Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Homemade Cleaners that Work!

I have been cleaning my house with homemade cleaners for five years. The thought of my baby getting into or breathing in any of the yucky chemical cleaners under my sink was a huge motivator. I’ve stuck with it because they work just as well as store-bought cleaners, and it’s cheaper and safer. Once you stock up on basic supplies to get started, you’ll find it’s very easy to stick with.
My main source of recipes and research was the book Clean House, Clean Planet, by Karen Logan. You can find the book on Amazon, and sometimes at Half Price Books. I still reference this book on a regular basis – there are definitely recipes in there that I only need once in a while and don’t keep stocked in my cleaning stash.
To make things easy, I printed up labels of all of my recipes and taped them directly onto my bottles. That way, when I run out I can easily refill them. You may want to laminate your labels or tape them really well with box tape, because they’ll obviously get wet at some point.
Basic Supplies:
Large and medium-sized spray bottles (Target, Storables)
Squirt bottles with closeable tops (Storables)
Scrubbing sponges
Micro-fiber cleaning cloths (Target)
Baking Soda
Plain White Vinegar (Heinz is slightly less-smelly)
Castile Soap, like Dr. Bronner’s (Fred Meyer)
Club Soda
Olive oil
Essential oils - tea tree oil, peppermint, lemon (Fred Meyer)
A few of my favorite recipes:
All-Purpose Cleaner
Add 2 tablespoons vinegar with 1 teaspoon borax to a large spray bottle. Fill bottle ¾ full with very hot water. Shake until borax is dissolved. Add ¼ cup liquid castile soap. Add 10-15 drops lemon essential oil. Shake to mix.
Use to clean walls, counters, doors, tile, showers, toilets, etc. After cleaning, rinse with a vinegar rinse spray.
Vinegar Rinse
Fill a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water. Add 10-15 drops essential oil of choice (I like peppermint). Spray on counters, floors, carpets, furniture or anywhere in need of deodorizing and to get rid of soap film.
Floor Cleaner
Fill a squirt bottle with equal amounts vinegar and water. Add 15-20 drops peppermint oil. Shake to mix.
To use, squirt directly on floor and wipe clean with a rag or mop.
Glass Cleaner
Add plain club soda to a spray bottle. Spray and wipe. That was easy!
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
In a large liquid measuring cup, mix ½ cup liquid soap with 2 cups baking soda. Work out lumps with a fork. Dilute with ¼ cup water and add 2 tablespoons vinegar. Add 50 drops tea tree oil. Mix and pour into a large squirt bottle.
To use, shake well and squirt inside toilet and scrub with a toilet brush. This one works great on tubs and tile, too!
Furniture Duster

Put 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium-sized spray bottle. Add 20 drops of lemon essential oil. Add ¼ cup vinegar and fill the rest with water. Shake well.
To use, shake well and spray on rag or directly on furniture. Wipe dry immediately.
--Tifani Hoornstra

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