I’m fairly certain that my mother will love me slightly less after reading this, but one clear childhood memory of mine is the sound and smell of Lysol constantly being sprayed in our home. I’m one of four children and whenever one of us was sick (which was all the time) you could hear her spraying all the phones and doorknobs in the house with Lysol. You could pick up a phone a day later and it still reeked of that hospital antiseptic chemical smell and burned your nose as you breathed it in.
In her defense and because I would like to be invited to Thanksgiving dinner this year, it was the 80’s and most people just didn’t know any better. Today, the thought of spraying stuff like that in my home is almost inconceivable. Yes, times have definitely changed! Especially if you’re wise paranoid about the implications of exposing children to unnecessary toxins like I am.
A few years back, a friend introduced me to cleaning with vinegar and I’m surprised how many people don’t know that it’s a great safe, chemical-free alternative to traditional cleaning products that kills 99% of bacteria and is far more economical than purchasing the “green” cleaning you find on the shelves in big box stores.
I have a homemade cleaner I make using Heinz Cleaning Vinegar that I actually prefer to one of the Method products, which are usually my default eco-friendly cleaning solutions. What I like about using my own is that you know exactly what you are putting into that bottle that you are about to spray all over your child’s favorite toys
What I didn’t like about it and quickly learned to fix was the very identifiable odor of vinegar. Lemon peels and rosemary are two great potent and clean smelling things you can use to neutralize the smell of the vinegar. If you’ve got a little one at home and want your toys and play surfaces clean then I’ll show you how I do it here.
I picked up the short list of essentials like a clean empty spray bottle – NOT one that has been used with other cleaning products, some Heinz Cleaning Vinegar which is extra concentrated and especially for cleaning, baking soda and some re-usable cleaning rags.
Back at home I called up my amazing next door neighbor who is like another mother to me and asked to raid her herb garden and lemon tree. Then I mixed up my solution using the Heinz cleaning vinegar. It’s about 20% stronger than regular vinegar so you can either dilute it like I did with 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water for cleaning kids toys or use it full strength to tackle tougher messes like stained bathroom tiles or ovens. I let the solution sit for about a day and half to infuse the vinegar and then went to work.
You might not have been able to see it but that piggy also had a nice sticker put over his left eye. Does your child like to put stickers where they don’t belong? Like all over your furniture? If so, we should probably hang out.
Kayla is famous for operating like a stealth ninja and sticking them everywhere when I take 2 minutes to do things like load the dishwasher. Sometimes they leave sticky nasty residue and then I get to try to scrape them off with my fingers. Just a couple sprays of the vinegar cleaning solution, let it sit for 3-5 minutes and they peel right off. Plus, I get my toy cabinets cleaned as a bonus.
Do you have mystery stains on your carpet or rugs? Between Kayla and our dog we have more than I’d like to admit. Kayla’s carpet in her bedroom was getting so bad I was thinking we’d need to replace it in the next year or so. I had tried a rug cleaner on it several times and it could not get these stains out. I was skeptical but decided to see if I could get these ancient stains out with the vinegar mixture and some baking soda.
I just sprayed down the stains with a thorough dousing, sprinkled on some baking soda and let it sit for maybe 3 minutes. Then I agitated it with an old toothbrush and let it dry. I was actually amazed at how well it worked. And now I will definitely NOT be replacing that carpet any time soon! Not bad for about $4 worth of ingredients and a little elbow grease. Plus I love that I’m not using chemicals on this carpet where my child will definitely be rolling around playing on a regular basis.