This post is for those of us who have the time and desire to devote ourselves to the art of homemaking. If the idea of making natural cleaning supplies ranks right up there with gathering eggs from your own chickens, I completely understand. Forward this to your cleaning lady and and carry on.
There are some good reasons to make your own cleaning solutions:
- Commercial cleaning products are expensive.
- The production and packaging of commercial products are harmful to the environment.
- The ingredients in most commercial cleaning products are toxic, especially to children and pets.
You can find hundreds of recipes for natural cleaners in books and online. Beware that some of them contain ingredients that aren’t environmentally-friendly, such as bleach and ammonia. I’ve experimented and tweaked to come up with the following basic cleaning recipes.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- white vinegar
- baking soda
- cornstarch (This is a magic ingredient for glass cleaner.)
- Dawn dish soap (If it’s safe enough for little oil-covered ducklings, it’s safe enough for me.)
- vodka (I use this instead of rubbing alcohol. Plus, it makes me feel a little cheeky.)
- olive oil (This is for the furniture cleaner.)
- your favorite essential oil (I love lemongrass, lavender, and eucalyptus.)
- empty spray bottles*
*Plastic spray bottles are sold at most grocery stores, but my goal is to eliminate plastic, as much as possible. I found most spray nozzles fit perfectly on glass Heinz vinegar bottles. However, I’ve read essential oils should be kept in tinted glass. Whole Foods sells sparkling Italian water in beautiful green bottles that fit spray nozzles. (They cost less than $2, though I must admit, the water tastes weird to my unsophisticated palate.) You can find glass and stainless steel spray bottles online for a very pricey price.
Cleaning Recipes ~
Shower Cleaner: In spray bottle, equal parts warm vinegar and Dawn dish washing liquid, plus a few drops of any essential oil (I’m guessing the warm vinegar helps incorporate the dish detergent. It doesn’t need to be warm when you use it. This stuff is amazing!)
All-Purpose Cleaner: In spray bottle, 3/4 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup vodka, 1/2 cup water, a few drops of dish soap, several drops of essential oil
Glass/Mirror Cleaner: In spray bottle, 1 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup vodka, 2 1/4 cups water, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, several drops of essential oil
Furniture Polish: In spray bottle, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 cup water, 2 teaspoons vinegar, a couple drops of essential oil (The jury is still out on this one. I think a slightly dampened cloth works just as well on most wood surfaces. This is good for conditioning wood, but it does leave a little residue unless you buff, buff, buff.)
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Pour 1/2 or so of vinegar in bowl, add 1/4 cup or so of baking soda, let sit for a few minutes and then scrub with a toilet brush.
Friendly Swiffer Cloths: (I love my Swiffer floor cleaner, but the cloths are expensive and thought to be dangerously toxic. I bought a large package of cheap, white washcloths. I folded them Swiffer-style in an empty Swiffer container and added the following recipe. I’m sure you could use a large Mason jar, Ziplock bag, or other container. To use, squeeze one cloth so it’s wet but not dripping, and wrap it on the Swiffer handle as you would the commercial cloths. Wash the cloths separately in the washing machine to be reused the next time you get to Swifferin’. ) Here’s the recipe: 5 cups water, 3 cups vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon dish soap, several drops of essential oil
Stainless Steel Appliance Cleaner: white vinegar (I did an experiment on our refrigerator using several popular suggestions. The plain vinegar worked like a charm.)
If you’re like me, and get a boost from having a sparkling clean, eco-friendly home, I think you will love using these homemade cleaners. You’ll have the satisfaction of saving money, helping the environment, and knowing your home is completely natural and safe for your family and four-legged friends.
Now about those chickens…
“What I love the most about my home is who I share it with.”
Think On These Things ~ Alicia