“Kid-safe cleaning solutions” sounds like a contradiction, right? If you’re anything like me, the cabinets you chose to childproof first were those with cleaning solutions in them. I know to use white vinegar for cleaning, but I have a host of other supplies in those cabinets, partly because we inherited quite a few with our house. Bleach, Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles (ugh!), Lysol, Comet–the toxic list goes on and on.
I’m not a good “crunchy mama” or automatically on board with everything marked “green” or “oily.” And I probably will always have a little Windex hidden somewhere in the back of my cabinet. However, I do like the idea of cleaner air in my home and less dangerous cleaning supplies in my cabinets. Does this mean kids can drink these cleaning solutions? Absolutely not! But these 10 recipes for kid-safe cleaning solutions won’t hurt their lungs, skin, or gut just from breathing in the fumes, like bleach can.
10 Kid-Safe Cleaning Solutions
(for all kinds of kitchen surfaces like counter tops, tables, cabinets, fridge interior, or the sink. Source: Sophie Uliano.)
1 24-oz sprayer (optional, but this is great if you want to be able to spray it on your countertops, etc.)
1 tsp borax
1/2 tsp washing soda crystals
2 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp liquid castile soap
2 cups hot water
20 drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil
Mix the borax, washing soda, vinegar and castile soap on a large measuring cup. Slowly add the hot water (just off the boil). Allow it to cool before adding the tea tree oil. Pour into the sprayer. Shake well before each use.
Easy Foaming Oven or Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Pour into your toilet bowl about a cup of cheap white vinegar and then sprinkle over it about a half cup of baking soda. Let rest for a while before using toilet brush. In oven, keep the same amount of baking soda but decrease the vinegar so you don’t have a mess. Scrub with steel wool after picking up any loose pieces with paper towels or newspapers. (By the way, baked-on residue won’t come off this way, but getting the oven super hot will often do the trick. This is a good excuse to make pita bread in your oven!)
Green Scouring Tile/Grout Cleaner
(A cheaper, cleaner alternative to Comet or Scrubbing Bubbles. Source: Sophie Uliano.)
1 cup baking soda
2/3 cup Liquid Castile Soap
20 drops of your favorite essential oil
Large container with a lid (like a glass Pyrex storage container).
Place all the ingredients except the water in your container. Mix to a thick paste. When ready to use, scoop out a glob of the paste with a scouring sponge or a natural bristle brush.
Vinegar Cleansing Spray
Dilute vinegar with water and clean countertops after meat/blood have touched them. Don’t like the smell of vinegar? It will dissipate after a few minutes. You can also spray this in your shower to decrease growth of mold/mildew.
Green Oven Cleaner
Pour or spray mixture onto the messiness of the oven and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes before wiping or scrubbing.
DIY Toilet Cleaner
(better-smelling than plain baking soda and vinegar. Source: Sophie Uliano.)
Wash out an old toilet bowl cleaner bottle (so you get the benefits of that cool top that squirts under the toilet rim) and refill it with this mixture.
40-Cent Natural Window Cleaner
(A very inexpensive alternative to Windex. Source: Rodale’s.)
¼ cup vinegar
½ teaspoon natural liquid soap (optional)
2 cups water
Mix right in a spray bottle (your old Windex bottle, cleaned out, will work great). Give it a shake and you’re ready to clean!
Alternative Window and Mirror Cleaner
(Better-Smelling Version. Source: Good Housekeeping.)
2 cups water
1/2 cup white or cider vinegar
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (70% concentration) (This helps take off stickiness, but can be eliminated if you’re trying to be completely green.)
1 to 2 drops of orange essential oil, which gives the solution a lovely smell (optional)
Put the old Windex bottle to work again and clean it out before pouring in this mixture.
Natural Dusting Formula
(oil and citrus based. Source: Rodale’s.)
10 drops pure lemon oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
A few drops olive oil
Fresh Lemon Cleaner
Squeeze fresh lemon slices on the bottom of your oven. Grind up small pieces of lemon in your garbage disposal to clean the blades and improve the smell of your kitchen. Rub lemon across a wooden cutting board to sanitize it.
A great resource for a list of natural or kid-safe cleaning solutions is this page on Earth Easy’s website.
How about you? What are some ways you’re making your house more kid-friendly or even more earth-friendly? What are your favorite recipes for DIY kid-safe cleaning solutions?