Thursday, February 26, 2009

How to NEVER wash your windows again

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.
5) Repeat.

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 and


Ricki said...

Awesome! I have microfiber cloths I never use because I'm so used my Windex and paper towels. I will be giving this a whirl.

I like to use vinegar in the toilet for The Ring. Vinegar is also good for soap scum on shower doors and around the sink faucet. It doesn't smell great at first, but goes away quickly and kills other lingering odors.

ricka said...

Costco sells a 24 pack of 16x16 microfiber cloths in the automotive section. They're pretty cheap, and bright yellow.

Anonymous said...

I have some hanging mirrors that are uncleanable so I'm definitely going to try this out on them. You're not the last person anymore, Sherie, I now am.

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't mind but I have been viewing your blog and partaking of your great ideas. I have been wondering how better clean my windows and I am going to put this to the test. I am looking forward to streak free windows and knowing that my son will love to help. Thanks for sharing all your ideas!

Sherie said...

Thanks SO much for your comments and suggestions! We Citrus Ladies LOVE to hear from you!!

I'm definitely going to try out the vinegar trick. I'm sure it smells better than what I've been using lately anyway...

Michelle said...

Our family secret is a steam cleaner. They are amazing! You can clean floors (carpet, tile, laminate), windows, the oven, showers, sinks, fridge, defrost the freezer, sanitize toys, you name it. And they use steam to clean and disinfect, so there are no chemicals involved. My mom has a really pricy steam cleaner
but my sister has one that was much more affordable and works equally well
I don't have one yet, I just mooch off everyone else. I plan on getting one soon though!

Holly said...

Oh my gosh- I went right away and sprayed my shower door with vinegar- which I gave up on a while ago- and within seconds I was wiping- not scrubbing- wiping away soap scum. I can't wait to start spraying vinegar everywhere else :)

Anne said...

Thanks for the tip Sherie! I'll have to try that one and the vinegar for my shower doors.

Wilene said...

im excited to try this i have been suing windex for years!!

Elise said...

I bought my microfibers in Target's auto section too! Vinegar is great, but hydrogen peroxide works just the same and without the scent (just make sure you keep it in the dark bottle--light destroys it). I use hydrogen peroxide for my counters/tub/toilet and for extra gross areas (in the toilet), I combine hydrogen peroxide with vinegar; I've heard that the combo makes both of them stronger.

Dahl Family said...

Three cheers for Sherie! I'm excited to give it a whirl!

The Porters said...

This is genius. I'm going to do it right away! Thanks.