Monday, March 19, 2012

Other Homemade Natural and SAFE Cleaners

As I mentioned briefly in my post about orange oil vinegar, you can make all of the cleaners you ever need to use in your home. I've not purchased a commercial cleaner in over five years, and don't miss that toxic stuff at all. We're all a lot healthier for it, and my wallet has a lot more money in it, too. A jug of vinegar costs under $3, a box of baking soda costs $2, you probably have liquid soap for your dishes, and a bottle of lavender or tea tree oil costs under $10 and will last you a year or more (and you can use it in your laundry, on boo boos, and a host of other things). So for $15, you can make cleaning products that will last you about a year, depending on your usage.

Oops, forgot to put my liquid soap in the photo. Oh well, you know what that looks like!

I use three basic cleaners in my home. One is a multi-purpose cleaner and disinfectant, one is a window and glass cleaner, and one is a scouring solution.

Multi-purpose Cleaner
Fill a spray bottle 3/4 full with white vinegar. Top with water and 10-15 drops of essential oil. I use lavender in the kitchen (lavender has antibacterial and antifungal properties and smells nice) and eucalyptus or tea tree oil in the bathroom. I keep a spray bottle of this cleaner at hand in the kitchen for spraying down the counters and cutting boards after cutting raw meat. YES, vinegar kills germs. Spray and wipe down, then spray and let it dry. I also keep a bottle in the bathroom for spraying down the taps and cleaning the toilet. 
**Note: do not use vinegar on marble surfaces.

Window and Glass Cleaner
Fill a spray bottle half-full with vinegar, half-full with water, and a couple drops of liquid soap. The soap cuts through the wax left behind by commercial glass cleaners (that "shine" you see is made by wax). Give the bottle a shake before you spray. Use a lint-free cloth or a paper coffee filter to achieve a streak-free shine. Newspaper works too, I hear.

Scouring Solution
Mix baking soda, a squirt of liquid soap, and  bit of water until you get it to a consistency like icing. Use a boat brush and this solution to scour the scum off of your bathtub or baked-on food from your stove top. I use this to remove the soap film from my bathroom sink and to polish my kitchen sink, too. Make this as you need it since it will dry out if you try to store it.

TIP: Contrary to popular belief, adding vinegar to your baking soda does NOT make it more powerful. It makes bubbles, sure - remember your Grade 6 science fair project when you made a volcano? The acid (vinegar) mixes with the base (baking soda) and foams. They neutralize each other. That means you lose all potential germ-killing power. So don't do it. :)

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