The “must haves” in your cleaning kit (Me and Martha Series)

To see all of my Me and Martha posts, click here.

As you walk down the aisles of your grocery store, you may have a hard time imagining that people once cared for their floors, windows, and clothes without the aid of commercial products.  They made soap from tallow and ashes, and cleaners from lemon juice, borax, vinegar, and baking soda.  Before the advent of the myriad products we take for granted today, a homemaker had to have a basic understanding of the chemistry of cleaning in order to keep a tidy house.  She would have been familiar with the bleaching properties of lemon juice, the disinfecting power of vinegar, and the grease-cutting abilities of baking soda.  She would have known that a tablecloth stained with blueberries would require very different treatment that one marred by gravy.  Homekeeping generations ago was as much a science as an art.  pg. 12 of Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook

I do love that there is a science involved in cleaning.  If you’ve ever used the wrong cleaning product on something, you probably know first hand what I’m talking about.  One time my brother and I tried to clean our small {slimy} outside blow up pool in the house… where there is carpet… and we used bleach.  We learned about 10 minutes in that when you get BLEACH on your 80s era brown carpet, it turns it a ghastly yellow.  Man.. we got in so much trouble.  I still get a little nervous around bleach to this day.  I also remember way back when I was in probably middle school.  We had a science lesson on ph levels and household cleaners.  Our teacher explained the dangers of mixing bleach cleaners and ammonia and how they could kill you.  I was like what?!  I was well into the cleaning my own bathroom and other chores stage so I went home and scoured the cleaners we had and read all the labels to make sure I wasn’t going to die or that I hadn’t suffered some sort of serious brain damage.  When my dad came home I told him about this startling information and he was like “yeah, you never mix those.”  ha!  I don’t know how he knew that, he acted like it was common knowledge – but I have been paranoid ever since about mixing cleaners.  Sometimes when I’m knee deep in the tub, scrubbing soap scum amidst the smell of comet, I swear I detect some deadly fumes and I get out of there quick.  Or maybe I get out cause I hate cleaning the tub…same difference.

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Martha says using healthier choices in cleaning products is the way to go.  Less toxic cleaners can often do just as great a job as the commercial ones we flock to the store to buy.  She mentioned that we all have been conditioned to believe that a house isn’t truly clean unless is smells like chemicals.  (I think she was talking to me because I KNOW the bathroom is clean when it smells like soft scrub…)  In reality, nothing indicates a clean house more than the complete absence of odor.  Start with natural products first, if you have a resistant stain or clog, etc.  then move to a stronger commercial cleaner.  Martha suggests having a universal cleaning kit that can easily be moved from room to room.  These few products should be adequate for all your cleaning and are much healthier options than most out there.

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The above list is from Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook – page 19.  There is SO much good info on cleaning products, cleaning staples and healthy (less chemical/safer) choices.  I already had a little plastic basket with a handle that I stored my bathroom cleaners in.  Not gonna lie though, it had bleach bathroom spray, soft scrub, windex, Kaboom, & Clorox wipes in it.  And trust me, the fumes when I clean the bathroom are strong.  I’ll be interested to see if these more “natural” cleaners work as well.  So here is my kit:

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I bought a cheap spray bottle and put the vinegar/water solution in it.  I started using white vinegar a couple of years ago for some cleaning (mostly hard water spots) and it DOES work well.  I also picked up some Bon Ami.  I’ve never used it, but it is supposed to be less abrasive and no odor.  I grabbed 2 bristle brushes, a bottle of ivory dish soap (I didn’t even know ivory made dish soap) and a pair of rubber gloves.  Target sells the whole line of Meyer’s natural cleaners so I grabbed a small bottle of that (it has basil in it and smells so good!).  I didn’t see white lint-free clothes but found these natural microfiber clothes that I think are going to be even better.  They are target brand and you can use them dry or by dampening them with a bit of water or even a light all purpose cleaner on a few of them.  They each have a purpose.

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There ya have it, my universal cleaning kit!  I have several posts coming up on daily, weekly, monthly cleaning so I’ll let ya know how this works out.

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