Student Engagement in Climate Justice

Fewer Plastic for Lent 2023 Week 4: Cleaning Products

Mar 13, 2023

image of green spray bottle, squeegee, castile soap, hand soap pump, and white spray bottle

By Katie Insalaco, PLTS MDiv Concentration in Climate Justice and Faith

For those who don’t know me, I’m a first-year MDiv PLTS student studying in Portland, OR. I also have four children, a husband and a small urban homestead. So, I know a thing or two about cleaning. When it comes to cleaning products, I’m always looking for something that’s the best combination of three things: nontoxic (relatively), affordable and gets the job done. (Full disclosure: we actually live at our house. No one from Real Simple magazine is knocking on my door and the word “spotless” has simply never been uttered here.) That said, here are some of my go-to cleaning products that I use just about every day:

Hand soap:

Choose any pump dispenser you have on hand and fill it with ⅔ warm water and ⅓ liquid castile soap (ie Dr. Bronner’s). Do it in that order or you’ll just have suds. One bottle of castile soap will last a long time and no more pumps in the trash!

Window/Mirror cleaner:

A spray bottle with white vinegar and a squeegee. It’s really that simple. I spray the whole thing one time and wipe it down and then spray again and squeegee it off. If the vinegar smell bothers you, remember that “lemon fresh” is artificial and you’ve been programmed to associate it with clean. After a while, you’ll reprogram your brain to smell vinegar and think, “oh, that’s clean!”

Blood/Urine remover

A spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide. Obviously, I wouldn’t use this on something brightly colored but it’s great for things like mattresses, dog beds, and other places that see this kind of mayhem.

There’s a lot more where this came from! If you’re looking for more recipes or cleaning nuggets, feel free to email me at

Also, my green cleaning go-to resource is Green Clean: The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home by Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin.