Green Kitchen Cleaning the Rawsome Nana Way

– by Debbie Berry (view original post)

natural cleaning solution recipes for your kitche

It’s April 2009, sitting in a doctor’s office with my 30 year-old daughter. One word spoken changed our family’s life forever: CANCER!

Why does it matter?  Because until three years ago, this Nana was a Chemical Cleaning, Fast Food Junky Queen.

Chemicals, processed food, toxins?

Stop !! Turn back the clock!! Something went wrong. What had I done?

Nana Comes Clean…

toxins in conventional cleaning productsI would see a cleaning product on T.V. that promised my house would be so clean that my grandchildren could “eat off the floors”. What mother or grandmother wouldn’t want a house that clean?

I would run to the nearest grocery store, purchase the wonder cleaner, return home and scrub and spray all those nasty little germs away. Then I would plug in those cute little air fresheners in every room to disguise the smell of bleach and lysol. But, Nana couldn’t stop there… had to have cookies and candy ( Nana Treats ) for my little angels. I never was much of a baker, so off to the store to buy those yummy sweet Little Debbie’s.

I would anxiously wait at the door for my little visitors… So proud of my clean home and the plate of yummy Nana Treats displayed “oh so cute” on the kitchen table.  This is how my children were raised, in a home of chemicals and processed yummy food, so it had to be o.k. for my grandchildren.

Digging up the Dirt on Conventional Cleaning

To make a long story short, over the past three years I have spend hours upon hours researching the different causes of cancer and hundreds of other ailments that are attacking our children and grandchildren.

What I discovered was that Nana was never going to use chemicals to clean her home again, and Nana Treats have changed a lot as well ! I can never be sure what caused my daughter’s cancer, but I do know that many of the products we eat and clean with are full of cancer causing ingredients.

I can’t turn back the clock, nor beat myself up over what I didn’t know then. But I can and have made huge changes in my food and cleaning habits, because now I do know!

Nana’s New Natural Approach

natural cleaning productsMy desire and hope is that each of you will find my chemical-free cleaning ideas helpful. The thought process most of us grew up with is, “a clean house smells like bleach.” Well, you won’t smell bleach in my house, but you will smell lemon, lavender, orange and lemon grass.  Now that smells like a clean house to me.

Here’s a great place to start with ideas and natural recipes you can try yourself.


Organic Castile Soap

[Note from Stacey: Castile soap is soap that has olive oil as its base, so it’s vegan.  You can find various recipes on the Internet if you’d like to try making your own, but you can also buy it in many health food stores.  Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap is one of many brands you can try, and is usually the easiest to find.]

Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap - natural cleaning productsHere are the types I use for my cleaning needs:

They also make castile soap in unscented baby formula, orange, and lavender!!

I also use this with other natural cleaning solutions.  With chemicals, you could never mix ingredients safely!

Natural, Green Cleaning Ideas

Nana’s Soap Scum be Gone

  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • 1 cup White Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Peppermint Castile Soap

You can make up batches of this and store in glass containers or purchase good spray bottles ( I don’t purchase anything I don’t need, and I find that saving glass jars works great). I simply make it as needed.

For cleaning your toilet: just pour the mixture in, let it set, then scrub with brush and flush (it’s easy on septic too).

For sink and tub: I fill the tub and sink with enough water to make a lather with all the above ingredients.Use an old face cloth to scrub away the dirt. Then I use old t-shirts to dry. If you really want extra shine, put little bit of lemon juice on a clean rag and shine away!  Smells awesome too!  :-)

For cleaning my floors: I purchased a stream cleaner ( Shark ) over two years ago and I love it!!

natural lemon cleaning ideasI make a spray of lemon and water, which I spray on floor as I stream clean. Talk about smelling good!! Now those are floors grandchildren would be safe eating off of (I even use organic lemons in my cleaning)!!

Got ants in your house? This works like magic.

  • 3 Tablespoons Borax,
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot water to dissolve Borax

Mix well, dip cotton balls in mixture, and set them around areas that ants appear to be.

A Clean State of Mind

natural, green cleaning tipsThese are only a few ideas, ones that work very well for me. I believe in keeping it simple.

I want a clean house, but it’s so much more important to me now to have a safe house for my loved ones. If I miss a germ or two , those germs can’t cause as much havoc as the many chemicals we bring into our homes every day.

Not to mention the money I have saved. I used to spend close to $50.00 a week just on cleaning supplies, paper towels, toxic air fresheners etc…  I haven’t purchased a roll of paper towels in over a year.  Now I spend $20.00 dollars a month! Just think, you save your health, money, and the environment!

I so hope that you have found this article helpful, that it has encouraged you to become more aware of the products that you bring into your home. Home is our haven, the place we feel safe, loved and protected.

Say “I Love You” with Lemons, not Lysol !!

natural cleaning productsI ‘m a mother, wife, grandmother, sister, daughter, and friend. My life was turned upside down with one word, in less than a minute. All that I knew and believed to be true was changed forever.

I went from a “go with the flow” gal, wanting what everyone else had, buying into all the newest fads, fashions, must haves, etc. to a  “Momma Lion” –  questioning, reseaching , trying to find an answer to all my questions.

What I found is not meant to scare you, but to make you question and do your own reseach. Prevention is the Cure. You are your own master, your home is your palace, and you get to choose who you invite in.

Hang a “Not Welcome” sign to chemicals and toxins. Remember, baby steps are how we all learn to walk in a different environment than we are used to. When you walk in your home, breathe, smile and know that you are Momma Lion and you are the natural protector of your domain. :-)

There are many Internet sites where you can find lists of harmful chemicals in everyday products. I urge you to take a moment and just read. Simple actions can have Big Reactions …

You can find out more about me, my story, and my mission at

You can find more of my cleaning tips there as well.

You can also view my story on the GSQ blog or visit Youtube for Debbie Berry: A Mothers Story (an interview by A Healthy And Clean Maine Alliance)

Wishing you Happy Green Smoothie sipping in your Lemon-Scented, chemical free home !


  1. Danielle says

    Wow, what a courageous and strong post! This isn’t just your average “how to clean without chemicals” list of tips. This is powerful. Thank you Debbie.
    Danielle Greason,
    The Raw Divas


    Reply by Debbie Berry on July 29th, 2011

    Danielle, Thank you for the kind words.. I’m very excited, just signed up to teach a class on how to clean chemical and toxin free though the Adult Ed program… Should be fun and hoping to spread the word :)


  2. misty says

    i recently found these recipes for a healthier cleaning practice myself, but when researching castile soap and how to make it, it contains lye. So, isnt that bad? ALso, they sell castile soap in a bar at walmart too. So, is the castile soap youre talking about contain lye and is dangerous?


  3. Debbie says

    Hi Janette, Thank you for asking that question. I have a great answer:
    I use the ” GLEEN” green cleaning cloth. It is the most amazing little cloth you could ever purchase! All you do is soak it in water, wring well.Make sure to remove excess water.Then wipe away..No streaks, no chemicals…just clean windows:)I use it on my mirrors,woodwork, screens, etc.. My daughter bought me a package of 4 for my birthday last July, and I’m still using them.Just wash out by hand or in washing machine, hang to dry.. You can order on line @
    Have a great day:)


  4. Kersten says

    This is just what I needed to read. I too was brought up in a home where “clean smelled like bleach” and find myself cleaning the same way as my mother did. I hate ever minute of cleaning while im inhaling those toxic fumes I know are aweful for me, but I want that “clean” smell afterwards so I tell myself its worth it. The smells of lemon, lavender, orange and lemon grass definately sound much better and cleaner to me. Im going to try these ideas and visit your blog to get more Ideas. Thank you! Thank you! (I know my kids will too)


  5. says

    hello lovely cleaning ladies! when I was a child I helped my grandmother do her cleaning. We cleaned the windows with old newspapers dipped in vinegar. Something to do with the ink and the vinegar makes them shine like anything. Ok – it does smell a bit for a minute or two but soon goes away. You can put the paper in the compost heap afterwards. I use the same thing for all the glass on my pictures. Thanks Nan!she knew a thing or two!


  6. Debbie says

    Will be posting new information on my blog this evening.. Been very busy planting my garden and sewing… So glad you enjoyed this article.:) Kersten would like to hear back from you on how with, and yes your kids will love it :)
    Alison, my mother and grandmother also used newspaper and vinegar to clean windows..your right our Nan’s did know much more than we gave them credit for:)


  7. says

    Sounds very interesting indeed with new flavors and ingredients it is going to be amazing cleaning I am sure.The kitchen is a place where a lot of unseen dirt and grease gets attracted…therefore essential to clean very carefully.


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