Sunday, March 7, 2010

Homemade Cleaning Supplies

I've had a couple friends recently ask me for my cleaning supply recipes.  Instead of typing them out over and over, I figured this would be a great topic for a blog post!   You need very few ingredients to make up all these concoctions.  If you gather up these items, you can make almost everything I'm about to list:

Baking soda
White Vinegar
Your favorite Essential Oil
Lemon Juice
Olive Oil
Hydrogen Peroxide

So, here goes...

1) Multipurpose Cleaner/ Window Cleaner (for me, this is used for anything I would have used Windex on in the past):
Take a spray bottle (your emptied out Windex one will do just fine ;)) and fill it with:

1/2 vinegar
1/2 water
2-3 drops of your favorite Essential Oil (EO).

I use this for all my mirrors and glass in the house.  Vinegar is also great for removing hard water stains---best to use straight vinegar when doing that.  I use it on our shower door to get those yucky spots off.  I also use the vinegar/water solution for wiping down the kids' toys, cleaning off the counter tops, a quick wipe down of the bathroom sink before guests come's a great multipurpose cleaner!  The EOs are not necessary, but they will make your cleaner smell better than vinegar!  You can buy EOs at your local health food store, or online here.   My favorite is a combination of Lavender and Tea Tree Oil.  Sometimes it's nice to use a lemon or orange EO, or  lemongrass, for cleaning supplies---there's just something fresh and clean about those scents. 

2) Soft Scrub (I use it for everything I used to use Comet on---the stained kitchen sink, the dirty tub or shower, the bathroom sink, etc.)

Are you ready?  It's a seriously hard mixture consists of......baking soda!  I know, you probably are believing it as much as I did at first, but I promise if you try, you will watch things disappear right before your eyes!  I just sprinkle it on dry, then wet a sponge and make a little paste. Then spread my paste all over whatever porcelain thing I'm trying to clean.  It's like a magic eraser.  If you have something really dirty, use a little vinegar.  After the chemical reaction is over (it will fizz and bubble a lot--remember that from chemistry class?), you can spread it and scrub with it.

3) Toilet bowl cleaner (non-toxic, and about 1/10 of the price of commercial bowl cleaners)
I use the vinegar and baking soda mixture.  I flush the toilet, then after the water drains from the bowl, shut off the water valve.  With little water in the bowl, I pour some vinegar in, then a handful or so of baking soda.  I then take the brush and swish it around.  After about 20 minutes, I come back and brush it again, then turn the water back on.  Sparking fresh! 

4) Disinfectant
I fill a squirt bottle with:

1/2 vinegar
1/2 hydrogen peroxide

I've heard that this disinfectant is better than any commercial disinfectant you could buy.  I use it for anything I want to get the germs off, especially my daughter's training potty after she uses it. Blech.

5) Furniture Polish (replacement for Pledge)
I've been using:

1/4 cup of lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 drops essential oils.

I can't say I'm in love with this recipe.  It will go rancid, so you have to use it up, or throw it out.  You can keep it for a little while in the refrigerator, but I don't dust often enough to use it again when I do keep it in the fridge, so I usually dispose of the leftovers.  The next time I dust, I'm going to try this new recipe I came across:

1:1 ratio of vinegar and olive oil
2-3 drops of EO (I really like using Lemongrass for my furniture polish.  It's so fresh smelling!)

6) Laundry Detergent
1/2 cup soap flakes (like grate a bar of soap with a cheese grater)
1/2 cup baking soda
1/4 cup washing soda
1/4 cup Borax

This will yield like three loads of laundry (you use about 1/2 cup each load), so you would want to multiply it by a lot. 

The laundry detergent is a bit of a labor of love because grating those bars of soap takes a long time!  I've stopped doing it for now because I don't want to sit and grate like ten bars of soap.  But, it is nice to use when I do make it.

Enjoy your clean, non-toxic house (for about 1/10th of the price of buying commercial cleaners!).