September 23, 2012

Chemical Free Toy Cleaning? Yes, Please!

I'm fairly certain that my mother will love me slightly less after reading this, but one clear childhood memory of mine is the sound and smell of Lysol constantly being sprayed in our home.  I'm one of four children and whenever one of us was sick (which was all the time) you could hear her spraying all the phones and doorknobs in the house with Lysol.   You could pick up a phone a day later and it still reeked of that hospital antiseptic chemical smell and burned your nose as you breathed it in.

#HeinzVinegar, cleaning toys chemical free

In her defense and because I would like to be invited to Thanksgiving dinner this year, it was the 80's and most people just didn't know any better.  Today, the thought of spraying stuff like that in my home is almost inconceivable.  Yes, times have definitely changed!  Especially if you're wise paranoid about the implications of exposing children to unnecessary toxins like I am.

A few years back, a friend introduced me to cleaning with vinegar and I'm surprised how many people don't know that it's a great safe, chemical-free alternative to traditional cleaning products that kills 99% of bacteria and is far more economical than purchasing the "green" products you find on the shelves in big box stores.

Heinz Cleaning Vinegar, chemical free cleaning, #HeinzVinegar

I have a homemade cleaner I make using Heinz Cleaning Vinegar that I actually prefer to one of the Method products, which are usually my default eco-friendly cleaning solutions.   What I like about using my own is that you know exactly what you are putting into that bottle that you are about to spray all over your child's toys.

What I didn't like about it and quickly learned to fix was the very identifiable odor of vinegar.  Lemon peels and rosemary are two great potent and clean smelling things you can use to neutralize the smell of the vinegar.  If you've got a little one at home and want your toys and play surfaces clean then I'll show you how I do it here.  

scented cleaning vinegar #HeinzVinegar, lemon and rosemary vinegar

I picked up the short list of essentials at Walmart like a new pretty spray bottle - NOT one that has been used with other cleaning products, some Heinz Cleaning Vinegar which is extra concentrated and especially for cleaning, baking soda and some re-usable cleaning rags.  

Shopping at walmart, Heinz Cleaning Vinegar, #HeinzVinegar

Back at home I called up my amazing next door neighbor who is like another mother to me and asked to raid her herb garden and lemon tree. Then I mixed up my solution using the Heinz cleaning vinegar. It's about 20% stronger than regular vinegar so you can either dilute it like I did with 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water for cleaning kids toys or use it full strength to tackle tougher messes like stained bathroom tiles or ovens.  I let the solution sit for about a day and half to infuse the vinegar and then went to work.

Homemade toy cleaner, #HeinzVinegar, make your own toy cleaner

That squeaky clean piggy you saw above? Well before he was shiny and clean he was covered in a mystery substance that could have been food or boogers.  Isn't motherhood that glamorous vision of pushing a designer stroller and picnics in the park we all had? 

I just gave him a few squirts of my rosemary and lemon infused vinegar, wiped him down and had a shiny, sparkly and most importantly, bacteria free piggy.  It gives me peace of mind knowing that when we have friends with little kids over I can keep my toys germ free and chemical free which are pretty much of equal importance to me.  What else can you do with cleaning vinegar?

You might not have been able to see it but that piggy also had a nice sticker put over his left eye. Does your child like to put stickers where they don't belong?  Like all over your furniture?  If so, we should probably hang out. 
#HeinzVinegar, removing stickers from furniture, chemical-free cleaning

Kayla is famous for operating like a stealth ninja and sticking them everywhere when I take 2 minutes to do things like load the dishwasher.  Sometimes they leave sticky nasty residue and then I get to try to scrape them off with my fingers.  Just a couple sprays of the vinegar cleaning solution, let it sit for 3-5 minutes and they peel right off.  Plus, I get my toy cabinets cleaned as a bonus.  

Do you have mystery stains on your carpet or rugs?  Between Kayla and our dog we have more than I'd like to admit.  Kayla's carpet in her bedroom was getting so bad I was thinking we'd need to replace it in the next year or so.  I had tried a rug cleaner on it several times and it could not get these stains out.  I was skeptical but decided to see if I could get these ancient stains out with the vinegar mixture and some baking soda.
#HeinzVinegar, cleaning rug stains with vinegar and baking soda

I just sprayed down the stains with a thorough dousing, sprinkled on some baking soda and let it sit for maybe 3 minutes.  Then I agitated it with an old toothbrush and let it dry.  I was actually amazed at how well it worked.  And now I will definitely NOT be replacing that carpet any time soon!  Not bad for about $4 worth of ingredients and a little elbow grease. Plus I love that I'm not using chemicals on this carpet where my child will definitely be rolling around playing on a regular basis.

#HeinzVinegar, cleaning rug stains with vinegar and baking soda

Just so you know, I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and HEINZ #CBias #SocialFabric but everything you see here is my personal opinion and we've been using this chemical free approach for quite some time!
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