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Q & A – Non-Toxic Cleaning

February 18th, 2012

I get a ton of questions about a wide variety of topics, instead of answering the same questions over and over again via e-mail, I thought adding a Q & A section to the blog would benefit everyone and save me a bit of time (there’s also a Q & A section at Eat Outside the Blog for your food/cooking related questions).

This winter I’ve been getting a lot of questions about non-toxic cleaning, it seems everyone is starting to think about switching to healthier, safer, and cheaper alternatives. I’ve been cleaning with a few simple products like baking soda, vinegar, peroxide and castile soap for years and have developed a few methods and a few recipes that some of you might find handy.

Before I get too far into writing all the posts for this series I figured I’d open the floor to you, that way I can make sure I focus on the areas that you’re searching for answers in. Any questions that aren’t answered directly through the posts in the series, I’ll answer in a separate Q & A post at the end.

What questions do you have about non-toxic cleaning? DIY cleaning products?

24 Comments to “Q & A – Non-Toxic Cleaning”
  1. tj on February 18, 2012 at 7:04 am

    …Good Morning! Great idea! :o) Okay, what do you use to clean your bathrooms? Toilets?

    …And I’ve got a beauty related question for you. What do you use for body and/or face lotion? I’m looking for a healthier alternative than Jergens or Vaseline Body Lotion and was wondering if there is the same for face lotion.

    …Also, one more. Is “Eat Outside The Bag” your new blog? I saw that yesterday on FB and didn’t know if it belongs to you or if you’re a guest poster there. I’m missing out on stuff over here, makes me wonder just where am I some days…*giggle* :o)

    …Enjoy your weekend!

    …Blessings :o)

    Reply to tj's comment

    • tj on February 18, 2012 at 7:08 am

      …Oh, and if I may, I have a suggestion. You need a “Pin It” button with your posts. Get on that Mr. Chiots, ‘kay? *nudge* ;o)

      …Thank you.

      Reply to tj's comment

      • Susy on February 18, 2012 at 8:17 am

        Eat Outside the Blog is my new blog (for all food related content).

        I’ve got Mr Chiots working on a pin-it button with the blog redesign that’s in the works – Funny how your own work always yes the back burner to the paying clients, perhaps I should consider paying him :)

        to Susy's comment

      • Stone Soup on February 18, 2012 at 10:54 am

        I’ve been pinning manually! Can’t help but share my favorite blog and blogger!

        to Stone Soup's comment

  2. Andrea Duke on February 18, 2012 at 8:01 am

    I would love to know your favorite unscented laundry soap ‘recipe’ that you use.


    Reply to Andrea Duke's comment

  3. Kaytee on February 18, 2012 at 8:19 am

    What do you use for windows?

    Reply to Kaytee's comment

  4. Fawn on February 18, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Hey Susy,

    I make my own house cleaning supplies with backing soda, vinegar, borax, and lemon juice. I’m interested in hearing about your varieties as well but I’ve always wondered what exactly in the ingredient cleans or disinfects? I love my homemade products but I would like to understand the necessary components to a good cleaner. I hope that makes sense! ;)

    Reply to Fawn's comment

  5. Victoria on February 18, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I think that disinfecting with non-toxic chemicals would be a great topic to cover. Cleaning & caring for wood floors & surfaces is a good one too.

    Reply to Victoria's comment

    • Susy on February 18, 2012 at 9:40 am

      The floors here at Chiot’s Run are all wood, so I do know a little something about cleaning them. I have developed a cleaner that works perfectly for our floors. I’ll definitely be sharing that.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Diana on February 18, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Favorite way for tackling dust on surfaces? Any nontoxic drain cleaners? Thanks! Can’t wait to read the series!

    Reply to Diana's comment

    • Susy on February 18, 2012 at 11:21 am

      I do have a GREAT non toxic drain cleaner that I’ve discovered!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. daisy on February 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I’ve been making my own cleaning stuff for years due to Lil’ Guy’s allergies.
    I’ve recently begun adding to our self-sufficiency by making laundry and dishwasher detergent.

    Can’t wait to see your recipes!

    Reply to daisy's comment

  8. Whit on February 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    We’ve been doing similar cleaning techniques since my daughter was born 8 years ago. Haven’t found anything that will really tackle the mold that developes in the grout or the orange algae-ish stuff that developes around the drains and in the rim of the toilet bowl. Maybe you have an idea for that?

    Great idea for this series!

    Reply to Whit's comment

  9. Brenda on February 18, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Hi, I have cleaned with baking soda before but found I was left with a cloudy film over the surface not the glistening shine everyone talks about, what did I do wrong???

    Reply to Brenda's comment

  10. Sincerely, Emily on February 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    There are so many good suggestions already in the comments. One thing I am struggling with is making something to treat stains and spots on clothes before I launder them. I see recipes with hydrogen peroxide and haven’t figured out if that is an ok thing to use (gray water, toxic, etc) Most stains I can get out. I struggle with grease and oil on my husbands work clothes at times.

    someone already mentioned drain cleaner – the vinegar/baking soda just doesn’t cut it sometime.

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

    • Susy on February 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm

      Don’t worry about using peroxide as it’s a great thing to use (in fact there are some people that drink it daily – a very diluted dose of food grade peroxide – not the stuff from the store). I will be sharing my recipe for homemade bleach and I have a great stain fighter that works fabulously!

      As for drain cleaner, your right – the vinegar baking soda doesn’t always work – but I have found a great all-natural non-toxic product that does. Guess I’ll be doing a special post on keeping those drains flowing!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. Lucy G on February 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm


    We have been cleaning with mostly vinegar, baking soda, castile soap, and spraying alchol over surfaces (bathrooms) when there are a lot of people over and during cold and flu season. What we need is a way to make dish washing soap (not for dish washers).

    Reply to Lucy G's comment

  12. KSP on February 19, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I’ve been using non-toxic cleaners for years (but I’m always interesting in comparing with others) and for the past year I’ve tried to find ways to make my own scrubbers, dishtowels etc. I’ve definitely tried my best to get rid of paper towels first but also store-bought sponges. While I’ve found a great alternative for dishes (I now knit my own cotton dishtowels), I’m still hesitant when it comes to the bathroom. Any advice? Thanks :)

    KSP, from Corsica

    Reply to KSP's comment

  13. tonia on February 19, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    What a great addition to your blog. Do you have any natural substitutes for vim (to scub clean the grimmy bathroom counters) and toilet bowl cleaner? Thanks.

    Reply to tonia's comment

  14. kirsten on February 20, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I second the toilet/bathroom request – I grew up learning that bleach is best for killing those nasties, and would love a less harsh way, esp with the Gummy Bear arriving in June.

    Additionally, would love a laundry soap for HE machines – the LG is wonderful on water and power usage, but MY OH MY is the detergent expensive!

    Reply to kirsten's comment

  15. Mark on February 21, 2012 at 4:05 am

    Hi Susy,

    So glad I found your blog. Lots of great information here! (going to check out your bees/beekeeping posts after this)

    Reese and I were just talking about non-toxic cleaners this morning when we were cleaning the house, sneezing (and gagging) from all the chemicals. Can’t wait to read the series of posts coming up.

    We did see a story a few months back about “Activeion” – a spray bottle that ionizes tap water to clean just as well as any household cleaner. If it works as well as they say, it seems like it will eventually replace all chemical and natural cleaners. Hope to hear if anyone has tried it yet?


    Reply to Mark's comment

  16. Caroline on February 21, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I would love to learn how to make effective, nontoxic dishwasher detergent!

    Reply to Caroline's comment

  17. Donna B. on February 21, 2012 at 11:23 am

    When the questions are posted, it would be neat to see them all displayed as separate areas of the house! So series one of cleaners could be the Bathroom! And the various cleaning agents used within… I always find myself using a different type of cleaner when I’m in the bathroom [something harsher] versus the kitchen [something more fragrant].
    I want to delve more into the world of pure cleaners, I have used vinegar for my countertops, currently I use Ms. Meyer’s Clean Day – it has natural products within and it’s concentrated! So I get more out of each bottle~

    Reply to Donna B.'s comment

  18. connie on March 5, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Do you have a recipe for oven cleaner?

    Reply to connie's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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