Also, my skin is very sensitive and I already have
I figured moving would be a good time to address the issue as we would buying almost all new stuff anyway. So instead of rushing out to buy Windex and Comet, we picked up a big thing of vinegar (the regular white stuff) at Sam's and a not-quite-as-big bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a couple of squirt bottles to keep reasonable amounts in. I found my squirt bottles at Wal-Mart for less than a dollar and they even came in my favorite color. Just be sure to get a dark bottle for the hydrogen peroxide so you don't end up trying to disinfect things with a bottle of water - it isn't very effective.
There are lots of neat "recipes" out in the blogosphere but I wanted to start with the most simple approach and only get complicated when and if we needed to.
- For general cleaning (like bathroom and kitchen counters, wiping down outside toilet, etc) we just use the vinegar. The smell isn't the best, but it does go away pretty quickly.
- For disinfecting, I spray the vinegar on the surface, then spray the hydrogen peroxide on top of that, let it sit for ~30 seconds, then wipe dry. I use this in the sink and if I have been working with raw meat on the counter. I also use it on my meat bucket in the fridge once a week. (Meat bucket = a plastic container that I put my meat in while it is thawing, just in case of leakage).
- If I need an abrasive (you know, to scrub that jelly I didn't wipe up earlier than morning), I use a bit of baking soda, water, and elbow grease.
- For the toilet, I just drain it, pour in some vinegar, let it sit while doing the rest of the cleaning, then swish and flush and I'm done.
- We use a squeegee on our shower every morning so it stays pretty clean and the vinegar does fine on the shower walls when it needs it.
So far, I am happy with the way these work. I have heard other recipes use diluted vinegar with baking soda mixed in a bottle as an all purpose cleaner so we might try that, just to see if we can reduce the vinegar smell a bit.
But not all my plans worked out so well. Using vinegar to clean the mirror was not effective. It left lots of streaks and the few places where their weren't streaks, there was a haze. Lots of people seem to have no problem with this so it might be my technique. I do my cleaning with old cut-up t-shirts, but I'm going to try switching back to paper towels for the mirror. Also, I'm not diluting the vinegar, maybe I should be? If that fails, I've heard that same baking soda/vinegar mix I mentioned above makes a good window cleaner. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
Also, I haven't found a good replacement for mopping or cleaning the tub. In fact, since we actually got paid to take them from Walgreens, I got Windex and Scrubbing bubbles just last week. As I said, I'm going to try a few more things before resorting to opening the Windex (mostly b/c it isn't the end of the world if my mirror is streaky) but I think I will just completely cave on the tub cleaner. It wasn't really very clean when we moved in and it really needs a major cleaning before I will take an actual bath in it. But once I get it really clean to start with, I'll try to find a more natural way to keep it that way.
I think my next step is to try Dr. Bronner's castile soap. I've used it in the past, but only as a regular soap, not a "super fantastic do anything but deliver a baby for you wonder soap" like I've recently heard it proclaimed as. We went to our local health food store on Saturday (during the football game - it was almost more than Craig could take!) and they had it but it was a lot more expensive than I can get online so I'll just have to be patient.
I plan to try it both as my next "no-poo" step, a dish soap and possible as a remedy to the mopping and tub problems. And of course, I'll let you know how it goes.