As I’m rushing around the house today, preparing for our long weekend ahead of travel & visiting with family, a few things ran across my mind that I thought others out there might find useful.

Real quick note about myself & the “green” way of life: I am not really into that sort of thing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t “do my part”:

- I recycle diligently (but only because it’s convenient to do so where I live)
– I use cloth grocery sacks while shopping (but I do find plenty of use for the plastic bags as well)
– I used cloth diapers the first 2 yrs of my son’s life & plan to do so with this next baby (but I strictly use disposables now that he’s still not potty trained & sorry, but poo at his age is naaaaaasty on a cloth diaper)
– I’ve even started using cloth baby wipes as hankies rather than Kleenex (but only because I had them on hand & it’s much cheaper!)

Here are a few things I’ve tried while attempting to “green up” my lifestyle, but which bombed for me personally:

- I went “No ‘Poo” for 3 days…didn’t you know that there’s a “movement” (no pun intended…ok, maybe a little pun) to not SHAMpoo your hair with regular shampoo products, but instead use common household items like vinegar & baking soda? Seriously, I read it somewhere, thought “what the heck?” & tried it. I couldn’t hold out longer than 3 days, even though some sites said it could take a week before the natural oils on your scalp would “even out” – it was disgusting, impractical, & near ridiculous, for me personally. But if you’re interested, here’s some reading to do about it! :) http://www.naturemoms.com/no-shampoo-alternative.htmlhttp://www.naturalfamilyonline.com/go/index.php/389/why-you-should-go-no-poo/, or you could just type in “no poo” in Google & be amazed at all the results….

- Making my own cleaning products with, again, baking soda, vinegar, cream of tarter, etc. Sorry, but I like things to LOOK clean, not just “seem” clean because I scrubbed them down with a fabricated paste that I can feel a residue from. And have you checked out the cost of cream of tarter?? Yikes!

Again, both of these items bombed for me for different reasons, but for both of them it was the impracticality of it all. It really didn’t matter how much I was supposedly saving when I had to keep making my own stuff over & over, keep things like spray bottles & squirt bottles in the shower, make a paste right before wetting my hair, etc. – just too much work!

I’m a bit of a clean freak – but only because I like the end result! And like I’ve mentioned before, I’ve tried “going green” with my cleaning products. So, throughout my years of cleaning all sizes of homes, I’ve narrowed my little cleaning tub to 5 products, 3 of which are my absolute favorites because they are COST EFFICIENT, EFFECTIVE (with very little elbow grease involved) & 2 out 3 are completely safe to leave around my child (not that I intentionally do, but, he’s around most of the time I’m cleaning!) I think 1 of them may be considered “green” but really, I just don’t care at this point in life. Again, efficiency & cost effectiveness weigh a lot more to me.

These are my 3 favorite things that help me keep things clean:

1.  Shaklee Basic H2: My mother-in-law gave me a small bottle with some of their cleaning product in it when I was first married. I had no idea what “magic” was in that bottle until several years later when I finally got around to doing something with it. I was so convinced that Scrubbing Bubbles was the answer to keeping a clean bathroom – hah! I now use this product on every part of my bathroom as well as my kitchen. I was skeptical at first, only because it has NO SCENT & you use VERY LITTLE of the actual product itself (it’s a liquid that you squirt once or twice into a spray bottle, then fill the rest with water). But I’ve been using this product now for over 6 months & I’m sold on it. I’m not even close to emptying half of my original bottle, so for $12.00 I’m easily getting over a years’ worth of use, not to mention it’s completely “green”. You can order directly from the Shaklee site or find a distributor in your area & have it brought directly to your door. There are a LOT of Shaklee products, but I’ve only used this as well as their Super Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, again another product I highly recommend because of their actual size, but you can also pick the same type of item up at any WalMart or Target store.

2.  Mr. Clean Magic Eraser: Yep, they really are magic & they really do get things clean! The first time I saw how great they were was when my dear mother took to our tile floors in a home we had bought to try & clean the dirty grout. I had already tried Comet, vinegar, baking soda, the works & nothing but a sore back & still-dirty grout was the result.  Since the product was LESS THAN $2.00, she thought she’d try it out. MAGIC. I’m not even kidding you – a bucket of water, a pair of rubber gloves & about a half-hour’s worth of work & my kitchen tile (it was a very large kitchen floor mind you!) looked practically brand new. Again, I was SOLD. In the year that we lived in that house, I only had to re-do the floor once & it took about 4 sponges to complete. So, for about $5.00 I got my grout clean. MUCH cheaper than hiring a professional to clean it or re-grout. Now I use the sponges on my kitchen tile counters as well as on the bathtub. I don’t even use any other product except this sponge to wipe down the sides & the bottom of the tub. Immediately removes any noticeable “ring” & general grime left from the week of baths. Quick, efficient, & cost effective!

3.  Comet: Like I said, not all my products are “green”. But I’m concerned with disinfection as well as cost effectiveness. And Shaklee products do not disinfect because, well, they are “green”. So, as great as it is to use on a lot of surfaces, I can’t tear myself away from using Comet in the toilet bowls & the kitchen sink. I like those things to be sparkling as well as germ-free – as much as possible anyways. And at 75 cents a can, nothing beats it. Yes, it has to stay up high while I’m cleaning. But other than that, it’s efficient & does the job WELL.

So, there you have it. Maybe you’ve learned something new. Maybe not. I’m one of those firm believers that you have to do what works for your family. If loading your cabinets down with every cleanser under the sun makes you feel cleaner & better, then hey, load up! But I’m convinced simpler is better.

Clean on!

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