My Favorite Cleaning Agents


Over the years, I have found my favorite cleaning agents that are either a lot less toxic, less expensive and/or very effective for cleaning. I like to continue to try new things to save money and make cleaning a lot easier. Here are some of the ideas that I have found that may help you, too:

[list margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”0″ icon_bg_color=”#” icon_bg_hover=”#” square_bg_radius=”0″ icon_size=”16″ icon=”fa-icon-check-square-o” icon_color=”#2a866d” icon_color_hover=”#”]Dishwashing Liquid/Detergent,Hard Water Removal,Cleaning Bathrooms,Cleaning Windows,Cleaning Blinds,Cleaning off Black Scuff Marks,Cleaning off Rust Stains,Cleaning Floors,Cleaning Carpets and Dusting,Making Wood look like new,General Cleaning Solution,Cleaning Light Fixtures,Cleaning your Dryer Lint Catcher,Cleaning your Drains,Fresh Smelling Disposal,Cleaning your Oven,Softening and Taking Odors out of your clothes in your laundry,Removing Ink Pen Stains,Pre-spotting your Laundry,Stubborn Stains that won’t come out of Colorfast Clothing in your Laundry,Non-Toxic Hand Dishwashing Liquid,Cheap and Safe Hand Soap,Cheap and Safe Shampoo/Conditioner and Body Wash,Cleaning your Kitchen Sink/Cutting Boards and Kitchen Rags,Cleaning off gummy substances[/list]


Dishwashing Liquid/Detergent

I don’t care to use the standard dishwashing detergents since I find that they are totally toxic and I don’t want my family to have those chemicals on the dishes and utensils that they use for consuming food. Instead, I fill up the detergent containers with White Vinegar (found cheap at WinCo) and I pour about 1 tsp of bleach over the silverware.

The bleach kills the germs and the vinegar takes away odors and gets your dishes squeaky clean.

Note: The first few times you run the dishwasher with vinegar/bleach, you should run it empty (without dishes) since vinegar will clean out all of the hard water out of the dishwasher and you don’t want it to coat your dishes with hard water deposit stains.

Hard Water Removal

As stated above White Vinegar is an awesome hard water deposit remover when used straight without diluting it. So I use in in bathtubs, in shower stalls, on water nozzles, on the kitchen sink and anywhere you may have problems with hard water deposits. I just place it in a spray bottle and spray away. Then scrub with a green/blue plastic scrubber pad.

Cleaning Bathrooms

When I clean a bathroom, I not only use vinegar for the hard water deposits, but also for cleaning surfaces. But the best thing for surfaces like tubs and showers that I have found is to use Soft Scrub with bleach. I know it is a chemical and you should use rubber gloves and do not mix it with vinegar since it can make toxic fumes. But Soft scrub will clean your surfaces and remove stubborn stains.

For cleaning bathroom surfaces, I keep a green/blue plastic scrubber pad (no sponge) just for bathroom use. I, also, have a rag for wiping the surface dry after scrubbing it with soft scrub.

For windows and mirrors, I either use rubbing alcohol or Windex. They both work great!

For the toilet, I always wipe down all surfaces with Windex that has ammonia in it to kill all germs. I just spray down the toilet and use toilet paper to wipe it clean and dry. Then throw the toilet paper in the bathroom trash to be discarded.

The bathroom trash can I always line with a plastic grocery bag that can be tied up with the handles and thrown away after it is full.

Cleaning Windows

When I clean windows, I always clean the window tracks and sills first with Softscrub with Bleach using a green/blue scrub pad, an old tooth brush and a rag that is dipped in a bucket of white vinegar water that is made with about 1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon of water.

I clean the windows with Windex or rubbing alcohol.

Cleaning Blinds

I first vacuum them with the dusting attachment. Then I clean them with a rag dipped in white vinegar water.

Cleaning off Black Scuff Marks

Soft Scrub with bleach works great using a moist rag to remove all black scuff marks

Cleaning off Rust Stains

Rust stains can get on your kitchen sinks, your clothes, and practically anywhere. Just take Whink Rust Stain Remover, bought at WalMart, and squirt it where you need to remove the rust. You will see the stain dissolve before your eyes. If it is a thick layer of rust, you may need to apply it more than once and lightly scrub it with a scrub brush or old toothbrush.

Cleaning Floors

Don’t you just hate the feeling of sticky or grimy floors. Some cleaners can leave your floors feeling this way right after you clean them, but not White Vinegar Water. Just pour about 1 C water in to 1 gallon of water in a bucket and mop with your favorite mop.

For my mop, I have used something as simple as a wrung out old towels and then stand on it and use my bare feet to mop the floor using one foot and then the other. But, currently, I am using a mop that you place a towel-like cover over the plastic end that is about 1 foot by about 4 inch wide. It has a long handle that attaches to it. I really like using this mop. I like the fact that I can throw it in the laundry and bleach it when I am done mopping.

Cleaning Carpets and Dusting

The vacuum I like to use is pretty pricey, but in my opinion, no other vacuum really pulls dirt out of a carpet like it. Once other vacuums filters are coated, which takes just a few seconds, those vacuums just spread dirt around. Have you ever tried to vacuum up a piece of string and you find that you finally just pick it up and throw it away. That is because the vacuum no longer has airflow to move that string. Well, this does not happen with my vacuum. My vacuum has constant airflow since it does not have a filter that can be coated. My vacuum pulls dirt through water which traps all debris. You don’t have any toxic dust flying around while you vacuum.

What vacuum to I own? A Rainbow vacuum. I use it to vacuum everything. With the standard vacuum you could vacuum your home for a month and your vacuum bag would not be full, but with a Rainbow, you get sooo much gunk out of your carpets each time you vacuum that you could dump the receptacle 2 to 4 times with lots of stuff you never even knew was in the carpet. It, also, removes sand out of your carpet. Sand and dirt wear out your carpet prematurely. Your carpet and furniture will last a whole lot longer when you use a rainbow.

The carpet attachment goes from carpets to floors without your having to make any adjustments. It is great how simple it is to use this machine.

I, also, like to use the rainbow for shampooing my carpets. The shampooing attachment not only soaks and suctions up the water, but it rinses the soap from your carpets, as well. It cleans better than any professional shampooing job I have ever had in the past. In fact, my daughter thought that she was going to have to replace her carpets after renting one of her rooms out. Instead, I brought over my Rainbow and when we were done vacuuming and shampooing her carpets, they looked like new. She was sooo pleased.

Eventually, I want to get the mopping attachment that mops and sucks out the water as you go. This will be great for when we no longer have carpets and when we go to strictly hardwood floors.

Making Wood look like new

After time, wood cabinets and other wood furniture can look dry and dingy. To make your wood look like new, again, use a rag and place some Orange Glo for wood furniture 2-in-1 Clean and Polish on it. Wipe down your wood work and your wood will have that look like new.

General Cleaning Solution

If in doubt, use vinegar water. It is a great odor and grime cleaner.

Cleaning Light Fixtures

Every time a light bulb burns out, at my house, I take care of two chores at once. I exchange the light bulb and clean the light fixture with vinegar water and an old toothbrush. This way all light fixtures get cleaned on a regular basis.

Note: I used to clean light fixtures with just a rag, but the factories that make the light fixtures don’t smooth out the inside of the fixtures well, and I have cut my fingers and have had glass slivers go into my fingers, so now I always use an old toothbrush.

Cleaning your Dryer Lint Catcher

Did you realize that several house-fires are caused each year by dryer vents catching on fire from lint left below your dryer lint catcher? It is difficult to get the dryer lint out from the bottom of your dryer lint holder. The solution is to get a vacuum attachment that looks like a long straw to suction out all of that dryer lint. It is always best to be cautious.

Cleaning your Drains

I have tried Alka Seltzer, which works okay, but nothing works better than Drano. That chemical is amazing. I like the powdered product.

Fresh Smelling Disposal

It is awful to have a rank smell in your kitchen sink. You can remedy that quickly by placing some citrus rinds down your disposal and it will replace that foul odor with a fresh clean scent.

I even like to freeze my lemon, lime and orange peels not only for a clean smelling disposal but for grating and adding to recipes.

Cleaning your Oven

Currently, I just let the oven clean itself when I know that we will be out of town for a few days. The smells from self-cleaning ovens can be quite strong.

Softening and Taking Odors out of your clothes in your laundry

Did you know that veterinarians use white vinegar to clean the smell of animal odors from their clinics? Well, it works for human odors, too. You can just place the vinegar in the softener dispenser of your laundry washer to freshen and soften your load of clothes. You can even pour white vinegar directly on stubborn odors or soak an article of clothing in a bucket of vinegar water to remove the odors.

Removing Ink Pen Stains

Having ink pens in your pockets or even just using pens can get ink onto your clothing, your counter-tops or basically most anywhere. Ink comes out easily with hairspray. Just spray the hair spray on the clothing and put through the washer. Or just spray the counter-top and wipe with a wet rag and watch the ink stain vanish.

Pre-spotting your Laundry

Do you know what paramedics use to get blood out of clothing? Hydrogen Peroxide. I just put a spray nozzle into the top of a hydrogen peroxide bottle and spray all of my stains. It gets out practically everything, except ink and rust, but those solutions are listed above.

Stubborn Stains that won’t come out of Colorfast Clothing in your Laundry

If hairspray, rust remover and hydrogen peroxide won’t get it out, I just use a Q-Tip to put a drop of bleach on the stubborn stain on colorfast fabrics. Test a hidden part of the garment to make sure that it is colorfast before you apply bleach to it. You don’t want a bleach stain on your clothing.

Sometimes there is no way to get out the stain of non-colorfast fabrics other than bleaching them. In this case, you will want to bleach the entire garment and then dye it in your washer with Ritz Dye.

Non-Toxic Hand Dishwashing Liquid

I really like the smell and the non-toxic Naturally Pear Ultra Dishmate made by Earth Friendly Products (Buy this at It is great for doing dishes by hand and it smells wonderful.

Cheap and Safe Hand Soap

Bed, Bath & Beyond carries a Foaming Soap Dispenser that you just put a small amount of soap in the bottom up to the soap fill line, then you fill the rest of the dispenser up with water to the water fill line. Then you screw on the soap pump lid and shake it up.

When you are ready to use the soap, you just press down on the soap pump and foamy soap will come out into your hand. This saves a lot of money on purchasing hand soaps.

I like to place Trader Joe’s Body Wash into the dispenser. They have a minty or a citrus scent that smells great and foams up nicely.

Cheap and Safe Shampoo, Conditioner and Body Wash

Using the typical body products can put toxic chemicals on your skin. If it would only stay on the outside of your skin, it may not be quite so detrimental, but some of the chemicals in these products have such a small molecular structure that they actually penetrate the skin and go into your body and cause kidney and liver damage. That is why it is sooo important to use chemically safe products such as the ones that they sell at Trader Joe’s. They work well, they are cheap (Only $2 to $4) and they smell great!

Cleaning your Kitchen Sink, Cutting Boards and Kitchen Rags

The most germ-ridden place in most households is the kitchen sink. It is important to keep it cleaned on a regular basis.

To get of hard-water deposits, you will want to use straight white vinegar, a toothbrush and a plastic scrubber pad. Then after rinsing off the vinegar, you will want to use bleach and scrub it down.

It is also important to soak down your cutting boards and kitchen rags with bleach. It will not only sanitize them, but it will take the stains out of them.

Cleaning off gummy substances

I used to use razor blades to get off gummy substances (like from stickers or gum) off of surfaces. Not anymore. It takes too long and it can scratch certain surfaces. I now use WD-40. It is much easier. You just spray it on. Let it set for a moment and wash it off with a rag and soapy water. Voila!


Cleaning can be a frustrating chore if you do not have the right tools. It, also, can be quite toxic. I hope these ideas will make your cleaning experience a lot more pleasurable. As I come across new ideas, I will add them to this post for you to enjoy, too.

Please feel free to tell us about your cleaning agents, and what you have found that helps.

About Julie

A loan officer of 15 years, a gardener of 40 years, raised on a 1200 acre ranch raising 300 head of sheep. Creative and intuitive, she envisions beauty and makes it a reality whether with sewing, cooking, knitting on her knitting machine, in her home or in the garden. She is blessed to live with her best friend as her husband and she has always felt as one with God, nature and with animals and would turn to the mountains for strength and now lives her life, totally content in the Rockies at 8700 elevation.


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