What to look for in your cleaning products. Plus a giveaway!

Posted on August 19th, 2014

If you’ve been following the My Simple Home series, you’ll know I’m really rather committed to keeping my home ecologically and ergonomically minimal and sustainable. I’ve shared on toxic hazards you should avoid and how to detox your kitchen. Oh, and how to buy a sustainable couch. Which I did finally do!

Banksy image

Banksy image

Today, I’ll touch on a few tips for cleaning up your cleaning products… for toxicity and environmental purposes. Plus, the kind folk at ENJO (a planet-friendly cleaning product company that makes microfibre products requiring only water) are kicking in to give away

an ENJO Essential Pack of cleaning gloves, cloths, paste, detergents and floor cleaners – everything you need to clean your floors, bathroom and living areas – valued at $950 

Keen? See the details below.

And just so you know, this is a sponsored post, but as always views are all my own. You’ll find my very particular position on sponsored posts and advertising here and further thoughts below.*

How to clean up your cleaning habits

1. Check for eco labels by independent accreditors.  Try  programs like Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA), Planet Ark, Australian Certified Organics and National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice. You can read more at Green Lifestyle Mag.

2. Read your labels. Detergents have two major ingredient categories: “builders” to reduce water hardness and “surfactants” to lower the surface tension of water.

  • Avoid the bad “builders”, namely any kind of phosphates, which contribute to the deoxygenation of marine environments, and EDTA, (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), which can bind to heavy metals and cause damage to both people and aquatic animals.
  • Instead, go for products that use safe builders such as sodium citrate or sodium bicarbonate.
  • Avoid these “surfactants”: butyl or 2-butoxyethanol, which are toxic when inhaled, and oxalates, which can interfere with hormonal regulation above certain concentrations.
  • Instead, choose surfactants like alkyl polyglycoside, isopropanol and glycerol.

Here’s more on how to know if your green cleaner is really eco-friendly.

3. Use cleaning cloths that go straight in the wash. I’m not a fan of wastage. Disposal Chux wipes drive me mental. And don’t get me started on paper towels! I’ve found this clever all-purpose cloth that does the day-to-day work, and this Kitchen Glove designed with two different sides to remove grease, grime and food residue from your rangehood, bench-tops, splash back area, tiles, stove top, inside your oven and microwave. Once you’ve finished, just pop in the wash. I’ve come across ENJO a few times in my quest for toxin-free cleaning products. Founder and CEO Barb had a son who was struggling with terrible asthma and she realised her home cleaning products and their chemicals were a big cause of his health issues. She used her life’s savings to bring Enjo products to Australia twenty years ago.

4. Add natural, organic essential oils to your cleaning concoctions for different scents. Some oils like lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and tea tree oils have antibacterial, antifungal, or insect-repelling properties. (If you’re pregnant – stick with eucalyptus, lemongrass and tea tree oils).

5. Ditch disposable, chemical-laden makeup wipes. They’re bad news for a host of reasons. Try this Daily Face Off for gentle cleansing and to remove make-up and mascara, with just water!

6. Use what’s in your pantry.

  • Baking soda works as a gentle scouring powder and eliminates odours.
  • White vinegar is an antifungal that also kills germs and bacteria.
  • Lemon juice is a pleasant-smelling non-toxic bleach, grease cutter and stain remover.
  • Olive oil makes a wonderful natural furniture polish.

7. Use a dust-minimising floor cleaner. This floor cleaner reduces dust and airborne pollution, which is ideal for people who suffer from asthma and allergies. The fibres use minimal water, which means floors dry quicker and there’s no need for a bucket of chemical slosh.

8. Choose air fresheners that don’t, um, pollute the air. Most air freshening products on the market are about 2/3 aerosol propellant and typically include formaldehyde, a known carcinogen linked to allergic reaction. Many contain chemicals that trigger asthma. To avoid these intoxicating air fresheners, look out for pump-spray bottles that contain natural oils rather than synthetic fragrances.

9. Find a good calcium dissolver. This one is a natural bleach, so it’s non-toxic. You can use it in the bathroom, laundry and toilet to remove tough calcium, rust and mould.

10. Avoid using sodium hydroxide or caustic soda in drains. If you’re cleaning drains periodically throughout the year, you can rely on the abilities of natural drain cleaners to break down organic build up. Read more here.

11. Always dry off your surfaces to prevent bacteria growth. Bacteria grows within 6 hours of cleaning if you don’t dry off your surfaces. This is a great one I use in my bathroom.

12. Choose powdered oxygen cleaners instead of bleach. Oxygen bleaches use oxygen instead of chlorine to remove stains and are made from either hydrogen peroxide, sodium percarbonate, or sodium porborate. They won’t permanently stain fabrics and don’t release the toxic fumes that make regular bleach dangerous.

13. Do some extra research. If you want to double-check your current cleaning products, the EWG’s guide to healthy cleaning is a valuable guide to working out how dangerous the chemicals in your cleaning products are, with safety ratings of more than 2000 products.

And a giveaway!

Today we’re giving away one ENJO Essential Pack, which includes: 1 kitchen glove, 1 Kitchen Miracle, 1 Kitchen MiniPlus, 2 All purpose cloths, 1 marble paste, 1 bathroom glove, 1 Bathroom Miracle, 1 Bathroom Mini, 1 calcium dissolver, 1 dust glove, 1 Indoor Miracle, 1 Fabric Glove, 1 Laundry Miracle, 1 Floorcleaner, 2 Floor Fibres, 1 laundry bag, a trigger spray bottle, 1 laundry detergent, 1 toilet cleaner, 1 handwash, 1 dishsoap.

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 3.03.21 PM

 

To be in the running to win, simply add your clever green clean tip or trick to the comments below. Winner will be chosen Monday August 25.

* Posts on sarahwilson.com may contain links to sponsors and affiliates with the capacity to receive monetary compensation, which help to support the growth and development of this site. Giveaways are sponsored promotions and will always be stated as such on the post. Books, eBooks and other products that align with my site and ethos may potentially be accepted for review, but please respect my desire not to clutter my life with “stuff” before you send your wonderful product or press release. I am not a medical professional; rather, a wellness advocate, therefore anything written by myself on this site is my own (researched) opinion and is not advice from a trained doctor. Here is a full breakdown of my position on sponsored posts and advertising. 

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  • kforkarli

    Green Tip #1…Vinegar in everything!

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  • Alexandra Bruggisser

    Lemon Myrtle is a great cleaner! We make up buckets of tea and wipe everything down with it!!! Just find a LM tree and you’re set!

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  • Emma Bolton

    Don’t leave Spring Cleaning till Spring, keep on top of it all year round and live and breath healthier for it!!!

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  • evergreentea

    A little bit of white vinegar in the toilet every day keeps you from having to clean so often!

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    Nat Reply:

    I haven’t bought chemical cleaners for a few years- a toilet is a non porous surface anyway so a bit of a light scrub and vinegar/ bi carb is fine…….if people have to scrub then they should probably see a doctor lol. Your tip is great:)

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  • Emma Bolton

    I love to make my own cleaning cleaning products and to be that bit more greener I recycle all my old glass jars and bottles to store my mixtures in, works well for beauty products and foods that you make yourself too – No need to waste money buying new containers and it saves them going into landfill and harming the environment – to get started ask your friends and family to save their jars for you – the handiest ones I have found are salsa jars :-)

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    Emma Bolton Reply:

    Best way to remove the labels from your jar (no need to soak or pick) is to simply fill them worth boiling water straight out of the jug leave it sit for about 30 seconds and then carefully peel off :-) saves the funny looks from friends when you pull out the tomato salsa to clean then benches down hehe

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  • Alice Mascini

    At the end of my shower, I turn the water to it’s hottest and rinse all the walls down with the handheld shower rose. Result – no soap scum or body grease buildup. A wash down with the Enjo bathroom glove every 2 or 3 weeks is all that is needed to keep my 12 year old glass shower cubicle looking like it was just installed.

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  • alana83

    Love bicarb soda and vinegar. Just cleaned my oven. Easy as

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  • Mary

    I mix up some eucalyptus oil with warm water in a recycled bottle and spray down my granite benches, all wooden surfaces and the dust off everything with old towels that I have cut down, AND the house smells amazing :)

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  • Genevieve Tierney

    Bicarb with a few drops of peppermint oil works great as an air freshener in the kitchen.

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  • Jo

    Baking Soda! I sprinkle it everywhere…oven, dishwasher, washing machine, showers, bath even on the tooth brush!

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  • http://www.sovii.com.au Sophie

    I have a spray bottle filled with water, white vinegar, lemongrass oil and juice of a lemon, great for cleaning the kitchen bench and smells divine.

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  • Miffy

    Clove essential oil diluted with water in a re-usable spray bottle (or neat for spot treatments) is a wonderful, natural anti-mould cleaner. It smells a thousand times better, won’t burn your lungs, and also deters the regrowth of mould and spores.

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  • Lis

    soak lemon, mandarin, orange peels in white vinegar, leave in the sun or warm spot for a few weeks, and then strain. You have made your own cheap, natural, lovely smelling citrus based all purpose cleaner. and you use those peels which would otherwise be thrown away! I put it in a spray bottle and use it on everything. Sprinkle a bit of bicarb on the surface first if you need a bit more oomph.

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  • Snoopy

    Lemon juice makes your stainless steel pots and pans shiny and pretty again

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  • Kazza

    Pantyhose….they are a miracle for cleaning anything. pantyhose dipped in nail polish remover got rid of grafitti off my front fence, pantyhose and bicarb remove stubborn stains on toilet and pantry shelves.

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  • Tasha Walker

    Instead of toxic fly spray try using lavender spray. Spray around doors and windows. Flies don’t like it

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  • Tessa

    Save your orange peels and cover them with vinegar, sit for a month, then use to clean everything from kitchens to bathrooms!

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  • Sara

    To clean and deodorize my kitchen sink drain, I sprinkle in some baking soda and then slowly pour in white vinegar – sloshing it around the sides as I go. Not only does it work wonders, but it’s also fun to listen to it fizz and bubble!

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  • Pippa

    We use A LOT of bicarb soda, especially to keep the doggy smells at bay on the carpets and upholstery then followed by a spray of water and essential oils. Also microwaving a bowl of water with a cut up lemon in it is quick and easy way to remove gunk build up from the microwave. And finally Goodbye Friends Cockroaches/Silverfish are awesome all natural pest repellents and they smell nice!

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  • Sanja

    Minimise mould growing in your shower grout (especially in humid climates) by spritzing it with a mix of hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle. I second using pantyhose to clean tiles, and shower screens too. You don’t need any detergents using them.
    I use eucalyptus oil and water in a spray bottle to clean the toilet – works a treat.

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  • Sarah

    I doni’t use any cleaning products when wiping down my benchtops and stovetop on a daily basis, just hot water and dry immediately with another cloth. I also have a lot of cleaning cloths so that I can wait till I have a full load of them to wash in the washing machine with my eco friendly detergent as the grey water keeps my garden nice and healthy :)

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  • Natalie Smith

    I use white vinegar and old newspapers to clean mirrors and glass, leaves them perfectly smudge free!

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  • Kirra

    Cheap white vinegar breaks down calcium build up in your kettle. Just let it sit overnight to the highest line of the calcium!

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  • Prue

    I add 10 drops of tea tree oil, 15 drops of lavender oil and a shot of vodka to a spray bottle, top up with water and you have an all purpose cleaner that smells divine!

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  • Kerrie Chapman

    My suggestion is soap nuts. They are both economical and enviro friendly. A $20 bag lasted me 3 years. Tie 5 nuts into the end of a stocking. Soak in warm water for 5 mins- add a few drops of essential oil to fragrance if desired. Pour the water and nuts into the machine and wash as normal. The natural surfactants cut through dirt without the visible suds. Suds were created as a visual effect so that we could see “cleaning”. These are unnecessary though as they have nothing to do with cleaning our clothes! The washing water can be recycled to the garden as can the nuts. The nuts can be used 5 times before they lose their surfactant properties.

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    Fiona Reply:

    Kerrie, where can you get soap nuts – I would be interested to try this?

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  • EKougi

    For windows and mirrors, you don’t need anything except two glass cleaning cloths, one wet to wash everything down and one dry cloth to dry and polish… and that’s it. I was surprised by how clean everything came up the first time I did this, and wondered why more people didn’t do it this way.

    Fly-swatters – fun for the whole family.

    Next week my mum is going to show me how they used to wash clothes when she was young – wood ash, hot water and bay leaves. No detergents, perfumes or bleaching agents.

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  • Liv

    Bicarb and vinegar for the loo, micro fibre for everything else!

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  • Sam

    I like to re-purpose old t-shirts and sweat shirts for dusting and cleaning. Also, old newspapers, or whatever nonsense has been dropped in your mailbox at the bottom of the bin to soak up any nasty smells – less cleaning

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  • Maria Calafiore

    If you want to get old stains out of fabrics, rub the stain with 1/2 a lemon dipped in salt and leave out in the sun. The stain will just disappear. You can then wash the fabric.

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  • Jodiebodie

    Lemon juice is excellent for removing scale around taps. I leave a small amount of lemon juice for a few hours (usually overnight) around the base of the taps and the scale becomes easy to wipe off or dissolves completely. Also, a slice of lemon in the sink plug hole will naturally bleach and clean the trap/pipe and leave your kitchen smelling fresh.

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  • Renee

    Often clothes are clogged with excess soap and detergent which makes them attract dirt and odour. Try using one quarter of the quantity of washing powder recommended for a washing machine and add 2 tablespoons of bicarb. Replace fabric softener with white vinegar (2 tablespoons). Stripping the excess soap out of fabric will make it dry faster and stay fresher.

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  • Emily

    I use cheap face washers for cleaning cloths and have different colours for different purposes – just throw in the wash after use!

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  • MJM

    Cloth nappies. I inherited my nappies from my sister once her child was toilet trained. They were then used on both of my children until they were toilet trained. They have now been relocated to my laundry and for the past four years have been used for dusting, polishing, cleaning windows, cleaning bathrooms, cleaning outdoor furniture and wiping spills. I saved thousands by doing away with disposable nappies, and have saved hundreds of dollars on cleaning products by repurposing the nappies once they were no longer required for their intended purpose. Some have long ago worn out, but I have enough that I shouldn’t need to purchase cleaning clothes for another 2 years or so

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  • Fiona

    Thank you for the post and all the tips – I’ve just detoxed my makeup bag and am keen to move into green cleaning around my home as I finish up the last of the cleaners I already have. The tips and comments are inspiring, I can’t wait to try them out.
    The only thing I was taught to clean without a cleaner of some sort was the inside of the fridge – hot water with a dash of vanilla essence wiped over the fridge to keep it smelling fresh. Also, keeping a half a lemon at the bottom of the fridge will keep odours at bay.

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  • Beccness

    One pot cooking saves us time and cuts back on our need for washing a large number of pots, pans and dishes, all while conserving energy!

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  • Kristin

    Great tips! I recommend using reusable dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. Even better, hang all of your laundry to dry and skip the dryer altogether!

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  • Kirsty Jellings

    Mix oil of cloves & vinegar in a spray bottle & use to remove mould & stop it from coming back.

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  • Megan

    Thanks for the great tips! To unclog my bathroom sink, I sprinkled salt down the drain, followed by bi-carb, then white vinegar and then boiling water. It worked a treat! This will break down any soaps and oils that have built up.

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  • Tori

    Lemon juice and hot water poured down a slightly clogged sink – clears it out, and leaves it smelling nice. Also same mix microwaved in the microwave (if you have one) then wipe down the interior when it’s steamed up – cleans away any food spills and leaves it smelling nice, without using any chemicals.

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  • Sally

    I am never without vinegar, lemon juice and bi-carb – they clean everything! Also, the best tip for cleaning a murky microwave is to fill a glass jug with vinegar and lemon juice, put in microwave for 5 mins, leave door closed for 5 more mins and the wipe clean! it comes out sparkling every time!

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  • Maree Ellen Brown

    Place a bowl of water with half a lemon into the microwave for 1 minute. Then wipe out your microwave with a damp cloth. The lemon & steam will breakdown all the grime plus remove any odours!

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  • Rowena Roque Del Castillo

    I have 3 bulldogs. I used to use baby wipes to wipe them down after daily walks. Not anymore! I now use microfibre cloths (a different colour for each dog) soaked in a very weak solution of vinegar + lavender oil in warm water. They love it!

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  • Doris

    I use Simple Green for cleaning the floors.

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  • Tess

    You have really covered the best tips and tricks here that I can think of. :) Cutting a lemon or orange in half (leaving the white core) hollow out the flesh and add olive oil. Light the white stem (like a wick) and this creates a fresh, citrus scented candle and scent. I also like using warm water, white vinegar, and an essential oil (tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, mint, lemomgrass etc) for a room freshener and antibac cleaner.

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  • Lindy23

    I have a ‘sink station’ drainer permanently in my sink. It catches all the bits and pieces that would normally go down the drain – so bad for all our water-inhabitant friends.

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  • ihavetwofeet

    Hi! I put all the used lemon rinds leftover from my morning warm lemon water in a empty 1ltr yougurt container. Then I fill it up with vinegar and let it sit for a week or so. The lemony-vinegar can then be diluted with some water and used like an all-purpose cleaner. It smells nice too!

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  • Fiona Malone

    Soap nuts! No more weird chemicals in your washing machine, plus you can make liquid soap with them.

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  • Gigi

    Vinegar and one tiny drop of castile soap in hot water for windows. Use old tshirts – one to wash, and one to dry the edges of the glass. Squeegee. Perfect, streak free, every time!

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  • Greg Davies

    Wow, this post is timely. We are back to basics on our cleaning and looking at everything from scratch: thanks so much Sarah. My best hint is to throw a little lavender essential oil in some water and wipe down cupboards. Not only does it smell great, it scares of cockroaches: a great thing for those of us in Sydney summers!

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  • Catriona

    I just deep cleaned my dishwasher with a cup on vinegar instead of chemicals. Works perfectly.

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  • http://everydaynotionsblog.blogspot.com.au/ Rebecca

    Love this! My tip is: use the sun. And fresh air. Open the windows! When I wash my wooden chopping boards I like to let them dry outside in the sun. Let those rays kill a few germs too. And getting the windows open lets the fumes out, and helps dry those surfaces easier (like you suggested)

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  • fleur

    I have a fool proof “spray & wipe” recipe my aunty gave me:
    1 tbls baking soda
    5-10 drops tea tree oil
    5-10 drops eucalyptus oil
    couple of drops of dishwashing liquid soap (any variety)
    Mix in a recycled spray & wipe bottle filled with water

    smells good and works a treat!

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  • http://poppylovespear.blogspot.com.au Poppy Jacobs

    For an excellent shower cleaner, fill a glass spray bottle with 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar and 10 drops of a good quality lemon essential oil such as dōTERRA – voila!

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  • Marcia C.

    I fill a spray bottle with white vinegar to spray our shower cubicle between cleans. It helps prevent mold and breaks down soap residue before it becomes a problem.

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  • Samantha Hughes

    Drain volcano! A handful of bicarb and a splash of vinegar help clear & clean the drain.

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  • Shell

    Shine anything and everything up with panty hose !!!

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  • Jacqui H

    This is great advice, thanks Sarah. I love Enjo, have had my fibres for many years and would never go back to chemical cleaning products. About time to replace my Enjo fibres with new ones now though. Definitely got my money’s worth! I keep essential oils in my cleaning caddy, along with spray bottles of water and homemeade cleaners, such as water mixed with several drops of oil of cloves: best thing ever for mould and mildew. I also find the Method natural toilet cleaner works brilliantly on bathroom grout. :-)

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  • Jacqui H

    Forgot to say I also keep a spray bottle of white vinegar in the laundry and before washing, I spray stains and stuff like smelly armpits on clothes with it. Leave it for a few minutes then wash in the front loader – works a treat, eco friendly and cheap.

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  • Ellen Beasy

    Green tip for bathrooms… Use clove oil to really tackle mould in your grout (nasty bleach products just make it look clean) and use Turkish linen hammam towels that dry quickly to save water (less wasteful towel washing because these ones don’t smell damp all the time)

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  • Kym

    Get rid of the napisan! 2 parts water, 1 part hydrogen peroxide, 1 part washing soda, to make a pre treatment soak or laundry spray for stains. And cloth napkins instead of paper towels.

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  • Angela Brühl

    more water instead of more detergent and more scrubbing is always recommended
    Angela

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  • Melissa

    I use lemon juice to soak away tea and coffee stains in mugs. And as an asthma sufferer, I have found it is better to dust surfaces with a wet cloth rather than a dry one or duster, as it contains the dust and doesn’t let it fly up into the air!

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  • Carla

    Love it! I have been using enjo for about 18 months now and slowly keep adding to the collection. Best investments ever made from kitchen, to bathroom, to reusable and washable make up wipe pads to hand wash. Saves so much money, doesn’t smell toxic or leave your hands dried out from chemicals!

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  • Cbythesea

    Using vinegar as rinse aid in the dishwasher and as fabric softener in the washing machine :)

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  • Romey

    To eliminate odours soak a stale piece of bread in vinegar and place where it’s most needed. We use this to freshen up our nappy pail. Works wonders.

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  • Johanne Lila

    Baking soda works not just as a scouring powder, you can actually clean your entire home with it DISSOLVED in water! Yes, that’s it baking soda + water, nothing else! I first clean my kitchen sink with just the baking soda. Then I fill my sink with water (about 2 liters), and add 3 tbs. of baking soda. Let it dissolve, and voila, ready to use with a dishcloth to clean everything, you would normally clean with water and soap (which to me is the entire house) :)

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  • Tam

    Tea tree oil spray is also a good (and fresh smelling) way to clean the bathroom

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  • craftyone

    I use distilled vinegar for a rinse aid in my dishwasher. I also spray washing machine with vinegar after use.

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  • maria

    water and vinegar in a spray bottle to clean. vinegar as a softener in the washing machine.

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  • Mei

    When life gives you lemons… clean with them! The essential oils found in the lemon zest gives off a wonderful aroma too!

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  • Michelle

    To clean and polish timber, pour 1/2 cup vinegar and 1tsp olive oil into a small bowl. Dip a cloth into the mixture and wipe down timber with it. It is truly amazing! Brings a streak free shine to everything.

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  • Pip

    A large fold-out clothes horse for drying clothes, no need to own a clothes dryer even though I live in an apartment!

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  • Rachel

    You don’t need to clean as much as you think you do. Shirts: unless you are sweating hugely, they are a good for at least a second go. Floors: unless something sticky is actually spilt on it, you don’t need to mop it thoroughly daily. A quick sweep is fine, only mop once you need it.

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  • IAmFineAreYou?

    to absorb stains and odors on fabric couches and carpets, I sprinkle with bi-carb, let it absorb the offending liquid/odour for a few hours then vacuum it up. To make it smell super fresh, i sprinkle lemon myrtle oil into the container of bi carb first.

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  • Simplemum

    Green tip: clove oil eliminates grease in dish water, anti bacterial wash aid instead of canestan type products.

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  • BelM

    Bicarb of soda & vinegar followed by boiling water cleans kitchen & bathroom drains brilliantly.

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  • Lara

    A few drops tea tree oil and lavender as natural disinfectant! Plus smells great

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  • Wendy Hatton

    I use a few drops of clove oil in a spray bottle of water to kill mold spores and discourage mold from returning. Smells good too.

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  • Catherine Basquill

    Water in a spray bottle is the easiest and safest way to create a streak free finish on mirrors and windows!! I use old towels cut up for these jobs as they are lint free.

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  • KellyM

    I use vinegar and water to clean the windows. Newspaper instead of towels gets them clean with no streaks.

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  • Caz

    Kids love cleaning! Every Saturday morning they spray the cupboard doors with a spray bottle filled with just water and happily clean all the doors, the fridge, the oven door etc. No harsh chemicals, content children, happy mama and dada! How green is that?!

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  • Fiona

    Thanks so much Kerrie, can’t wait to try them!

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    Cara82 Reply:

    I buy my soap nuts from New Age Nappies. I also bought some Dryer balls from them – they halve your drying time if you need to use the clothes dryer, as well as collect lint and make your clothes super soft and fluffy.

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  • Rebecca Marks

    A splash of lavender oil in the final rinse cycle of washing machine when washing sheets and towels

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  • Jane

    I keep a mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottle to wipe windows/mirror/shower screen. Have even converted my windex obsessed husband!!!

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  • Margie

    Floors: Mix 4 cups of white distilled vinegar with about a gallon of hot water. If desired, add a few drops of pure peppermint or lemon oil for a pleasant scent. After damp mopping the floors, the smell of vinegar will dissipate quickly, leaving behind only the scent of the oil. and your house smells ready for your meditation season or that nap we all deserve

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  • Anne-Maree

    We have mirrors everywhere, on wardrobes etc and they get fingerprints all the time!! To clean them naturally I use a mixture of around 2 cups water with half a cup of white vinegar, plus some lemon or orange essential oil – polished up using a cloth, comes up sparkling!

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  • Marg

    To reuse the bits of soap that are always left over, combine them with glycerine and some warm water. Pour into a bottle for a handmade liquid soap add a few drops of your favourite essential oil mine is lavender and you have also scented your bathroom and your hands and bank balance will thank you for it.

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  • anaree

    You have said everything that needs to be said so I don’t have any new tips – just bi-carb soda and / or vinegar for most things. I don’t put any fragrances in anything as I have MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity).
    Bi-carb and cleaning vinegar is the best oven cleaner on the planet.
    And to clean your oven trays you can soak them in a tub with napisan in water.
    Another tip, when renovating, to remove rust from wrought iron, soak in an old bathtub with mollasses and water.
    To clean your gut if you have food intolerances and have eaten something disagreeable have a glass of water kefir.

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  • LisaH

    There are so many great suggestions here to try! My best green tip that I have used to really make a difference in my home is using white vinegar as a fabric softener. I used to use loads of bought fabric softeners but now a splash of cheap vinegar in the softener dispenser does a better job, disinfects the clothes at the same time and saves money! That combined with now making my own washing powder is making a real difference to my family reducing toxins inside and outside the home. Enjo products would enable us to remove more toxins from our home and environment :)

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  • melinoz

    bicarb of soda to replace dishwasher detergent and vinegar to replace the rinse aid :)

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  • Ashlea Fidler

    Sprinkle rock salt onto half a lemon and use this to get rid of any built up scum or grease! :)

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  • Jodie

    If you have a smelly dishwasher or washing machine put a quarter cup of bicarbonate where you would normally put the powder and add a cup of vinegar to the machine. Shut the door and put on the hottest wash possible. At the end of the cycle it should be smelling much better.

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  • Melissa

    To clean your dishwasher, fill a bowl or glass container with 2 cups of vinegar and set on the top rack of the dishwasher. Then run through on a hot cycle with no other dishes in the dishwasher to clean.

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  • Amy

    A couple of drops of eucalyptus oil in the loo to keep number 2 smells away ;-) Best air freshener ever!

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  • LL

    I make my own all purpose cleaner with half vinegar, half water and drops of tea tree and lemon essential oils

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  • Kelly

    We tend to use a lot of natural oils. Eucalyptus and Tea Tree, for natural anti-bacterial cleaning and Tea Tree oil for various body ailments – pimples etc. You can’t go past lemon juice and if possible, steam cleaning for a hygienic and sanitised home and furnishings.

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  • Nicolle

    I use water soluble lavender oil which I buy at the supermarket, the toilets get a spray of natural eucalyptus cleaner and a wipe down with the oil in hot water – a great combination. I’ve also found that the lavender oil directly on a damp cloth cuts through soap scum in the shower so easily.

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  • Sally O

    A good squeeze of Dr Bronners castille soap and some eucalyptus oil into a spray bottle filled with water, can be used anywhere and on anything! Also cut up your old towels to make reusable cleaning cloths, waste not want not :)

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  • Jan Wild

    Try kaffir lime fruit, they are incredibly antiseptic and have a beautiful smell. Great with vinegar to make a natural cleaning product. Just put the rinds in a jar with vinegar until the vinegar goes green (good green that is) then remove rinds, dilute with water and put in a pump pack to use with your Enjo mitts and mops.

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  • Emily Hardwick

    After you soak rice for cooking, use the leftover water to take out the coffee/tea stains from your mugs and cups. Just pour the water into the cups and leave for a couple of hours. Also works well for anything else you want to return to its original white/brightness – like a healthy bleach!

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    Penny Reply:

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    Emily Hardwick Reply:

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  • Elaine Stuart Smit

    Clean floor tiles with white vinegar and a dash of lavender essential oil. Cleans beautifully and smells divine.

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  • rebeccan

    Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda- Its my go to for everything! From cleaning the floors to soaking in the bath. Inexpensive but with a big bang!

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  • Monocar

    BEST way to clean the microwave..naturally – half a cup of water in a microwave safe bowl, halve a lemon, juice it and and place both juice and halves in the bowl, microwave for 3 minutes and let stand for 5 minutes. Wipe the microwave clean. Voila! Clean microwave!!

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  • Kate

    Clean with Eucalyptis Oil! THE BEST! xx

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  • Shannon

    when visiting/staying in more tropical climes use bay leaves and glass storage containers to keep weevils away!!

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  • gracious

    Nothing gives me more satisfaction than the way my kitchen sink gleams after I get to it with bicarb soda and an old toothbrush. I’ll also clear out the pipes by sprinkling bicarb soda in, a glug of white vinegar and then flushing with hot water. It’s an ‘oldie but a goodie’ for a reason!

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  • Jennifer

    Buy a piece of polar fleece fabric. Wash first and then cut into suitable dish-cloth sections. Overlock edges if desired. Brilliant dishcloths. Vinegar and bicarb soda – mix to form a paste. use to clean bathroom.

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  • Melissa

    Oil of cloves is fabulouso for mould removal.

    Vinegar and bicarb soda are fab for cleaning any surface.

    I mix bicarb and a smidgin of lavender to clean myself! Such a calming mix.

    Perhaps my favourite odour cleaning is to strike a match in the lavatory and enjoy the lovely neutral smell that results. It is even more special if said matches sit atop the toilet in a prettty ceramic bowl.

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  • pennypeters

    White vinegar is great instead of rinse-aid in the dishwasher and awesome as fabric softner in the washing machine!

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  • Alexandra Jackson

    Instead of fabric softener, use a couple of drops of lavender oil

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  • glevak

    Green tip for cleaning windows: 4 tablespoons lemon juice mixed with a half gallon of water.

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  • Taylor

    I have to agree with a few other readers that vinegar works wonders! We use it for our laundry, in the toilet, & it’s also good for a quick body cleanse too :) My mother used to make us drink the stuff as punsihment.

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  • Natalie Tan

    Not sure if this stemmed from having no money to buy window cleaner or being environmental, anyways we’ve been using newspaper to get fingerprints and grime off windows. All you do is grab some newspaper and wipe it against the glass, easy!

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  • Ruth

    I used to use newspaper to make my mirror streak free. Then I got a microfiber glass cloth. MAGIC! I also use bi carb & vinegar for lots of stuff. And have been replacing my cleaning products with Eco ones or just let them fade out. Vinegar & bi carb even gets out those nasty deodorant pit stains in light t-shirts.

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  • Debbi

    I use cream of tartar for cleaning stainless steel. It’s more gentle than bicarb, and results in a great shine.

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  • Andrea

    I mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle and use for everything

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  • Alanna Migliacci

    Everyday after I shower, I take the dirty close that are about to be dumped in the hamper (socks and undies) and use them to wipe down the shower and bathroom. It keeps the shower dry, reduces mildew and I clean the floor, counters and sink. It takes one min and I rarely ever actually ‘clean’ the bathroom.

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  • Gail

    Cut a lemon in half and dip it in salt. Rub onto the shower door to remove the scum. works a treat

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  • Gail

    Cut a lemon in half and dip it in salt. Rub onto the shower door to remove the scum. works a treat. (Posted comment without signing in.)

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  • Tam

    I replaced makeup removing wipes with olive oil and cotton balls. So much cheaper, way kinder to my skin and delicious.

    I tend to have congested and acne prone skin so very nervous to switch at first – however six months later and I’m extremely pleased that it hasn’t worsened. I’d say my skin has even improved.

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  • Helen

    White vinegar and bi-carb soda for almost anything in varying strengths and combinations. Eucalyptus oil as an anti bacterial, air freshened and cleaner. Microfiber cloths are the best invention ever. With microfiberbicarb and vinegar there’s no need for anything else!!!

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  • Mariam

    Looks like bicarb and vinegar are popular – my favourites too, for cleaning the oven, toilet bowl, shower… everything! Essential oils are also fab, peppermint, tea tree and lemon work a treat for cleaning!

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  • Heather Goodman

    I use Bicarb soda with eucalyptus to wash my clothes.Lemon around the windows to keep the spiders outside. chemical free now and its great.

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  • Ebs

    Bicarb sprinkled on the carpet, leave for 24 hours, then vacuum up. Good for reducing dust mites and any mould. Bicarb in the shower to kill/prevent mould. Bicarb as a deodrant is unreal!

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  • Matthew Hart

    My Partner and I use a lot of Therapeutic grade essential oils when cleaning our home – they smell great, work wonders and do our body good, We add them to mixes we make up from scratch (just the usual bi-carb, lemon juice borax and vinegar sort of concoctions but with just a drop of oil they smell really good and have added benefits of stopping the growth of mould, killing germs and purifying the air!!! I also love having indoor plants in the house and Himalayan rock salt lamps – i find they help keep the air fresh and we all breath a lot better for it!

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  • Emma

    UNDIES! This tip or habit rather is something my mum did when I was little, and I’ve seen my Nanna do it too… Who knows where it started?! Anyway, when I’m picking up dirty clothes especially socks and undies off the floor and I use them to wipe down surfaces and do a quick dust on my way to the laundry. As your post and other comments have reinforced, a little bit every day is better than waiting until it gets ‘bad’ and people feel the need for chemical reinforcements. As well, using undies saves on paper towels and purchasing plastic dusters that will end up in landfill. The undies are going to get cleaned anyway. Don’t knock it til you try it!

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  • Rani_h

    Bi-carb – left my favourite saucepan sparkling after the great rice malt syrup toffee incident of 2013

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  • Nat

    In the hot hot Australian summer I like to wash my clothes on the drip dry cycle- less electricity and less water but the clothes are still clean ( it just skips the last 10 mins spin) and your clothes dry without crease marks:) …..and when using resusable washable cleaning cloths I colour code so laundry and toilet cloths are one colour ONLY, loungeroom and bedroom dusting cloths are another colour and so on ….Thanks and swishy cleaning to you ! :)

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  • Actionchick

    To remove calcium build up in your kettle, chop up a lemon, pop pieces into the kettle, boil, empty, rinse. Voila – a sparkly clean, stain free kettle!

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  • Jac

    To clean mirrors and windows, I spray them with lemon and water then wipe down with old newspaper. Amazing results!

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  • http://lozzz123.blogspot.com/ Lozzz123

    For air freshener I mix water and lavender oil in a pump spray. Smells nice and is antibacterial too!

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  • LG

    Vinegar and Bicarb is MAGICAL!

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  • Nicole-Lynn

    I use vinegar and dish soap to declog my car wiper drains! Thanks for the opportunity

    Seasidesmitten@aol.com

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  • Kimberly Garcia

    Baking soda on pet accidents on the carpet, let dry, vacuumx

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  • Shaye

    Carpet Deodoriser – Baking Soda in a jar with drops of an essential oil (I use Lavender), shake and then sprinkle on carpets and floor rugs, leave for a while before vacuuming.

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  • Elizabeth

    I’ve just moved to Sydney from Vancouver and wondering if there is anywhere to buy personal care and home supplies in bulk? We have a wonderful shop back home for this where I can bring my bottles/containers back for refill and reduce my packaging footprint, but I’ve found nothing locally yet. Any tips would be majorly appreciated!

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  • Adele Clay

    Would love to know what everyone uses instead of paper towel? I like to use paper towel when I’ve dropped food on the food and what to wipe it up..

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  • Abby

    Avoid methylisothiazolinone, a horrible preservative that has been increased in products over the last 4 years… highly irritating and found in everything that cleans, from soap to baby wipes. Evil sh*t!! My rule is make it from scratch… cold press soap, bi carb and vinegar cleaners, hot water and elbow grease.

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