I’m forever trying to use fewer chemical cleaners in the house. Between having small children always on the floors and knowing how toxic most common cleaning products can be, I have been phasing them out over the last few years. However, I can not bring myself to use green cleaning products, not only are they over-priced, they are not as effective. And with the amount of bodily fluids I deal with on a daily basis, I need to feel like things are clean and disinfected.
I was excited to try a tip I read about on Jezebel. Someone recommended boiling water for mopping. A second jezzie chimed in that you could add essential oils to the mix, leaving your home smelling glorious. Seeing how I already had hot water and essential oils in the house, I was excited to give it a try. On Saturday morning Mr. Applebum took the monkees and I pulled out the mop, bucket and tea kettle and got to work.
So after the jump, I road test a FREE green cleaning solution – really hot water!
Hot water vs. the kitchen floor
Our kitchen floor is old vinyl that is quite dull and stained. There is a lot of build up and oils on the floor. I put boiling hot water in the mop bucket and added a splash of pine-sol. Okay, it was more than a splash, it was too much. I was really pleased with how well it cleaned. I did multiple passes and the vinyl really looked cleaner and brighter than it has looked in a long time.
Hot water vs. bathroom floor
I did a fresh pot of boiling water, partly so it would be nice and hot but mainly because the water was so nasty, I just couldn’t bear to wipe it around on my floors. Yuck!
So a fresh bucket of boiling hot water and (much less) pine-sol for the bathrooms. Again, I was really happy with the immediate results. The floors felt deep cleaned and sterile. My older son has terrible aim in the bathroom, it was the first time I felt like the floors were clean without using a lysol wipe (I know, I have to stop using those, but it’s SO convenient.)
But then, oh no!
The tile had a haze as it dried. As much as I didn’t want to mop again, I just couldn’t leave that chemical film on the floors. Back to the kitchen, more boiling hot water. This time, just water (no cleaner) and I added a few drops of tea tree essential oil (thanks Lymed!) which was really nice.
By the time I finished, I was glad I did a second hot water rinse because the RINSE water came back filthy. Blech. It was unbelievable satisfying to dump all the nastiness down the drain.
So overall, I give it high marks. But that was with two rounds, a wash and a rinse. We have grown accustomed to “No rinse” formulas, so we have little patience for having to rinse. However, we both know the “No rinse” is formulated to dry with less haze, but there are still tons of chemicals left behind. Plus, I didn’t mind because I only clean like this a few times a year. I shoo the family out, put on loud music and get to work. And again, with all the pee, poo, spit, food and goodness knows what else, cleaning the floors on a Saturday morning is a labor of love and part of what I do for this family.
Hot water vs. the hardwoods
I was a little concerned about damaging the floors with such hot water, but I really wanted to try something different with them, so I did a little research. Turns out, vinegar doesn’t necessarily clean as well as good old soap and water. So again, boiling water and just a tiny bit of dishwashing liquid.
Holy cow, I couldn’t believe how much dirt came off the wood floors! It tooks off years off grimy build-up. It was gross. And by gross I mean awesome. I did a second hot rinse, no soap. Again, the water came out filthy. I just kept dumping out bucket after bucket of the black water pictured. Mind you, that was the RINSE, the first round with soap was worse.
As they dried, they looked and felt really clean. But dry. No worse than after using murphy’s oil wood floor cleaner, but still really, really dry. And as much as I wanted to be done with the floors, I rallied and did another pass with Old English Oil. I got my second mop, the one I use for just for oils, and just started dumping it straight onto the floors and smoothing it in. It took a bit, but I could literally hear the floors saying, Aahhh, as I worked the oil in. When I finished hours later, I surveyed my work proudly. And as tired as I was, it TOTALLY felt worth it.
The next day, was when the real magic happened. Usually when I oil the floors, the oil does not absorb well and it often took days for the oil to sink into the wood. But this time, the oil was completely absorbed by the next morning. I couldn’t believe it, it’s the best they’ve ever looked! And the best part is the only cleaning products involved are dish soap, water and the tiniest bit of pine sol. That is full of ECO WIN!
Buh Bye Tilex
I can’t stand Tilex or any of the bath cleansers such as scrubbing bubbles and whatnot. Mr. Applebum sneaks them in when I’m not looking, he likes the mildew remover best, ugh.
Since I was on an eco kick, I also decided to try a different approach to the mildew in the shower along the grout. I made a squirt bottle with hot water (of course) and bleach. I went through and sprayed and then left it on for a good long while. Time greatly improves the effectiveness of most cleaning products, green or otherwise.
The grout looked amazing. Better than it’s looked in years. And I proudly showed Mr. Applebum the amazing power of bleach water, hoping he won’t replace the bottle of Tilex. But I’m not sure he is completely convinced, we’ll have to keep working on that one.
You don’t have to go green overnight
This is a slow and gradual process. We use a ton of stuff in our homes that is not good for us nor the environment. But don’t feel like everything has to be done overnight. We have to un-do a lifetime of bad habits. And real change happens slowly and over time. So don’t feel bad if you are still using a lot of stuff you know you shouldn’t. Just make small, incremental changes. With boiling water, I can now stop using Murphy’s oil soap. My next step, keeping Mr. Applebum off the Tilex.