A few years ago we made a serious effort to reduce the number of cleaning products we use, particularly those containing toxic or harmful chemicals. In the process, we discovered a couple of things – first, that we don’t clean nearly as much as we should :)… and second, that baking soda and/or hydrogen peroxide will clean almost anything. I can get pet stains out of carpet and upholstery with peroxide and a damp rag (hairball residue, mostly, although it works on urine as well), and baking soda will clean any hard surface, with enough elbow grease – even the stove top without scratching, if I scrub longer and more gently.
We still have need of some commercial cleaning products – I haven’t found anything that gets stains out of clothing as well as Zout, for instance – but overall we’re a *much* greener household than we were five years ago, and that’s better for everyone. And the quest continues – for instance, just the other day I read about a manual self-clearing drain trap that sounds quite interesting, but I’m hesitant to lay out that kind of money until I learn whether it actually works… so if anyone knows about this product or a similar one, please comment!