Once upon a time I used to have a spotless house. And even before that I had a spotless single-girl apartment too. I wasn’t necessarily a neat freak, but in hindsight I know it’s because I had more of that elusive essential for any bright and polished home – free time with no kids around.
Well I don’t have that. What I do have are 4-year-old twins: the kind who are active and use our house and just-mostly-barely know about picking up, wiping up, and putting away. We’re a busy family and when we have free time and some energy I’d rather do something fun, outdoors, educational… oh let’s be honest, just about anything but cleaning.
A few years ago I wanted to get back to simple and basic when it came to cleaning. I realized that I’d like to clean my home with products my kids and I could actually touch and be in the same room with. And finding cleaners that were also budget-friendly was a priority too.
So here’s what I’ve collected by trial and error as my go-to cleaning products. If I’m going to do something I don’t really want to do (clean) I want it to be fast and effective. These cleaners work for me:
1. Vinegar. I could just stop right here and let you get back to your coffee. Vinegar is the most amazing cleaner I’ve ever used. I know you might be like I was, resistant and thinking, “Vinegar is for salads.” Well that’s true but it’s for so much more. I use distilled white vinegar for the smelliest “accident” laundry and musty towels and they come out smelling fresh. I also use vinegar for grimy shower doors, moldy stuff, and glass. I use it mixed with Borax (see below) for cleaning my tile and shower floor. I heart vinegar.
2. Borax. There’s a bottle of bleach up high on a shelf in our house but for the most part I’ve replaced it with Borax powder. It’s very economical, it brightens laundry, and it also does an amazing job with cleaning things like shower doors, neglected grime, tile grout, and outdoor toys. The Borax mixed with vinegar I mentioned above has bought me a lot of time in between cleaning our master shower because the clean lasts much longer than other products I’ve used in the past.
3. Mrs. Meyer’s. I like a nice-smelling house but I find that most scented cleaners are just too much. When I found Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning products a few years ago, it was like a breeze went through the house. The products work great and the scents are just amazing. My favorites are the Lemon Verbena and the Lavender – used in the same bathroom the smell is a total mood-lifter. I also like the Basil hand soap. Most often I use the countertop spray and the all purpose cleaner. My twins tell me they like the smell too.
4. Air purifiers. This isn’t a product that you spray or wash with but I think the best thing I did for the air in our home was to get air purifiers for every room. They cut down on dust, make things smell fresher, and when I have them turned off or they need new filters I can tell a definite difference. We have a big one in the playroom that’s too noisy but works great. There’s also one in every bedroom in the house. I love them and I wouldn’t be without them.
So that’s my list. For bonus point #5 I’d add in getting help from you husband, partner, kids, or a maid service if you’re so lucky. If you just don’t have any of that regularly, these products would be where I’d turn.
Getting back to simple and basic was a good change in our house. With young twins it isn’t spotless and I still don’t love cleaning but it’s a little easier and that’s not a bad thing in a SAHM’s day, right?
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