“We are an awesome team,” Holden my three year exclaimed. “Like ninjas!” He told me proudly. I had just thanked him for his help with mopping our hard wood floors. And yes, he really does help. He squirts the Method wood floor cleaner, and I wipe it down. It’s a really great system. And I feel ok letting him help me because Method products are plant derived, natural and based on the idea that people want “cleaning products they didn’t have to hide under their sinks.”  But this article is not an infomercial for Method, though we may share philosophy.

We’ve talked about simple tips for a greener kitchen, but I’m interested in green-cleaning as a whole because I don’t want poisonous, toxic and carcinogenic cleaning products in the name of making my home ‘sterile.’ Sure, I want a clean house – who doesn’t? At the same time, I want to be able to make a sandwich on my kitchen countertop without ingesting chlorinated bleach and be ok with my kids learning the value of work without their lungs suffering from harmful fumes.

Clean doesn’t have to equal toxic, in fact it shouldn’t. And while there are loads of green cleaning products out there (I’ve listed a few of my favorites *below), this is one area you can save loads of money by doing it yourself. Simple ingredients that you most likely already have on hand work wonders for getting your pad shiny and new.

I buy baking soda and white distilled vinegar in bulk from Costco; the combination makes an excellent –and green–replacement for Drano. (And you thought the combination was just for Volcano Science Experiments.)

At the Vinegar Tips website you’ll find 1001 uses for White Distilled Vinegar with two entire sections devoted to cleaning and laundry. We use vinegar (as opposed to Windex) for cleaning mirrors (Holden loves ‘playing’ with the spraybottle). Vinegar is also awesome for, among other things, getting the S-T-A-N-K out of extra tricky laundry (mostly my husband’s workout gear).

I’m also a fan of Borax, essential oils (tea tree, lavender and eucalyptus are my top picks) and Castile soap – (Dr. Bronner’s Almond is our family’s favorite). How cool to clean with a product you can brush your teeth with? Talk about being safe around children… Also, I cordially invite you to check out Apartment Therapy’s “25 DIY Cleaning Tips” It’s basically the ingredient list from above and a few extra gems.

So for this month’s challenge, I think we ought to try to green-up-our-clean a bit more. And I’m anxious to hear, what are you doing already in the realm of green-cleaning and what are you going to try?

*Products I love (and splurge for):

Image from Michaela Rose