Wednesday, July 17, 2013

All Natural Solutions from the All Natural Skeptic

I have said before how I am not much of one for the new "all natural" craze. It makes me feel like a bad Oregonian if truth be told. I don't buy organic (unless for some reason its cheaper) I live in an apartment so I don't recycle. I don't do cloth diapers.

I do prefer "green" toys or Melissa and Doug. I do use Organic shampoo and conditioner (curly haired people- USE IT! Organix brand- you will not be sorry.) I do hand-make a lot of things and shop second hand but sometimes- the time it takes isn't worth the stress for me.

And in my defense I have actually given "green" cleaning a try in the past. I followed a pinterest idea on how to easily, and greenly, deep clean a microwave. It was awful. Not only was my microwave NOT clean but it smelled of eggs for WEEKS. Awful.

When we moved into this new apartment I made a goal to be cleaner. Mostly because it is a MUCH nicer place, and also because we have a brand new baby coming any day and I wanted our home clean for her and all the visitors that we will be greeting these next three weeks.

I was MOST excited about one nice clean addition that our new apartment has. That's right. The coveted dishwasher. It was with great love that I went to Costco and bought my first in who knows how many years box of dishwasher detergent. I was so excited to spend TWO MINUTES loading my machine instead of an hour of hand drying hand washing. 

The dishes were not very clean. I was CRUSHED.

I talked to a lot of people in our apartment complex to discover that our apartment has EXTREMELY hard water and that the deposits I was seeing and ineffectively scraping off the bottom of my dishwasher were in all actuality hard water deposits. (This hard water has actually started to become an issue in my hair and in our clothes as well- I am currently searching for solutions.)

On to pinterest I went. I tried everything- store bought cleaners, home made cleaners- even the dreaded vinegar. Nothing worked!

Then I found this amazing link where I discovered that during the time that my husband and I have been without a dishwasher, there have been laws passed saying that there are no sulfides allowed in detergent anymore. I actually have NO idea what this means except for that sulfides are apparently what USED to battle hard water, and made my dishes come out unfilmed and unspotted.

I was desperate. My husband was suggesting we just hand wash again and I couldn't handle the prospect. So I bought the materials and I made this woman's amazing Green Dishwasher Detergent. (I will add here that the idea of throwing away my HUGE box of Cascade was just too much for me, I added a cup to her recipe. I figured it would stretch her recipe and help me not waste what I already had.)

Friends, I WISH I had taken a before picture of my dishes so you could understand how incredibly clean this stuff has left my dishes. And how it has also helped clean up the inside of my machine! (Apparently I have the salt to thank for that.)

Since that time I have been MUCH more open to the idea of hand making my cleaning supplies. Not all- not yet at least. I still love my Clorox toilet bowl cleaner. I still love my wet swiffer. I still love dryer sheets and caustic oven cleaner. I probably will NEVER be able to give up Bath and Body Works antibacterial soaps and hand cleaners.

But, for your knowledge, I have made a pinterest board called Pinterest WORKS! In which I copy all the cleaning tips, organizing tips, clothing patterns etc, that I find really work for me and my house. (I also have a board of Pinterest Recipes I Love- all of which have been tried and eaten with gusto.) Anything that I try that doesn't work? I just delete.

But, just in case here is the working list of beloved homemade and green cleaning by the Green/ Organic skeptic:

1. The Oh SO Amazing Hard Water Battler Homemade Dish Washer Detergent

2. Removing Old Stains. Like OLD OLD. This Detergent is AMAZING. (Sorry that its not homemade. AND its spendy- but it WORKS like a charm.)

3. washing and cleaning old pillows- I did this today because I wanted to clean my Boppy before baby came and ended up washing every pillow in the house- I DID take before and afters of this for your viewing pleasure. AMAZING. (Note- her recipe calls for bleach which I didn't have so I used peroxide instead and still worked great.)
 photo IMG_3153-001_zps06759c1a.jpg photo IMG_3155_zps8152c675.jpg

4. Sparkly Bathroom- seems weird but it TOTALLY works. (Note: I find I have to use USED dryer sheets- apparently my dryer sheets are potent cuz if I use bran new ones they leave a residue.)

5. Cleaning a Microwave WITHOUT vinegar. (yay!) Apparently you can replace lemon with Vanilla extract to make your house smell like vanilla in the fall. I WILL be giving that a try.)

6. Cleaning Stove Rings- WORKS LIKE A CHARM and its very green.

7. I DO have to apologize for this one being caustic and smelly- but if you are hard on your stove like I am you NEED this to Clean Your Burners/ Drip Pans. I have never had anything work more effectively.

8. I did mention earlier that I replaced Bleach with Hydrogen Peroxide in a cleaner I made- can I say I have basically replaced Bleach totally with Hydrogen Peroxide? And that I use it A LOT as a disinfectant for quick cleans of things like shower curtains and mold. Here is a list of GREAT hydrogen peroxide uses- I have not tried them all but I LOVE Hydrogen Peroxide for almost anything now.

If you have anything to add- any tips for combating hard water especially- let me know so I can try them out!!


  1. I've been so discouraged with our dishes too! I'm so excited to try this out!

  2. Just started following you on Pinterest so I can check out all these awesome ideas! Thanks