Natural household cleaners, Part 3

Naturalcleaningingredient
At long last, the final installment of this series on natural household cleaners! If you haven't read them yet, I would suggest reading Part 1 and Part 2, before continuing on to read this post (of course, you are welcome to read it anyways!).

The final issue that I want to address is "how do I use natural cleaners on a tight budget?". I imagine that you have likely been at a health food store or a supermarket that carries these natural cleaners, such as Seventh Generation, and wondered how anybody can pay $8 for a bottle of dishwashing soap. I have thought the same thing, and I just cannot pay those kind of prices.

Here is my solution. It comes down to two basic principles:

  1. If there is a simple, inexpensive cleaner that can be used, I use that first. For instance, wherever I can use vinegar and it does the job, I use that because it is so cheap. I also incorporate cleaners like baking soda and Borax into my repertoire, because they are very cost efficient and very useful for cleaning a variety of things (on a side note- my Mother-in-law has recently been using Borax in her dishwasher and says it works very well!).
  2. If there is no simple cleaner (because as I mentioned in Part 2, I do not have the time to be mixing up fancy concoctions and figuring out a different natural cleaner for each and every part of my home), then I find a pre-made cleaning solution that is concentrated, for the best value possible.
  3. I keep it simple. I do not need to have different cleaners. I use one for glass and mirrors, one good all-purpose cleaner, one laundry liquid (no fabric softener or drier sheets), etc.

If you have checked out the Biokleen website that I linked to previously, you will find that nearly all of their cleaners are highly concentrated. This is becoming a trend among non-toxic and eco-friendly cleaners, as it requires less packaging and less transportation (therefore, less oil use, less emmissions, etc.).

For me, it means that although I pay a little bit more upfront, for what appear to be a small amount, it actually lasts quite a long time and then becomes more comparable to buying conventional commercial cleaning products.

But where do I get these supplies at even more reasonable prices, that make it truly worthwhile (although to me, the health benefits are worthwhile enough)? From my friendly natural foods co-op. If you do not know of a co-op in your area, I highly suggest that you do some research to discover what is available in your area. I found this co-op directory site online, listing co-ops in almost every state, as does this site, and it includes some Canadian co-ops as well. 

Currently, I have been using a co-op called Azure Standard for the past 2 years. It is actually located in the US, not in Canada, but since we have family living in Seattle, it works very well for us. Azure serves Washington, Oregon (where they are based), Idaho, Utah, Montana, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Minnesota, Nebraska, California, Nevada and Arizona. It is a Christian-owned and run company, and their service is absolutely excellent, they carry most items in bulk as well as small quantities, have an incredible selection of all natural foods (dry, frozen, fresh), supplements, books, and more (and no, I get no money for advertising for them- I'm just a satisfied customer!). And did I mention their prices are very, very good?

As for my other cleaning supplies, I purchase them mainly at Costco (I buy 2 gallons of vinegar for $4), and stores like Walmart also have very good values.

I hope that this has been a useful series for many of you, giving you ideas and resources, and even just inspiration and motivation to seek out natural and non-toxic products to use in your home. If you have any questions, or any suggestions of products or methods that work for you, please leave a comment! Happy cleaning!

For more frugal tips, be sure to visit Frugal Fridays!

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. M, I tried the link and I can’t see any problems with it. If it still doesn’t work, you could try pasting this url:
    http://www.keeperofthehome.org/my_weblog/2007/10/natural-houshold-cleaners–part-1.html
    Hopefully that works for you!

  2. I can’t open part one of this series…could you please check the link?

  3. Thanks Stephanie for sharing some of your ideas. I am an avid Azure Standard user myself. Love their deals and excellent quality products. I like the idea about using cloth diapers for cleaning too! Thanks.

  4. You’re welcome, Linda. If you’re in the area that they service, do check out Azure. You will not be disappointed! :)

  5. Thank you for posting about Azure Standard. What an interesting concept.

  6. Mrs. T, thanks for the link. I’m glad it was useful for you!

    Aww, thanks, Lylah!

    Monique, I have never tried using cloth diapers, but I just so happen to have an awful lot of them, so I will definitely give it a try! Thanks for the tip!

  7. Thank you for the very informative posts on natural cleaners. You had mentioned not wanting to use papertowels anymore. We haven’t had papertowels in our house for quite a while now. I use cloth diapers to wipe down mirrors and glass. I use them to polish the dressers, my lamps, to dust off the TV, the Piano. Now, I don’t use natural cleaners like you, although I would like to, but I think they would still work fine and not leave the lint behind even with natural cleaners. Hope that helps!

  8. you’ve got great ideas!!! i just saw passionate home and now yours…i love the borax idea…i’m going to do that…thanks!

    you younger wives teach me so much! blessings…

  9. I would like to link to your series on my blog. This is something I care very much about, and you have some great information here! I use Biokleen and Melaleuca products too :) (I found you through Crystal’s blog)

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