Safe, Non-toxic Cleaning With a Clean Conscience

The best things in life are simple and household cleaning is no different.  We appear to have complicated things with specific cleaners for the toilet, glass, showers, baths, floors, sinks and stain removal.

Fortunately there is a non-toxic solution which is kind on the environment too.
Every smart woman’s cleaning repertoire needs; baking soda, castile soap and vinegar.  These ingredients have qualities that make cleaning and freshening your home easy, safe and non-toxic.

Baking soda

Is great for deodorizing.  Put a little in your fridge to remove smells.  Place some in a pretty dish in your bathroom with a drop of essential oil to give a pleasant smell. Even sprinkle a little baking soda into your running shoes if particularly stinky.
I make a paste of baking soda and castile soap.  To make use 150 grams of baking soda to 50 millilitres of castile soap. Mix and keep in a plastic pot with a little plastic spoon.
This ‘all-purpose paste’ is superb for removing cooking debris from pans.  It really is as simple as: put a teaspoon into your baking dish, add hot water and wait for a clean dish to emerge in about an hour. You obviously need to scrub too!
Stained coffee mugs can be miraculously transformed into ‘like new’ mugs with a teaspoon of baking soda and warm water. Scrub with a cloth and leave for an hour.
I also use this baking soda paste for cleaning the oven.  Cleaning really need not be toxic.  Be creative, use baking soda and see how you go- I’m sure you’ll come up with lots of ingenious uses for this inexpensive ingredient.


Most vinegars commonly available are about 5 per cent acetic acid.  Vinegar is thought to kill bacteria and mold.  Vinegar is certainly better than antibacterial sprays which contain triclosan.
Vinegar is superb for descaling a kettle, simply pour a cup of white vinegar and fill the kettle with water.  Boil.  Leave to cool.  Boil three more full kettles of water and discard.  Trust me on this one!
Cleaning windows is easy with vinegar Simply use an old newspaper with a few sprays of vinegar.  Vinegar is brilliant at cleaning stainless steel too.  Be cautious and avoid using vinegar on marble work surfaces, it is a relationship that doesn’t end well.  Trust me on this!
Initially I was hugely skeptical about all these truly simple ways to clean and shine your home.  “That can’t be effective or everyone would be using it” I thought.  I got over that, obviously and have been using these techniques in my house for over eight years.  I have definitely saved money as well as appeasing my environmental conscience.   What I use in my house gets washed down the drain and just as something is on the shelf in a shop doesn’t mean it is wise to buy it!
There are benefits for your overall wellness too.  Many conventional cleaners contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  VOCs are gases given off by some cleaners, personal care products and paints amongst other things.  That is why part of your daily cleaning needs to involve opening windows.  That creates air circulation which is better than a spray can any day!

Castile soap

Is great for cleaning baths, showers and sinks.  A tiny bit creates a lot of suds so less is more on this one, unless you wish to look like the bubble monster!
I use castile soap with baking soda most commonly, I find it is superb at giving a good shine on the sinks, baths and the oven.
I could come up with all manner of elaborate recipes but truthfully you don’t need them.  To clean your home safely and simply these three ingredients are all you need with a little imagination and a desire for a nice sparkly, clean home!

Joanna Runciman writes for and a non-toxic newspaper column in British Columbia. her first book The Radiant Woman’s Handbook is published in late July and will be available on Kindle, Amazon and in all good bookshops.

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  1. This is a great article. I recently watched a documentary about a family that threw out their toxic chemicals and used safe non-toxic cleaners like these you mention. It is a great journey to being more green. We love your blog and couldn’t find you on facebook. Thank you.

  2. Thanks, Loriel! The tips in your great article helped me a lot, since I’ve always been struggling when I had to clean my oven. I’m sure I won’t be the only one that found those tips useful. 🙂

  3. Baking soda FTW! :)) It’s amazing how cheap and useful it is. Thanks for the great article I really enjoyed reading and will recommend it to all my friends <3
    ~ Harmondsworth Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

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