Non toxic cleaning supplies?

prairiemoon2 z6 MASeptember 2, 2010

Has anyone here attempted to replace store bought cleaning supplies with home made? I want to start cleaning without using anything toxic and I just wanted to hear the experiences of others. I do find a lot of information about what to use, but just wondered if anyone has tried any of it. Vinegar, baking soda, etc. Also, laundry detergents that are not a problem for the environment or people. Now that we have a new front loader, I feel it's hard to use something not listed in the instructions, since the amount of suds is a critical factor.

Anyone gone down this road already?


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Baking soda and vinegar is good for a lot of things. I used them long before the environmental factor came into play. Here's what I use them for---

Baking soda--

It's a mild abrasive and is good for cleaning tubs and sinks, and anything that you would use a product like comet for, but it's less abrasive and won't scratch.

It is great for cleaning coffee and teapots--pour a little in a damp pot and scrub off all those stains. To clean the inside of thermoses--pour some in, add hot tap water and a dishrag and shake. Be sure to rinse all of these well after you dump out the soda water.

Paired with vinegar it is very good for cleaning drains and leaving them fresh smelling and it won't harm your pipes. Pour some into a drain, add vinegar and immediately cover the drain with a cloth. Let it foam and fizz for a while and them turn on the hot water tap for a few minutes.

is good for getting soap residue out of clothes. If you burn something in a pan a little vinegar in water in the pan and boiled on the stove will not only loosen the gunk but take away the smell. That's another use- water and vinegar boiled removes cooking odors. Some use vinegar for washing windows and it makes a good foot bath in warm water for tired feet.

That's all I can think of right now

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 8:39PM
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I see a lot of folks using vinegar but I've also seen floor manufactures cautioning against it because it may dull finishes over time. Ditto with the use of vinegar in the wash with anything elastic (underwear, children's cloths).

I've seen similar cautions about steam mops on certain flooring including laminates. Perhaps I'm just over cautious.

Also wondering about pouring baking soda in a drain. If any of it remained in the drain it would harden and create a greater blockage.

Not dismissing these ideas, just thinking we should be careful when using anything on our floors, furniture or plumbing. I've stopped using most chemical cleaners and am now researching the best natural or green alternatives.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 11:00AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks for your thoughts...yes, I plan on using baking soda and vinegar in as many applications as possible. Good to know to be cautious with elastic. And we've tried the baking soda vinegar when our sink was draining slowly and it didn't seem to do much, so that's not something we are thinking too much about.

I would love to buy a steam machine and use it to clean, but I do have my concerns about using it on hardwood floors. That's all we have in the house.
I also wonder about setting stains with steam. But that's a subject for another thread.

Vinegar is great for a hair rinse in the shower to get soap residue out too and I use baking soda as toothpaste once in awhile.

Jimsonburg, are you sure that's the link you wanted to post? I didn't see anything about cleaning supplies.

I would really like to replace the strongest cleaners that we use for the bathroom. We do have mildew/mold problems if we're not right on top of that. It just doesn't seem like vinegar/baking soda are strong enough in that application.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 12:50PM
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Bean counter--You are either very cautious or you are fear mongering.

Baking soda and vinegar is perfectly safe for drains. It is a lot less caustic than drain cleaners you buy. We have lived in this house 35 years and that and a plunger are the only thing we have used pn the drains with not a hint of a problem.

The dryer is harder on elastic than anything else--are you going to stop using it?

Bottom line--All the things I stated works and I use them. If nothing has been harmed in this house in all these years, it's not about to be

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 12:51PM
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Vinegar is not an effective cleaner. It cannot remove any greasy or oily dirt, which includes much household dirt. It can etch stone and marble with its low pH. The low pH can also dull floor and furniture finishes over time. It IS good for removing hard water deposits, though, so I often use it to rinse things I've washed with a detergent/surfactant.

I tried a homemade glass cleaner recipe from Cheryl Mendelson's book Home Comforts: 45% water, 45% rubbing alcohol, and 10% ammonia. Of course, alcohol and ammonia are not non-toxic. This homemade concoction was nowhere NEAR as effective as Stoner's Invisible Glass.

Home Comforts also lists some interesting cleaning recipes from the good old days, and they were often much more toxic than today's products. :shrug:

The best non-toxic cleaning product by far is microfiber cloth.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 1:31AM
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Green cleaning is still more a state of mind, to me, that includes making choices about the type of chemical mixture I use and its efficacy. Without true definitions, it's a bit up to us. I wouldn't use baking soda and vinegar alone to clean a toilet or mildew but I would never use Easy-Off to clean my oven.

I try to understand the problem, material and options before just pouring bleach (or sodium bicarbonate) in it. Start with the most gentle and work my way up. I read a post where a guy used Ajax to clean fingerprints of his stainless dishwasher panel. I bet it did remove the fingerprints, and likely pitted the steel. I wonder if he still uses it.

I think the point is relevant to a question about toxicity b/c natural doesn't equal safe and vice-versa. I wouldn't drink a cup of tea tree oil though I would consider chemotherapy if I were ever diagnosed with cancer.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 8:08AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

andersons, I dont have any stone or marble in the house, but nice to know you need to be careful with that material. I always thought of those materials as being indestructible. Guess not. No, I would never think of using vinegar on a floor or furniture finish. The only thing that touches those for me, is a barely damp cloth.

I never buy Glass cleaner. I just washed windows and I used this method....
I took warm water in a medium size container, added one drop of dishwashing liquid. I used a second bowl with warm water and 2 Tb of vinegar. I washed and followed up with the vinegar water to rinse off the soap and dried with paper towels and they came out very well.

If you are going to suggest that some of the recipes in that book are more toxic than todays products, it would have been more useful to me, if you were specific about which ingredients you are referring to and what products you are comparing them to.

westvillager, that is true. I also dont think baking soda and vinegar alone are enough to clean a toilet or mildew. I havent bought a can of Easy Off Oven Cleaner in 30 years. [g] Weve owned self cleaning ovens. You make a good point.

There are so many chemicals that you can bring into the house. I cringe when I see some of the ads for them on TV. Air fresheners for one, to me are totally unnecessary. You make a good point, about making the effort to start out with the least toxic first. And yes, common sense in the choices we make.

BTW, Tea Tree Oil is something I wouldnt be without in my medicine cabinet. It is wonderful for any kind of skin problem. Cuts, bites, etc.

One household helper that I wouldnt be without isnt even a cleaning product....a Whole House Fan. Its wonderful for pulling out all the odors in the house after cleaning.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 4:19AM
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Oilpainter, please don't resent other opinions and call me a fear mongerer (whatever that it:). If something works for you, do it but other's do get to have an opinion, right? I am very, very cautious but I would rather not replace a floor because vinegar or steam had damaged the finish. I've also read vinegar will damage grout and I have a lot of tile. As for cleaning drains, boiling water always works for me. Boiling water once a week prevents my drains from clogging and fixes slow drains. I am cautious with that too, not only can it burn me, but it could crack a porcelain sink so I pour directly into drain and not onto porcelain. Personally, it doesn't seem a good idea to put any powder into a drain--but that's just my opinion and not meant to strike fear into anyone's hearts.

I tried cleaning my stainless microwave with vinegar and it did not work, finger prints remained. A tiny drop of dish soap did work but it did have to be rinsed off and dried with a clean towel. Next time I buy dish soap, I plan to try one of the new 'green' products. It's good to see several varieties available in supermarkets and hopefully they really are environmentally friendly and not just big business scamming consumers.

I really liked prairiemoon's method of washing windows with a few drops of dish soap and rinsing with a little vinegar in water. Bottom line, I would rather exercise a lot of caution than waste $$$ replacing damaged stuff.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 9:41AM
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Not dismissing these ideas, just thinking we should be careful when using anything on our floors, furniture or plumbing. I've stopped using most chemical cleaners and am now researching the best natural or green alternatives.

Bean counter: I'm not sure what can be more benign, natural and green than vinegar, baking soda and steam cleaning, all of which you appear to have concerns about.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 8:14PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

graywings, I've asked that we could disagree without going off course. You had your say, and so did graywings. Why do you have to insist?

Personally, I don't see it as that outrageous that he is careful about what he puts on his furniture and floors or plumbing. Vinegar is natural, but it is also acidy. Baking soda is natural, but it can be slightly abrasive. Steam has already been reported as damaging to hardwood floors in some cases.

You're free to disagree and use any of those products in any way you like. We're happy to read what your results are... and... opposite experiences and opinions. Please don't make it uncomfortable for anyone to share their opinion.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 5:45AM
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I only see one post from me, so I don't understand why I am getting scolded. It is a legitimate question: what else is out there if using vinegar, baking soda and steam cleaning concerns that poster?

In the context of removing soil from floors, walls, windows, clothing, even human skin, there has to a certain amount of chemical reaction, chemical bonding between the cleaner and the soil, so as to allow it to be washed away. Friction, I guess, is completely non chemical. I find that a lot of soil can be removed just using a moist microfiber cloth. But it doesn't work in all cases.

And actually, BeanCounter appears to be referring to the effect of the cleaning product on the item being cleaned. If I understand your post correctly, Prairiemoon2, your reference to toxicity is in the context of the product's effect on humans.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 9:15AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

graywings, you're completely correct, I mistook your post for a second post from oilpainter. Just wasn't paying attention to the post heading. I'm sorry. I'm definitely not trying to 'limit' discussion and disagreement in any way, just don't want to see it get personal.

You bring up good points. Yes, friction with a damp cloth works great a lot of the time, but what do you do when it doesn't? Do you go back to using something more toxic but stronger?

I would think on hardwood floors and furniture, you would be pretty careful of how you were using those. We don't find any dirt or stains on our wood furniture that needs any kind of cleaner. Coasters or other avoidance methods, like using a tray on top of a table, keep our furniture from needing much. Our hardwood floors stay fine with a barely damp mop after a good vacuum. We haven't had a need for anything stronger. We have hardwood even in the kitchen. We are overdue for a redo of the finish, which I expected.

Well, yes, I am referring to the toxicity to people. I suppose twin goals are to do the job of cleaning and keeping people healthy at the same time. Is one goal more important than the other? Yes, to me it definitely is, keeping people healthy. Cleanliness also helps us to stay healthy too, so it's a horse race. [g]

Sorry again. :-)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 1:08PM
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Wow-- It seems a lot has been atributed to me that is nowhere in my post. I did not utter one word about using anything on floors and furniture. I would never try using baking spoda or vinegar on either.

Some here think that baking soda and vinegar is toxic and should not be used in drains because it may harm them. That is far from the truth. I thought everyone knew about the reaction that takes place, but apparently not. It is one of the first science experiments that grade school children do, it is so safe.

When baking soda is mixed with vinegar it ceases to be a powder and a liquid and becomes carbon dioxide gas. The same carbon dioxide that is in the earth's atmosphere. It is the process of the gas forming and the bubbling it creates that cleans the drains.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 7:43PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Ok, are there any other natural non toxic cleaning products that anyone has any experience with? I've read about borax, but I don't know anything about it. I wonder if there is anything stronger than vinegar and baking soda that are a better alternative than some of the commercial products?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 7:25AM
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I went down that road about two years ago. I noticed, one day, that plastic items coming out of the dishwasher smelled like chemicals. At the time my kids were using sippy cups and I wondered if I could smell it - what was getting into their drinks? I did a lot of reading and decided to change a lot of the products I use.

I will say that the process was a long one for me. Not every product works the same for everyone. People will try one green option and if it doesnt work well they think all green products dont work. You have to find what works for you.

While I do use vinegar and baking soda for some things I dont think you can clean everything with them. "Natural" doesnt mean safe for all things. Vinegar is low PH and very acidic. It will etch the finish of marble permanently.

IMO vinegar is not a great "all purpose" cleaner. I do use it for some things (ie. laundry rinse for some items, clean the fish bowl, clean some mineral deposits, etc ).
Low pH cleaners (acidic, like vinegar) can dissolve hard water and mineral deposits, but cant tackle dirt and grime.

High pH cleaners (more alkaline, like harsher soaps) are good at dissolving dirt and grime. Warning: these will also eventually dull the finish of some floors (ie. hardwood).

For the most part this is my list of products used (after two years I can say these work the best for me so far):

Shaklee Get Clean Basic H2 (I use this in 4 concentrations; one for glass/windows, one for all purpose, one for degreasing and one for washing tile floors). I also add essential oils to all purpose and floor mixtures like tea tree and lavender/eucalyptus. This product is as safe as using water.

Shaklee Get Clean dishwash concentrate for me the best green option for cutting grease and getting things clean. Smells wonderful too.

BioVert dishwasher tabs. Shaklee is also very good as is Ecover but for me this BioVert is the BEST. Works even better than Cascade did and no smell or residue. Not even water spots. Very nice. I buy the large box of 120 tabs at Costco (in Canada).

I like Ecover or Method toilet bowl cleaner because they both smell fantastic and clean the bowl well. I like the bathroom to smell heavenly when clean. Both use natural essential oils. I have recently discovered that oxygen bleach is wonderful for so many things other than laundry. In the toilet bowl it cleans amazingly with no scent.

I also have a product called Universal Stone (all natural). This thing is amazing. It will polish metal (like silver), clean stainless beautifully as well as sinks, counters, etc truly an awesome find.

For laundry (I have a front loader) I am using the new Method with smart pump cleans very well. I have used almost every brand there is. I also use Vaska for sheets, towels and my clothes (smells of lavender which I love). I admit that I do use Persil as well for some things (when I feel it really needs it). I use the Shaklee liquid fabric softener my favourite by far love, love, love the scent (fresh not fake).

My best friend is oxygen bleach (sodium percarbonate). I currently use the BioVert or Ecover ones. No fillers. I have a white Kholer cast iron kitchen sink and the oxygen bleach cleaned it beautifully with no scrubbing. I also recently purchased a Royal Crown Derby tea set from the late 1920s. The teapot had some tea stains that I could not get at to remove. Put in oxygen bleach and hot water snow white! I was so pleased. The set looks brand new.

I am still discovering new ways to use the oxygen bleach. Next I am going to tackle floor grout with it. It is supposed to make grout look like new. Oxygen bleach also disinfects and removes odours. I wipe down the toilets with water/oxygen bleach and sometimes some tea tree oil.

You should try it on the mold/mildew it should remove that as well. You may need to leave it to work for a bit before scrubbing and rinsing. Google it there is tons of information about oxygen bleach (sodium percarbonate).

Sorry for the long post I just wanted to share my whole arsenal with you so you could see what I am doing (I'm sure I'm forgetting something). Keep us posted if you try things and what works for you!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 11:21AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Well, thanks for all that information and your post wasn't too long. I guess I haven't started exploring actual commercial products that are 'green'. I am very skeptical. I expect to find that they've cut some corner or use some ingredients that I won't feel comfortable with. I'd rather take ordinary ingredients that I can mix at home so I know what I am using. I just basically have learned not to trust companies. Sad, but true. But, I will definitely look at some of these products to see what the ingredients are and give it some thought.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 1:46PM
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Shaklee's Basic H2 is Green Guard certified. You can read what that means here

I forgot to mention that I also use the Bona floor mop and I use the Bona cleaner for hardwood and tile/laminate as well. I use this for quick clean ups. I still use a bucket and Casabella Magnet Mop for deeper cleans with Basic H2. The Bona products are also Green Guard certified.

Part of this certification is that they won't affect indoor air quality. As mentioned before, natural products can still be toxic or dangerous (especially for children and pets).

For example, you mentioned Borax - a natural product. I do use it for some laundry (it helps in hard water). But read the following on its toxicity.

Borax, sodium tetraborate decahydrate, is not acutely toxic.[12] Its LD50 (median lethal dose) score is tested at 2.66 g/kg in rats:[13] a significant dose of the chemical is needed to cause severe symptoms or death. The lethal dose is not necessarily the same for humans. Simple exposure can cause respiratory and skin irritation; ingestion may cause gastrointestinal distress including nausea, persistent vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Effects on the vascular system and brain include headaches and lethargy, but are less frequent. "In severe poisonings, a beefy red skin rash affecting palms, soles, buttocks and scrotum has been described. With severe poisoning, erythematous and exfoliative rash, unconsciousness, respiratory depression, and renal failure." [14]

A reassessment of boric acid/borax by the United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide Programs found potential developmental toxicity (especially effects on the testes).[15] Boric acid solutions used as an eye wash or on abraded skin are known to be particularly toxic to infants, especially after repeated use, because of the slow elimination rate.[16]

At a recent European Diagnostics Manufacturing Association (EDMA) meeting, several new additions to the Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate list in relation to the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals Regulations 2007 (REACH) were discussed. The registration and review completed as part of REACH has changed the classification of Sodium Tetraborate CAS 1303-96-4 to: Highly Toxic [17]

You really need to read a lot if you are particular about what you use.

I also consider the company I'm supporting with my $$. Shaklee for one has many great programs to offset their carbon emissions. Most every company has a website and you can see what they are up to.

At the end of the day - what you use has to clean well and make you satisfied. I mean, you can't use vinegar and baking soda to wash dishes or launder your clothes (IMO) so you'll probably have to branch out and find some greener store options for those. Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Borax description

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 2:25PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hi livebetter, I spent a few minutes this morning looking up Shaklee. From a brief search, I see that it is marketed as a Pyramid scheme. Something Im not fond of. Second, when I went to their website, I was not able to find a list of ingredients for its H2 Green Guard product. I thought it was pretty expensive too. Im not fond of this approach either. To expect consumers to take your word for it that the product is safe and non toxic and not to be up front about what it contains is just more basis to mistrust companies. I dont really care about their certification efforts.

I also want to support good companies but NOT because of any good works they do. Or supposed works. Not sure what you mean to offset carbon emissions. It could mean anything from actually creating a facility that makes a small carbon footprint to giving money to let someone else do the reducing of carbon emissions. I want to support companies because they are being as responsible as they can, to make a product that is over and above what is required for non toxicity and to present themselves in an open and honest way. One that is actually living in an ecologically responsible way. I see that although Shaklee has their headquarters in the United States, they produce their products everywhere but here.

Are you familiar with the effort to buy local and the wonderful effect that has on the environment? How much it reduces the use of gasoline just for starters. I guess if you are producing products all over the world, you can bet a lot of gasoline is being consumed. So how do you then start promoting yourself as environmentally responsible?

I also took a look at your screen name on GW and see that you signed on in April and have only posted once. I'm sure there are many legitimate reasons why that is so, maybe your just too busy and it's none of my business. But just to let you know, although I would be flattered that my thread is one of the only threads that interested you to post to in 5 months, I find myself wondering if you are somehow affiliated with Shaklee.

I apologize in advance if my post is intrusive. It's a shame that the atmosphere on GW and other sites has become such, that people have to think about these things.

Thanks for the information about Borax. Ill look into that further.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 8:06AM
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I'm really anxious to try the oxygen bleach on my grout. I had never heard that before. I use it in my laundry and it works great. Soaked a pair of dirty white running shoes in it for a couple hours, gave them a good scrub with a brush and they came out looking really good.

BTW, I've seen livebetter's post on dozens of topics. PM2 put livebetter in the 'search this forum' feature and see all the topics she has posted on.

I'm disappointed with my Shaklee Basic H. I had some unknown spot on my floor and sprayed the degreasing formula on it, rubbed and nothing, spot was still there. Put a tiny drop of dish soap on a cloth and it came up instantly. Either I'm not using the Shaklee correctly or it isn't very effective.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 10:24AM
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I'm a big fan of Bon Ami... I use it mainly in the bathroom and kitchen: it makes my porcelain sink and bathtub shine! Love how easily it cleans and shines my stainless steel kitchen sink, too.

I also use it on my stainless steel All Clad pots and pans.

It has no scent, and rinses cleanly. Costs about $1.30.

Made in USA for over 100 years.

from their website: Its ingredients, soap and feldspar, merely make elbow grease more efficient, and elbow grease doesnt pollute."

Here is a link that might be useful: bon ami website

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 11:16AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thank you bean_counter. I did a GW site wide look and it offers 2 postings on the whole site, but when you do a search in just this forum it comes up with 17 as you said. Leave it to GW to not work correctly. Sorry about that, livebetter.

We used to use Bon Ami all the time. I wonder if the ingredients are different from Comet and the like? Ill look that up when I get a chance.

Has anyone used Charlies Soap for laundry? I noticed 400+ reviews on Amazon and some people like it a lot.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 11:37AM
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Yes, Bon Ami is completely different from Comet, Ajax, etc.

Bon Ami is a non-gritty powder, and does not scratch. Doesn't contain any chlorine or other strong chemicals, either.

I do use Charlie's Soap laundry detergent, too, and love it.

I don't like to use products with fragrances if I can help it.

I just ordered Charlie's Soap All Purpose Cleaner... a couple of people I know swear by it.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 12:32PM
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Let's all try to get back to your original question.

If you want to make your own cleaning products, use the least toxic ingredients, etc. it really helps if you have a basic understanding of the chemistry involved. Acids vs. bases, and that type of thing.

My absolute favorite resource is a book called "Home Comforts" by Cheryl Mendelson. It was mentioned in a previous post.

Get it if you can, see if your local library has a copy. I think it has the answers you're looking for.

Once you have a basic understanding of the chemistry of "what cleans what" you'll be able to make the basic tools of cleaning work wonders.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 4:52PM
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BioKleen Bac Out is a good non-toxic cleaner that works well on mold & mildew. It's also great for pet accidents and as a laundry stain pre-treater.

It contains enzymes and coconut-based detergents and an ingredient made from limes.

We've been using it as a laundry pre-treater for years, and I'd just used it for the first time on a mildewy spot on my shower tile... it worked great! Removed soap scum, too.

It's available at Whole Foods, has a green label. Comes in a 32 oz. bottle with a trigger sprayer, and a 32 oz. refill without, for slightly less $$.

Here is a link that might be useful: Five-star Bac Out reviews on Amzon

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 4:58PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

cryptandrus, I really appreciate you posting further to this thread. Thank you.

I did mean to thank you for the Bon Ami suggestion. I asked my husband to pick some up at the store over the weekend, and he did, so we have it! I forgot about Bon Ami. We used to use it.

Believe it or not, I have that book Home Comforts. I gave it to my twentysomething daughter, but she rolled her eyes and left it on my shelf when she got her own place. [g] I have not read the book yet. I keep meaning to check out if there were any suggestions for home made cleaners. It really seemed like a comprehensive book that you could really use as a reference. I really dont understand the chemistry of cleaning at all and if that book has an explanation than it does sound like the place to back up to.

That BioKleen sounds pretty benign. Ill check that out. I have used white vinegar for pet accidents with great results. No remaining odor. We havent had a dog in a long time, but we did have a dog that had seizures for the last three years of his life and we had a lot of experience with accidents. My son has cats and I think he would like another choice than just the vinegar mixture.

We shop at Whole Foods so we will look for it. I just received my order from Amazon for Charlies Soap and some empty spray bottles to try to make up some formulas. I will definitely post again when Ive had a chance to see how that works out.

Thanks again, those are three really great suggestions that Im already sure I will benefit from. :-)

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 7:07PM
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Question about oxygen bleach. I can easily find OxyClean, but where do you find the other brands, the ones that I've read have fewer additives (and are cheaper!)?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 7:16AM
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bean counter z4 - I forgot to address your comments re: Basic H2. I'm not sure what to tell you ... not all products work well for everyone. When I wash my floors (with 1 tbsp Basic H2 + 4 Litres of water) I go around and spray the all purpose concentration on any spots first and then wash with mop. Everything has always come out very clean and streak free. Are you using original Basic H or the newer more concentrated Basic H2 (just curious)?

Graywings, I get my oxygen bleach all over. I frequent a "health food" type store once a month that carries both Ecover and BioVert. Here in Canada, some of the grocery chains carry the Nature Clean brand (they also have oxy bleach). See link as some US retailers carry this Canadian brand.

In the US, BioKleen should also have one. I've purchased those products at a health food co-op on the US side. I think this version has more additives though.

I know you can order them online from Amazon or (I'm sure other sites as well).

Here is a link that might be useful: Where to buy Nature Clean

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 5:56PM
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So, what "additives" does OxiClean have that are so much worse than any other oxygen bleach?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 12:25AM
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Most brands of "Oxy Clean" type powdered bleach have added calcium carbonate (washing soda).

Washing soda isn't necessarily a bad "additive", it's really more of a cheap filler.

I like Ecover's brand of Powdered Color-Safe Bleach the best. It's 100% percarbonate.

Ecover non-chlorine bleach doesn't have any activators either, so you do have to use it in hot water to get the best results.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 9:38AM
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Maybe you meant sodium carbonate.

Sodium carbonate (washing soda) isn't just a filler. It softens hard water, binding up the calcium and magnesium so that detergents are not inactivated by them. And it adjusts the pH to a level effective for cleaning.

I may try Ecover just because I'm kind of compulsive about trying lots of cleaning products. But in real-world conditions of hard water that is not scalding hot, I'd expect better results from OxiClean.

I get a 15-pound box of OxiClean at Costco for I think about $12. Ecover around $4-5/lb is a lot more expensive. I'd have to get equal cleaning power from 1/5 the amount by weight to break even, costwise.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 7:02PM
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I've never used OxiClean. What is the dose recommended?

Here is the dosing for Ecover:

Dosages per full machine load:
For brilliant whites:
0.5 oz (= 1 tablespoon).
For removing stains on colorfast laundry:
1 oz (= 2 tablespoons).
For handwashing and soaking:
0.5 oz (= 1 tablespoon).

Complete ingredients list
Consists of 100% percarbonate, which is the most ecological bleach except for the sunshine!

Does it appear you would use less Ecover?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 9:48PM
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OxiClean recommended amounts are 1 (normal soil) - 3 ounces (heavy soil) for toploaders, 1-2 ounces for frontloaders. I just got a frontloader about 10 days ago, and find that with the small amount of water used in the load, 1 ounce or even less is the way to go.

Since OxiClean softens my hard water, boosting the effectiveness of the detergent, I use less detergent as well.

If you study the chemistry of washing soda, it's just as "natural" or "ecological" as percarbonate. So I would not use Ecover for any "ecological" reason, but only if it cleans better. If it does clean better, it's worth more money.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 1:49AM
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I think its "ecological" reason is as a substitute for chlorine bleach. I have never used or looked at the ingredients in OxiClean so would have no ability to compare.

I am very pleased with the oxy bleaches I do use. I am finding new uses for them everyday. It is cleaning some items I thought would not come clean again. Great for more than laundry.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 8:29AM
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Yes, you're right I did mean to type sodium carbonate for washing soda -- thanks for catching my mistake!

I didn't mean to suggest that washing soda was bad or useless, just that it's a cheaper ingredient.

You can buy a big 55 oz. box of Arm and Hammer washing soda for around $3.

Most powdered detergents contain washing soda anyway, so I figure why add more?

Plain old washing Soda is *great* for tough-to-clean pots and pans with cooked-on grease! Just add with hot water and let it soak for 5 minutes. Don't get it on your hands, though, unless you want "dishpan hands."

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 12:21PM
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whitebeaches failed to mention that the steamer they recommended costs from $1,550 to $2,300.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 9:27AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I've never tried Oxiclean.

I have used Arm and Hammer alone in the laundry and although it is very inexpensive, there were times it didn't clean as well as I needed it to. I didn't try adding other things to the wash though.

I keep thinking it would be great if a steamer would do what the infomercials suggest, but I have read reports that it doesn't. Haven't read a lot about them yet. That's some price for one though! I was thinking it might be worthwhile, if it were under $100. lol

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 9:56AM
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My vote is for the WipeOut product which is easy to use, ammonia and alcohol free so this way it's environmentally friendly + it is multi-surface. Love love love it!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: WipeOut

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 5:26AM
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