Sunday, February 20, 2011 burns!

We just put our townhouse on the market (listing to be posted once we get photos up!).  I have many things to say about getting a house ready to show, but today I'm thinking about cleaners.

Now, I moved into my now-husband's house on a part-time basis about four years after he'd been as a bachelor.  And we'll just say that neither of us is avid housekeeper.  So, there was (is) plenty of cleaning to be done to get our townhouse into "show" condition.  From wiping smudged windows, to scuffed doors, to the floor under the stair railing.  And  "regular" cleaning needs to be done more frequently, as potential buyers could come it AT ANY MOMENT.

As I've been doing most of this cleaning (while Kevin does things like build bathrooms and switch our motion-sensitive light switches back to regular ones), I've really noticed that I've been having a reaction to using all the different cleaners.  I've gone green on most of the cleaners I use regularly, like laundry detergent, dish soap, and toilet bowl cleaner.  But we have all of these old chemical cleaners, so to use them and do a thorough cleaning job, I've been cleaning with them.  Here's a picture of all of the different cleaners I've used in the past week:

Do they look a little ominous?  The more I've used them (paticularly the Lysol, Windex, and Orange Glo), the more I've had a little bit of a burning nose and headache.  These all have ammonia in common, so it's possible that I have a sensitivity to that. The Kaboom works magically on our chronic soap-scum problem in the tub, but the smell of that kinda gets to me, too.  I think about breathing this stuff in when/if I get pregnant, and it terrifies me.  I think about leaving the cleaning to Kevin, and am not sure which terrifies me more. 

So, I've decided to absolutely phase these things out of my cleaning repertoire, focusing primarily on the main offenders mentioned above.  The Method is already made with natural ingredients, and is fine.  I already use the Clorox Cleanup very limitedly.  The Cerama Bryte works miracles on our ceramic cooktop, and hasn't bothered me, so it will probably stay unless someone has a better suggestion.  Same with the Goo Gone.  I'll be searching for replacements for the rest...slow by little.

My question at this point is not so much how to replace them.  I read about non-toxic alternatives for cleaning products for years, and have Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home (silly woman, since you've sold me your book with your DIY cleaning remedies, I'll never have to buy your overpriced cleaning products).  My question is how to get rid of the toxic products I have?  I don't want to dump them because of 1. Wasting the product.  2. The pollution from dumping a large amount at once.  Do I suck it up and use them?  Freecycle them?  


  1. I'd say if you really don't want them, freecyle them. That way you can keep using the products you prefer and know that these won't get dumped.

    I've switched to mostly natural cleaners at this point as well. Currently I have the Mrs. Meyer's all purpose cleaner (which is perhaps too strongly scented for me) for most stuff, and then Seventh Generation toilet bowl & tub and tile cleaners, which seem to work well. I do have some bleach wipes, which I use as a part of the cleaning the litter box routine, but I think that's the only non-natural cleaner I'm using right now. Oh, and detergent for handwashing clothes.

    Soap scum seems to be the toughie. I've found that the natural products work best when you clean regularly, rather than going a long time in between tub cleanings. Requires more elbow grease and more spray-and-wait, but I feel better about using that stuff than scrubbing bubbles, especially given how much coco likes to sit in the tub.

  2. If you're still a Baltimore County resident on April 3rd:

    Otherwise, google your county and "hazardous waste disposal." If you move to Baltimore City, you're out of luck. They're out of money for such luxuries. ;-)

  3. @Alison - the soap scum is unbelievable. There's just something about the way the shower hits the soap dish that makes it consistently thick, even if I clean every week. Also, for your litter box, I have something called Bac-Out Stain and Odor Eliminator that might work. Not sure if it would do the job, but it smells nice and lime-y.

    @Amy - I think we'll have "dual-countyship" for awhile, but I think I might go ahead and freecycle. At least it will keep someone else from buying more of the stuff...for now, anyway.


What do you think?