This post has been a long time coming!! I wanted to be sure I was 100% satisfied with my current cleaning routine before I wrote about it!! Here’s part I, the magic!
I’ve tried many a cleaning product in my days as an adult. You guys probably think I’m such a clean freak, but I’m really not! I don’t really have any great secrets to cleaning, and my house is definitely NOT as clean as it might seem! It’s neat, but not clean. I’ve written a handful of posts expressing my frustration about finding the right products for my floors: Knock On Wood and The Green Musketeers.
Here’s a recap of some of the all purpose cleaners I’ve used. I’ve always focused on green cleaners, so perhaps that’s why I’ve never found something really outstanding.
Mrs. Meyers – A favorite because of the smell. Works ok. Nothing magical.
Vinegar-based homemade cleaners – Works ok. Nothing magical. Smells AWFUL!
EO Peppermint – A product review. Best smelling!! Didn’t work all that great. Basic cleaner.
Dr. Bronner’s – Smells great, but very disappointing. Better for body’s.
Aussan Natural – Loved the oven + kitchen cleaner and worked well on my floors with shine. The best of the natural cleaners, but I didn’t like that it wasn’t concentrated.
Shaklee – Worked well, but had no good smell! Especially impressive on mirrors.
I’ve also tried Method, Seventh Generation and a few more.
Read about a few more floor cleaners in the floor post.
I’ve even tried lots of elbow grease. Still nothing magical.
But many of you probably remember me blogging about a magical product line I have discovered. Here’s the story:
This spring as the crazy cleaning bug emerged, I started to poke around for organization and cleaning blogs and came across one called A Bowl Full Of Lemons. Toni’s gorgeous photos of her clean house had me drooling on my keyboard (gotta clean that up!). I read that she used Shaklee, and spent tons of time oogling over her Before + After shots of her kitchen cleaned with Shaklee [especially this one of her OVEN!]. I did some more Googling and realized there are tons of women out there who SWEAR by Shaklee.
Despite the fact that I had actually tried Shaklee on my blog before (and was impressed!) I did not have the time to really test out the product on all of our dirt before. Plus it didn’t have a fancy smell, so I thought that meant it wasn’t cleaning that well.
But after seeing all these other before and afters – ones that were just stunningly beautiful – I knew I had to try it again, including this time the Scour Off for those impossible spots.
I was convinced first and foremost by its effectiveness, but the fact that it was also green, inexpensive, concentrated and came with cute bottles were all bonus. Shaklee became the world’s first climate neutral certified company in the world in 2000. And it’s been given a good stamp by quite a few famous names:
- It’s been one of Oprah’s Favorite Things three different times
- Rachel Ray featured it on her show
- It’s what they use in the White House to clean green! [When I read that I knew this was no gimmick.]
- And perhaps the Gold Standard of them all – the Basic H was recently named Real Simple’s Longest Lasting Concentrate!
So after doing all of this research, I bought a starter kid of products and got my clean on. Shaklee’s charts will tell you that because the products are so concentrated, the Get Clean kit is the equivalent of $34,000 worth of cleaners and waste. For example, TWO OUNCES of Basic-H2 replaces 728 bottles of Windex!
I was instantly in love with the bottles – and would you roll your eyes if I told you I just LOVE that all the products MATCH!?
Since the first time I had tried Shaklee I wasn’t impressed by the smell, my solution to the fancy smell was to add a few drops of essential oil to my bottles. Now I have a delicious smelling cleaner that cleans, brightens and shines! My current scent profile is Lavender Peppermint!
The Basic H is the foundation of Shaklee. The products work as a surfactant [let Wikipedia explain that one too you] and lower the surface tension so the dirt lifts up. I remember my 9th grade science teacher explaining surfactants to me in some acid + base lesson. Now I’ve come full circle!
This bottle is $12 and creates 48 GALLONS of cleaner, so it really isn’t expensive. [Hence the Real Simple award]
It can be mixed to clean tons and tons of things in different proportions:
Plus you get 3 beautiful bottles in which to mix your proportions
Labeled with the right measurements: Drops for windows, teaspoons for AP, and more for the Degreaser
I’ve been using this ALL over my house and have been super happy.
Where To Buy
For a while I was a Shaklee distributor but due to the cost of hosting my website, I have moved on. But you can still buy the products through Becky’s website, the cleaning queen who helped me learn all about them myself. I still use Shaklee at home, I just don’t maintain an online store any longer!
Before + Afters!
Water spots and gunk everywhere
A tablecloth covered in honey after our Great Harvest slicing event:
Sticky sticky honey drips
No stickiness at all – and no need to wash the tablecloth!
It cleaned my couch fabric beautifully. No more shoe scuff dirt lines:
Spots lifted right up:
The REAL magical product is the Scour Off.
It’s made from cherry pits and smells like that cherry lip balm we used as kids. It’s a heavy duty paste (with the H2 magic) that has pulled up SO MUCH DIRT in my house. Spots that scouring pads, steel wool and multiple cleaners could not even begin to remove. It cost me $8.50 and I would have paid so much more for the power behind it.
Also all of Shaklee’s products are:
- Natural abrasives
- No harsh chemicals
- Biodegradable surfactants
- No phosphates
The very first spot I tackled was these red (wine?) stains on the front of our kitchen drawers. I had tried multiple cleaners, steel wool, even some of Karen’s bleach stuff and the spots WOULD NOT come off!! The made me so mad to look at each day.
Within 5 minutes of receiving my Scour Off I was scrubbing them and sank to my knees in disbelief: they came off.
Next stop was the spot on the living room windowsill. It was some kind of caked-on something [we don’t own this house and it was here when we moved in]. 3 minutes of elbow grease + cherry pits:
Next test: the packaging marks on our countertops. When we moved in, the landlords had put a polish on the IKEA countertops and when we put groceries down, the labels imprinted themselves onto the wood. I could not get them off and they drove me nuts! Sadly I didn’t think to snap a photo of the biggest ones (I was too busy being excited that it worked) but I got a few of the smaller ones on camera:
Look for green:
Look for green:
We had several spaces of wall with big scuff lines on them. Again, I had gone over them with my other cleaners with no so much as a budge.
[It’s very hard to capture these on camera!!]
In the kitchen:
In the foyer:
Crayon (?) on the fridge
A whole wall of scuffs (previous shoe throw area?)
Big wall mark above my desk:
And the one that surprised me the most: the big scuff on the bottom of my beautiful white water bottle came off super easy!
My house is now scuff free!!! It has also taken sticky off of floors that would have otherwise been scraped off and cleaned spots that I thought were permanent all over.
It also took the sticky off of the honey bears for our GH event in no time
And another major spot removal for me: it took a sticker that was AGED onto this mirror right off!!
I also bought the dish detergent (you only need a tiny bit!) and have been very happy. I’ve added a few essential oils to that as well so now when I wash dishes I get Lavender Peppermint. I love the creativity to create your own scent. The dish wash concentrate suds stick around (so you don’t need to keep adding more soap) and the dishwasher detergent works just as well as the Cascade we’ve been using (but is much greener)
I also like the hand soap (a delicious smell is already infused), but since I’m a smell variety person, I’d probably get other kinds for variety in the household (like Method’s!) in the future when this is gone.
Shaklee also makes a Germicide line called Basic G that I have not tried yet (didn’t know how necessary it was over the Basic H?) But it is EPA registered, so I’m hoping to use it in the bakery!
I’m hooked on Tide Febreeze Sport and just restocked this spring. Its smell is heavenly. But I realize it’s probably more chemically than I might want long term [babies someday?]. My favorite green lines are soapnuts and Method’s detergents. I also use Shaklee’s Nature Bright on my white linens as a bleach substitute. See a whole post on that here: Bright Whites.
THESE need a mention. Method’s totally rockin’ MARSHMALLOW dryer sheets. Ashley told me about them at Foodbuzz but when I saw the price tag I decided to get my normal synthetic ones. But the next time I went shopping, I decided my health was more important than a few dollars (that I’d easily spend on wine or peanut butter!) so I bought them. SOO glad because they smell so good!! I even save the sheets after they’ve been used and tuck them into my pillow so when I fall asleep I get whiffs of marshmallow and vanilla!!
The final items I swear by in my household:
My Swiffer Sweeper Vac, which I use every night in the kitchen to pick up crumbs. My Swiffer duster….for…dusting [I just read in the latest Real Simple about some of the greener dusters out there and may need to invest in a washable solution.] And I really like this Method hand soap for the kitchen [a freebie from the company]
Last but not least, I’m still in love with my Shark Steam Vac!! I really love that you can vac + steam with the same equipment. Vacuuming our hardwoods with this guy is much easier than getting out our big vacuum cleaner because the Shark is so lightweight. I only wish you could use it on carpet AND hardwoods (it’s only designed for hard surfaces) but since we don’t have many rugs, it’s not a huge deal.
I have discovered that the COMBINATION of steam and cleaner is where it’s at! I missed the smell of clean after mopping. [See my post on steam mopping here].
So what I now do is take my bottle of Lavender Peppermint Shaklee Basic H mix and spritz the floors and then go over them with the Shark. I don’t think this is at all harmful to the Shark because the cleaner is only on the floor and pad – not inside of the system. After doing this there was a significant amount more dirt on the pad – which told me it works! AND my house smelled minty clean!
My cleaning habits are always a work in progress, but I can tell you that after years of soul searching for a good line of cleaners and tools for my household, I feel like I have finally found a collection I want to stick with for years!
If you want to see all the products that Shaklee makes, you can find them all here. The Get Clean kits are the best bang for your buck, but you can also just buy one thing if you want [The Basic H and Scour Off are my top recommendations. And the cute bottles if you want to match – they are only $3.]
Part II of Home Clean Home will feature some other favorite cleaners and tips from you guys!