This is actually a post that I have on another blog, written three and-a-half years ago, but I thought some of you may be interested. :)
I make my cleaners.
stopped using commercial household cleaners almost completely a couple
of years ago, with the exception of laundry soaps and dish soaps -
though now I make our powder dish-machine soap, too.
I've done quite a bit of research on it, as I'm something of a germaphobe (thanks, Putty).
I clean, I have to know it's clean. It has to look clean, smell clean,
feel clean, and sparkle clean. I have to hear the Voices of the Angels.
And I don't like vinegar. So there.
am not above using a little bleach (a tablespoon or two) in a squirt
bottle filled with water when things are feeling yucky. It sterilizes. I
don't like to do it -- it feels like cheating, and I know it's not good
for the earth. But I have lots of white tile, white shirts, and an
aversion to mold stains on the bottom of white shower curtains, so I've
made peace with it. But most of the time I try to stay on top of the
bathrooms and the kitchen, so I don't use it.
With that full disclosure, :), here you go.
First I'll give you info on the ingredients, so that you can make your choices accordingly.
Lemon Juice and Vinegar
neutralize substances such as marks from hard water (scale) because
they are acidic. Acids also remove dirt from wood and dissolve tarnish
and gummy build-up. Lemon is also an effective grease cutter.
(sodium bicarbonate) absorbs odors that are in the air, and neutralizes
acid-based odors in the water. It can be used as a scouring cleanser,
which can be used on bathtubs, sinks, countertops, fiberglass, and
ovens. It will neutralize many chemical smells if added to the laundry.
(sodium carbonate) is somewhat similar to baking soda, but has a much
higher ph. It's a great solvent that releases no harmful fumes. It
cleans petroleum oil, wax and lipstick, and cuts grease. It also
neutralizes like baking soda does. It's caustic, so they say you should
wear gloves when working with it, though I never do am not bothered by
it, even though I have somewhat sensitive skin. Natural and eco-friendly
dish machine powders contain washing soda.
(hydrated sodium borate) is a great multi-purpose household cleaner,
though it is mildly toxic. It is also a water conditioner, so if a bit
of it is added it to your recipes calling for a bit of soap, it acts as a
hard-water softener. It deodorizes whatever it meets, and can be used
to clean porcelain and fiberglass, along with most other surfaces,
including fine china. It also helps to remove various stains. Do some
research on it if you're thinking "absolutely non-toxic", though even
essential oils can be deemed "toxic", as they are anti-biotic.
Soaps and Detergents
are not the same thing. Soaps are made from lye and fat, and react with
hard water, causing soap scum. Detergents are made of synthetic
materials, specifically designed to not react as soap does.
are necessary for cleaning our environment and staying healthy. The EPA
recommends a simple soap for this purpose. You can use essential oils
added to or in lieu of a natural vegetable (such as castile) soap. All
essential oils inhibit the growth of organisms – bacteria and germs- but
some are more effective. For antibiotics, use garlic, lavender, myrrh,
or tea tree oil. Anti-fungal oils are cinnamon, marjoram, myrrh, savory,
tea tree and thyme. Antiseptic oils are bergamot, cajeput, cinnamon,
eucalyptus, fir, garlic, juniper, lavender, pine, rose, rosemary,
sandalwood, savory, tea tree, and thyme. For antivirals, use bergamot,
eucalyptus, garlic, geranium, helichrysum, lemon, tea tree, and thyme.
Bactericides are bergamot, cajeput, euclaytus, garlic, juniper,
lavender, rosemary, tea tree and thyme. I've taken to using thyme in my
dish-washing powder, as the research that I've done shows me that it
kills bacteria, staph, ecoli, - is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and
As I said, I don't like the smell of vinegar, so I use lemon juice, instead. (I use the RealLemon in the green bottles.)
All Purpose Scouring Scrub
is a great recipe for cleaning tile, and it has no acid so it will not
deteriorate the grout. I have white tiles and grout in my kitchen that
this cleans it beautifully. Also use it for bathtubs, toilets, sinks,
2 parts baking soda
1 part borax
Few drops of essential oils
recommend adding a few drops of essential oils (I use orange and a
couple of drops of spearmint), but you’ll want to make a small enough
solution that the oils don’t go to waste, as the soda will eventually
absorb the fragrance, and the oils will evaporate. Try orange and
peppermint together, or eucalyptus and ylang ylang, grapefruit,
tangerine, pine, anything that smells clean to you! You can put the
mixture in a cheese shaker or something similar for your ease.
For mold and mildew:
use this same recipe, but make a paste to slather on wherever you need
it. Leave it for a while, then scrub with a soft brush. If you need a
bit more power, try the same thing with just borax.
All Purpose Cleaner
is my favorite cleaner. I have one bottle filled for the bathroom, and
one for the kitchen. They're the same ingredients, just different
scents. Orange, grapefruit, and lemon essential oils for the kitchen,
and spearmint for the bathroom cleaner. Love, love, love it. I use it on
3 T lemon juice (or white distilled vinegar, if you prefer)
1 1/2 t borax
2 1/2 - 3 cups water
1/3 cup castile soap
26 ounce bottle (I use the Method bottles)
large a measuring cup put in the borax, and add hot water to it, to
dissolve the powder. When it dissolves, add the lemon juice or vinegar.
Pour it into your bottle, and add the soap and water. You can used
distilled if you prefer, though I run out so fast that I usually use tap
water. Shake well.
Add oils of your choice for added disinfectant
and fragrance. Use more or less ingredients, depending on how many
ounces your bottle holds.
A great kitchen cleaner, as lemon juice
and vinegar are both great grease-cutting agents. This recipe is
especially helpful on the stove and the surrounding area.
The creator of this formula
only uses a tablespoon in each compartment, but I use a bit more than
that. I also use my " pre-rinse" cycle before I wash them, as it's not a
"dissolve the food off the plate" cleaner.
I have hard water, so this recipe is acclimated to that. If you have soft water, cut your citric acid and salt to 1/4 cup each.
In a plastic container with a snug lid, mix:
1 cup baking soda
1 cup borax
1/3 cup salt
1/3 cup citric acid
drops citrus essential oil--lemon, grapefruit, orange, or tangerine. I
use about 15 drops of citrus oil and 15 drops of thyme for disinfecting.
Shake it well, and done!
of the kichen and bath I don't want to use soap, as I don't want a dull
film on dressers, the wood in the livingroom, and every where else. So
here's my spray for the rest of the house.
26 or so ounces of water
3-5 ounces alcohol (I use rubbing alcohol.)
the oils, use whatever you prefer. I tend to use "happy home" ones,
orange and bergamot for joy, lavender for harmony, pine for prosperity,
clary sage for creativity, etc.
I spray what can be sprayed, and what can't I just wipe with the dampened rag.
Heavy Duty Anti-Funk Spray
(like for the bathroom, or when we've had colds or the flu) the big
guns are necessary. When that's the case, try this!
24-32 ounce spray bottle
4-6 ounces Rubbing Alcohol
use this to spray down the bathroom when it's time for sterilizing,
instead of bleach. I spray, then let it sit for about ten minutes, then
wipe it down. The thyme has a strong antiseptic smell to it, but after I
wipe everything down I scrub with my scouring powder, rinse, then
finalize with my bathroom all-purpose cleaner. Yum yum. (Yup, cleaning
the bathroom can be yummy.)
crushed herbs or essential oils
washing out a commercial carpet fresh container, fill it up with baking
soda, so you know exactly how much to make. Pour the soda back into a
bowl, and mix it with either herbs that you have crushed in a blender,
or several drops of your favorite essential oils. Orange and grapefruit
make a lovely blend, but by all means experiment!
Let the baking
soda set and get stomped on, it will absorb odors that are in your
carpets. After vacuuming, you can even add a little more to leave on for
an extra clean smell.
1/2 cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let it sit for 20
vinegar or lemon juice to the rinse compartment in the dishwasher. Both
are acidic and neutralize alkaline substance such as hard water, so
your dishes will come out clean and shiny.