How I used to clean my bathroom mirror and windows:
1) Spray with Windex or other window cleaner.
2) Wipe with paper towel or newspaper.
3) Step back and look at streaks the TV says aren't supposed to be there.
4) Cough from the fumes.
I have to admit, I'm not a super-charged eco-mom. I use the plastic bags at the grocery store (can't pass up free trash liners). I don't carry my sticky empty yogurt cup home to recycle it, even though I do recycle at home. Sure, I'm a terrible person to some. However, one way I'm making my move to green is by making my home just a little more chemical free. I said goodbye to my glass cleaner today because I learned water works better.
I bought a pack of 6 microfiber cloths on clearance for $6 in the automotive department at Target, thinking I would use them for washing the car. A year has passed and my car hasn't gotten any cleaner. However, my cloths made their debut another way. When looking into some $20 "environmentally friendly, chemical free" specialty microfiber cloths, I wondered if my $1 microfiber cloth would work just as well.
My meander to the cleaning closet turned into a cleaning frenzy when I found that the mirror I had just cleaned with Windex was now visibly significantly cleaner with just water and my microfiber cloth (that uses NO chemicals to clean).
Next I washed the fingerprint ridden TV screen that glass cleaner was never able to remove. Voila, gone. It turns out, you aren't supposed to use chemicals there anyway. And for those of you still using silver polish on your stainless steel appliances--these towels work fantastic there too!!
Where the cloths really sold themselves: I seriously became giddy when I realized I could start having my 3 and 5 year old kids wash the windows!!!!!!!! Something they have been dying to do, but were never allowed to because of the chemicals. When it comes right down to it, I have figured out how to NEVER wash my windows again. My kids are going to be so happy (I'm not kidding)!!
My advice: If you're looking for the cheapest microfiber cloths, look in the automotive section or I've even seen them at the dollar store. However, mine are orange and not very colorfast in the first few washes. I usually don't wash them with anything I care about them bleeding into, but if you want to make sure the colors don't bleed, you could probably find that in more expensive microfiber kitchen towels. I hear you know it's a good quality microfiber if it sort of sticks to your hand when you swipe your hand over it.
Save even more money: I now attach my microfiber cloth to my Clorox ReadyMop instead of buying refills. It works well to dust mop and it's so much cheaper!! You could safety pin it around your Swiffer with the same results.
Anybody have any other cleaning secrets I should know about? I seriously feel like I'm the last person to know, because it's so amazingly effective.
some images via islandcleaning.ca and ungerglobal.com