Keeping house is very important to me but not more important that spending time with my kids and family so balancing them can be tricky at times, but with the right tools it's safe to spend time with the kids while I clean! I prefer to keep things simple and as odor free as I can get them. But they also have to be efficient, I dont have ALL day to clean, I can usually get away with an hour of chit chat multitasking with the kids, so if the products don't work great, I don't use em! So that means very few commercial cleaners here, besides the toxic smells and environment issues, they are SPENDY! Hope some of my tips will help some of you ditch the expensive smelly ones!
First I have a couple of these cleaning totes, 1 for bathrooms and 1 for all the other rooms.Vinegar/water mix in a spray bottle.. works great as a disinfectant and the smell is gone by the time you are done cleaning, but if the smell really bothers you, add some lemon juice or essential oil!
Mr. Clean Magic Erasers... I LOVE them and use em on just about everything! Yes I have heard the rumors about kids being burned by them, but haven't found any solid evidence and I dont let my kids use them.. so they are good in my book!
Toothbrushes I buy the big packs at the Dollar Store.
Sprayway Brand Glass cleaner.. one of the exceptions to my anti commercial cleaners! I have never found another glass cleaner like it! You can find it at Target and Cost Plus. But if you really want to ditch all the cleaners, vinegar works here too.
Sprayway Brand Stainless Steele Cleaner.... I love the way Stainless looks, hate the way it needs attention!
Microfiber cloths or flour sacks (for washing glass and stainless)
I use a Dyson all floors vacuum and a Shark Brand Steam mop.. thats IT for floors! No chemicals, no huge buckets of water. I also use the Shark portable steamer for lots of cleaning.. Mattresses, I used to vacuum them every week, that was a LOT more work than just going over it with the portable steamer. I still vacuum them every couple weeks though.
Swiffer dusters are great, we have the long and short handled ones and my kids think they are getting a TREAT when they get to help dust.. you can bet I am not going to correct them on that!
We have microfiber couches... they show lots of marks since they are light colored but baby wipes once a week seems to take care of the spots pretty well and since we have them already it isn't an extra expense.
Olive oil/lemon juice mix for furniture polish.. don't rub it in too much, the wood needs to soak it up!
And it's not really cleaning but it's in my caddies..Homemade Fresh spray (like febreeze). I use the fingertip size spray bottles from the travel size section at the store because I like to change my scents up pretty often, if thats not your thing you could use a bigger spray bottle. I mix (approx) equal parts rubbing alcohol and any lotion/baby shampoo I have around that smells good, usually I use a bath and body works lotion. Shake them up often and spray away, the alcohol kills stinkies and the alcohol smell evaporates after just a few minutes but the yummy smell stays a while! I have used this mix on a ton of fabrics and never had any spot issue, of course I would check ahead of time where you won't notice just to be sure! We have velvety curtains, a silk bedspread, microfiber couches and they all turn out super.
Once in a while I will use a tiny bit of bleach, it has to be a major stain for me to get that stuff out though! And I still make my own laundry soap, still on my first 5 gallon bucket from almost a year ago!! It is such a money saver and there is no smell!! Here is the link to that blog post. Homemade dishwaser soap.. eh wasn't that great, felt like it was leaving the dishes filmy after a few weeks, but I did mix the homemade half and half with store bought, works great and still saves some money!
Rubber Gloves.. I personally think cleaning is a little easier when you have some *fluffy* gloves like these.. click picture for website.