Personal Posts

I Confess! I’m Not Entirely “Green.” (Baby Steps People!)

So what’s the opposite of green? Red is the complimentary color, right? So I’m a little bit red. Red and green make…gray? So I’m gray. Okay people?! I’m gray!!

In all seriousness, I’ve talked before on various posts that while I am pretty far out there as far as being a crazy hippie when it comes to birth, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, food or anything relating to my kids, I’m still working on my own personal care products, as well as household products. Come on though, I have my own chickens, so that has to negate at least one mainstream cleaning product, right? Right?

OK, so what’s holding me back? Well, we all know that you can get a lot of mainstream products free or nearly free (or better than free) with coupons, sales and CVS Extra Bucks. Not so much with natural/organic products. It’s a huge leap from paying nothing for something, to paying like a zillion dollars for it. (OK, I’m exaggerating, but still!)

Plus, I like the stuff I use. Over the past 12ish years, I’ve found products that work, and I’ve stuck to them. I’m particular about my cleaning products. They have to get things clean (residue or filmy-ness makes me crazy) without tons of effort, and they can’t be too stinky.

So here’s my laundry list, my full confessional. The stuff you may have to pry out of my white knuckled grip if I can’t find something better!


Bruce Hardwood Cleaner. It doesn’t have ingredients listed, but I suspect it is largely alcohol based on the smell. It gets the floor so shiny clean with zero residue at all. It’s so easy to use and I love it. I use a mop with washable microfiber pads if that helps at all. I got really panicky when I couldn’t find this at my usual store (they have it at Home Depot, but it’s almost 25% more) so when I found some at another location, I bought 6 bottles!


Armstrong vinyl/ceramic floor cleaner. I used quite a few floor cleaners before I found this one. You don’t have to rinse (though I usually do anyway) and it makes the floor clean without leaving any residue at all. I can’t.stand.sticky.floors. OMG. I don’t want to spend 1/2 hour mopping to replace sticky with sticky, you know? I’ve heard a lot of people say they use vinegar on their floors, perhaps adding some essential oil for scent. I guess I partially just haven’t gotten the ratio of vinegar to water right, because it feels like there is a residue when I’ve used it.

cooktop cleaner cooktop wipes

I really like the Weiman’s cooktop cleaning products. The cream stuff is really similar to the Ceramabryte stuff, but I think it’s easier to get off. I adore the wipes because they are so easy to wipe the glass cooktop in between deep cleanings, and they don’t leave streaks or film.

stainless wipes

Love, love, love (did I mention love?) these. I’ve tried various other brands of stainless steel cleaners (including Method) and none are like these wipes. Even if I spray, wipe & immediately have a microfiber cloth to buff until my arms burn, I have streaks galore. I’ve read reviews for other products and I don’t know if it depends on your appliance brand or what. With these wipes, I just wipe with the grain, then before it has dried completely, lightly rub with a microfiber cloth. Voila, no streaks! Naturally, they are nearly impossible to find in stores around here now. I’m still trying to figure out whose dumb idea it was to have stainless appliances with small children in the house. (sheepish look)

granite cleaner

Staying on the Weiman’s train, the only thing I don’t like about this Weiman’s granite cleaner/polish is that it’s a small bottle, is expensive, and can be hard to find. It’s both a cleaner and a polish, so there aren’t two steps. It leaves the counters clean and shiny without any film or residue. I actually bought Method brand granite cleaner and it really isn’t too bad. However, it has this flowery scent that smells exactly like whatever they use to clean the bathrooms at my grocery store. So, I find the smell to be a little gross. If it had a different scent, I’d buy it.

spot shot

Spot Shot. This stuff is amazing. The aerosol spray will get just about anything off of carpet (though it stinks.) The trigger spray is like miracle liquid from heaven, and I love the way it smells too. When we were building this house, we rented. My daughter has always been trouble in a small package, but the move shook her up such that she was an absolute terror. She squeezed nearly a whole bottle of some blue stuff (treatment for the fish) on the light beige carpet. I used everything to try to get it out. Every chemical, scrubbing, the Bissell little green, spot bot, you name it. I spent hours on it. All my hubby could do is bring me a glass of (white) wine and wish me luck (thankfully this happened before I got pregnant with my son!) I ended by spraying the spot with the trigger Spot Shot spray and giving up. I figured we’d just have to pay to replace the carpet, or lose our deposit. Like magic, the Spot Shot made the spot disappear over night. It just vanished!! Now it’s my secret weapon for all stains, including laundry. I’m sure it’s awful, horrible and full of nasty chemicals.

clorox bath wand

This is totally not green not only because of the cleaner on the pads, but because the pads are disposable. It’s not actually the cleaner that I like, but that the pads are scrubby, and stick to the long handle. I love being able to scrub in the bathrooms without having to bend and crawl all over the place. I use the same pad to clean the bath tub, shower, and my kids’ shower/tub combo as well. I’d re-use it if it wouldn’t get gross by the time I was ready to use it again! These disappeared from store shelves and I tried the Mr. Clean Magic Reach and hated it. After trying other stuff, I ended up finding a bunch on Ebay and bought a shameful number. I’ll just say that it was about 2 1/2 years ago and I’m not quite out yet. I wish someone would make a washable scrubbie pad that would stick to a long handle like this, and would clean effectively without damaging fiberglass and acrylic fixtures. Maybe a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on a stick!

toilet scrubber

This next one is double the shame for the same reasons. Chemicals and disposable. We’re hand washing, sanitizer using, wipe the shopping cart type people, but I’m not running in front of my kids dousing everything with a bottle of bleach either. I know that exposure to some germs is good for immune systems. So I generally keep things in our house very clean, but I don’t worry that much with disinfecting things too often. For the most part, germs in our house are familiar ones, if that makes sense.

The exception is toilet brushes. Toilet brushes are just…*shudder*…nasty. Gross, gross, and gross. I’m surprised no one has made a toilet brush with a little holder for it that has a UV sanitizer (like the toothbrush thingies.) So, when I found these Scotch Brite Scrubbers, I was sold. Again, it’s really not for the cleaner, but because the little scrubby brush is sturdy enough for me to use it to scrub all 3 toilets, then throw it away. No nasty, disgusting, festering toilet brush. Ugh, I just involuntarily shuddered.


This next one makes me sad because it’s discontinued. Benefit “Touch Me Then Try To Leave” Cream. I have no idea what the ingredients were, and I don’t care. It was far too expensive (around $20 at Sephora) for me to buy regularly, but my hubby would buy it for me as a gift occasionally. It was a delicately rose scented cream that left my skin feeling like silk. It was heaven in a jar and I loved it so much. If I’d had any idea that it was being discontinued, I would have bought a whole case of it. Unfortunately, I had no idea since hubby & I haven’t bought gifts for each other in years, since our budget has been so tight for so long. I looked on Ebay but they are going for way too much when they are available. Boo-hoo. *sniff*

body butter

I used to like to get The Body Shop’s Shea Body Butter sometimes too. It was a little less expensive, but it’s really not in the same category as the Benefit cream. I loved The Body Shop in general, I could spend a half hour just walking around the store. The closest one is an hour/hour and a half from us, and I haven’t really bought anything since our budget took a beating a few years ago when I stopped working. I suppose The Body Shop is fairly “green” but I haven’t looked into it.


The real reason I mentioned The Body Shop. All this talk of discontinued stuff makes me weep for The Body Shop’s Olive Glossing shampoo & conditioner. I had received a sample of it, and loved it so much that I trolled Ebay for it, buying any time it was cheap, or when The Body Shop had great sales. If I find some on Ebay, I might be tempted to pay far too much for it and ration it out over the next year, LOL. Um, so you guys would probably think I was under the weather if I managed to write a personal post without rambling & going off on a tangent, oopsie, hee hee! Back to the subject!!


Another not-so-green personal care product I loved was Biosilk Silk Therapy shampoo, conditioner & treatment. I would buy it in bulk from Ebay and refill the bottles so it wasn’t as expensive as buying from a salon. Made my hair so shiny, soft and smelled so good!


This one I’m actually still using. I tried the got 2 b smooth operator products through a Bzzagent campaign and loved them, then got a deal at CVS where I got a few bottles pretty much free. I’m almost out and I’m sad.

There’s other little things, like lotions and toothpaste, deodorant, cosmetics etc. that I’m having a hard time letting go of the mainstream stuff. Not because I’m super attached to the stuff I use, but because the natural stuff is so darn expensive. When it comes to my kids, there’s no question. When it’s for me, I just can’t bear to part with my greenbacks.

OK, so you got it. A full confession. Hopefully I won’t be judged too harshly. I’ve found that sometimes people in the cloth diapering/AP/”green” circle can come across as judgmental and downright rude, even if they don’t mean to be. I have an upcoming post in mind about something similar. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again “build bridges, not walls,” as Jennifer Labit says. I’m taking baby steps and getting greener every day, so hopefully I don’t lose my crunchy mama card because of a few mainstream products in my cabinets.

We are all at different stops on our journey, and I don’t think anyone is “better” or deserves some kind of award because they are “greener” than someone else. I welcome everyone no matter where they are, hoping to just share information and help them take another step!

Are there things you’re working on to make your family “greener?” Are there any “mainstream” products you’re having trouble letting go of?

FTC compliance: I paid normal retail prices for all products mentioned or pictured. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

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Maria Moser
Maria is the mother of 3, writing about cloth diapers & going green. You'll often find her juggling her preschooler and typing 1-handed in between sips of cold coffee. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development and other services.
  • November 9, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    I’m gray too.. but I don’t have chickens – I really want some. Stinkin’ city codes.

    • November 9, 2011 at 10:16 pm

      Aw rats. 🙁 We were in a neighborhood just outside the city limits in our old house. No HOA either, WOO-HOO! We just couldn’t have a rooster (not that we wanted one, LOL!)

  • Courtney S
    November 9, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I love your post! I do use Method or Seventh Generation cleaners when I don’t use vinegar and water, but there are a few things that aren’t exactly “green”. Like I can’t give up Bar Keepers Friend… I’m the hippy momma. My family is vegan/raw, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, non-vaccinating, homeschooling… the list keeps going. My only problem… shampoo! I’ve been told to try castile soap, so we tried. We bought the “baby mild” stuff so that we could use it on my son also. It is TERRIBLE! I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong, but we followed the instructions to dilute it and it still made my hair feel like a grease ball. My hair is pretty normal, never dry or greasy. After using the castile soap once, I went back to my Arbonne FC5! Of course, Arbonne isn’t as bad as Pantine or something, but it’s not perfect. I make my own deodorant and body wash. I do whatever I can, but I totally understand using mainstream products!

    • November 9, 2011 at 10:08 am

      Bar Keepers Friend/Bon Ami is AWESOME on sinks! I’ve heard that you have to let your hair go through the grease ball stage and it gets better. I’ve heard a lot of great things about WEN, but I haven’t looked to see just how “green” it really is.

      I gave up on Tom’s deodorant really quickly even though people told me I just needed to detox from the nasty stuff. I need to find find a week to be greasy & stinky & not go anywhere, LOL!!

      • Courtney S
        November 9, 2011 at 11:21 am

        I use coconut oil to make our deodorant. I love it! Maybe I will have to go back and deal with the greasy feeling a little longer. It really does suck, though!

  • Hannah VW
    November 9, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Baby steps here too. Trying to find an affordable but greener/healthier alternative to Shout laundry/stain spray and my dishwasher detergent. I tried Biokleen dishwasher detergent but it was more expensive AND I had to use more to get the dishes clean so it was doubly not cost-effective. I’ll keep looking though!

    I worry that when I blog about my chickens (I didn’t know we both had chickens!), home birth, etc. that it will come off as judgmental, but I always like hearing how other people are trying new and different things and why, so I hope other people benefit from reading how I’m trying new and different things.

    • November 9, 2011 at 9:50 am

      Haha, not that chickens or home birth are that “new”, but they’re new to me is what I meant!

      • November 9, 2011 at 9:56 am

        LOL, that is so funny. They were just invented doncha know? I try very, very hard to make it clear that I’m making the right choices for *me* (home birth etc.) but I’m sure I still offend some.

        We had chickens the first time about 51/2 ish years ago but we had to give them away while we built this house since we didn’t have anyone to keep them for us.

        We got chickens again in 2009 but we were having issues with our crazy neighbor so we gave them away until we could finish the coop so they couldn’t get out of it.

        So, we got them AGAIN this spring, but they aren’t laying yet (we had 3 eaten by a fox. 🙁 ) I still have a pic of our first egg. I miss them so much! 🙂

        I’ve tried 7th generation dishwasher detergent and it was OK, but we have a water softener so I don’t use much, and no detergent seems to work all that great for us anyway.

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