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Steph interviews Becky Rapinchuk aka Clean Mama®, who is a natural cleaning and homekeeping expert. Becky’s daily, simplified cleaning routine is easy-to-follow and takes 30 minutes or less. Learn how to create your own, natural cleaning products and how to create a simple cleaning routine for your family, so you can spend more time enjoying your life.
Becky Rapinchuk 0:04
Hand sanitizer isn’t always bad, I talked about that in the book, but make sure that you’re using a brand that is safe to use. Make sure it doesn’t have that triclosan in it, artificial fragrance, those sorts of things.
Stephanie Greunke 0:17
Welcome back to the Whole Mama’s podcast. We’re here to give you tools, resources and evidence based information so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family. Whether you’re trying to conceive or are navigating life with a toddler or a teenager, we’ve got you covered. I’m Stephanie Greunke – Registered Dietitian and Program Director for Whole30’s Whole Mama’s club. I’m also the co-creator of Whole30’s pregnancy program. And my co-host is Dr. Elana Roumell – pediatric naturopathic doctor and founder of Nourish Medical Center. Today I’m excited to chat with Becky Rapinchuk, also known as Clean Mama. Becky is a natural cleaning and homekeeping expert. She’s developed a daily simplified cleaning routine that’s easy to follow and takes only 30 minutes or sometimes even less. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with keeping a clean home, while still enjoying your family and your life, you’ll feel right at home with Clean Mama and her step by step routine. \
Before we jump into the episode, I want to thank our podcast partner Rethink water. Rethink water is our favorite alternative to the standard kids juice box. Instead of adding a ton of sugar, colors, and flavoring Rethink uses natural fruit essence for flavor and their new Splash product uses a hint of actual fruit juice and monk fruit to make it resemble more of a traditional juice box but without all the added sugar. We’re talking about one gram of sugar versus a competitors who may be 10 grams or more. These portable recyclable juice boxes are perfect for your kids lunch box after school snack family picnic or birthday party. Heck, I even have a box myself and I’m bar to plain water and once something flavor to encourage me to drink more water. And you know I nerd out about brain health, so here’s a fun fact you may not know: did you know that your brain is about 73% water. And even just slight dehydration can negatively affect your attention, your memory and other cognitive skills. And we know that kids are often under consuming fluid so we want to support their brains to help support their learning as infants and toddlers and during school age. And mamas we need to support our hydration to help support our short term memory so we can remember where we put our car keys, and that we need to grab more eggs at the grocery store. You can find Rethink water at Target, Kroger, Fresh Time, Gelson’s, Walmart, and even on Amazon. They’re so worth trying out for your little ones. If you haven’t seen them in your local grocery store, head over to the website which is drinkrethinkwater.com/findus to find a location that sells them near you. Or you can use our code wholemamas20 to purchase Rethink water directly from their website and get 20% of any order. And, just so you’re aware, the new Splash juice boxes, the ones that contain the fruit juice and resemble more of the traditional juice boxes will be available at Kroger and Walmart first, and then they’ll launch in Target later this year. Alright, onto the show.
Welcome to the show, Becky, we are so excited to have you on today.
Becky Rapinchuk 3:22
I’m so excited to be here. Thank you.
Stephanie Greunke 3:24
Well, the reason I asked you to come on the podcast today was because we’re in the process of creating a postpartum program for Whole Mamas Club. And when I asked the moms what they wish they would have known going into motherhood, your name was mentioned a couple of times as an expert or resource that they wish they would have been able to use during their postpartum period and even before baby came to clean up and organize and have all these natural cleaning supplies available to them. So I’m so excited to be able to share a little bit more about you with our community at large and then get to really learn from you because I am doing my best when it comes to using cleaner products in my house and trying to keep things nice and tidy. But you are certainly the expert at this.
So, before we begin, Becky, I love to hear how you nourished yourself today. I know this isn’t quite on the topic of cleaning your house, but hey, it could be, I think having a clean house is a great way to nourish yourself. But it’s a question that we always ask people is how they nourish themselves so that we can give other unique ideas and make sure that we’re staying accountable as you know, thought leaders and as mamas ourselves just giving some inspiration and tips. So what did you do today or what are you going to do today?
Becky Rapinchuk 4:49
Well, usually in the morning I get up before everyone else I like kind of a dark house and quiet. I usually will start by unloading the dishwasher, picking things up, getting things ready for the day, getting kids lunches started, getting breakfast going, that sort of thing. And this morning I decided not to do any of that. And I decided I just need to sit and drink my coffee in absolute quiet and it was wonderful. And that’s what I did to nourish myself. I made myself a cup of coffee, and foamed the milk, and it was perfect in my day started off a little bit better.
Stephanie Greunke 5:26
Oh, that is so great. It’s such a nice soothing way to start your morning. I started my morning by not breaking a commitment, not breaking a promise to myself first thing in the morning by hitting the snooze button. I will do it. I did it once. But I have a routine where every morning I get up and I either will go to the gym at like 5 or 5:30am or I’ll go take a walk, or do just a little jog. I love starting my day on my timeline versus having my littles crawl into bed or wake me up at a certain time, and it just keeps me accountable for staying active and moving. And this morning, I just was tired I’m not feeling good, as you can tell my throat is a little bit raspy. And so I shut my first snooze and then I remember that I went to bed at a really good time, so I got plenty of sleep, and I knew that by moving my body and getting all the lymph fluid moving out, I’d feel better. So I did one snooze, and then I remembered ‘”Nope, I can’t break this promise to myself,” and I got out of bed and I got just moving on a light walk, kept it easy because I’m not feeling good today.
Becky Rapinchuk 6:38
Nice. Well, that’s a little bit of progress, right.
Stephanie Greunke 6:42
A little bit of progress. But that’s yeah, that’s how I nourished myself. So let’s get into it, let’s talk about your new book, which is absolutely incredible. Bytheway, it’s super comprehensive. It’s really structured which I know my co-host Elana is going to really love and dig your approach. She loves structure.
I read that you actually began your career as an art teacher at an elementary school. So I am fascinated by that story and wondering how you ended up becoming an expert in cleaning.
Becky Rapinchuk 7:11
Sure, well, I am a sort of a naturally clean person. So I enjoy cleaning and keeping things tidy, that’s just my personality. So it probably fit well with liking to clean, but I started as an art teacher and I changed to a couple different school districts with moves and whatnot. But I absolutely love teaching art. And I did it for about 10 years. I taught every age level from preschool all the way up to 12th grade. But the majority of the time I taught elementary school and those little kids were always getting something on their clothes, getting a little, you know, paint on their shirt, or ink on their pants and I would send home little notes with the parents that I’d safety pin to their clothing or to their backpack and say, “This is how you clean that stain.” And parents really liked that because then they would know what to use. I also cleaned houses for a little extra money while I was teaching. I would clean other like fellow teacher’s homes, and which seems kind of odd looking back on it, but at the time, it seemed totally normal.
But I really enjoyed going into other people’s homes and I would use their cleaning products and I would just figure out what worked and what didn’t and spend a couple hours. I did it like three afternoons week after school and I just kind of figured out some different methods that worked for how to clean things really quickly. And then when my husband and I were married, I was still teaching, and I was trying to figure out how to keep a home clean while we were working, and it was just the two of us. I could not figure out how in the world that we could keep things clean all the time. But I also was really struggling with the fact that it’s messy all the time. And it’s just two of us. And so one bedroom apartment and like, you know, what in the world, why can’t we keep this clean. So that was where I started kind of looking at how we could come up with a system or something so that we weren’t cleaning all day Saturday. My husband worked a second job on Saturdays, and when he was working, I was cleaning. And I didn’t mind it, but it still seemed like, you know, there’s other things I could be doing, rather than cleaning this little teeny tiny apartment So this whole time I’m teaching art and I’m trying to formulate a cleaning routine, so that it works. So it’s just kind of like the life stuff with the work stuff.
But then while I was teaching I was also really intrigued with processes for cleaning classrooms and getting kids to clean. But then also, I was sick all the time, because I was coming in contact with all these germs. So I was wanting to make sure that everything was “sanitized and clean.” But I’m still getting sick and just trying to kind of come up with what’s going to work and what’s not going to work for this classroom. How can we clean it up quickly? I would have like 25 kids on the average would come in, we do like a 40 minute lesson, they would leave, 5 minutes later, 20-25 more kids would come in, we do a lesson. And so it’s this constant, like, be creative, make the mess and then put it away, be creative, make the mess, put it away. And so I started thinking using that and thinking about my classroom is always clean at the end of the day, but it’s because we’re constantly cleaning all day long and we’re always picking up our messes as we go.
So I took that and I applied it to my cleaning routine. and I started kind of playing around with different things on different days and what works and what made sense. That was how I started to formulate the cleaning routine was kind of a combination of those two things, which seems very odd but for a creative person like myself, it was I needed to have a little bit of structure, but I also needed to have a plan because it wasn’t working with the way that I was doing it.
Stephanie Greunke 11:29
It actually really makes sense when you look at that and you have to, you have to keep ahead of the mess. If you are doing all those art projects with all those little kids and all the spills and all the the mess, which is really fun for them and and they need to do that, but also to have some kind of structure in order with that. I just give you so much credit. I go to pick my kids up from school and I look at the room and the room is spotless and there’s 12 little kids running around. And then I look at our house with two kids and it’s a total mess. And I’m like, I need to learn their secrets. I’m so glad we have you to share your secrets.
So, based on all that information, where do people start? Let’s say they’re looking at their house. Maybe it’s Tuesday night. We air the podcast on Tuesday. So it’s Tuesday night, their house is still a mess from the weekend. How can we structure our cleaning routine so it feels less overwhelming and maybe a good place to start would be your kickstart weekend detox.
Becky Rapinchuk 12:33
In my book, Clean Mama’s Guide to a Healthy Home, I talk about clearing out chemicals, things that are toxic and not safe in your home and trying to decipher that, while not losing your mind. Because it gets overwhelming and if you have little kids, there’s like that fine line between ‘Am I doing something harmful? Or am I keeping them safe?’ And it’s kind of hard to decipher which one is which. I think it doesn’t have to be all or nothing today, there’s tomorrow and the next day or there’s, you know, this afternoon or this evening or an hour later. If you try to tackle everything all at the same time, no matter what it is, whether it’s a cleaning routine, or a diet, or getting chemicals out of your home, whatever you’re trying to do, if you try to go all in all at once, I would say 99% of the people are going to be overwhelmed and won’t be able to keep going, because it’s just too much. It’s too much to consume at one time. So in the book, I talk about a quick kickstart weekend that you can do where you’re just doing three things, instead of a complete overhaul of everything. But these three things are really important.
The first one is to get the trash out. So, you’re going to get the bad stuff out of your home. I talked about going through the different rooms and what to look for with ingredients. You can also just look on the back for a couple buzzwords that are going to be probably tell you that they’re not good anyways just from like fragrances, is one of them fragrance or artificial fragrance/parfume. That’s something that is like a secret ingredient and there’s thousands of potential ingredients that it could be. So you have to be really careful about what kind of fragrance – you shouldn’t have any fragrance. If you’re going to have something with a scent, it should be natural like an essential oil.
So, first of all I talk about going through your kitchen, your bathroom, your laundry room, your utility room or your basement, and living areas. You’re just going to look for a product so in the kitchen, you’re look for dish soap, dishwasher detergent, hand soap, sink, scrub, those sorts of things. And then you’re just going to go through every room and take a bag or a box, and you’re going to put these chemicals in there and get them out of your home. Even if they’re not being used, those chemicals can leach through the packaging and still contribute to your overall air quality. And if you don’t believe me, and you think that that’s weird, that’s okay. But just go walk down the cleaning an aisle at your favorite local store, whether it’s a grocery store or Target or Walmart, you walk down that cleaning aisle, you smell something, and that’s the fragrance that’s coming out of those packages. So that’s why it’s important to make sure that those bad things are out now.
Stephanie Greunke 15:39
What do we do with them? Once we when we go and we go through our rooms and we put them in maybe a trash bag, how do we safely dispose of them?
Becky Rapinchuk 15:49
Well, I recommend putting in a box or a bag out in your garage, if you have one, and then contacting your local disposal a place where you can safely dispose of it could take it there. It’s safer out of your house. It might sound wasteful, but it’s better to get rid of it, then to have it. If you want to put an X on something and keep using it until it’s used up and then replace it with something else, you can do that too. But if you’re trying to make a really quick start, then you would want to just get it out of your home.
Stephanie Greunke 16:27
Okay, cool. And let’s say someone’s listening, and they’re like, ‘Oh, I feel so overwhelmed thinking about going through all of the rooms.’ What are maybe one or two rooms that you think would be the most important to start with to start looking at the products you’re using?
Becky Rapinchuk 16:41
Yeah, definitely your laundry room, that’s going to be your most important place because think about the laundry detergent fabric softener. Those are some of the worst, most harmful products that we use. And then if you think about them being on your skin or sleeping in them, we’re pretty much surrounded by those chemicals all the time. So getting rid of those is really important.
Stephanie Greunke 17:04
Okay, and you mentioned that you have listen your book that talks about the ingredients you may want to consider avoiding and you have really great information about why for the people that want to get into it. But there are also some really helpful things that we can use to scan and search the products that are in our cabinet to see if there may be a better option without having to memorize really long list. So I know like you talk about a couple of these in the book and these are there are a couple that I’ve used. EWG, the Environmental Working Group, madesafe.org, and then the Think Dirty app are things that you can actually scan or refer to that will tell you even within the specific brand of the product that you’re using, how safe it is and if you may want to consider getting rid of it and disposing it, or if it is safe and you feel comfortable using it.
Becky Rapinchuk 17:55
Right, and I love the Think Dirty app for that they actually EWG.org is great because you can go in type in certain, you know, products and sometimes I’ll cross reference them to, if I’m really kind of curious about ingredients or something specific. But with the Think Dirty app, it’s really handy because you can even take it to the store when you’re shopping. If you’re trying to decide if you want to buy something or not, you can scan it and tell right on the spot if it’s green, yellow, or red. And both of those companies use that same like a number scale, 1-10, number one is the best and it’s going to be green, and then the bad, 10 is red. So it’s really easy to determine if it’s good or bad. Green is always a go, like that’s something that’s good to use, safe to use. Yellow is a warning, I stay away from anything that’s yellow, and I stick try to stay in that green zone.
Stephanie Greunke 18:53
Very cool. Okay. I don’t know if you want to keep going. Maybe I don’t want to interrupt you. So I want to answer some questions I know are coming up in our mama’s minds. Maybe if you want to get into this later or address now – what are some of your favorite brands for those two rooms, talking about the laundry room, and then maybe like the bathroom, or the kitchen? What are some really great brands that now that they’ve removed the potentially harmful cleaning products what they can replace it with if they want to purchase something?
Becky Rapinchuk 19:19
Yeah, and I have lots of websites and sources in the back of the book too, so you can take a peek at that. I sell a handful of laundry products. They’re all made by Molly Suds, and Molly Suds is green all over the place. It’s wonderful. It’s a great product. For laundry detergent, I recommend using white vinegar and well dryer block balls for fabric softener. I don’t use any fabric softener, I haven’t for years and and I was the person that would combine this brand has this and then this goes with this. I mean I love like that smell, or I used to. Now I walk down that aisle and I like I can’t even walk down that aisle because it’s like hurts my eyes and my nose so much. So if anyone can convert from bleach and products that purely smell good and work well like, I did that and if I can do it you can do it. I am definitely someone that appreciated that in a different life. But so Molly Suds is great. Better Life is a good company, I recommend them highly. They have a whole line of all different types of products. Dr. Bronner’s is great for the steel soap. I love that. I use it in the kitchen, you can wash your fruits and vegetables with it. You can you can even brush your teeth with it, I don’t, but you could, if you wanted to. They recommend it on the bottle and you can use it as a hand soap, you can mix it with water, and in like a foaming hand self pump and use replace your hand soap with that. I love Everyone brand. They have like Everyone’s soap and it’s like a three like body soap shampoo and then like bubble bath. So it’s great for kids – they have kids versions and adult versions, they smell really good. They only use essential oils to scent them and you can get unscented to you like have a baby and you want to use like no sent whatsoever, but that’s a great brand. The kitchen is hard because there are so many things that that you don’t even think of. You would think that dishwasher detergent would have to be safe because we eat off of our dishes, and why would there be bleach in dishwasher detergent or chemicals in dishwasher detergent because you are essentially consuming that in little teeny teeny tiny doses, but that all adds up. So consider what you’re using for your dish soap. I have a handful rated on my blog too. So if you wanted to look there, I do like swap posts where I talk about different products like don’t use this but use this. For my dishwasher detergent, I use the Grab Green but I use the unscented pods, not the scented ones.
Stephanie Greunke 22:16
If people are rapidly writing down notes of what you like, it’s all on her blog. And you know just as an another option, what we do here at our house is we use a multi purpose concentrated cleaner from Branch Basics and actually you just use a concentrated solution and mix it with different amounts of water that’s specified on the bottles. And we use that same cleaner for laundry detergent, and for hand soap, and we use it to wash our windows, we use it to wash our counters, and it’s just a great option if you are a minimalist like we are and you don’t want to think about all these different brands for different things and you don’t mind keeping it super basic.
Becky Rapinchuk 23:04
And I do recommend them in my book too, because I love their concentrate is great. I haven’t used that as well.
Stephanie Greunke 23:10
And other companies – I know Thieves has one, if you like the essential oils, there’s a couple of them that are out there. So if you’re like, I just need one thing, you can have one thing
Okay, cool. Alright, so sorry to interrupt you, I just wanted to answer some really great questions that I know people have. So okay, so we went through our cabinets, we got rid of some things, we replace some things now what do we do?
Becky Rapinchuk 23:34
Once you’ve done that, in my book, I talk about going through the house and making some swaps for ten like main things that are like the big things that are going to make a big difference in your home. I’ll just tell you a couple of them. And the first one is pesticides, which we know about. We know that there’s lawsuits that you’ve probably seen on the news with different products, but be careful with chemically treated lawns. At my kids schools, they will send you an email, if you request it, and let you know when they’re going to be spraying for whether it’s insects or the grass or whatever. And I send my kids to school but I’ll probably like have them change out of their clothes and you know, wipe down the bottoms of their shoes. I’m not like saying you can’t go to school that day but I’m trying to you know, just be a little bit more knowledgeable that that’s going on. Laundry detergent, we talked about that but that artificial smell and looking for something that’s natural and not scented. And just a note, if you are using laundry detergent that says it’s unscented or like free and clear or something like that they add chemicals to that to make it smell free and clear. So don’t think that because it says free and clear, you’re fine. Make sure that you look up the company. At least, if you do nothing else, look up the brand on your laundry detergent fabrics up or just stop using fabrics softeners.
Antibacterial soap we know is bad, they’ve banned it in the US, but they’re phasing it out. So you can still find it some places. Make sure that you aren’t buying anything that says antibacterial soap – you don’t want it on your dishes, you don’t want it on your hands. It has triclosan, it has fragrance in it, and it’s not something that you want around you, it’s a inhibitor. Hand sanitizer isn’t always bad, I talk about that in the book, but make sure that you’re using a brand that is safe to use. Make sure it doesn’t have that triclosan in it, artificial fragrance, those sorts of things. And germs aren’t horrible. It’s good to build up a little your immunity, it’s you don’t need to kill every germ all the time. And I’ve gone like the full spectrum on this. I have three kids and I was so paranoid with our first daughter, making sure that she was changing your clothes when she came home from school, washing her clothes, washing her hands all the time and, you know, nightly baths and like all this stuff, and she, out of everyone, she’s healthier now as an older child, but she was sick more than the other kids. And I was the most careful with her. So I think that you kind of have to just say let you know, let the immune system do what it’s designed to do a little bit too.
Stephanie Greunke 26:27
What about people that work in, I get this question quite a bit, people that work in hospitals, or they have a job where they’re exposed to a lot of germs and they want to have an option for hand sanitizer, and maybe the one that is offered on the walls of their hospital isn’t something that they feel comfortable using. Do you have any suggested brands for hand sanitizer – something that they could put in their back pocket, or in their purse, that they could use when out and about with kids?
Becky Rapinchuk 26:53
Yeah, I the EO brand, it’s that is Everyone brand, EO and Everyone it’s the same company. They have a great hand sanitizer and so does Dr. Bronner’s. Both of those are great. And they come in little spray bottles. I have one of my car, I’ve got one in my purse. Because there’s certain times like if I grab meat at the grocery store, and, you know, I’m thinking, ‘Huh, I feel like he just touched that paper with meaty hands.’ No, like, I want to use my hand sanitizer so.
And then reducing your plastics is important. So like plastic containers that you’re storing food in, I always recommend using glass, parchment paper, things that are like the bees wax wraps are great, looking for lunch options that you can wash and reuse for your kids, or if you take your lunch to work, different things like that. There’s a lot of endocrine disrupting chemicals that affect your hormones in plastics, so you want to be really careful, even if it’s just true that you’re storing in there. If you put hot food in there, it’s going to break down that a little bit too. It’s so overwhelming when you start like looking at everything and breaking things down. Because you start kind of second guessing everything, your whole house, everything that you do like, ah, but I want you to feel like it’s not all or nothing. It’s little bits at a time. I mean, I’ve been doing this, since my daughter had a really scary experience with a “safe” cleaner, that was like 12 years ago. And that’s when I started to say, ‘Huh, I thought this was totally fine.’ And I started to kind of investigate things, and it took me probably five years after that to convert everything. And then since then I’m still changing things. And when I wrote my book, I was doing additional research, and then changed others things in our home – things like water filtration and different things. And I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, I had no idea. I never thought of that.’ So I thought I knew a good scope of what there was to know, and ‘m still learning more every day, and I’m still making adjustments. And that’s the process, and that’s, that’s okay.
Stephanie Greunke 29:19
Oh, for sure. Yeah, it can be really overwhelming when you’re looking at your entire house and your entire way of being and living. And it can get really expensive too when you’re trying to swap all the products that you have and you know, beauty products and all of that. And like you mentioned, there’s a lot of different ways you can go about doing it, you can do it room by room, you can do it by what is running out and then replacing it, you can do it by the things that you use most often. There’s so many different ways depending on your comfort level and your budget. And you can buy these wonderful, already made cleaners, or in your book, like you’re talking about, there’s a lot of different things you can use using ingredients that are pennies, that just cost such little money, like lemon juice and vinegar and water. So maybe for those of the listeners that are wanting to make their own because they like doing that kind of thing, or maybe they’re trying to change and swap some of the things that they’re using on a budget. Can you give us like your favorite two or three quick and easy cleaning products that we can make?
Becky Rapinchuk 30:20
Yeah, absolutely. My all time favorite is my nightly sink scrub. And it’s baking soda and essential oils. And I do two cups of the baking soda like in a little court, mason jar, I do 30 drops of essential oils, you could obviously not do the essential oils, it’s more for scent, and kind of like an aromatherapy experience. I use lemon and clove because that’s my favorite combination. But I mix it all up with a table knife and close the mason jar up and then at night after I’ve cleaned the kitchen, everyone’s put their dishes away, we’ve cleaned up the counters, it’s kind of reset and ready for the next day. I take that nightly sink scrub, I sprinkle it on the bottom of the sinks, and I add a squirt of my dish soap and scrub the sink with a scrub brush that I have set aside just for the sink. I don’t use it on dishes or anything else. And I rinse that down, dry the sink and the smell is really nice and kind of relaxing. And then just that whole process of having it all completed, it probably takes two minutes. But it’s like a little reset kind of getting the classroom ready for the next day. Or the next class that comes in its it ties that up really nicely. And that’s the first one you can also use that same sprinkle on carpet, if you just sprinkle just a little bit, let it sit for 15 minutes and then vacuum it up, if you needed a carpet freshener. You can sprinkle it on a mattress and let sit again, just like the carpet, and then vacuum it up. And you could you can sprinkle in the bottom of a smelly garbage can. I mean, there’s a lot of things that you can do with that little sprinkle. I’m telling someone to make something for the first time or if they’ve never made anything, I always say to start with your window cleaner because my recipe works so much better than other ones do. So I always say ‘Oh, try this on because it’s just, it’s special.’ So all it is is water and rubbing alcohol and then essential oil, but it’s just the right combination of those. And I believe it’s…
Stephanie Greunke 32:32
While you’re looking for it, where do you put these things when you make them? Do you put them in old bottles? Do you purchase new bottles?
Becky Rapinchuk 32:40
No, I use glass spray bottles, I sell them in my shop too. I just use a clear glass spray bottle with a really nice black sprayer, and I put a label on it. And that’s how I use it. I find that, for me, I take like the artistic a approach to my cleaning suppliers and I make sure that they look good in this kind of color coordinated, and it’s a little more enjoyable for me to use that way, if that’s your style, that might work for you. If you don’t care, you could reuse a bottle, you can use a glass vinegar bottle and just put a spray tap on it too, that works. So the glass and mirror cleaner recipe is a cup and a half a water, one and a half tablespoons of white vinegar, one and a half tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and then three drops of essential oil. I like peppermint in this, you could use lemon or something else. It’s that peppermint just has kind of a clean smell to it for windows. You could use it and you can spray your sink with it if you want it to be a little bit shinier too.
Another recipe that I think people really enjoy, it’s not even a recipe, it’s just a tip. It’s a bathroom disinfectant and it’s just hydrogen peroxide. So, all you need is a hydrogen peroxide bottle and a sprayer. Don’t take the hydrogen peroxide out of that brown bottle because if you do, it will lose its effectiveness when it comes to contact with light. But I will spray that on cutting boards, you could spray in a diaper pail, you could spray on anything that needs disinfection, where you would have used a more toxic chemical, this is going to remove those germs, you just let it sit and then wipe wipe it clean. If you have like gross grout, you can spray it on that and it will lighten that up too. That’s just a great tip for a safe disinfected, there’s absolutely no smell. The only caution is that you don’t spray it on your carpet because it could lighten it, or if you spray it on clothes, it can lighten it too. But you can use it on white clothing if you have a pesky stain on there, too.
Stephanie Greunke 34:51
Oh, these are so great. Thank you. And we’ll put a link in the show notes to the recipe. So if you missed all the ingredients, it’ll be there for you. Okay, let’s get into having other people help you clean. We won’t get into this today, but what I love about your approach, Becky, is you break it down day by day, and you focus on a certain thing to clean house Monday through Sunday. And so you’re not cleaning the whole house and kind of like we just had a meal prep episode, and it was very funny to see how Elana and I differ. Elana does meal prep in a three hour chunk. And I kind of break it down and do piece by piece, as it makes sense for me. This is also something that I’ve done with laundry is instead of doing a humongous load and feeling so overwhelmed by it, I will do a load almost every day, even if it’s a really small load. And that way I can get it done in just minutes, you know, throw it in there and then put it away right away. And that’s kind of how your approach is – you break it down piece by piece, so it’s not overwhelming. And people can find out more about that on your Instagram page, you have lots of great pictures and ideas and outlining your structure of how you do it. So yes, this is definitely something that we can tackle as mamas for our family.
But you know, we could also reach out and have people help us. One of the things that I do is we hire a cleaner, this is something that we budget for. And we’ve actually like worked up to, we didn’t always have a cleaner, but I actually provide the cleaning solutions for our maid so that I know what they’re using, and that they’re using really high quality stuff. So that’s another option. But let’s say we’re having other people help us because yeah, even if you have a maid or a cleaning service coming to your house, you’re going to have to tackle daily things. And you don’t have to tackle them by yourself, you can have your partner help you, or you can even have your kids help you. So I would love to hear I’m sure you have thought of some really great ways to have kids involved with the cleaning based on your experience as an elementary school art teacher and as a mom yourself. So can you kind of give us some age related cleanimg activities that our kids can help with.
Becky Rapinchuk 37:02
Yeah, I started my kids at age two, just kind of loosely helping. As soon as they were able to like, help with the dust cloth, I would give them that and tell them, ‘Oh, go wipe down this table.’ I wasn’t giving them cleaners. I was giving them a job for them. But, they weren’t doing the actual cleaning. They were just following along with me. And I think that’s really helpful for introducing it as just something we do, rather than this dreaded task. So if you treat it like ‘Oh, no, I’ve got to go clean the bathrooms!’ and it’s like the worst thing ever, no one’s going to want to help you with that, because you have already framed that in a place where it’s awful. So because we live in a home, we enjoy a home, and we all make messes in the home, we get to clean up our home together. And that’s something that I’ve instilled in the kids, and my husband as well. But he’s gone until six at night. So there was a lot that happens when he’s not around. But for the kids – little kids can help with laundry, sorting laundry is really great for even like two and three year olds, like oh, separate these socks, or can you pull it out of the pants. I you would only have them do their own, I wasn’t having them help with the family laundry.
But just little tiny things like that. Something my kids always loved doing was taking baby wipes and wiping down baseboards or doors with them, or wiping handles down, just little things like that. And then as they get older, showing them how to clean their rooms. And rather than saying go clean your room, because if you just tell a kid to go clean their room, you’re going to come back in an hour, and it’s going to probably look the same, but maybe the books are in alphabetical order. They missed the point on room. So you need to start with them and sit down, ‘Oh, let’s do this’ or give them a task, ‘Okay, right now,…’ My youngest is seven, and with him, I still will break it down like ‘Okay, now put all your books here, and then when you’re done with that, come and tell me. Okay, then let’s put all your Legos here.’ I’ll start with them. And then when he’s doing it, then I will say, ‘Okay, let me know when you’re done with that.’ So I don’t have to be in there the whole time with him, but I’m giving him little snippets of jobs that he can be working on. As soon as they’re old enough to use a vacuum cleaner, you can have them help with vacuuming. I’ve always had kids use little brooms to help clean up messes under the table after meal times. And then as they get older, they get to use the actual real broom. Kids like to use dusters like a one duster, that’s always something that they enjoy doing.
But I think that the main thing is having them help with picking up their own messes. Like when you’re done with this, pick it up and then you can choose something else. And that teaches them that we don’t take everything out at once. Because then it’s overwhelming to put away just like doing a whole week’s worth of laundry in one day is hard to put away. It’s the same thing for kids, they need just like I’m going to do this right now I’m going to focus on that. And then when it’s done, I don’t want to clean it up, but I have to in order to go to the next thing. It’s hard to enforce, especially if they’re playing nicely, and they want to go take other things out. I don’t stop that creative play with my kids. If they want to take this out and this and add those things together and make something I would never tell them. ‘Nope, you can’t have two things out at the same time.’ But when we’re done, and it’s time to move on to the next thing, it’s usually like a meal, we’ll clean up before the meal starts. Those are just kind of some little like tactics that I use with my kids. It’s the same sorts of things I used in the classroom, on a smaller scale. But it helps us to be less overwhelmed and want to be in our space when we’re not stepping over clothes, or toys, or Legos or anything like that.
Stephanie Greunke 41:18
Those are all really great tips. Thank you so much for sharing those. And by choosing products, like you talked about that are based on vinegar and lemon juice, or using some of the green colored products that are already pre-made, when they get to that age where they can help with spraying and wiping down, then you’re going to feel much more comfortable about that. It’s such a great thing to consider. But again, we don’t want you to feel overwhelmed. So take it easy. I love the tips that you’ve given us today. And I know you have so much more, you are a wealth of information. And for those people who want to keep following you keep learning from you. Where can they find you?
Becky Rapinchuk 42:01
Yeah, I have a website. It’s www.cleanmamma.net. I’m on social media as Clean Mama, except for Twitter, it’s cleanmamablog, but that’s not the best place to follow me so. Instagram is going to be your best place to follow me @cleanmama. And I also have a Facebook page as well under the same name. So you can find me and reach out. I answer my own emails and I’m happy to help with questions, or if you’re looking trying to find something on my website and you’re not able to find it or you’re thinking about something, reach out by email, that’s usually the best way to contact
Stephanie Greunke 42:40
Perfect I can see myself sending a message like how do I get bacon grease out of this shirt?
Becky Rapinchuk 42:46
Stephanie Greunke 42:48
Alright, thank you so much Becky. I really enjoyed our talk today.
Becky Rapinchuk 42:52
Thank you, myself as well.
Stephanie Greunke 42:55
Alright, that’s it for today’s episode. We hope you enjoy the episode with Becky and are feeling inspired to look at the cleaning products you’re using at home. See if maybe you can find some new favorites by doing a quick search over at the Environmental Working Group. Maybe play with making your own sink scrub. Or maybe you find a new cleaning routine that works for you and your family. As with all of our episodes, we hope you find a gem or two that you can use an implement in your daily life. And we love learning about how you’re using this information. So please don’t forget to tag us in your Instagram stories or your feed when you incorporate these changes you make that you’ve learned in the podcast into your daily life. And thanks again to today’s podcast partner Rethink water. If you try Rethink m,ake sure to tag Whole Mamas Club and Rethink water on Instagram to show us how you’re using them with your littles and what you think. And don’t forget to use the code ‘wholemamas20’ at checkout to get 20% off your order.
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- How to get started with natural cleaning
- The most important products to swap first
- Easy DIY cleaning products
- Becky’s favorite natural cleaning products/brands
- How to create a simple cleaning routine
- Age-appropriate cleaning activities for kids
- Clean Mama® website
- Becky’s new book: Clean Mama’s Guide to a Healthy Home
- Nightly sink scrub recipe
- Window cleaner recipe
- Follow Clean Mama on Instagram
- The HMHB Weekly Email Series
- Whole Mamas Pregnancy Program
- Nourish Kids Medicine Kit and Ebook
- Dr. Elana’s Medical Center: Nourish Medical Center
- Follow Steph and Elana on Instagram
- Whole Mamas Podcast Archive
This episode's guest
Becky, aka Clean Mama, is a natural cleaning and homekeeping expert, business owner and author of the books Clean Mama’s Guide to a Healthy Home, 2019, Simply Clean, 2017, The Organically Clean Home, 2014. She’s also a wife and mom to three, a business owner, and a former art teacher. She writes at cleanmama.net and is intent on helping you discover new ways to do the mundane tasks of homekeeping safely and naturally.
She’s developed a cleaning routine that’s used by thousands of people to do a little every day to keep it more manageable and under 30 minutes every day.