I have to admit from the beginning that I am not a great cleaner. I don't really notice a dirty floor or layer of dust. This is probably good for my quality of life, because I don't have to spend very much time cleaning. I do dishes and clean food messes immediately, but sweeping, dusting and mopping are low on my list. My dear husband feels differently. He doesn't like cleaning either, but his preference for clean is stronger than mine. Which means that he acts as our cleaning conscience every few weeks and we have to buckle down and sweep and mop the house.
Because I think so little about cleaning, I never have given much thought to environmentally friendly cleaning products, and when we moved in here, we bought the old standards. Recently, due to renewed consciousness about living simply, I have discovered that water works only slightly less well than the toxic stuff. I have been adding a little bit of soap if it just doesn't come off. But I don't find an alternative to paper towels. Here in Israel most people use a kind of cleaning cloth that is reusable but I always end up with piles of grime when I use it. I guess when we move we will try to make a more complete turnaround. I hear vinegar, baking soda and lemon can work wonders. The truth is that when we clean, and also when the cleaning lady cleans the floors in my lab, I get a headache, so regardless of long term effects and even environmental effects, I am not fond of the toxic cleaners. If only I can find a way around paper towels.