My Natural & Minimalist Cleaning Routine
When tidy is impossible (you know, because of life), I still aim for making sure everything is clean with my minimalist cleaning routine. These days, I take an odd thrill in making my own cleaning products and having a neat “under the sink” situation. Yes, I know this is not everyone’s passion. However, as it is mine, I have recommendations if you want to swap to a lower waste or more natural cleaning routine (or to just save that $$$). As an added plus, nothing I use makes it feel like your lungs are catching on fire when you breath in (mhmm, bleach…).
General Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tips
We don’t use paper towels at home. Rather, I have a basket of kitchen towels that sits next to the kitchen island. I bought two bins (with lids) kept under the sink to store dirty towels in. Just wash them all in hot water in the washing machine and they are ready to clean again.We buy products in refillable/ recyclable containers to cut down on waste.For my Swiffer, I attach wash cloths to it for mopping instead of using the disposable cleaning pads. My hands are a bit princess like, so I use compostable gloves when I clean to keep them happy.
Refillable all purpose cleaner from The Good Fill or rubbing alcohol
Baking soda (I buy a large bag at Costco from Arm & Hammer (show above). They have a free bag recycling program through Terracycle, so it is waste-free and cheap!)
White Vinegar (I get the giant container to reduce packaging)
Liquid Castile Soap (I get this in bulk, but its readily available in stores and on Amazon)
Essential Oils (whatever scent you like)
“If You Care” brand compostable gloves
Washable kitchen cloths
*None of these are affiliate links- just items I use all the time.
How I Clean
I use a microfiber cloth moistened with plain vinegar to first clean the appliance. Then, I use a little oil (whatever kind I have lying around) on the cloth to polish everything up til sparkly.
Granite Countertops + All Purpose Cleaning
It’s important to not use vinegar on granite. I either make my own granite-friendly cleaner or use this refillable one from The Good Fill.
For my DIY granite cleaner, I use this mix adapted from One Good Thing By Jillie:
1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol
1 tsp Castille Soap
2.5 cups water
10 drops essential oil of your choice
Just combine these ingredients in a spray bottle and use as you need!
Mirrors and Windows + Disinfecting Spray
Put 1 part white vinegar to 1 part water bottle in a spray bottle. Then use a microfiber cloth to clean mirrors and windows with the mix. I also use this as an all-purpose cleaner for any areas that need a little germ killing power, like the bathroom.
(Some wood finishes shouldn’t have vinegar used on them, so double-check before using this.)
I have a spray bottle filled with:
4 cups water
2/3 cups white vinegar
10-15 drops essential oil
I lightly spray this cleaner over the floor and clean with my Swiffer wrapped in a wash cloth. Throw the wash cloth in the laundry with the kitchen towels and its good to use again!
Bath Tub + Kitchen Sink
When you need extra elbow grease to get through soap build-up or grime, I sprinkle baking soda over the surface. Add a bit of water and go at it with a walnut scrubber sponge. This should help get your surfaces back to their prime.
That’s it! Sweet and simple.
With a background in microbiology, I have seen first hand terribly gross germ cultures and the effect different products have on them. Therefore, I turn to vinegar for germ killing when needed based on its studied germ killing strength. If, however, you are immunocompromised or dealing with young kiddos, please follow your health care provider’s recommendation for sanitizing.