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.
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.
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!