. My favorite trick is for cleaning pots with burnt-on gunk. If you boil water with about 5 Tbs of baking soda for a few minutes and then let it sit for several hours, the gunk practically slides off.

    Things like Shout, however, I'm pretty stuck with. I spill stuff a lot...

    Looks like a neat little book. I might just order it.

    OH, and I think you're absolutely right about how chemically junk doesn't seem very clean. What does "clean" mean, anyway? If it means killing all the germs, then we better be prepared to treat our homes like hospitals and spray them down with bleach. (yuck) Besides, a certain amount of bacteria is good for building the immune system, so obsessing just makes us more likely to get sick. Maybe it's more about "refreshing" your house? Sweeping dirt off the floor and wiping it down with something acidic.


  3. Daisy,
    Ecover makes a fantastic stain remover. We also have frequent spills, so I can attest to it's effectiveness!

  4. Mom,
    I am completely grossed out on your behalf! Do you remember what you got Dad that year that warranted the hard work?

  5. Ha! I love this. I was just thinking of posting all the pretty cleaning products I just splurged on. Love Mrs. Meyers.


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