You know what happens when you have a lot of kids? You get lots of messes. Not just toys strewn all over the floor. I am talking nasty, grimy, foot sticking, nose holding, eye diverting messes. Kids are messy...and gross. You can clean all day and at end of the day start all over again. I have scrubbed the walls so much in the stairwell I have scrubbed the paint right off!
Water is the universal solvent, you don't really need too much more than that in most cases. We use just water to clean the counters and the table. Years ago we bought some microfiber towels, they were advertised as great for dusting. We still have those towels. They work wonders for dusting, it grabs it all so it doesn't fall back down as soon as you've wiped. Vinegar also works really well for windows and hard water build up. (After you clean your coffee pot take that hot vinegar water and use it in your shower.) And this mos we are to embark on a new cleaning adventure: making our own laundry soap. We got the directions from the Duggars Site. We had to wait till we found a bucket big enough to handle it and a place to store it. I figured the shelf in my laundry closet couldn't handle the weight of something like that since I don't have a dedicated laundry ROOM.
We do have paper towels in the house but we don't use many. Last year we were totally paper towel free simply because we couldn't afford it. Then my ils were over one day. They were so disgusted with our lack of paper products they bought us a 24 pack from Costco! We don't use them to clean with however. If we have a spill we use cloth to clean it up. We have messy hands? Cloth.
Our mop is not a disposable unit either. Its one of those gangly looking ones, like a mini car wash. You can throw it right in the wash when we are done, and around here there is always a load going. My kitchen and bathrooms are so small right now though I wash my floors with a towel. In my last house my kitchen was bigger than my master bedroom is now. You would think with 8 kids I would appreciate such a large kitchen. It was awesome when we first moved in. Then I cleaned it a few times. Now I don't mind so much how tiny mine is.
An Ecofriendly household is a economically happy household. I doubt you will find many large families using paper products on a regular basis, its just too expensive. Esp if you have to haul your own trash. Yea, we did that too for a long time. When you are paying by the pound to dispose of your trash but recycling is free, guess what you are gonna do more of? I can also tell you how much trash by the pound we produced. On average we spent $1.50 a mos to take our trash to the dump. If you think this is something I am passionate about you would be right. I feel that if our family of 10 can do these things, families of 2, 3, 4...can do these things. Your pocketbook would be happier and so would the planet.