When you go to the store are you overwhelmed by all the different products available? There are 20 different options for toilet bowl cleaner alone and the toilet is just one of the dozens of things you need to clean in your house. It’s not hard to get decision fatigue just thinking about stocking up to clean your house. Not to mention the price tag that grows with each product added.
You’re interested in using more natural products around your house, but that barely narrows down the choices and often ups the price. How are you supposed to pick? Do you sacrifice price for safety? Or maybe safety for effectiveness? Or effectiveness for price?
I say, don’t choose. It’s possible to find products that fit into all three categories: cheaper, better and safer. I like to think of this at the Ultimate Trifecta. I’m always on the lookout for things that fit into the Ultimate Trifecta.
Who doesn’t want to save money! I’ve worked to simplify my cleaning routine and just reducing the number of products you use cuts down the cost drastically. I literally use one cleaning spray for pretty much everything. More on that another day.
Of course, you want a product that works well. What’s the point if it doesn’t do its job! My criteria is it has to work at least as good, if not better than what I was using before. I also try to avoid single-use products in my life- whether it’s a cleaning product or a kitchen utensil. The more it does the better!
Safer for who? For the humans in my household, the pets, and the environment. I kind of like my body and having a nice world to live in, so I try and do my small part to keep them both running well. I am a scientist, so I don’t think all chemicals are evil, but there’s a time and a place for everything.
Okay, so now that you know what to look for, what products actually fit that bill? I’ve discovered some through trial and error and experimentation. I’m a big fan of making my own cleaning products when I can. My absolute favorite cleaning product: Distilled White Vinegar
Why Vinegar is the Ultimate Trifecta product
Cheap: I get 2 gallons for $3 at Costco
Better: It’s multipurpose, it doesn’t leave a residue, it’s an odor eater and it fights hard water
Safer: You can literally drink vinegar. I don’t recommend it in large quantities, but I think that qualifies as safe
My favorite way to use vinegar is in my multipurpose cleaning spray. I use it to clean almost everything. Take note, it’s super complicated:
1:1 Vinegar and water
Yup, that’s it. It’s so cheap to make that I keep a spray bottle in my kitchen and one under each bathroom sink.
Though I’m not entirely convinced of the effectiveness of essential oils (I want to see scientific papers that aren’t funded by essential oil companies, until then I take their supposed uses with a grain of salt), I do add some peppermint and tea tree oils to my kitchen spray and eucalyptus and tea tree to my bathroom sprays. If nothing else, it adds a nice scent.
- Kitchen counters
- Tile floors
- Bathroom counters
- Odor eater for stinky rooms or garbage cans
- Anything that needs a cleaning spray!
I also use straight vinegar in place of dishwashing detergent. I live in an area with hard water, and detergent just left my dishes scummy. Rather than spending more to add a rinse aid to the mix, I started washing my dishes on the “high heat” cycle with just vinegar. It works beautifully and saves me even more money!
Vinegar is also effective against existing hard water build up. I’ll soak my faucets and shower heads with vinegar when they start slowing down. Adding a cup of vinegar to toilet bowls overnight eliminates ugly rings that attract crud. It doesn’t get easier than that!
You can harness vinegar’s awesome power in your laundry too! Have some stinky clothes? Add vinegar. Is there build up on your sheets? Add vinegar! I just learned that vinegar can help whiten your clothes and stop lint and pet hair from clinging when it’s added to the final rinse cycle. I need to try that one.
More Sanitizing Power
I’ve always been happy with the cleaning power of vinegar, but if you want something a little more sanitizing, hydrogen peroxide is a good option. It’s not quite as safe as vinegar, but it kills more germs.
Just be aware that peroxide degrades from the sun, so if you want to put it in a spray bottle, I recommend one that’s dark colored to block light from penetrating. But the degradation also means you don’t have to worry about it lingering for long after you use it. It’s even safe to use to sanitize your cutting boards.
How are you feeling about cleaning products now? A little less overwhelmed? I hope so! You can clean your house safely and effectively without it costing an arm and a leg. Just grab a jug of vinegar and some spray bottles and you’re good to go! Cheaper, better and safer, the Ultimate Trifecta.