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Green Cleaning With The Cleaning Coach


Today we're giving away 2 copies of The Joy Of Green Cleaning, by Leslie Reichert, also known as "The Cleaning Coach." My husband and I are always looking at ways to "green" up our lives even more, and getting greener with our cleaning habits is something we'd love to do -- so I was excited to take a closer look at Leslie's book.

This book is great if you want to get away from harsh chemicals and nasty side-effects, while still getting your home and belongings squeaky clean. The recipes are simple, yet effective. The insights into making the switch to the Green Side make me think that we'll be able to institute this in our home life effortlessly. 

Recently, Leslie stopped by our office to visit with Jeanne and share some tips (scroll down to watch the video), and I sent Leslie some interview questions. Here's what she had to say:

From reading your book I know that you've been cleaning the "green" way for a long time. What got you to switch from the usual harsh chemicals and opt to clean the natural way?

I actually owned a very large housekeeping service in MA. We cleaned 100-150 houses a week and would use WHAT-EVER we could so we could clean quickly. One of those products was fiberglass boat cleaner (very yucky stuff and no longer available) after using it I found that when I got a cold it would turn into a very nasty infection that would take months to get rid of. Once I put the cleaner together with my lack of resistance I switched to greener products.

"Green" cleaning is far more commonplace now than it was even five years ago. When you first went green did you find it hard to get information or products you needed in order to clean naturally?

Yes, which is where the book came from. I found my great grandmothers laundry soap and gave it a try - and it really worked. I did more research and found that these old recipes work and by adding some essential oils we can make cleaning just a little bit more fun. I also enjoy trying new products all the time. Technology is catching up with green cleaning too.

You have an obvious passion for cleaning the natural way. Do your family and friends share that same passion or are you still working on converting them?

My family is on board- my younger daughter is actually doing a science project comparing traditional cleaners to green cleaners (so far I'm winning :-)
My friends are converting slowly too. Once anyone really gives it a try, they become advocates- it really can make a world of difference to your health as well as your family and pets' health too.

You have a number of "recipes" for cleaning solutions in your book. Do you have one that's a favorite, or is there one product that stands out above the rest in your eyes?

My heart is in the laundry soap - the picture in the book is my great-grandmother holding my grandmother - but one that I like to make for people when I'm speaking is the green scrub. It is so easy and can be used so many places- I give everyone a sample and challenge them to give it a try. TaDa- it definitely converts them. I had one lady that heard me talk last week and when I saw her at another event she couldn't stop telling everyone how clean her toilet was after using my scrub (mind you we were at a fashion show at a Country Club discussing her toilet, tee hee)

You have a pretty large Twitter following. What do you like best about the social media side of what you do?

I'm having fun making new contacts that I would never have made before - all over the world too. I have a chef in Milan, Italy that I love giving green cleaning advice too - thank goodness he can speak English, and lots of people on the West Coast. People are really having fun following my 20 day count down to clean, green holidays.

When Leslie sent me her responses, she asked if I'd like to hear about her daughter's science fair project. Of course I did! Here is what she had to share about that:

My daughter's project is coming out really amazing. She compared traditional cleaners, green cleaners, technology and homemade and so far the green products are working better. She stained a T shirt with ketchup, mustard, & cough syrup and a green laundry soap did better than the commercial ones. Also, in the picture below she stained a white carpet with spaghetti sauce then used a green stain remover, steam, a commercial cleaner and bleach - the bleach took the "white" color out and made it look gray, and the green cleaner worked the best!

The numbers on picture: 1. Commercial cleaner 2. Green cleaner 3. Bleach 4. Steam



Not only was Leslie so gracious as to answer my questions and film a video at the Daily Grommet offices, she's given us 2 copies of her book, The Joy of Green Cleaning, to give away. TO ENTER: Leave a comment or question for Leslie - the winners will be randomly drawn at the end of the day. 

General contest rules: To enter, you must be a U. S. resident, and at least 18 years of age and you must leave a comment or question for Leslie. No purchase necessary. The two winners will be randomly selected and will receive a copy of the book "The Joy of Green Cleaning." Employees, contractors, and the families of employees and contractors of Daily Grommet, Inc. are not eligible to enter. Void where prohibited. Contest will run from 9am EST through 10pm EST January 8, 2010.


  • Leslie, The Cleaning Coach Says:

    I'm so glad to be on The Daily Grommet blog today!! Please everyone, if you have any cleaning questions, I'll be around all day to answer them! We can make cleaning fun- or at least easier for you!

  • Sarah Says:

    I would love to read your tips and cleaning solutions in your book. I am interested in the laundry soap- is it difficult to make?

  • Leslie, the cleaning coach Says:

    Hi Sarah,
    The laundry soap is really easy to make. You can see the recipe on my book's web site: http://www.thejoyofgreencleaning.com/preview-the-book.html
    It is actually my great grandmother's recipe! You will see her picture there too. Just four simple ingredients. If you can't find the soap flakes, you can even make them yourself by shaving bars of Ivory Soap. Make sure you let them dry out before you try it or the soap will be really soft and turn into a pile of mush. Let me know if you need any help. I'm now your personal cleaning coach!

  • Janene Says:

    It is fabulous that your family is on board with you when it comes to "green cleaning". I am always looking for effective ways to keep our home clean - but green.

  • Sab Hubbard Says:

    I am one of those "convert friends" of Leslie's. I recently purchased a vacation house at a foreclosure auction. It needed a LOT of work, especially cleaning. I did 85% of my cleaning using Leslie's book (there are some cleaning products I can't bear to part with, but she's working on me!). I plan to encourage my guests to use only the green cleaning products, as well as the cleaning service I use. I think it will be a "selling point" to families that they don't have to worry about toxic chemicals in a home where they will be barefoot most of the time! My home is in the Florida Keys, and conservation of natural resources, particularly vulnerable reefs and fish are important to those of us who love that area. Leslie's cleaning coaching is helping to Save the Reef!

  • michelle Says:

    I converted to green cleaning while pregnant with my son and use the same 3-4 main ingredients and find it sooo economical at the same time, seems like the money saving would help convert many professional housecleaning services as well!

  • Leslie, the cleaning coach Says:

    Hey Sab,
    Thanks for your kind words. And keep up the good work! Hearing that going green from others is the best way to convert more! We are changing the world-one spray bottle at a time!

  • Leslie, the cleaning coach Says:

    Hi Michelle,
    Isn't it amazing what getting pregnant can do to the way we look at things! Cleaning while pregnant can actually be dangerous for the mom-to-be and the new baby inside, depending on what you are using. Glad you were smart to start then! Now you can convert the people doing the cleaning in your home. It would be better for your family if they went green. Remember, the things they are using can still be affecting you!

  • Hannah B. Says:

    Hi Leslie! I'm your newest follower on twitter.:) I'm so glad the Daily Grommet is featuring you because what you have to say is right up my alley. For years I've had a problem with my eyes that makes me unable to tolerate any chemicals or strong scents in the air. I cannot even go into a store that sells perfume or candles but I seem to tolerate some essential oils in products.

    Many years ago it was very difficult to even get my carpets cleaned because I could only find one company locally that could guarantee they could do it without leaving any solvents in the air. Now it's becoming more common and I am really glad to hear about people like you who can make my life easier! So, thanks for what you're doing, spreading awareness about natural products, and I'll be hanging on your every tweet! :)

  • Leslie, the cleaning coach Says:

    Hi Hannah B- I feel your pain! Being sensitive to scents is really difficult to understand unless you deal with it. When you mix your own cleaners, you can go unscented - naturally! Thanks for the follow - Happy Green Cleaning!

  • Melissa Says:

    Congrats on being featured here!! :) I just told all my fellow mom friends here in Ohio! Way to go!

  • Dana Says:


    Please help!

    I live in a town that has a major river running through it. A year or so ago, the county government decided the river was being polluted by too many harsh chemicals. Many of our regular cleaners, including my favorite dishwasher detergent, were taken off the shelves.

    We have very hard water and it is difficult to get the dishes clean. None of the convential, commercially green products (the only kind that are sold now in the grocery stores) seem to work. Do you have anything that can work for us? I hate doing dishes by hand, but that seems to be my only choice these days.


  • Julie Randall Says:

    I have been trying to convert all of my cleaning to the green way. What is the best way to clean/kill mold?

  • Leslie, the cleaning coach Says:

    Dana, One trick you can try with your "eco friendly" cleaner is adding table salt to it. I use this in my own recipe too. The salt works with the water to blast off the really tough food and also softens the water so you don't get the spots. You can also try some lemon juice - it's a natural acid that will work on the hard water spots. Let me know....

  • Leslie, the cleaning coach Says:

    Hi Julie,
    Tee Tree Oil does a great job of killing mold. It actually kills the spores too. You don't need much - just mix a few drops in a spray bottle and spray away. You can mix in some borax in with it. I have a great recipe in my book to remove mold - I hope you win it!

  • Kim Says:

    Liked the countdown to kitchen cleaning before Thanksgiving! That was inspired work :)

  • Leslie, The Cleaning Coach Says:

    Hey Kim - you made me LOL - Inspired Cleaning - who would have thought!

  • Paula Says:

    Hi Leslie - I had new tiles installed in my bathroom floors a few years ago. The kids bathroom floor is so hard to keep clean - everything I try either makes the floor too slippery or sticky and the grout is slowly turning dark in some heavy traffic spots. Do you have any suggestions on how to clean grout?

  • Facebook User Says:

    Okay, my question isn't so much about the green cleaners themselves, but as to how to convert my "housemates" into using them. I recently moved home with my dad and uncle, and I don't know how to get some of the toxic and storebought stuff out! Are there any really good points I can make to convert them?

  • Leslie, the cleaning coach Says:

    Hi Paula,
    Tile looks nice but can be difficult to keep clean. Here are a few things you can try. First, you can try cleaning the grout with a steamer. I have a video of what a steamer did on my grout. You can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sza4_cLdlbg I also have had alot of luck with upright steamers, like the SteamBoy. It combines the technology of steam with microfiber. It leaves the floor clean, but with no chemicals and keeps the grout fresh and clean too. If you want to spot clean the grout - use a real stiff brush- they make special grout brushes- make a paste with oxygen bleach, borax and some hydrogen peroxide. Add some salt and baking soda for bad stains. I hope this makes you enjoy your tile again!

  • Leslie, the cleaning coach Says:

    Hi Facebook User- Sometime you just have to show people that green cleaners work just as well as conventional cleaners - and even then, they might not convert. Here is a video where they use a bacteria meter and show that the green cleaner actually works better! http://www.thecleaningcoach.us/?9ce07288

    Most people think they need chemicals to clean. I have put blue food coloring in a bottle of water and had them clean with the spray bottle and a microfiber cloth. They insist that the "cleaner" is working great- when it really is the microfiber cloth that is doing the work.

    Just remember - seeing is believing. You just have to show them that your cleaners work as well as the ones they are using. And are keeping them healthier. Here is a video with a testimony about a lady who had a nasty condition- and it was found that she was having a reaction to the chemicals left in her clothing from laundry detergent! Who would have thought...

  • Jules Pieri Says:

    Leslie....you were so totally charming to work with and I hope you come back and share more tips (on video and in writing) for the folks at Daily Grommet. I think you will forever hold an unusual distinction as the person who cleaned our porcelain throne. >Jules

  • Jeanne Says:

    That's right - you're welcome back anytime, Leslie (and we promise you won't have to clean our bathroom again). In fact, stay tuned, because Leslie has already agreed to join us in our studio to spotlight future green Grommets.

    Now to the 2 copies of the Joy of Green Cleaning ... Today's winners (selected on Random.org) are Julie Randall and Michelle. Congratulations to both of you and your books will be on their way to you shortly.

    Thanks for stopping by everyone!

  • Frances Talbott-White Says:

    Allergy to fragrance AND citrus oils has made me a greener cleaner. Your book sounds like a great resource.

  • Kim Says:

    Somehow my first question didn't go through -- so I'll try again. :) Hopefully you are still around to answer.

    I am looking for a "green" solution that works for cleaning grout.


  • Leslie, the cleaning coach Says:

    Hi Kim,
    What you want to use to clean grout is a natural "bleach". You have a few to choose from. You can try straight lemon juice mixed with some borax to make a paste. Another "bleach" you can try is hydrogen peroxide with the borax. For even more "punch" you add table salt or if things are really bad use sea salt. You can also use powdered oxygen bleach in the mix. Let me know if you are asking about floor grout or shower tile grout. I have a recipe for both and I'll share!!

  • Taylor Says:

    Thanks so much for showing people that you can be "green" and still get things clean!

  • Alicia Says:

    Leslie has lots of great green cleaning tips to offer but here is one questions I have: When making laundry detergent I have always used Fels Naptha soap and grated it down into flakes.....but the soap is hard to get in my area. Will the detergent still be effective if i substituted it for a regular bar of soap???

  • Leslie, The Cleaning Coach Says:

    Hi Alicia,
    I think if you switched to Soap Flakes your laundry will be "greener" Fels Naptha has some different ingredients that some people consider questionable and others say it drys out their skin. My recipe for laundry detergent uses Soap Flakes (http://www.backdoorvac.com/soap-flakes.html) which are vegetable based. I also use oxygen bleach when I'm doing whites. You'd just have to try it to see what you think. There are so many varibles, like water, your washer and the tempeture, but it wouldn't hurt to try it.

  • Kim Says:

    Thank You, Leslie! I've used baking soda and peroxide to clean the drains for awhile with amazing results. I can't wait to try something green on the grouts. I have shower grouts to clean -- you said you had a recipe?


  • Leslie, the cleaning coach Says:

    Hi Kim,
    So sorry for the delay. I have two different recipes you can try from my book. The first one is to mix up some oxygen bleach with olive oil to make a paste. Use it with old tooth brush and scrub into the grout. Here is the other recipe from www.thejoyofgreencleaning.com

    Whitening-Scouring Powder
    1 cup baking soda
    2 tablespoons cream of tarter
    1/8 cup borax
    a few drops of lemon juicel or lemon essential oil
    Mix up the ingredients and use with an abrasive sponge or brush. If you want to make it into a paste, add enough lemon juice and let it sit upto an hour on your grout. Scrub it in a circular motion and wipe clean.

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