What do you use to clean floors? How about grease spots in laundry?
December 23, 2013 1:30 PM   Subscribe

We've been using Pine-sol cleaner for years. The pine oil in it dissolved grease and killed germs. Unfortunately, the old formula has been replaced by a new "original formula" that is advertised as having a longer-lasting scent. It stinks! It smells like very bad cheap imitation floral perfume now, a long-lasting scent that makes the house smell horrible. We can't have this scent in our house. What should we use instead?

The main thing we use Pine-sol for is for mopping ceramic tile floors in the kitchen and bathroom. Some people recommend vinegar water for this purpose, but that doesn't do anything for grease spots in the kitchen near the stove. What do you use to clean floors with?

Another thing we use Pine-sol for is to remove grease spots from clothing before washing it. It works even for grease spots that have been through the washer and dryer already (forgot about a chapstick in my pocket....). What's an alternative product for this purpose?
posted by Ery to Home & Garden (25 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I am not sure how it compares smell wise, but we used to use Lestoil, especially in the wash when my brothers had been working on cars. We also used it for other degreasing purposes, mopping, etc.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 1:46 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not sure what kind of floors you have, but I have had success getting grease off with a small amount of Dawn dishwashing detergent in my hot water. I have also used it to get greasy food stains (buffalo wing sauce, chinese food drippings, etc.) out of laundry. I must confess that I am an amateur at cleaning in that I found out about these uses when I was out of other products.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:49 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Have you tried any of the other six scents besides "original" that pine-sol comes in? Perhaps you can find something less objectionable?
posted by radwolf76 at 1:56 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might like Dettol? Not sure of US availability (but it's on Amazon).
posted by kmennie at 2:05 PM on December 23, 2013

Yes, I once got a really bad bike grease stain out of a light-yellow rayon dress with dishwashing detergent. (It was fresh, and I washed it by hand with a brush.) Sometimes you have to try more than once to get out very stubborn stains, though.
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:05 PM on December 23, 2013

Lavender Pine Caldrea all-purpose cleaner smells so, so, so, so, so good. I use it on floors and countertops (in different dilutions) and bathrooms. It got rid of the accumulated grease over the stove. I recently spot-cleaned carpets with it, but I don't know if that would work for every carpet.
posted by mochapickle at 2:09 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

It looks like Pine-sol's Facebook page has been taken over by people with a similar complaint. There are a couple of suggestions of other products, and it sounds like Pine-sol will have the actual original formula available online soon. Their media team blames the change on a low supply of pine oil, so perhaps looking for other products with a high concentration will also help.
posted by jetlagaddict at 2:16 PM on December 23, 2013

Use a 10-percent chlorine bleach solution on your tiles.

For the grease spots on clothing: use baking soda before you wash.
posted by trip and a half at 2:30 PM on December 23, 2013

Not exactly the same type of product but Dr Bronner's Sal Suds is a very effective grease cutter with a natural pine scent. I use it for all kinds of general cleaning, laundry (boost w/baking soda), etc. Note that Pine Sol got a grade of D from the Environmental Working Group so it may not be that tragic of a loss. Sal Suds though has a grade of A.
posted by HotToddy at 2:53 PM on December 23, 2013 [4 favorites]

There's a brand called Pinalen that's similar if you can find it.
posted by bgrebs at 3:01 PM on December 23, 2013

If you have an Hispanic store nearby, try Pinol (original version). I think it's the same or similar to Pine-Sol.
posted by clearlydemon at 3:24 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

My husband tends to use his work shirts as napkins and grease rags. I put Blue Dawn dish washing liquid straight on the grease. I'm a fan of Mr. Clean for floors and bathrooms.
posted by PJMoore at 3:45 PM on December 23, 2013

Really HOT water cleans floors well with minimal product added. If you want to go green you can use vinegar, lemon juice, or Simple Green. I don't personally know about more chemical cleaners, but my guess is a little bleach, Dawn, or one of those orange cleaners would probably work pretty well too.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 4:14 PM on December 23, 2013

I tried using Dr Bronner's* for my hardwood floors for a good year or so, but as awesome as it is (I use it for general cleaning, handwashing and keeping my toddler clean!) it never left my floor with a good feel. I now use Simple Green and that cuts through general grime/grease pretty effectively.

For spot removal of stains, I think Ecover's stain removing stick is pretty great. Fels Naptha on a toothbrush is also cheap and effective.

*I haven't tried Sal Suds on floors although it works GREAT on dirty dishes.
posted by saturnine at 4:25 PM on December 23, 2013

Yeah, to clarify, Sal Suds is a much stronger product and chemically totally different than the regular Dr Bronner's. You wouldn't want to wash your toddler in Sal Suds, and I can see how the other stuff could be too mild for floors. Just in case anyone didn't realize there were two different products.
posted by HotToddy at 4:33 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

OK I just looked it up in Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson and the summary for tile floors is as follows:

Use 1-2 parts water, 1 part bleach for mildew, mold, and stains (but check first to make sure it won't bleach your tile or grout).

For the grease: "Club soda and water or spic-and-span and warm water." I did a search for spic-n-span because I don't know what it is and it looks like it's just an all-purpose cleaner. (I would recommend soap.)

Use a nonabrasive or low-abrasive cleaner for daily/weekly cleaning. It's fine to use vinegar when necessary but not all the time because it's acidic and can etch. Soap will eventually leave a residue or scum. Moderate abrasion ok for problem surfaces. (I did also find this simple, awesome-looking cleaner for tile floors. It contains water, vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda and it is what I would use.)

On removing grease stains from fabrics, Mendelson says "Light stains can be pretreated with a spray stain remover, liguid laundry detergent, or a detergent booster. Launder in hottest water safe for fabric. Place heavy stains face down on clean paper towels. Apply cleaning fluid to the back of stain. Replace towels frequently. Let air dry; rinse. Launder in hottest water safe for that fabric."
posted by aniola at 4:36 PM on December 23, 2013

My favorite is Biokleen. It's a nice, all natural brand with various enzymatic cleansers that are generally safe for all surfaces and flooring (porous excluded).

The scents are all very mild, natural and pleasant IMHO.
posted by stubbehtail at 5:15 PM on December 23, 2013

Dish soap and a scrubber brush for the floors. You need to break that stuff up. I use plain water much of the time for my floors, but I don't have a grease problem. Pre-treat your clothing stains with your laundry detergent. I use Target's brand and it gets everything out.
posted by myselfasme at 5:31 PM on December 23, 2013

A tiny squirt of Dawn dish soap is what you want. I have seen dish soap recommended in Don Aslett's cleaning books, and Dawn is the best at cutting grease. Don't use but a tiny bit-Don says a few drops altho I use a smidge more.

(And I miss both the original Spick-and Span in a box and the original Pinesol. Yes, I'm THAT old.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:18 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Lestoil does for clothing stains exactly what you describe. It also has a similar smell to pinesol (I use both).
posted by yawper at 6:51 PM on December 23, 2013

42 years ago at the truckstop cafe, we used ammonia to mop the floors in the kitchen.
posted by Bruce H. at 6:55 PM on December 23, 2013

Hexol! It's 57 percent pine oil and very concentrated.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:24 PM on December 23, 2013

Just remembered: Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner, or the generic equivalent, works really well on dirty kitchen floors. Even the gunked up dried wet cat food that accumulates around the food dishes, weird dirt and grease spots. Spray, then wipe up with a wet rag or a damp mop and go over twice to make sure no residue is left. But it works great!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 11:30 PM on December 23, 2013

FWIW - I use Murphy's Oil Soap as my go-to for floor cleaning.
posted by plinth at 5:26 AM on December 24, 2013

Seconding Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds very strongly. Great stuff, and it feels less like I am going to asphyxiate at any moment from toxic fumes, which I feel with Pine Sol and all its ilk.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 7:35 AM on December 24, 2013

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