I cannot honestly say that I do anything around my house for the sake of the environment. For me, what it comes down to is ease of use and the bottom line - money. We use energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs and such to save money on our electricity bill, for example.
Well, I was recently reading a blog that suggested using natural cleaning products. I have always wanted to try these cleaning solutions, but I always forget until I'm tossing my Clorox wipe. I just want to say for the record at this point that I am a proud bleach user. I also use products such as Soft Scrub, Mr. Clean, Pledge, and Windex.
So the other day when I was reaching for my caddy of cleaners, I remembered the post and grabbed my vinegar, salt, and baking soda instead. I sprinkled my (filthy, stained) counters with baking soda and salt, grabbed a damp rag, and poured a little vinegar right out of the bottle onto the counter. It bubbled and fizzed just like a science fair volcano. I wiped the counters off with the rag, and they were sparkling clean. I used very little elbow grease (it was nothing compared to the usual scrubbing I have to do with a coarse sponge and soft scrub to remove the stains), and the counters were just as clean as they normally would be after a rigorous scrubbing. I was pleased and thought it was definitely an option I'd use should I remember next time. I put everything away before realizing I had forgotten to scrub one section of the counter. I grabbed a handy Clorox wipe to do the job. After scrubbing a couple of trouble spots for a few minutes I realized I was having to do way more work than with the salt, baking soda, and vinegar solution. After I had gotten the counter as clean as I could, I ended up getting everything back out and using my new found cleaning regimen which made the countertop sparkle. I should have just done that in the first place. I think the most notable difference was in my hands afterwards. They were soft and smooth, not cracking and burning from dryness! I am very sensitive to chemicals, so I have to make sure to have heavy ventilation and wash meticulously after I use them to clean. Then I have to apply layers and layers of Eucerin to combat the peeling skin. This was enough to convert me!
Yesterday my smooth-top stove was filthy. I have found nothing to clean it effectively. Things get burned on and not even a razor blade can get them off. I usually use dish soap and my dish scrubber. Then I use a damp rag to remove the soap and polish it. I did this as usual, but it wasn't getting clean. So after cleaning it thoroughly, I grabbed my new cleaning combo. And it worked!
I am absolutely not going to give up my Clorox wipes for quick clean-ups, but this will definitely be my mode of operation for deep cleanings from now on.