Now cleaning might not be everyone’s favorite subject, and quite frankly, it’s not always my favorite task either. But what I do love is being in a really clean house and I have not yet jumped on the, I have a house cleaner train. It’s you and me, girl. Digging in with our rubber gloves and trying our very best to get our house cleaned amongst all the other things that we’re doing on a regular basis.
The one thing that I kind of have found a lot of joy in, is my super simple cleaning tote. Today we’re going to talk about what to include in your cleaning tote when you don’t have a house cleaner.
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
Breaking Down Our Cleaning Totes
There’s not a whole lot of fluff in this because we’re really just going to break down our cleaning tote. And honestly, the reason why I’m doing this is that I have found it to be, dare I say fun.
I’ve really tried to spark some joy inside of myself when it comes to this really mundane task. And whether or not you do or don’t have a house cleaner, this can totally work for you. There are certain things that your house cleaners aren’t doing because you’re not paying them to do them. Maybe it’s the blinds or maybe it’s the walls, maybe it’s the fronts of the cupboards. I love cleaning my house. I just went and stayed with the friend and I found myself cleaning her house. It’s a labor of love for me.
I truly love to pour into my home. I genuinely love to have my hands and chemical-free products. And over the years I have upgraded what’s in my cleaning toe and I finally feel like I’m in a place where I’m really happy to clean my house. I mean, there are better things that I could do with my time. But there’s something about taking the time to care about this little detail that makes me actually feel like I’m taking care of my family and stewarding this gift that I’ve been given.
Bring Joy To Cleaning
There are so many other people that are so much less fortunate than you and there are so many other people that are in so much less fortunate situations than I am. If in any way or at any moment you could express gratitude simply by being happy whenever you’re cleaning your house, why not, let’s make that the shift.
“If in any way or at any moment you could express gratitude simply by being happy whenever you’re cleaning your house, why not, let’s make that the shift.”
You could just express a little bit of gratitude and think about the things that you’re happy for, instead of begrudgingly having to clean toilets, showers, baseboards, and the tile. Let’s just not even go down the whole long list of all the things that we’re not getting to. Often feel like it’s such a chore.
I know my house doesn’t have feelings and we’re not going to get all deep and emotional here, but whenever my kids, friends, or my husband treats me like I’m a chore, it doesn’t make me feel good. And although our house is just what it is, it’s a place where we love and it’s a place where we live and it’s a place where we nurture. And I think that there is opportunity and hope in that.
My husband thinks it’s ridiculous when I care about whether or not my mop is cute, call me stupid. And it probably is. But it brings me great joy and I love to get out that darn cute mop and you can too. So here we are talking about a cleaning toe. And as much as I want to say this is so ridiculous, I’ve come to find over the years that this is my gift and this is why I share it here because I care about things that other people don’t ever think about like what to include in your cleaning tote.
What’s In Your cleaning Tote?
Now, before I just give you a list, I want you to know that your list should probably look different than mine for one specific reason. Because your house has different needs than mine. Now when we talk about specific products and a few things, obviously I would love it if you would take what I’m giving you and get the exact same things and run with it.
But I do want you to take an inventory of your house. I want you to invest in the tools that actually work for your home. In this house that we’re in right now, we have a fan that’s like 1 million meters above my head. I don’t even know what tool there is to clean that. I often look at it and think, how do you even clean that thing?
You might have really specific wood floors that need a very specific mop, you might not. Do have very specific parts of your home like granite countertops or the types of furniture that you have? Or if you have a fireplace that’s actually wood burning, ours is electric. There are just different things that you need to keep your house clean versus mine. So those are the things I want you to think about.
Here is my number one tip, really truly invest in the actual tools that you need to get the job done in the most efficient way possible and get something that works really well.
I’m obsessed with the current vacuum that I have, it’s a shark professional vacuum, absolutely obsessed. You can take the whole thing apart and wash it with soap and water. The filters in it are completely washable and it works so well. It’s not like the most high-end vacuum, but it works so well. It still actually works seven years later, that’s what I’m talking about.
And when the mop actually works and doesn’t have strings falling off and it’s not disgusting. You need to go through what you have and get rid of the things that don’t work. Make an inventory of what your house needs and then go down the list. Amazon has incredible options. Don’t just stick with whatever you find in the cleaner aisle at Walmart.
What Not To Put In Your Tote
So let’s talk about what’s not in my tote. We’re talking about a cleaning tote. This should not have holes in the bottom of it. It should be a solid tote just because if the product ends up spilling in the bottom of that, you want it to stay contained.
The reason I bring this up is that if you search Target, Walmart, or Amazon, you’re going to see the type of caddy or totes that are intended for the shower. They have drain holes in them. If you live in a dorm and you have to take your stuff to and from the shower or whatnot, they have a lot of totes that look like they’re multipurpose for that.
I’m sure it would be nice to be able to spray it out and then dry itself. But you want to make sure that it has a solid bottom on it. Find a cute one because when things are cute and things are aesthetically pleasing, it makes you want to use them more often. But you can even get them at the dollar store.
Soft And Rough Sponges
This is where you’re going to want to make swaps. I definitely choose to buy sponges that are a hundred percent compostable. You could throw them in the dirt and they would decompose, or you could actually throw them in your compost. And listen, don’t throw them in your compost if you’re using actual chemicals on them. I make mine out of baking soda, essential oils, and some vinegar. So completely 100% safe to go in your compost.
Both are completely natural and I got them instead of the green scratchy scour pads, like an SOS pad. Or the sponges that have a soft sponge and a rough sponge on one side, scotch Bright actually makes one that say are natural. But when you look at it, most of it is still synthetic fibers. And so I really do try and get a natural sponge. They dry a lot quicker.
You can look on Amazon again, and there are so many different options and you’ll see them actually start to break down over six months or so. They also can go in the dishwasher if you want to disinfect them, but they never smell. They rinse clean so much better than a regular traditional sponge. I absolutely love them.
And then I also choose to use a bottle brush for my toilet cleaner brush. I absolutely love it, I choose to keep this in my cleaning tote and not one in every single bathroom because I don’t like those things in my bathroom. I like to take my tote with me from room to room so that when I’m doing my zone cleaning, I can stay super focused in one room. When I’m done with it, I can move to the next.
I do know that there are some aesthetically pleasing options for families where you want to have these things, especially a toilet brush. But again, I urge you to stay away from the ones that have the disposable little sponges on the bottom of ’em where you wipe your toilet clean and then you click it off and you flush it down into your toilet.
The purpose of my sharing today’s episode with you is to let you know that you can have a cleaning tote that’s full of really good cleaning agents that are not terrible for the environment. They’re also incredibly inexpensive and friendly to your body and your lungs.
There’s a website EWG.org, and it will tell you the breakdown of every single thing known to mankind, it’s guides to cleaning are in here. You can just type in what cleaning supplies in your health. It’s an incredible article about what most cleaning products actually do to your body.
Top Five Effects Of Cleaning Supplies
The top five effects that they have on our bodies are triggering asthma attacks or just worsening asthma. Also, lots of cancer-causing chemicals inside traditional cleaning products, and reproductive and developmental toxicity. Another really big one is allergies and irritations. And then obviously the fifth one is accidents, burns, and poisoning, which is why a lot of these products have to be kept up high. Parents learn that you can’t keep them underneath open spaces where your toddlers can get to them. And you’ve seen the dishwasher pods actually have those safety clips on them because they shouldn’t be ingested.
I mentioned this to you because I remember the first time that somebody showed me this website, it helped me learn so much. So if you’re on this journey and you want to learn more about this, this site is so unbelievably trustworthy.
It’s also really cool because it will rate the products that you’re using all throughout your house. Your beauty products, everything, baby products, all of it in green, yellow, and red for toxicity. And you can learn every single ingredient that’s in it, why it’s harmful, and they link outs to other research articles.
Back to what is in my tote and what to include in your cleaning tote. I have two other cloths. One of them is just a standard microfiber cloth. DoTERRA has some that I love. I’ve actually given away a couple of these inside of my time management bootcamp. But they have some microfiber cloths that I love.
And then I also have a rag for glass cleaning that I have gotten from Norwex. Theirs are far superior to anything that I’ve ever seen. They’re polishing cloth for whenever I am cleaning my mirrors or my windows or glass. They also have several other cloths that are really, really great for just disinfecting and cleaning at a microscopic level that we can’t even see. So do your research on those.
I want to really encourage you to not be afraid of going paperless and getting away from the disposable parts of your cleaning tote as much as you can. If the first thing that you do is just switch to natural sponges, great, keep the roll of paper towels in there. I kept the roll of paper towels in for a long time until I got that system up and running.
My kitchen is completely paperless and now my cleaning is completely paperless. I have a basket of rags that stays out in the laundry room and they are meant for cleaning. They’re not meant for being used on our bodies, ashing our cars, or in the kitchen. They’re only meant for cleaning.
So it’s fine if I wipe the toilet down with it and I throw it in the washing machine. It doesn’t go in the hamper with my clothes, it goes into a wire basket. So if you have a wet rag that you’ve just wiped your counter down with, it’s not going to sour in there. It’s going to dry out because it’s very open in the air can go through. Then when it fills up, I wash them, fold them, and put them back in the clean basket.
Don’t be afraid to get a bunch of rags from goodwill or get rid of your nasty bath towels and buy yourself some new ones. Actually create some paperless and reusable cleaning items for yourself.
So you can either have paper towels or you can have a couple of rags in there. I always have a dry towel, I dry everything down when I’m done cleaning it. And then I have my other rag that I use for actually wiping down my surfaces. Just use a small rag to wipe down your toilet or vanity or to wipe up something off your floors or whatever. Then I just throw it in the dirty laundry and grab another one.
So those are my staples for what I’m actually cleaning with the things that I’m using. I used to have gloves in there. I don’t need gloves anymore because I don’t have harsh chemicals.
DoTerra Essential Oils
So let’s talk about the products that I am actually using. I am extremely partial to cleaning with essential oils and I do have a partnership with doTERRA. If you want to get anything from their cleaning line, go to chelsijo.co/oils. You can get them from me there or you can DM me and ask me any questions about them. I’ll tell you how all of it works, any questions you might have, I will seriously get you hooked up.
Essential Oil Soft Scrub
So I have one all-purpose spray. That’s all you need, simple and easy item of what to include in your cleaning tote. And I have one all-purpose scrub that is all you need. You only need those two things. And I make them in bulk so they last me six months if not more. And we have three bathrooms, two tubs, a shower, three toilets, and 5 sinks.
DoTERRA or OnGuard
We’ve got a house to clean just like you, and it lasts me forever. It smells amazing. I absolutely love it. And so I get out a really big mixing bowl, I put some baking soda in it, and I put my other ratio of my concentrate. And doTERRA actually has two options. You can go with their bold line, which is specifically formulated and designed for surface cleaning and disinfecting in your home.
Or you can go with the OnGuard line, which OnGuard has a cleaning concentrate. I’ve used that for a while. I used thieves from Young Living for a long time before that. Love them. And I have actually kind of made a little bit of both together because I like the smell of both of them. I like a little bit of on guard in there, just a touch of it.
So I have my big bowl, I put baking soda in there, I put my little jar of a boat in there, and I put a little squirt or splash of the OnGuard concentrate. Then I personally love to put a bunch of peppermint in it. I get peppermint essential oil and I put it in there. Then I slowly mix in vinegar until it becomes toothpaste. Once it’s like toothpaste, I let it set for a minute because sometimes it expands and then I put it back in the jar, close the lid and it will dry out and become a soft scrub.
If you don’t have it in an airtight container, some people just put it in a Tupperware, which you can totally do. And then when it’s time to clean, I just scoop it out with my hand, put it on my sponge, clean, and then rinse everything thoroughly.
Essential Oil All-Purpose Spray
Now, my all-purpose spray is even simpler, the glass bottles that doTERRA came out with for the Abode line are absolutely stunning. And so this is even more simple of what to include in your cleaning tote. If you go with the Abode line, which I love, they give you a pre-measured bottle. You open it, pour it into the jar, fill the rest up with water and you’re done. Just like an old-fashioned Pine Sol.
I don’t know if your parents loved Pine Sol but mine did and that’s what she mopped with. So I actually mop with this concentrate. I use it as a stain remover on my clothes. I literally use it for pretty much everything that I clean.
That’s how simple it is to mix up this spray. And you can also put other essential oils in it to make it smell summery, to make it smell a little bit more like Christmas. So it’s really fun during Thanksgiving and Christmas time and making my all-purpose spray smell a little bit more like cinnamon and peppermint. It gives it a holiday feel and it makes me really excited to clean. I kid you not.
Now I get this question asked a lot. What do you do for glass? So I do use some peppermint essential oil, water, and vinegar. And then I use that glass polishing cloth from Norwex. I have not found any other cloth that will give me that streak-free clean, like old fashioned paper towel, Windex. But I finally found a replacement for it that I absolutely love.
Get Your Tote Together
So those are the things that are inside of my cleaning tote specifically and what to include in your cleaning tote. Go out there, get your little list put together of all the little special things that you need for your house. I’m telling you, it’s going to motivate you. Next time you go out there and you hit your zones, you’re ready to dive in and you’re ready to get your house cleaned.
Make sure to head to our doTERRA Essential Oils page to read more on how to manage your home with essential oils. There is also a FREE Getting Started guide to help get you going in your journey of toxin-free cleaning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I go to learn more about doTerra Essential Oils?
Head over to chelsijo.co/oils where you can learn all about taking your home management to the next level with doTERRA Essential Oils.