Last edited 2021-06-09
Cleaning like a pro means getting the job done efficiently. But contrary to popular belief, you rarely need specialized cleaners with hard-to-understand ingredients. Products with organic ingredients can work in your kitchen and bathroom— at least for your daily and weekly routines. And surprisingly, even for some really tough spots.
A special note for serious grease and hard water conditions
If you’re tackling serious grease, use a non-toxic dish liquid instead of the organic castile soap and vinegar on this page. I’ve often used Seventh Generation, though most brands work the same. For worst-case grease, go straight to Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds. Either works better than castile soap in hard water conditions.
Castile Soap, vinegar and baking soda
Not many cleaning products are made with certified organic ingredients. Not even most “eco-friendly” brands. But some brands of castile soap and vinegar indeed contain them.
In this post I’ll talk about two widely available brands. And starter tips for cleaning like a pro.
You may also need baking soda. Of course it’s not grown organically, because it’s not grown at all. But it can boost the power of castile soap, so I’ll talk about it too.
Buying products made with organic ingredients
Buy from a locally-owned store, and in bulk, when you can. That way you’re keeping money in your local economy, and save packaging waste. Sometimes you’ll save on purchases too.
When you can’t buy locally or affordably, check out online shopping at Thrive Market— at wholesale.
No recipes— just add water!
Use castile soap and vinegar separately. Each is more effective that way than mixed in recipes.
Dilute your castile soap and vinegar in water. You’ll get better results. And save time not fussing with recipes! That’s what it means to clean like a pro. You’ll find dilution tips below.
Not to mention— diluting is a more cost-effective and greener way to go. Your supplies will go further. In contrast, most “Ready to Use” cleaners are mostly water, which you pay extra for. And transporting all that water from the factory to your home wastes energy. So when you dilute products at home, you’re reducing your carbon footprint.
Three simple products for your routine
Clean like a pro with the following simple products. Together, they’re likely to work for your kitchen and bathroom routine.
We’re talking hard, washable surfaces. Like your counter top, stove top, small appliances, sinks and showers. Along with cabinet and drawer faces.
Pure castile soap
Castile soap is a plant-based, petrochemical-free soap that cleans almost everything. About the basic science, check out Lisa Bronner’s Thirteen Essential Green Cleaning Ingredients.
Sure, Dr. Bronner’s label is wordy, and largely off-topic for cleaning purposes. But among the fine print you’ll find instructions for diluting and using the product. Personally, I use one or two tablespoons soap in 16 ounces of water.
Various brands of distilled white vinegar are made with organic ingredients, Including Spectrum. And some natural grocery stores sell organic vinegar in bulk.
For general cleaning, mix half-and-half vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray surfaces, and wipe clean.
Vinegar rinses baking soda residues— fast! Simply spray your vinegar and water solution, and wipe clean.
Got a clogged bathroom sink drain? To unclog it, try vinegar with baking soda. Apartment Therapy offers a tutorial.
Don’t use vinegar on grout or stone, as it can weaken or damage the surface.
Green Myth alert— Vinegar doesn’t work on grease. Not for me, at least. Try a plant-based dish liquid instead, like Seventh Generation.
Discover simple tricks for making baking soda and vinegar really work! Yours FREE, when you sign up for my email list.
OK, baking soda contains no organic ingredients. It’s made from trona, a naturally occurring inorganic mineral. But still, it’s a simple substance that can help you clean like a pro.
Use baking soda, with a damp sponge, for scouring tough spots on your stove top, sink and bathtub. Add castile soap as needed.
Green Myth alert— Baking soda’s not a multi-surface or “all-purpose” cleaner. Soaps and detergents work better for that purpose.
Discover simple tricks that make baking soda and vinegar really work! Yours FREE, when you sign up for my email list.
What’s worked for you?
Have you tried castile soap, vinegar and baking soda? How are they working for you, in the real world?