Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Cheap and Excellent Non-toxic Cleaners

Update: This week, Walgreens has 16oz. bottles of hydrogen peroxide at 2 / $1.00. They have some great deals on other things I need too, so I will making a little excursion to the Walgreens across the street from our neighborhood. (I'm spoiled...I have both a Walgreens and a CVS about a 60-second drive away from doing a lot more shopping at these places now that I have become aware of the great deals available at these two stores!:o)

I also wanted to pass on Mrs. B's caution that hydrogen peroxide DOES bleach things out if you're not careful. I've not had any trouble with that so far, but you'll probably want to spot test first before you use it all over your colored countertop, and be careful around your clothes!

Note: This may be old news to many, but it was very helpful information for a relatively new homemaker such as myself:o)

For a long time, I wasn't sure what type of cleaner I should use on kitchen surfaces that would come into contact with food (as in when kneading bread on the counter-top) or that would be safe to use on the floor around pets (or children, for those of you who have them!). I didn't like the idea of harsh or toxic chemicals for these purposes. I also wanted something cheap, because with a dog running around (who has only recently been fully house-trained) I go through cleaner like crazy:op

After doing some research, I discovered the excellence of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide:

The best way to sanitize kitchen food preparation surfaces such as countertops and wood cutting boards is to use the following vinegar and hydrogen peroxide germ-killing combo:

Using a spray bottle, apply undiluted apple cider vinegar or white vinegar to the kitchen surface to be cleaned.

Then immediately spray the same area with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (available in all drugstores) from another spray bottle.

Wipe the area clean or rinse with water. According to Susan Sumner, a food scientist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, it does not matter weather you spray the vinegar before or after the hydrogen peroxide, the effect is the same, it kills virtually all Salmonella, Shigella, or E. Coli bacteria on heavily contaminated food preparation surfaces.

She also found that using both sprays was 10 times more effective than using either spray by itself and more effective than chlorine bleach and all other commercially available kitchen cleaners.

The vinegar / hydrogen peroxide sprays also work well to clean meats, fruits and vegetables of disease-causing germs.

You can buy a huge jug of vinegar at the store for little more than a dollar. Hydrogen peroxide is inexpensive as well. I purchased some nice large spray bottles at Sams (a package containing six bottles was about $5, I believe).

The vinegar/hydrogen peroxide combo is great for when you need strong disinfectant properties, as in the kitchen. For our wood floors, I use just the vinegar, diluted half-and-half with water. I mop with this vinegar solution and it's worked wonderfully! It also works great to clean up doggie messes, because it's very good at eliminating odor.

One other great vinegar feature: When my drinking glasses become spotty (hard water stains), I spray them with my vinegar spray and they clean right up!

Though vinegar doesn't smell particularly nice when first sprayed, the unpleasant smell doesn't last very long. I've learned to tolerate it. How can I not, when it works so well and is so wonderfully inexpensive?


Anonymous Lines From The Vine said...

I've been married for almost 20 years and I didn't know this!

Thank you for sharing your tip...
I would much rather use this than diluted bleach!


8:06 AM, October 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, I have NEVER heard this, Thanks to you I dont have to use bleach anymore. I am always afraid that I am going to get the bleach on me and it will ruin my clothing. Jen

10:44 AM, October 13, 2006  
Blogger Charity Grace said...

I've never heard this either. Since I'm allergic to most cleaners, I'll definitely be doing this. Thank you.

1:08 PM, October 13, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

Thanks Erin! I've just been discovering the wonders of vinegar myself! I've totally quit using fabric softner and use white vinegar instead and *LOVE* the result!

One thing I would caution is that peroxide does bleach things out so be careful if you have colored counter tops.

Peroxide removes blood really well too!

1:21 PM, October 13, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Mrs. B, I didn't realize that hydrogen peroxide could bleach things! So far I haven't had any trouble with that. So it's bad to get on my clothes? This would be a good thing to know:op

1:23 PM, October 13, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Oh...and about putting vinegar in the laundry...I've heard of people putting a dash in with their laundry detergent. Is that what you do, Mrs. B?

1:25 PM, October 13, 2006  
Blogger Wendy WaterBirde said...

This is great! I use vinegar already, but never thought of using it with hydrogen peroxide. Im so glad you shared this.

Natural cleansers are definitely the way to go, personally I wouldnt even touch the other stuff. And they are cheaper too. It kind of boggles my mind that some still use the toxic stuff.

6:28 PM, October 13, 2006  
Anonymous Bee said...

Hi Erin,
I did not know that either! I knew that the best streak free window cleaner was hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol in water, (but I don't remember the ratio!) When I made some of that and used it on our car windshield before a trip, the windows were virtually spotless! Much better than Windex!

We learned peroxide bleached things the hard way. Sarah had some nice dark green monogramed towels for college. Her freshman year she used some acne face wash and just the remants of it coming off on the towels were enough to make them all splotchy! :-(
Love, "Aunt Bee"

9:23 PM, October 13, 2006  
Anonymous Bee said...

Hey Erin....
Have you read Sarah's latest blog? She needs some tried and true crock pot recipes real bad! LOL... If you get a chance, I thought it would be a fun idea for everyone to send her a crock pot recipe. Let me know if you need her e-mail or her xanga.
Love, "Bee"

11:49 AM, October 14, 2006  
Blogger smarshmallow said...

I have been incorporating a lot more vinegar into my cleaning also. I use it for fabric softener in my wash and in other places as well. I didn't know about the hydrogen peroxide, and I am going to try this. THank you for sharing!

7:34 PM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

Hi Erin,
Sorry, I didn't see your question to me sooner.......yes peroxide can bleach clothing and's what they use to use (and maybe still do) to bleach dark hair to blonde.

As for the vinegar, I use it just like I would liquid fabric softner. I have a dispenser in my washer (if you don't have one you could use a Downy Ball) and put in about 1/2 cup of vinegar and then fill it up the rest of the way with water.

When your clothes are done and still wet you can smell the vinegar but it completely goes away after they dry!

You do have to be more careful about removing your clothing right when the dryer is done because the clothes tend to wrinkle a little easier. But that's because there is no coating from the fabric softner on them anymore. Also your towels will become much more absorbant because they aren't coated with the softner. I've also noticed less lint in my lint catcher.

If you have anymore questions I'll be happy to answer them if I can.

1:51 AM, October 17, 2006  
Blogger Kristen said...

I have wanted to use a cleanser "recipe" like this before but am concerned about the smell (Ryan HATES vinegar!). Does the smell go away, or is there a lingering vinegary scent? Keep in mind that my dh has a nose to rival a dog's.

8:34 AM, October 17, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Thanks, Mrs. B!!!:o)

Kristen, I would say that the smell is gone in 2-3 min. Even though I use vinegar all the time, my house doesn't have a lingering vinegar smell. When I'm cleaning, I usually try to override the smell a little bit by burning candles and having good airflow in the room:o)

11:33 AM, October 17, 2006  
Blogger Kristen said...

Awesome! I defintely want to try it! :)

1:58 PM, October 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

acne face wash

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6:26 AM, November 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to take dog pee smell out of a rug and carpet. Is there a way to use peroxide so that it will take out the smell but not the color? Just dilute with water?

5:25 PM, November 26, 2006  

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