Going Green- OH MY I Need Serious Help Here!!!

Updated on October 28, 2008
T.C. asks from Wonder Lake, IL
17 answers

Well tonight I tried another attempt at being more "Green"! What a disaster! I decided to try to make my own cleaning products. A website that said to mix baking soda and vinegar add a little water and shake well... it did not tell me it would blow up! I shouldda came here in the first place to ask you guys.... how do you make your own cleaning supplies?!?!?!?

I need something to do the windows, counters, sinks and tub etc. I also need something to wash my laminate "wood" floors. Ummm, can I add something to make it smell more pleasant too?

I am doing this for several reasons, to save the enviroment, save money, save my health (I get sick from the chemicals in reg. cleaning supplies). So any help you can give me would be much appreciated! I will finally be able to give hubby a break and do the housework around here myself! (hmmm, maybe I shouldn't try to go green lol)

** Forgot to add that I am allergic or extremely sensitive to alcohol! Thanks again**

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answers from Chicago on

I use baking soda and vinegar on everything...
Baking soda to clean: sinks, toilet, tub, stove, even cleaning stuff off the walls when kids get them dirty, use to remove dog odors etc.
Vinegar and water for my hardwood floors, plane vinegar for windows, glass, granite.
As far as the smell, I just learned to like the vinegar smell after a while....it only lasts for a while..

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answers from Chicago on

my favorite do-all (or perhaps do-lots) cleaner is a combo of some vinegar, water, and just a few drops of essential oils (lavender and tea tree oil are the ones i use most often since they both have antimicrobial properties). i spritz this on stinky areas like the bathroom around/on the toilet, pet accidents, kid accidents, etc and it does an excellent job at taking the stink away and wipes up clean (or sometimes i just let it dry in place, if i'm using it on a fabric surface).

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answers from Chicago on

Vinegar is amazing. I have some in a an old windex bottle and use it for the windows and the floors. For my granite counters I love the Method granite cleaner. Bon Ami is great for sinks, tubs, toilets, etc. It's only a dollar a can too. Floors are fine being washed with vinegar or on mine I sometimes use Murphy's oil but mine are wood not laminate. As someone else said, Tea Tree oil works great. You can even add a drop or two to laundry too. Amazing properties in essential oils. I'm almost all "green" at home now but can't stop using Comet for my bathtub. It really works the best for me. I use almost no paper towels anymore and use cloth napkins too. There are so many little things you can do that are easy.

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answers from Chicago on

baking soda makes an excellent abrasive cleaner (stainless sinks, stoves, etc). sprinkle it on, scrub with wet sponge, rinse well.

vinegar in water will do your windows, floors, etc.

if you mix baking soda and vinegar, you get carbon dioxide and essentially salt water. it does nothing to clean. you can pour baking soda into your garbage disposal and then vinegar on top of it. the bubbles remove some of the scum.

a word of warning --- none of this will disinfect or sanitize. you still should let your hubby do something about the counters, especially after raw meat is out. bathrooms (toilets), too...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

Good for you for trying to be more green and feeling up to the challenge of making your own cleaning products! It's actually not as hard as it might first appear, and with a few basic recipes you can get pretty much the whole house cleaned. And, as you know, it's so much better for you and your family than having those harsh chemicals in the air.

I looked at a ton of books on this subject and ended up buying three, "Green Clean" by Linda Mason & Mikki Halpin, "Clean House, Clean Planet" by Karen Logan and "The Naturally Clean Home" by Karyn Siegel-Maier.

The best things I've found to clean the stuff you asked about are:

Windows - Club Soda! Seriously, it's awesome! And it doesn't have to be 'fresh', it will still do an amazing job once it's gone flat.

Counters - 3 Tbsp liquid soap (Dr Bronners is the most widely available. Make sure it is liquid SOAP, I'm not talking about liquid detergent) mixed with 16 oz water and 20-30 drops of tea tree oil. The tea tree oil acts as a disinfectant.

Sinks/tub - I haven't really found a homemade recipe that works as well as I'd like here, so I buy "Bon Ami" as it is environmentally safe. The best recipe I found is 1/2 cup baking soda mixed with just enough liquid soap to form a creamy paste and 10 drops of essential oil of your choice (I love lavender). You apply it with a sponge and some elbow grease and rinse off with water.

Floors - Put 1/8 cup liquid soap in to a bucket and add 1 gallon hot water. Mix in 1/8 cup distilled white vinegar (you ave to put the water in first or the soap and vinegar will not mix well) and 10 drops of essential oil of your choice. This solution is good for any kind of all hard floor surfaces.

Don't forget to use cloth rags instead of paper towels, so you can also reduce the amount of waste your cleaning produces :O)
Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I use vingar water for everything. Floors, windows, counter tops, bathroom just about everywhere. Youcan go to vingartips.com for more ideas. For the hard to clean areas I use baking soda on a wet cloth. This is much cheaper than all the "green" products you can purchase.

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answers from Chicago on

Have you ever heard of Shaklee?? All their products are safe for you and the environment. They have a cleaning line, beauty line, vitamins etc... I began using their 'Get Clean' line of cleaning products in April of this year. Awesome!! Love them. No more headaches after cleaning the house. And the house is cleaner than with the harsh cleaning products. Check it out online at www.shaklee.com.




answers from Champaign on


You were close with the baking soda and vinegar. Just don't shake it. I use it on stains for counter tops. I just pour some baking soda on the counter and then drizzle some vinegar on top. It fizzes and I scrub with a paper towel.

For wood floors you can use vinegar and water but it doesn't smell all that great.

My favorite way to go green is to buy green cleaning products that are concentrated so I can mix them with water. They work well and are inexpensive. I buy my products from Amway Global/Quixtar. They've been green for decades and even won an environmental award from the United Nations. If you're interested in learning more, visit <https://www.quixtar.com/products/thumbnail.aspx?pid=1831&.... I'm a distributor and you can buy the products through me if you'd like.

Good luck!




answers from Rockford on

Good Morning T.,

Your venture sounds like science experiements we used to do way back in the day when we made erupting volcanoes. It was pretty impressive and the kids thought is was cool to see the volcano erupt.

I have hardwood floors and my floors shine, I clean my bathrooms without gasping for breath, I know my countertops are clean and my cabinets will stay nice with the Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Oil. All I have to do is add water to the concentrated products (which saves me money) and I spray and wipe.

We were GREEN way before GREEN was cool, since 1985.

Our produ​cts simply beat the best!​​​

Check them out on http://Melaleuca.com You can also go to http://saferforyourhome.com and read about our products. Let me know if you are interested and I will be happy to assist you in getting truly GREEN products into your home.

EFFEC​TIVE:​​​​ They are more efect​ive and we belie​ve that some of the best solut​ions still​ come from natur​e.​​​​ Our scien​tists​ spend​ years​ of resea​rch creat​ing produ​cts that use the best natur​al and natur​ally deriv​ed ingre​dient​s avail​able to make our EcoSe​nse clean​ers work just as well as, if not bette​r than,​​​​ anyth​ing in your groce​ry store​.

​​​​ECONO​MICAL​ and ECO-​​​​FRIEN​DLY:​​​​ Much more cost effec​tive.​​​​ Our produ​cts are highl​y conce​ntrat​ed,​​​​ and conta​in no fille​rs.​​​​ We figur​e you can save money​ if you add the water​ yours​elf.​​​​ Our bottl​es are small​er,​​​​ recyc​lable​,​​​​ and add less of an impac​t to our landf​ills.

​​​​SAFER​:​​​​ No aeros​ol cans,​​​​ no phosp​hates​,​​​​ no harsh​ chemi​cals,​​​​ our produ​cts have ph-​​​​nuetr​al formu​las,​​​​ in fact we don'​​​​t even have child​ proof​ caps,​​​​ we don'​​​​t need them!​​​​

GUARA​NTEE:​​​​ We are so sure that you’l​l be impre​ssed with the effec​tiven​ess of our EcoSe​nse produ​cts that we guara​ntee them with our 100% satis​facti​on guara​ntee.

​​​​I have been with Melaleuca and my team since Jan 2004 and wouldn't trade it for the world! It has given my family and I the healthy side of going truly GREEN as well as keeping the environment safe for our future. We offer about 400 of them that make life so much simpler in that they contain no harsh chemicals or phosphates. We had suffered from asthma and allergies, but simply switching to Melaleuca products changed all that and saved our budget as well since we have no need for ER Rooms, inhalers and nebulizers anymore. http://LiveTotalWellness.com/YouCanToo

Let me remin​d you, Melaleuca products​ are every​day consu​mable​ produ​cts that EVERYONE uses if they showe​r,​​​​ brush​ their​ teeth​,​​​​ wash their​ hair,​​​​ do laund​ry,​​​​ clean​ their​ house​,​​​​ put on makeu​p .​​​​.​​​​.​​​​ you get the picture. PLUS Melaleuca pays me every month to shop with them, where else can you get a deal like that? Not Walmart or the grocery store. And they have a 60 day empty bottle money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the products.

Like I said if you are interested in truly Going GREEN, environmentally and financialy, let me know, I can help.


Success is not final, Failure is not fatal, It is the courage to continue that counts.
~Winston Churchill~

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answers from Chicago on

Oh My Goodness! Shaklee, Shaklee, Shaklee! My sister-in-law bought me the Get Clean Kit for Christmas last year and I love it! I know you are looking for make your own cleaners, but you cannot go wrong with at least the Basic H from Shaklee. It is majorly concentrated and so if the initial price seems high, you should know that I have had mine almost a year and only 1/3 of the bottle is gone. It has hundreds of uses, too, so it is almost the only product you will need. No scent, no harmful chemicals for you or your daughter. I use it on my floors, windows and everything in between. Check it out at their website! :)



answers from Chicago on

I too use the Shaklee cleaning products and would highly recommend them.
Since someone else already shared their website with you, I won't confuse you by giving you mine. But I would definitely encourage you to check it out. The Shaklee products are awesome!
Also, our CEO's wife just released a book called "Green Goes With Everything" by Sloane Barnett. I'd highly recommend that, too. She talks about easy ways to go green for your entire household, not just the cleaning products.



answers from Chicago on

Hi T.,

Have allergies, excema or just want to live healthier? We are devoted to making you and your family's life safer and healthier. We have almost 400 products that you use in your everyday life that are non-toxic, naturally derived, scientifically proven, cheaper to use and delivered right to your door. Check us out and see how we can help you live better and improve your finances. Our products are fantastic and we have just what you are looking for!. Visit my website: www.saferisbetter.com/BobbieB or just give me a call at ###-###-#### and ask for R..



answers from Chicago on

I think everyone should go green!! I did a year ago!! Now I feel safer with my 4 yr old daughter . I went to Melaleuca.com



answers from Chicago on

Hi T. -
I can only imagine the scene! Poor girl. Vinegar and baking soda are great to mix together while cleaning sink drains. The only problem IMO with mixing them ahead of time is that they cancel each other out. Vinegar is very acidic and Baking Soda is very alkaline. Until recently, I only cleaned with vinegar and water. My daughter is like a little canary and we can't have any chemicals or fragrance to clean with. Vinegar also gives me headaches. That solution works great for multi-purpose cleaning, toilets and windows. Not so great for washing clothes or dishes though. So, I started using Shaklees. It is super concentrated and most of it is completely fragrance free. If you want to try it out, let me know. I am going to start distributing it myself 11/1. With my cloth diaper business, I get tons of questions on the types of cleaners to use on diapers and in the home.



answers from Chicago on

Hi T.- I was just at Costco and there was a (very cute Irish) woman there doing a demonstration about this 100% all natural (green) product that she invented. (when she was a child she mixed two chemicals, I can't remember bleach and something else and it nearly killed her) It was amazing! She used it on everything....too many to list. However she did take sharpie marker out of microsuede fabric But she said you will replace EVERY item in your house. Including laundry detergents. It is so natural she even licked the bar. Here is the link:
The whole tub was 49 dollars but she showed how much you use-and it is a huge tub-will last FOREVER. Just a thought! Good Luck!
Better link-shows demonstration:



answers from Chicago on

Dear T.,

You received some very great advice and I am sure other moms can benefit from your question as well.

I noticed all the great advice that was shared on Shaklee's cleaners. I absolutely love the cleaners and have been using them for five years. One soecific example of the ease and cost efficiency of the products is:
You can use 1 drop (REALLY, only one drop) of Basic H2 to 16 oz of water and you can clean all your windows and use it to dust as well. It only costs 1 cent to make!!

Of course, they have every product you need to clean your whole house, the non-toxic way.

If you check out Shaklee, pease visit my personal website: www.shaklee.net/fruth/getclean




answers from Chicago on

I too love Shaklee (I don't sell it). I use basic h on windows, wood floors, ceramics. I also love their scour off scrub for showers it's amazing on soap scum. It seems pricier than making your own, but I'm not one to make my own, and I'm not a fan of vinegar smell... I would go with them over any of the clorox green items. Read up on how they treat the environment. Good luck!

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