How to Make Spring Cleaning EASY AND FUN! Part II: The Kitchen and Bathroom
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Spring cleaning time is here! After a winter of being closed up and heated with a woodstove, my house is musty and dusty. Time to throw open the windows, blast some tunes, and get to work getting it back into tiptop condition.
Two weeks ago, we set about PRE-CLEANING. We decluttered, sorted, and organized in preparation for room-by-room deep cleaning. It feels good, doesn’t it? A clutter-free home is a calming home.
But now it’s time to really get down to business. This week we tackle the kitchen and the bathroom. I tested 4 environmentally friendly cleaners in both rooms and I’ll share with you how they performed.
Before I dive in, I want to introduce our panel of environmentally friendly cleaners. I have a goal this year to simplify and that includes my household cleaners. I wanted to find a single all-purpose cleaner that could tackle any number of jobs around the house. I decided that the criteria would be that the cleaner is multipurpose, cleans well, smells good, can naturally disinfect, and is environmentally friendly.
I did a search online for “best environmentally friendly cleaners” and came up with a lot of them. But as I went from blog to blog and website to website, I began to see that some of them made frequent appearances on “best of” lists. I chose 4 of them (I did not choose Mrs. Meyers because I once had a bottle of basil hand soap that caused a mild anaphylactic reaction in Welly, who has macadamia and brazil nut allergies) and ordered them from Amazon. In two days, they all arrived.
Here they are, in no particular order:
- Biokleen – Grapefruit seed and orange essence (to me this had no fragrance at all–it just smelled of fresh air). “One of the safest, most versatile cleaners on the market. Our neutral pH formula is gentle to all water safe surfaces, non-irritating, non-flammable, and non-corrosive. Cuts through tough dirt, grease, stains and odors without harsh or annoying fumes.” $11.35/32 oz spray bottle, $14.99 for 64 oz concentrate that makes 64 oz
- Good Natured – Lavender and Eucalyptus (to me the lavender is the stand-out fragrance). “The unique and effective blend of plant-based soaps with the anti-bacterial qualities of essential oils will freshen and clean your home completely worry-free while leaving a pleasant natural lemon scent. Our eco-friendly biodegradable formula contains zero petroleum-based detergents and no artificial fragrances.” $10.99/16 oz spray bottle (lavender currently unavailable so I linked to Lemon Love)
- grab green – Tangerine and Lemongrass (to me this cleaner smelled like… cleaner. I didn’t smell tangerine or lemongrass). “Meet your new “go-to” cleaner. Our green all-purpose cleaner cuts through dirt, grease and grime using the power of plants and minerals. Perfect for families who want all the effectiveness of conventional cleaners with none of the nasty chemicals.” $15.04 for three 16 oz bottles
- puracy – Green Tea and Lime (to me this smelled like a light incense–this was my favorite in terms of fragrance). “Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner Concentrate is a non-toxic, effective, and versatile cleanser made from plants, water, and a hint of real green tea & lime. This is a true all-purpose, every-surface cleaner; effective enough to clean a bathroom, safe enough to clean a high chair, and pure enough to clean glass. This contains no SLS, SLES, petrochemicals, chlorine, phosphates, animal by-products, dyes, allergens, ammonia, or caustics.” $14.99/16 oz bottle of concentrate that will make 1 gallon (128 oz)
They say the kitchen is the heart of the home and I don’t think that could be more accurate. We spend so much of our time in there and it gets used a lot. We cook everything from scratch so that kitchen gets a lot of love. And by the end of a long winter, it definitely looks well-used. Time for a tune up!
Butcher block counter tops
We have all maple butcher block countertops, which we love. We love that they looked marred and used. But they do require different care. They have to be cleaned with a disinfectant that is safe in the presence of food. We also oil and wax them periodically, particularly in the two or three areas where we do most of our chopping. All of the cleaners I tested did a fantastic job of cleaning the butcher block, particularly along the edges, which get pretty grubby from hands and being leaned on.
Our appliances are stainless steel. Anyone with stainless steel appliances will know how they show finger prints, water drips, streaks, etc. All of the cleaners cleaned the appliances well, left streaks–some more than others.
The cabinets in our kitchen are white painted so the trick is to find a cleaner that is gentle enough not to pull the paint off, but powerful enough to get grubby fingerprints and cooking grime off them. Good Natured and puracy both were the clear winners here. They easily lifted the grime without lifting the paint. The other two cleaners were both very gentle on the paint but had trouble removing the grime.
In the middle of our island we have a slab of granite that I wanted specifically for working with pastry. All four cleaners cleaned the granite like champs but only Biokleen and puracy didn’t leave streaks.
I didn’t specifically test the cleaners against each on the walls, but walls are certainly on my spring cleaning list. I happened to have the puracy in my hand when I got to that item on my list so I used it on the matte finish paint. It did a fantastic job without lifting any of the color.
I’m kind of OCD about keeping the bathroom clean so there wasn’t a lot to do in there. Here’s the scoop on how our all-purpose cleaners performed in that room.
Tile and Porcelain
I started with the white tile tub surround. The Biokleen cleaned very well and left no streaks, while the others cleaned very well but left a little streaking behind. The results were the same on the porcelain of the toilet bowl and tank and the plastic toilet lid. When cleaning the toilet, I felt especially good about the antimicrobial nature of the cleaners that had essential oils in them. Lavender and eucalyptus are especially antimicrobial, as are lemongrass and citrus oils.
Tub and Shower
Here was the true test. I let the shower go an extra week without cleaning it so I could get a real good sense of how well these cleaners perform. We have well water, which means very hard water that leaves minerals on the fixtures and the glass shower door. The minerals even build up on the plastic of the shower stall if I let it go too long.
I use a microfiber cloth to clean the tub, shower, and sink. When I tried the cleaners on the shower door, I could see immediately that the grab green and puracy were the best at cutting through soap scum and minerals on the glass, Whereas the Biokleen failed miserably and the Good Natured couldn’t quite pull it off.
Next came the shower. The Biokleen was very disappointing. I rubbed and rubbed and rubbed but could barely get the grime and soap scum and minerals to come up. I start worrying that these particular types of cleaners just wouldn’t work in the shower. Until I moved on to the next spot, that is. And the next, and then the next. In order of best to worst at removing shower grime, soap scum, and minerals are grab green, puracy, and Good Natured.
I was so impressed with the grab green that I went about cleaning the whole shower and the tub with it. One thing I will say about grab green is the fumes can be kind of terrible if you’re using it in an enclosed space. It doesn’t smell great and the fumes started to make me cough. Welly came in and flipped the fan on, proclaiming the smell in the bathroom to be “chemically”.
grab green and puracy left no streaks on the chrome, whereas the Biokleen and Good Natured left a tiny bit.
The Bottom Line
When all was said and done, I can say that my favorite was the puracy. It smells wonderful and it cleans very well without much streaking (frankly, I don’t care much about streaking on granite, tiles, and fixtures).
The Biokleen also does a great job cleaning, except for the shower and tub. If my goal is to keep only one cleaner around, then I wouldn’t be able to choose Biokleen because I’d need something else for the shower.
The grab green cleans very, very well (especially the shower–holy smokes!) and doesn’t streak much, but the smell and the fumes are probably enough to keep me from purchasing it again.
The Good Natured also smells lovely and does a great job of cleaning, so I would say it’s my second favorite. If puracy is ever not available, I’d go with the Good Natured.
For stainless steel, I recommend using a stainless steel cleaner if you don’t want streaks. I use Weiman and really like it. I spray it on a paper towel or other soft towel, rub it on the stainless steel in the direction of the grain, and then buff it with a dry towel or cloth.
Time to Get Busy!
Okay, guys, let’s do this! Throw open some windows, blast some great tunes or listen to an engaging book, and you’ll be well on your way to a springtime fresh home. In the first post of this series, Part I: The Pre-Clean, I recommended pre-cleaning one room at a time and taking breaks so you don’t burn yourself out. I recommend the same when it comes to cleaning. Do one room one day and another another day.
Here are this week’s best music to clean by and audiobook recommendations:
- “Alexa, play psychedelic rock.” “Playing psychedelic rock music.”
- “Alexa, play David Bowie.” “Shuffling songs by David Bowie.”
- Naked by David Sedaris (available on Audible)
Next up in this spring cleaning series is windows and wood. I had intended to share some homemade cleaning product recipes this week, but this post was going to be long already, so I’ll do that next time. Let’s meet again in two weeks. Until then, happy spring and happy cleaning!