Last edited 2022-02-07
Cleaning like a professional means getting the job done efficiently. But contrary to myth, you rarely need specialized products. Simple products with organic ingredients can work in your kitchen and bathroom— at least for your routines. And surprisingly, even for some fairly tough spots.
We’re talking hard, washable surfaces. Like your counter top, stove top, small appliances, sinks, tubs and showers.
No fussing with recipes! Nor fishing around for fresh lemons.
Pure castile soap
This plant-based, petrochemical-free soap can clean almost everything. Check out basic facts about castile soap.
Buy in bulk when you can find it, to reduce packaging waste. You may need to bring your own bottle. If you can’t find bulk, buy the largest size you can. In the shot above is the gallon size.
At least three brands contain organic ingredients. Here are a few I’ve checked out.
- Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile-Soap. The most widely-available. Works awesomely.
- Dr. Woods Liquid Castile Soaps. Works every bit as well as Dr. Bronner’s! Check out my brief testimonial here.
- Vermont Liquid Castile Soaps. I’ve not yet tried this brand, though it should work like the others.
Organic distilled white vinegar
Some brands of vinegar are made with organic ingredients, Including Spectrum. Some non-organic brands may contain petrochemical-based ingredients.
Buy in bulk when available— again, to reduce packaging waste. You may need to bring your own bottle. If you can’t find bulk, buy the largest size you can.
Green Myth alert— Vinegar doesn’t work on grease! Not for me, at least. Its’ often better as a rinsing agent. For grease, try a plant-based dish liquid instead, like Seventh Generation.
You’ll need baking soda too— for tough spots
OK, baking soda contains no organic ingredients. It’s made from trona, a naturally occurring inorganic mineral. This simple substance can help you clean like a professional.
As with soap and vinegar, get baking soda in bulk when you can find it. Bring your own wide-mouthed plastic jar to keep it dry. If you can’t find bulk, buy the largest size you can.
Green Myth alert— Baking soda’s not an “all-purpose” cleaner. Soaps and detergents work better for that purpose.
When you need stronger products
For 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 especially.
For other challenges, here’s what to look for in products. It’s my page titled Using the Least-Toxic, Simplest Cleaners That Work.
What’s worked for you?
Have you tried castile soap, vinegar and baking soda? How are they working for you, in the real world?