Monday, April 14, 2014

Favorite Cleaning Products

What is it about spring that makes us want to give the house a thorough cleaning? This year, my urge for a spring cleaning binge arrived before spring did. Several weeks ago, I took everything out of the refrigerator, wiped down all shelves and surfaces (how does dog hair get to the back of the inside of the fridge anyway?), threw out anything old or out of date, and reorganized. I bought some clear plastic trays at Target, which are perfect for stashing large and small containers of yogurt and bags of nuts. All I have to do is pull out the tray to see what we have -- much easier than trying to remember what's behind the large container in the front! A third tray in the freezer stores bags of shredded cheeses and cubes of leftover tomato paste. I love having things organized.


Using the right cleaning products is a must when cleaning house. Above are some of our favorite cleaners: Caldrea liquid hand soap in a wonderful ginger pomelo scent; Oreck Glass & Mirror Cleaner (we discovered this years ago when we bought our vacuum and it works better than anything else I've tried); Stainless Steel Magic to keep the stove and dishwasher free of smudges and fingerprints; Bar Keepers Friend for making the stainless steel kitchen sink shiny and bright (it can also be used on tubs, sinks, toilets, tile, grout and more); Simple Green (my husband's personal favorite along with Charlie's Soap, not pictured); and Shaklee Basic-H concentrated organic cleanser (I've had this bottle so long, the packaging is old and it's now called Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate). Shaklee products are great and I've been using them for years. To learn more about Basic H2, go to this web page.



I also like Seventh Generation products. Their dish liquid in fresh citrus and ginger scent smells great, their dishwasher detergent works well, and their disinfecting multi-surfacce cleaner "kills over 99.99% of household germs, specifically Influenza A virus, H1N1, Rhinovirus (type 37, the common cold virus), Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli on hard, nonpourous surfaces," according to the product label. Wow, that's a lot of stuff for a botanically based product. It contains Thymol, present as a component of thyme oil -- so if you don't like the smell of thyme, you may not like this. I had to get used to the smell at first, but now I like it.

So tell me, what cleaning products are your favorites and why do you swear by them? 

14 comments:

  1. I have to preface my comments by saying that I used to be "super-granola" when it came to cleaning products. Dr. Bronner's soaps, vinegar and baking soda, you get the idea. My pendulum has been swinging back in recent years, and right now, all I really ask is that my cleaning products be either fragrance-free, and, if they're not, that they at least be scented with natural oils.

    We have a local cleaning product manufacturer called "Attitude" that is doing gang-busters globally now, and I've yet to try one of their products I don't like. Their wood floor cleaner is the best I've ever tried. I've converted everyone with a wood floor to this product, it's that good. I also just bought their laundry detergent and I'm in love!

    Like you, I swear by Bar Keepers Friend. I don't like their liquid formula as much for stainless, but I do love it for the bathroom sink, toilet and tub. As for the shower stall - my cleaning nemesis - I get out the big guns and use Scrubbing Bubbles Mega-Shower Foamer. This product stinks, is probably so carcinogenic it should be banned, but man oh man, it works like a charm. (And I will NEVER again have a fibreglass shower stall with glass windows, EVER!)

    While Citrasolv is almost impossible to get in Canada anymore, I used to swear by their Valencia orange concentrated cleaner for any greasy messes such as my range vent. I've used it to get tar out of a sweater, and it's the only thing that gets molybdenum grease out of our clothing. (We use moly grease all over our tractor, sigh). Sometimes the dog or cats step in a blob and trek it all over the house. Sigh again. Citrasolv handled it without any problems. It also rivals BKF on stainless steel fridges or ranges. Love, love, love this product! I actually beg friends to bring this back from the US for me. If I'd have to recommend one single product, it would be this.

    Another great product for greasy messes (again, range vent, I'm lookin' at you!) is Spray Nine multipurpose cleanser in the spray bottle. This stuff kicks butt! While I don't consider this to be a "green" product, a little bit goes a LONG way, and a bottle lasts me probably 2 years, so I use it guilt-free. What it does for a greasy BBQ or grungy car rims is nothing short of miraculous.

    I recently received one of those Mr. Clean Magic Erasers free in the mail. I'm not really into "disposable" cleaning gadgets (I CANNOT believe people buy Swiffers - really!), but I have to say, this thing is great on scuff marks. I am actually impressed by it.

    For windows, nothing beats Vileda's Window Cloth. While it's available on Amazon.com, the price is outrageous. I stockpile these when I go to Germany. I've written to Vileda directly, reminding them we also have windows in North America, but for whatever reason, they don't seem to want to make this product available here. If you do happen to come across one, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

    I've seen the Seventh Generation products in store, but never paid much attention to them. I'll have a closer look next time since they come with your approval!

    My fridge-cleaning is on this weekend's agenda, and weather-permitting, so is my spring car cleaning. When those 2 tasks are off my to-do list, I'll breathe a sigh of relief.

    Enjoy your spring now that your house is spic and span!

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    1. Thanks for your comment! Some good tips here. I'll have to look for that wood floor cleaner. I've never used anything on our wood floors except the vacuum.
      Claudia

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  2. Wow! So great to see the things that I actually planning to buy for cleaning our house because we usually render a Commercial Cleaning Services and as of now we are happy with their performance but sometimes I would like to try it for myself.

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  3. Ahhh, spring cleaning has begun!!! I noticed neighbors cleaning out their garages, yard sale signs popping up, and lots of new cleaning products at the super market. Personally I rely on simple green! Will have to try Seventh Generation.

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    1. Loi, Seventh Generation is having 20% off their products online through 4/20/14 -- might be a good time to try them! www.seventhgeneration.com

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  4. I've been using e cloths (microfiber cloths) for much of my cleaning - inside fridge, mirrors/windows, counters, bathroom areas, floors, etc. They really work great - no cleaning chemicals as you just rinse them in hot water and wring out completely and then clean! We just got a new tub, tile and shower door and I've been wiping the area down after my shower with my e cloth. Keeps me from having to do any heavy duty cleaning at all in there. Wish I could get my entire family to do the same - wipe it down - but at least I know it's getting done once a day. Only takes a couple minutes and really makes a difference. http://www.ecloth.com/

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  5. I like Mrs. Meyer's lavender dish soap. Lavender has natural anti-bacterial qualities and I'm convinced it keeps the sponges from getting funky. I also like Twist sponges that are white with a cactus-based loofah-type scrubbing surface on the back. Mrs. Meyer's lavender scrub for the sinks. Somat Tabs for the dishwasher recommended by a friend. They do a great job but they're too pricey for me so I look for something else. I also use Scrubbing Bubbles for the shower and tub. I also use Bar Keeper's Friend for the pots and pans. I haven't found anything I like for the stainless steel so I'll give yours a try. I use Method unscented for laundry with Mrs. Meyer's lavender fabric softener for sheets.

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  6. Glad to know about the 7th Generation brand being good -- I've always wondered. I think I'll try their dishwasher detergent now that I know. Also a fan of Bar Keeper's friend and Dr. Bronner's which we dilute with water to refill a foaming hand soap container. My new discovery is Folex, which is a stain remover made for carpets, but that can be used on other fabrics. I recently bought it to tackle a ball point pen "accident" on my white slipcovered couch. I've never had any luck getting ink pen out of anything (even with the hairspray trick), but this stuff actually worked and I didn't even have to wash the slipcover. Just sprayed and blotted until the ink was gone. You can buy it Home Depot.

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    1. Camille, a trick my dad learned years ago about removing pen ink stains is milk. This story goes back to my childhood. Someone sat in the back of my dad's car with an ink pen that leaked onto the upholstered seat. It left a huge stain. He was at the store searching for some cleaning product when a nurse overheard him and recommended milk. She swore by it for getting pen stains out of her uniform (remember when nurses wore all white?). And it worked. After much dabbing and blotting, the ink stain was gone. I may have tried this trick once or twice since then, but I don't usually get ink on things so it's been a while.
      Claudia

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  7. I seem to get the urge to clean right after the holidays. As soon as New Years has passed and all my Christmas stuff is put away, I start decluttering and wiping down everything. Something about starting a new year out clean. Besides, I get bored in the winter. This way by time the weather is nice, I am finished and can think about flowers and vegetables! I use most of the same products that everyone has already mentioned, except I have never found a dishwasher detergent that I liked, so I hand-wash mostly with "Method" dish soap. I also am very fond of the microfiber cloths they are amazing at cleaning windows with just a little vinegar in water.

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  8. I love posts like these, Claudia. I use several of the same products you do, particularly Seventh Generation and Simple Green. I love Maas metal polishes, Cape Cod polish cloths in a can, and cannot live without Mr Clean Magic Erasers. The walls and trim of the rental house we are in were very scuffed. I went through many magic erasers rubbing them out and then rinsing and the marks are gone. I purchase them in bulk at Costco or Target. We also use white vinegar on wood floors. The grout in the shower here was mildewed,

    I used baking soda mixed with hydrogen peroxide, allowed it to sit for an hour or so and then scrubbed, worked beautifully. I also throw lemon slices or sections left over from dinner into skillets while the pan is still hot with warm water and they clean up much faster that way. I also rub lemon rinds on the stubborn spots. Always throw them in the disposal to freshen, Have been washing the windows here, using newspaper to cut through the dirt instead of paper towels. I love a clean house, especially in the spring!

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    1. You have some wonderful "green" cleaning tips, Cindy. Thanks for sharing them.
      Claudia

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  9. I'm always so intrigued by these types of posts! I've wondered about Bar Keepers Friend but have yet to try it! I need to go through our cleaning supplies and organize...

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