A free weekly email
for city moms (and expecting moms!) with kids under 3.

Green Housekeeping

The best non-toxic household cleaners

As mom to a 3-year-old and editor-in-chief of TreeHugger.com and PlanetGreen.com, Meaghan O’Neill cares a whole lot about what’s in her household cleaners. So we asked her to help us sort through all the options labeled eco-this or green-that, and provide us with an ideal shopping list for toxin-free housekeeping.

Glass + mirror:  I like ECOS Window Cleaner for myself, but my housekeeper prefers ammonia-free Windex, so we keep that on hand for occasional use, too.

Toilet:  Method Lil’ Bowl Blu

Tub + tile:  Biokleen Soy Cream Cleaner

Counter top:  Distilled white vinegar + water; occasionally Biokleen Soy Cream Cleaner, for a thorough scrubbing.

Stainless steel:  There’s some kind of special stainless cleaner hiding under my sink, but if I use anything, it’s typically distilled white vinegar + water, in a spray bottle.

Disinfectant (a.k.a. Lysol alternative):  Distilled white vinegar or hot water

Wood floors:  Method Wood For Good Floor Cleaner

Laundry detergent:  Biokleen Laundry Liquid. (I recommend using their powder formula, if your skin can tolerate it, because less energy is used to ship the product around.) I also use Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Stain Remover for stains, and sometimes I add distilled white vinegar as a fabric softener. Of course, sunshine in summer for freshness and brightening up whites.
 
Dust spray (a.k.a. Pledge alternative):  Nothin’. Just a damp rag.

Carpet:  A plain white rag or cloth, dampened with water if need be. Using stain removers will typically discolor your rugs; it’s best to use a dry white cloth to sop up a stain (colored rags could potentially bleed onto your rug). A professional detergent-free, steam cleaning of your rugs from time to time will also help remove most stains.

Dishwasher detergent:  Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwasher Gel or Biokleen Automatic Dish Powder.

Dishes by hand:  Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid is the best.

Bonus tip:  To clean silver, I mix a small amount of baking soda and water to make a paste, then rub the silver with paste and a soft cloth. Works better than any silver cream I’ve ever tried!