One of my goals for this year is to declutter and simplify my life in as many areas as possible. I'll be honest, I'm tired of managing STUFF. Cleaning products and cleaning tools are no exception to this resolution. It's easy to accumulate bottles of solutions and have them placed all over the house. But half empty bottles here and there only add up to more clutter, more stuff and can feel completely overwhelming when trying to determine what I have and what I don't have.
That's when I decided to create a cleaning caddy that can be brought out at any time for any purpose. Carpet stain? Cleaning caddy. Time to deep clean the bathrooms? Cleaning caddy. Dusting day? Cleaning caddy. No more rifling through solutions to figure out which one I should be using or sending someone to the cleaning cabinet only to have them bring back the wrong product. Nope. Now I have it all in one spot.
And with kiddos in my home, you know I'm going to make sure that the cleaning products I use are safe, toxin free and not adding any chemicals into the air we breathe. Ever since my daughter was 5 1/2 years ago, I've done my best to remove as many cleaning toxins as I can. I've tried and tested different methods and solutions and today I'm sharing my favorites with you in hopes that you can create your own decluttered, safe and healthy cleaning caddy.
1. Non-Toxic Concentrated Cleaner
There are a plethora of non-toxic cleaners to choose from now-days. But there are also many bottles that say "green" or "toxin-free" that truly are not safe for your home or indoor air. It's difficult to know exactly what is safe and what is not in a world where green-washing is the norm.
A concentrated cleaner will be your main-stay. Many of these cleaners are multipurpose, meaning they can be used for many different cleaning jobs. I personally use my AvaShield for the kitchen every day cleaner as well as a floor cleaner.
Below are some of my favorite cleaner concentrates that I trust to use around my kids, my dog and introduce into my indoor air.
2. Microfiber Cleaning Cloths with Silver
3. Cleaning Brush(es)
This is a great tool for those deep cleaning jobs or trouble areas. A little baking soda mixed with water to make a paste will do wonders when scrubbing with a soft-bristle brush.
I like to use these in sink basins and on tub fixtures to gently and softly clean fragile finishes. Tub fixtures can easily begin corroding when improper cleaning solutions are used. This is the exact reason I love baking soda, which is a gentle cleaner. If you choose to use vinegar on plumbing fixtures, make sure to completely rinse the viengar from the surface. Vinegar is highly corrosive, which is why it's a great cleaner, however when left on it can cause huge problems.
4. Baking Soda
5. Castile Soap
6. Hydrogen Peroxide (with a sprayer)
7. Cleaning Sponges
Vinegar is a great replacement for things like fabric softener and a dish washing rinse agent. It also makes a great cleaner if you have hard water and your fixtures get hard water spots on them. Window cleaner, which is usually toxic due to the ammonia used in it can now be replaced with vinegar.
I use vinegar when cleaning just about any hard, non-porous surface in my home such as flooring, counters and sinks. Again, it's important to remember that straight vinegar can be very abrasive if left on fixtures. So once you've used the vinegar to clean the faucet or fixture, make sure to gently wipe it down with a cleaning cloth.
Aunt Fannie's cleaning vinegar is one of my favorite additions to a cleaning caddy that doesn't require you to wipe it off when done.
9. Spray Bottles
10. Essential Oils (Optional)
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I am a Certified Professional Home Inspector and Certified Building Biologist through the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors and International Institute for Building Biology. I have trained with Internachi as well as the Water Quality Standards Academy and the EPA.