The following is a guest post from Tan at Tan/Green:
Having a go-to kit of cleaning supplies takes some hassle and stress out of getting the chores done. Rather than storing a bottle of one cleaner in the bathroom and another in the kitchen, rags in the laundry room cabinets and scrub brushes under the slop sink…get it together! And make it green as can be by using just a few non-toxic, multitasking cleaners and only durable, reusable cleaning tools.
Here are the contents of a basic green cleaning caddy to get you started:
1. The Caddy: Any plastic or metal sectioned caddy will do, just make sure metal edges are finished to avoid rusting – no sense needing to clean-up after the clean-up supplies.
2. Rags: Avoid disposable wipes and sponges by keeping old washcloths or towels or even buying new cheap multipacks of cotton clothes. Cotton won’t scratch and is long-wearing. Contrary to what some sources say, microfiber cloths – and the little loops in their fiber that catch all the dirt – can scratch sensitive surfaces so use them with caution! Add-on option: lambswool duster.
3. Rubber Gloves: Any icky tasks become bearable with a protective layer in place. There are fun colors and prints available now, and some even come with flip-up cuffs to stop liquid from running to your elbows.
4. Scrub Brushes: I find three do just about everything I need – a flat, traditional brush, a smaller rounded brush (for tub and sink corners as well as smaller spaces) and an old toothbrush. A toilet brush can be kept at each toilet.
5. Powdered Cleanser: While there are many non-toxic choices, mine are baking soda (very mild yet effective) or Bon Ami. Bon Ami is made from feldspar, limestone, baking soda and plant-based cleansers – a highly effect, gently cleanser.
6. All Purpose Cleaner: Choose a non-toxic cleaner that can cut through grease and grim. I love original Simple Green in a 50% dilution. Kiss grime goodbye!
7. Liquid Dish Soap: Dishwashing liquid is one of the most versatile cleaners in most houses. You may not keep it in the caddy, but if you store the caddy under the kitchen sink, this essential will be close at hand when you start the cleaning rounds.
8. White Vinegar: White vinegar is as effective at killing bacteria as Clorox, is 100% non-toxic and cuts through hard water stains to shine fixtures, glass and mirrors like nothing else. Keep it straight in a spray bottle. Note: This acid can eat away at many kinds of natural stone and should never be used on marble.
And that is all you need in the caddy! Aside from floor cleaning items (such as brooms, mops, dust mops, vacuums, spot lifters, etc.) and your laundry supplies, this combination of items will allow you clean all but the most specialized pieces in your home. Having all the elements in one place ready to be carried from location to location cuts down on the mental energy and time needed to gather what’s needed for any particular chore. This also cuts down on the need for multiple bottles of the same things or single-purpose specialty products, which is green and frugal! This is a simple system that helps me to stay on an organizational, economical and non-toxic track.
Tan Wells is a working mom living in Las Vegas. She has degrees in communication and in technical theater from Penn State and Yale, respectively. In recent years she has become passionate about natural living, staying organized and balancing a career, a family and personal fulfillment. Some days that works better than others – you can read about Tan “trying to be a granola mom in a fast food world” at her blog Tan/Green.