World’s cheapest, non-toxic, and effective home cleaning tips

By: Matt Grocoff , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Home Improvement Tips, Green Renovations

Toxic house cleaning is a thing of the past.  In fact, in our home we don’t need to keep locks on our kitchen cabinets because there’s nothing in them that is harmful to our three-year-old daughter’s health.  There are no labels with skull and crossbones on them.

Here’s a few tips that we use in the Mission Zero House to keep our house sparkling clean without risking my family’s health.  We collected these techniques over the past several years based on their effectiveness, ease-of-use and their insanely low cost.

These tips are so simple and cheap my wife Kelly is astonished that we didn’t always clean this way and that so few people do.

Recipe for effortlessly clean greasy grimy pots and pans:

When we discovered this technique it changed our lives.  Here’s what we keep on the counter to clean pots and pans:

  1. A spray bottle filled with a 50-50 vinegar & water mix.
  2. A parmesan shaker filled with baking soda.
  3. A bottle of dish soap that is free of toxins, petrochemicals, bleach, ammonia, phosphates or other harmful ingredients (See healthychild.org)

After cooking, DON’T toss the pot or pan in the sink and soak it in water.

Step 1:  While the pan is still hot immediately spray it with the vinegar & water.  This will deglaze the pan and lift the fat and grease.

Step 2:  Generously sprinkle the wet pan with baking soda, then spray again with vinegar & water.  The baking soda will react with the vinegar just like in the old volcanoes you made in school.

Step 3:  Go eat while you let the pan sit.  If needed, burp.

Step 4:  After your meal the baking soda will have absorbed the grease and vinegar.  Then, scrape the pan with a spatula or plastic pot scraper.  The gunk will lift off like magic.  No scrubbing necessary.

Step 5:  Wash the remaining residue with a scrub pad and mild non-toxic dish soap.

For a nice polish for stainless steel you can occasionally scrub pots with Borax and a scrub pad.  I promise your pans will always look like new and you’ll have to work a hole lot less than if you spent a ton on store-bought cleaners.

Recipe for cleaning coffee mug or pot:

This one is easy and the results are impressive.  Secret ingredient is hydrogen peroxide.  Really.  Just soak the coffee mug or pot with some hydrogen peroxide and let sit over night.  The stains will magically disappear with zero scrubbing.

Recipe for glass cleaner:

3 teaspoons of vinegar and 1 quart of water in a spray bottle.

You’ll be impressed with the results.  You’ll wonder why you ever paid so much for glass cleaner.

Amazing-but-true: Recipe for using only one razor blade for six months or more!!

Okay, this is not exactly a home cleaning product, but it will keep you looking clean-shaven and save you tons of cash.  Who among us is not appalled by the insane price of a good razor blade?  Mine cost $15 bucks for a pack of four!

I typically would go through a new blade in about 4 or 5 days before they’d start ripping apart my skin.  So I was blown away when I recently discovered a way that I could keep a blade as good as new for months rather than days.  Consumer reporter Clark Howard claims he uses the same blade for a full year!!

The trick is to keep the blade completely dry after each use.

I looked into this and it turns out that it’s not your tiny little hairs that are making the blade dull.  The water left on the blade oxidizes the metal and cause microscopic rust.  This oxidation warps the blade rendering it useless.

There are many techniques, but I simply shake the water from the blade, then pat the it with a towel until it is completely dry.  Then I store it in a dry place.  DO NOT store it in the shower unless it is on a dry ledge.

Read more:

HealthyChild.org : http://healthychild.org/live-healthy/shop-healthy/category/87/?_kk=toxic%20cleaning%20products&_kt=0c5e553b-b190-466d-b1b2-4bfd79c25275&gclid=CPygwaSijK8CFYbe4AodlWfa9g

EPA cleaning tips:  http://www.epa.gov/epp/pubs/cleaning.htm

Consumer Reports Eco-label Guide - www.greenerchoices.org/eco-labels/

Matt Grocoff, Esq. LEED has been honored with the 2012 Michigan Green Leader Award and is founder of Thrive - Net Zero Energy Consulting Collaborative, host of Greenovation.TV, a contributor to The Environment Report on Public Radio, the green renovation expert for Old House Web, and a sought after lecturer. His home is America’s oldest net-zero energy home and was called “Sustainable Perfection” by The Atlantic, and honored as one of USA Today’s seven “Best Green Homes of 2010″ and Preservation Project of the Year.  He has been featured in hundreds of publications and news shows.  Join him on Google+, Twitter and Facebook