In My Kitchen: Non-toxic Kitchen Cleaners

Changing our food quality isn’t the only way that we ensure a healthy kitchen. It’s time we look at the cleaners in our kitchen as well. I think it pretty much goes without saying that many of our kitchen cleaners are less than ideal. I was recently at a house where no food was allowed to touch the counters because they were cleaned with a typical kitchen cleaner that they considered toxic.

It need not be!

What I have been using in my kitchen have worked just as well, or better, than most store bought cleaners. They are non-toxic, and I save a lot of money by using them instead. Although, in my recent posts about buying quality butter, I encouraged you to consider your family’s health and not entirely focus on price, high prices and good health don’t always go hand in hand. In fact, the way I make room in my budget for good butter and such is by choosing to make my own cleaning products and making other small choices like that.

And, of course, the biggest advantage is that these cleaners are so much more safer to use in your kitchen.

This is what I use in my kitchen

Homemade Dishwasher detergent
I have loved how this works. It has been getting my dished quite clean, and is so simple to use.

Combine equal amounts of baking soda and borax. Use two tablespoons per load. You can also use a tablespoon of vinegar in the closed apartment in the dishwasher, for the rinsing cycle.

Homemade Disinfectant Kitchen Spray-an easy and effective disinfectant

In one spray bottle, put straight white vinegar. In another bottle (I use red, colored bottle, to maintain it’s effectiveness by keeping sunlight out), put 3 % hydrogen peroxide. Spray one after the other on desired surface. Leave several minutes and wipe clean. This is an extremely effective disinfectant, read below for more info.

This quote was found here.

“By itself, vinegar is not a disinfectant, but when used with hydrogen peroxide, it kills bacteria more effectively than any commercial cleaner. Susan Sumner, a food scientist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI) in Blacksburg, Virginia, published the following formula in Science News. Purchase a bottle of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and a bottle of plain white or apple cider vinegar. Pour each liquid into its own spray bottle. Spritz the item to be disinfected with both the vinegar and the hydrogen peroxide, then rinse with water. Using one mist right after the other is ten times more effective than usually spray by itself and more effective than mixing the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in one spray bottle. Tests at VPI found the two sprays used together killed virtually all Salmonella, Shigella, or E. coli bacteria on heavily contaminated food and surfaces; this spray combination is more effective than chlorine bleach. It doesn’t matter if you spray with the vinegar first, then the hydrogen peroxide, or vice versa. There is no lingering taste of vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, and neither is toxic if any reside remains. This combination works exceptionally well for sanitizing counters and other food preparation surfaces, including wood cutting boards.” Natural Home magazine, Jan 2002

Simple Sink Cleaner

I put baking soda in a little glass Parmesan shaker, and keep it by my sink. When I need to use it, it’s easy to sprinkle some in and scrub away. This has worked really well for me.

Other products I use:

For my hand washing detergent, I use biokleen’s dishwash liquid. It is very concentrated so it goes a long way. It’s easy on the hands, non-toxic and biodegradable.

I also keep a bottle of their all purpose cleaner . in my kitchen and bathrooms. It has lasted me a very long time! You only use a few tablespoon to make a whole gallon of cleaner! A very concentrated, non-toxic cleaner that I love!

And that’s all I use. Simple, frugal, non-toxic, and effective! What more can you ask for?

Anyone else want to share their favorite, non-toxic kitchen cleaners?

This post if part of Frugal Friday.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home says

    Gosh, those products look so familiar to me! 🙂

    I love the parmesan shaker idea- what a easy way to store a scrub powder (I use Tammy’s Recipes for my homemade scouring- it’s just salt, baking soda and borax).

    I haven’t done the dishwasher powder myself yet, as I’m still going through a bunch of natural stuff that I had bought, but I’m glad to hear of another person that it works for! Thanks!

  2. Mrs. Amy Brigham says

    Great tips! Here are some of my “recipes” if you might be interested: green cleaning aids and natural laundering & clothing care :o)

    In fact, the way I make room in my budget for good butter and such is by choosing to make my own cleaning products and making other small choices like that.
    hehe, this is why I began making my own cleaning products too. I joke that we cut out television, have only one car, use cloth diapers/napkins/towels/etc and many more things solely so we can purchase organic & gluten-free foods. 😛

  3. Watercolor says

    I like the Method brand and the Seventh Generation brand of products. I can get both at Target. Both are non-toxic. I really like the Method brand best.

  4. Alison @ Pennythoughts says

    Wow, I love that tip on using vinegar and hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant. I’m going to put that into use right away. I currently use borax in my all-purpose cleaner as a disinfecting agent, but I like this idea even better.

    I, too, use the borax/washing with vinegar combo in my dishwasher. Unfortunately, after the first week or two, it started leaving a white film on all my dishes. This happened to my mother-in-law too. I don’t know why. We continue to put up with it, but my MIL decided to go back to a commercial product. I really need to figure out to make the film go away or just switch to a product. Our dishes, while clean, don’t appeal much to guests! 😉

    How long have you been using the borax/washing soda? Do you have any film issues?

    • Judy says

      Borax is a water softener, not a cleaning agent by itself. It helps detergents to work better. You need a surfactant like dish soap to break the surface tension of grease, water etc. That will remove the residue you are getting on your dishes. A lot depends on the hardness (mineral content) of your water.

      Combining hydrogen peroxide and vinegar creates peracetic acid. Like chlorine bleach, it is a irritant and can be toxic in high concentrations and prolonged exposure, However, the stuff consumers buy in the brown bottles is only 3% concentration. It is not as effective at killing micro-organisms as chlorine bleach. Adding vinegar boosts the disinfecting capabilities of both ingredients.

  5. Kimi Harris says

    I have only had that problem with one item… But I was wondering if you put vinegar in the rinse cycle thing, whether that would solve your problem. I think it’s supposed to help with that. Have you tried that before?

  6. Alison @ Pennythoughts says

    Yes, I do use vinegar in my rinse cycle dispenser, and it doesn’t seem to solve the problem. Of course, there’s always the possibility that the rinse cycle dispenser isn’t working properly. The dishwasher is 13 years old, so it’s probably not at peak performance. Who knows? I guess I’ll have to get a new dishwasher to find out for sure. Then again, since the stove/range seems like a more urgent replacement, the dishwasher may have to wait! I do find it encouraging, though, that you don’t have the film problem. That makes me think it probably is the dispenser.

  7. sarena says

    While I have been buying non toxic cleaners for a long time, I am learning more from my daughter who recently had a baby and is cloth diapering. Have you heard of soap nuts?? She swears by them and uses them for all her laundry now!!

  8. Carolyn says

    This is such a helpful post! I’m thrilled with the vinegar/peroxide disinfectant. I just cleaned the tube and nozzle from an old, empty spray bottle, trimmed the bottom off the tube and screwed it onto my hydrogen peroxide bottle. It’s compact, fits perfectly and I didn’t have to hunt down and buy an opaque bottle. Vinegar spray is already a staple of mine.

  9. Anonymous says

    Sometimes you can find hydrogen peroxide already in a spray bottle if you look in the first aid section of your local Walmart (or drugstore, etc.).

  10. Julie says

    with the dishwashing detergent: I’ve also had the same “white film” problem. My water is “hard” so I wonder if that’s the culprit? I would like to use the natural version, but I don’t like the white film on my glasses more. One blog I read said you could add some citric acid to the mix to reduce the film- but they didn’t say how much and it can be expensive.

    BTW, I linked to your blog in a post today. Thanks for all your super information.

  11. Gia says

    The borax/soda left my dishes and glasses filmy too. I think it is the water. I have extremely hard water (straight from the well). Biokleen also makes a automatic dishwasher powder and it works well. In fact I can get away with using a little less then recommened and so it lasts even longer.

  12. Jean says

    I have hard water too. I fill a coffee cup 1/2-3/4 full of the white vinegar & place it in the center of the bottom rack of the dishwasher when the rinse cycle starts (or when I catch it). No film. It may take a couple of washes if the film has built up. Now I only use the vinegar maybe every other day or so. When I first started, I used it during every rinse. Try it & see if it helps.

  13. Judy Redmon says

    I was checking to see if it is safe to mix hp & vinigar, HA! HA!. The joke is on me, but I was thrilled to happen onto this site. Wal-Mart now has a clorine-free bleach, which is actually hydrogen peroxide, when you read the ingredients & is even less expensive than the hp you get in the pharmacy. Also, I wondered if for the film some are having with the dishwasher cleaning w/bs & Borax, I wondered if the addition of some lemon juice to the mixture may eliminate this problem?? Don’t know, just wondering. I’d like to hear if anyone tries it.

  14. Michelle says

    Hi, I realise that this is an old post, but I chanced upon it (and wonder whether I’ll get a reply..) I recently wanted to clean the corks on some bottles my m-i-l passed to me. I goggled and found the solution to my problem: boiling water and 1/4cup hydrogen peroxide. As I have never used HP in my life (except maybe in chem lab), I was wondering whether it’s a safe way to do it (read:”edible”), since I hope to use the bottles for herbs and spices. Hope someone can enlighten me on this. I read above that you can use it in combination with vinegar to disinfect even cutting boards, so I guess it must be safe, and still I leave this question behind, hoping that someone with more knowledge can enlighten me. Thanks!

  15. The Big AK says

    I know that HP is safe in the concentrate they sell at the drug store, you can even use it to gargle. The stuff they use in industry (and perhaps in chem labs) is “safe” as far as it’s not a chemical, but very concentrated and can burn you. So as long as it is the stuff that a ‘normal person’ would buy you can use it on any food surface and even use it to whiten your teeth!

  16. Debi says

    I also use the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide method to clean. However I’ve read that you need to wipe between applying them as combining them creates gases that are toxic (which is why you store them in different bottles). So I wouldn’t spray both at the same time. Saying “Using one mist right after the other” definitely makes it sound like you’re putting them both on the surface at the same time, just from different bottles; but I would emphasis that this should include wiping the surface down between the two applications to avoid the gas production.

  17. Adjoran says

    You should never add vinegar to anything containing chlorine beach or ammonia, that will produce toxic gases. You may add it to peroxide without fear – the study found separate application was the most effective for disinfecting, there was no safety concern. I mix vinegar and peroxide and use it on mildew, it works great for that and general cleaning.

  18. says

    I just read an article relating to the recent listeria outbreak in the cantaloupes and one man commented that he rinsed his fruits and veg off with this peroxide and vinegar method. I’d never heard of this before and starting searching Google when I found this post.
    I’ve been switching over my cleaners and methods over to friendlier ones and love your kitchen tips! Thanks. 🙂

  19. Jodie says

    Debi that is not true. You CAN mix/combine vinegar and peroxide. You can even combine them in the same bottle (although proven not nearly as effective as a disinfectant). The long term storage just cancels out the disinfectant properties. Not sure where you read that it’s toxic… but it most definitely isn’t. To the other readers out there… the original post was correct. Spray the area with either vinegar or peroxide… it doesn’t matter which first. Then immediately spray with the other. DO NOT WIPE IN BETWEEN SPRAYS!!!! That is just pointless. It can be used on fruits and veggies. Perfectly safe to use around powers (cages.. bird cages.. mist dog beds even). Also… I buy the large size of peroxide for a dollar at Dollar General and unscrew the cap and put my own trigger sprayer on there so it can be stored in the original brown bottle!!!

    • Pam says

      I buy the large size bottles of HP also. I have been looking for a sprayer that I can use on the bottle with no success. Where can I find one the right size for that bottle? I would really appreciate some info. Thank You!

  20. Jodie says

    That is supposed to say “pets”… not “powers”. Not easy typing that much using a touch screen phone!!!

  21. victoria says

    Im so thankful I ran across this! I too was checking to see if its safe to mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. Thanks for the tip. Im trying to go to all natural body and home products. Google is great. 🙂

  22. Melissa says

    I found this post on Pinterest recently and have been looking everywhere for a light filtering bottle. I had to share that I found peroxide sold in a spray bottle today at Walmart. I was a little irked that I’ve been searching for weeks and the answer was just next to where I bought my supplies, so thought I’d save anyone else the hassle 🙂

  23. Earth Hippy says

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!never mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar together in one container. The resulting chemical, peracetic acid, can harm you when mixed together this way if you accidentally create a strong concentration in this fashion. Peracetic acid also has entirely different characteristics and properties than either hydrogen peroxide or vinegar. Additionally, we don’t know if peracetic acid kills the same group of pathogenic food-borne bacteria when used this way as a spray – it very well may not. It is strong enough to dissolve lead in my guns. you can use one after the other, but dont try mixing the 2.

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