_I had a wee run in with some bleach fumes a couple of days ago. The bleach won that particular battle but I, fortunately, won the war...I hope.

Without going into a ton of detail, due to no fault of my own I unintentionally inhaled bleach fumes because of someone washing a floor nearby with a strong concentration of bleach and water. A lot of bleach fumes. Enough fumes to make me feel "loopy" - that being a technical term. It left me with an allergic reaction that lasted for a few days and believe me I felt and looked crappy. I was actually concerned there for a while. I was wheezing and sneezing so much and my lungs and throat hurt that I was afraid it might affect my singing voice. It's only been a couple of days but my body has done its work and has started to rid me of the toxins I inhaled. We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made and I am trusting that everything is going to be OK.

I was looking online for some details on bleach, in particular inhaling it's fumes and came across the following -

Exposure to High Concentrations of Bleach can result in eyes burning, nose irritation and coughing. Exposure to extremely high levels of bleach, such as 500 ppm (a concentration significantly greater than household bleach), could result in respiratory damage, chronic bronchitis and airway hyperactivity. In some cases, death can occur. Always wear the appropriate equipment and protective masks when working near high concentrations of bleach. According to the Hazardous Substance Emergency Events Surveillance, a report published by the state of Maine, you should always report any symptoms that may occur, including coughing, nausea, shortness of breath, watery eyes, chest pain, irritation to the throat, nose and eyes, and wheezing.

Interestingly enough all of the underlined symptoms were my particular symptoms over the last couple of days.

Today, once I was feeling a bit more human I Googled some more, in between bouts of playing online Scrabble - SIDELINE NOTE: NEVER PLAY SCRABBLE WITH A DOCTOR - THEY KNOW MORE WORDS - and I came across this site. The Hidden Dangers of Cleaning Products. This is a worthwhile and quick read. Obviously the writer has read my prior blog posts., although he's not nearly as funny as me. As a matter of fact I'm sure he wears very sensible glasses. But, is this not what I have been preaching these past few months?

There is a better way. A cleaner, less toxic way to do things. One that doesn't leave you wheezing. One that you don't need to make sure the doors and windows are open for proper ventilation. I should say I do have bleach in the house. I use it maybe twice a year and in really low concentrations. For the most part I use vinegar and baking soda. I should buy stock.

Vinegar is a natural disinfectant. Straight 5 percent solution of vinegar—the kind you can buy in the supermarket—kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of germs (viruses).  You can drink straight vinegar - I don't recommend it, but you could. You can't drink straight chlorine bleach. Isn't that proof enough?

If people really thought about what they were spraying about their houses, mopping their floors with, washing their dishes, counters and bathrooms with, they would stop dead in their tracks. Please stop dead in your tracks and think before you drop dead in your tracks for good.

This Mama's Floor Cleaner

1 Cup Vinegar
1/4 Cup Baking or Washing Soda
1 Tbsp Liquid Dish Soap
Hot Water

Mop as usual. It's Clean. It's Fresh. It's Easy. It's Cheap. AND it works. No toxins.

So this is the final installment in my cleaning arsenal. My Funky De-Gunky. I don't use this all the time, but I wouldn't be without it. It is awesome! It's chemical counterpart would be like Fantastik (not the musical - the cleaner). The only thing is that it requires rinsing, which I have stated earlier I only do if I have to. I am typically lazy remember? This spray is great in my old stainless steel sink. Whenever I use it I think "Wow! This stuff is awesome!". If you want to whiten something and make it gleam, this is the stuff. It cuts through grease like nobody's business. (What does nobody's business even mean?) Anyways, I use it on my fridge, my sink, walls, stainless steel appliances and the list goes on and on. But it doesn't contain vinegar so no disinfecting that I'm aware of and it requires rinsing. Sho is awesome tho.

Funky De-Gunky

1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2    tsp Borax
1/2 tsp Liquid dish soap
2 Cups Hot Water
1         Spray Bottle (Find them at the Dollar Store)

Mix 'em up in the Spray bottle. Put on some funk and get rid of de-gunk.

So that's it. You can basically clean your entire house with the following ingredients.

Vinegar (I use the vinegar especially for cleaning, but regular white vinegar is fine)
Baking Soda (more uses than you can fathom)
Liquid Dish Soap (I use a natural one - but any will do)
Olive Oil
Several Spray Bottles (I buy mine at the Dollar Store)
Microfiber cloths (I got mine from Wal-mart in the car wash section)
Squeegee (for outside windows)

It's easy. You'll feel good about getting the chemicals out of your house and being good to your family. And THEY WORK as good and in some cases BETTER than their chemical laden and expensive counterparts! Your house will be clean, gleaming and most of all chemical free. No need for gloves. No need for paper towels. You may need  a new piggy bank to put in all the money you'll save. You may even find over time you have less headaches - even less migraines. I promise you won't turn into a hippy. You'll still be you only cleaner, naturally.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!


I hate cleaning bathrooms. I'm sure I'm not alone. And I have to say this one worried me a bit. I mean, you have to disinfect. There's soap scum to deal with. Toilets. Blech. I have been doing this routine for years and it works like a charm.

Scrubby Tubby

Baking Soda
Dish Soap
Tupperware or Gladware with lid
Sponge (one side scrubby)

Miracle All Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner - (See "All Purpose Cleaning")
Microfiber cloths

Pour some baking soda in the container. Now here's the tricky part. Pour just enough dish soap in the container to make a paste. You can even use your finger to mix it together cause there is nothing in the container that is going to hurt you. It's kid like fun. You can finger paint with it if you like. No one will know.

The TUB AND SHOWER - This one's is pretty easy. Wet the sponge and squeeze out the excess liquid. Dip the clean sponge into the container of Scrubby Tubby and take out a small amount. Scrub your tub. If there is some tough soap scum use the scrubby side of the sponge. Most of the time it's not necessary. To disinfect you can give it a spray with your Miracle All Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner (See All Purpose Cleaning). Turn on the water and give it a rinse. If you want to polish pull out your microfiber cloth and polish everything dry. Sparkly clean bath and shower.

The TOILET - Inside of the toilet I use a little bit of the scrubby tubby and the toilet brush. You can pour some straight vinegar in there too if you like. I usually just give it a spray with the Vinegar cleaner. The rest of the toilet, you guessed it the Miracle All Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Just make sure that this is the last thing that you do with that particular cloth and the off to the laundry it goes.

THE COUNTERS AND SINK - For the counters and mirrors I use the Miracle All Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner (See "Do You Love Salt 'n Vinegar Chips?" in All Purpose Cleaning for recipe) and the microfiber cloth. If the sink or counter has dried on icky stuff, you can use the Scrubby Tubby on it too. I just hate rinsing, so I only use it on the tub and shower, unless I absolutely have to.

One more thing you might want to try. Do you like those Clorox wipes? I have a cheaper and chemical free method.

Daily Bathroom Cleaning

Miracle All Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner
Coffee Filters
Tupperware or Gladware

Put a few coffee filters flattened out in the container.
Pour some Miracle All Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner over the top until they are thoroughly soaked.

For daily cleaning - open the container, grab a coffee filter and give your bathroom a quick wipe. It works great. If you want to polish anything, grab a microfiber cloth and polish away.


Well, not really, but sort of.

When I'm running about cleaning and polishing my humble abode, I carry a few things with me. My All Natural Disinfectant Vinegar Cleanser, a few microfiber cloths and my oil sprayer.

Ok, the oil sprayer. This isn't a food blog, but have you ever read the contents of Pam? Go look in your cupboard and read the ingredients. Go ahead. I'll wait. .... Can you believe that you are putting that into your body? Propellants isobutane and propane .... yummy... ummm ... no thank you. I bought an oil sprayer, filled it with Olive Oil and it is now part of my arsenal.

What you need:

Miracle All Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner (See All Purpose Cleaning for recipe)
Oil Sprayer filled with Olive Oil (or a bottle of oil)
Microfiber cloths

How to do it:

Make Salad Dressing. Spray the table with a light spray of vinegar. ( I use the same cloth I have been cleaning the counters and glass with), then spray with a light spray of the oil. (That's where the salad dressing comes in)
Give it a wipe with the microfiber cloth. Polish with another clean microfiber cloth. After a while the first wet cloth has absorbed enough of the oil that you can just wipe down the rest of your furniture. Play it by ear. You'll know what works and what doesn't.

What you get? A clean, shiny piece of furniture. What's in it? You know what's in it. If you threw some lettuce on your table you could have called it lunch. Its safe. No chemicals. And it's very effective. Why would you want to use anything else?

Just a note, you can used something other than the Vinegar cleanser. Lemon juice is a good alternative. I just like to keep things simple and use only a few items. It makes things easier for me. Plus, it's cheaper ... unless you have a lemon tree out back.

When I was a kid there was a lady who cleaned the church bathroom. Sister Redekop was very diligent in her work. She also had severe body odor and hairy armpits. Actually, she was generally hairy, at least the parts of her that were visible and I dared to look at. She also used vinegar to clean the bathrooms. For years the smell of vinegar reminded me of body odor and Sister Redekop. And still...

Miracle All Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner

1/4-1/2 Cup Vinegar (I use the type specifically for cleaning - balsamic is not recommended)
1/2 tsp. Liquid Dish Soap
2    Cups Water

Put it all in a spray bottle. (I got mine at the Dollar Store)

1 Package of lint free microfiber cloths (I got mine at Wal-mart)

You can clean so much of your house with this product it's nuts. I sound like the father from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" with the Windex. But it's true. This stuff is great!

Use on:
  • Glass Tables
  • Mirrors
  • Stainless Steel Appliances
  • Counter Tops
  • Bathroom Counters and Sinks
  • Furniture (but I'll talk about that later)
  • Windows (use a squeegee)
  • Floors (depending on type of floor) I use a damp mop method.
  • Walls and more ...
Some examples ...

I have glass tables in the living room. Spray it on, wipe with the cloth. Flip the cloth over to dry, and you're done.

Windows are a snap. Get a squeegee and you'll have a big job done in no time. Spray the window with your miracle cleanser. Give them a wipe with one your handy dandy micro fibre cloths. Then squeegee away. Streak free shine.

Bathroom - Spray it on the counters and sinks. Leave it on for a bit. (I clean the mirrors while it sits) and then wipe. Sparkly clean.

The value ...

This cleaner is cheap like borscht. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant. It works! And, if you imagine you're eating salt and vinegar chips while your cleaning it's rather fun and filling. The thing is, you know what is going on your surfaces. It's vinegar and some soap. You can drink vinegar (I don't recommend it unless its on a salad) and you can eat soap (unless you said bad words I don't recommend that either). The thing is it won't hurt you, but it cleans like a trooper and gets rid of the germs. It's good stuff. Try it. You'll get use to the smell. Remember Sister Redekop? If I can do it, so can you.