Making your own nontoxic housecleaning products

Chelsea Green Publishing offers a series of short books on different topics related to creating a healthier environment, which they call their “Green Guides.” One of these guides is Nontoxic Housecleaning by Amy Kolb Noyes, which I wanted to review in time for spring cleaning!. With 80 pages chock full of recipes and tips for homemade cleaning products, I think you’ll find this book to be well worth its less than $13 price tag.

Noyes describes the harms of many commercial, chemical cleaning products, including that they pollute our water, kill wildlife, use wasteful packaging, and pose health risks to humans and animals inside your home. While powerful advertising often tries to convince us that we need to use commercial products to make our homes sparkle, Nontoxic Housecleaning will convince you otherwise and equip you with simple and clear guidance for making your own healthier cleaning products. Noyes acknowledges that in some cases you may need to use a bit more elbow grease with your homemade products, but typically they clean just as well as commercial products.

Book Content

The book is divided into three parts: 1) The Basic Toolbox, 2) Room by Room, and 3) The Top Ten Recipes. There are recipes throughout the book, many of which only use a couple of ingredients. In “The Basic Toolbox,” Noyes covers the top 20 ingredients, which she uses most often, her favorite cleaning tools, and the benefits and best uses for each. “Room by Room” is the majority of the book and is organized as follows:

  • Kitchen – recipes for cleaning countertops, cutting boards, drains, dishes, chrome and stainless steel appliances, brass and copper cookware, floors, taking care of garbage odors, and even a fruit and vegetable wash
  • Bathroom – recipes for scouring powders, soft scrubs, mold and mildew killers, shower curtain cleaner, and solutions for cleaning sinks, grout, bathtubs, toilets, walls, and addressing odors
  • Laundry – recipes for liquid and powder laundry soaps, anti-gray additives, stain pretreaters, rust removers, starches, fabric softeners, and tips for cleaning “dry clean only” clothing
  • Living areas – tips for dusting and vacuuming as well as recipes for cleaning and deodorizing carpet and cleaning fabric, walls, leather and wood furniture, and floors
  • Painless window washing – tools and recipes for simplifying window cleaning
  • Air freshening and scents – potpourri, essential oils, candles, room spray, and diffusers
  • Bedrooms – tips for clothes storage, cleaning your bed linens, and dealing with mattress odors

Though there are recipes throughout the book, the last section covers Noyes’ top ten favorite cleaning product recipes. Consider this book to be a cookbook for nontoxic housecleaning – it has the most recipes for homemade cleaning products I’ve seen, all in one compact book.

Want to win a copy of the book?

In addition to giving me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, the publisher of Nontoxic Housecleaning has agreed to give away a copy of the book to one of our blog readers in the US or Canada. So, check out the giveaway instructions below. Be sure to use your real name when leaving a comment so that we can match it up with your entry in case you win.

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Janie Hynson, MPH lives in North Carolina and works in public health and sustainable agriculture. She is particularly interested in how health can be enhanced by improving our food system and environment.

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  1. DebbieLubbert

    This sounds like a very helpful book. I had not heard of this one before.

  2. Lisa R.

    While I have made some of my own cleaning products, I admit some are pretty basic and/or don’t work as expected. It would be nice to learn some new recipes, or ways to improve the efficiency of the ones I currently use. My boyfriend is very hesitant about homemade products…improvements (in scent or effectiveness) would help me make my case and keep the nasty chemical stuff out of our house!

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