With growing Earth-consciousness, many people are looking for eco-friendly alternatives to normal corporate products, and these include cleaning supplies.
There are many tried and true recipes for non-toxic, inexpensive, and excellent alternatives to common household cleaners that are simple and easy to make. Not only that, they work just as well, smell better, and are better for you. All it takes is a little time, effort, and intention, and some simple household items; plus, a desire to save a little cash and improve the quality of your home’s health.
Here is a well-rounded list of ingredients that you can use to get your DIY creations started:
1. Baking Soda — scourer and deodorizer
2. White Vinegar — disinfectant and deodorizer
3. Hydrogen Peroxide — sanitizes and removes stains
4. Borax — whitener and softener, laundry booster
5. Castille Soap (Dr. Bronner’s, Kirk’s) — cleansing
6. Kosher Salt — scourer
7. Lemon Juice — anti-bacterial, deodorizer, disinfectant
8. Fresh Herbs or Citrus Peels — disinfectant, aromatherapy agent
9. Olive/Vegetable Oil — polisher
10. Washing Powder — laundry booster
11. Dawn Dish Soap — degreaser, stain fighter
For supplies you will need:
1. Spray Bottles
4. Scrub Brush and Sponge
5. Glass or Plastic Jars
6. Measuring cups/Spoons
Most of these items you buy separately, which means when you combine them, you pay the same amount that you would for commercial items but get more bang for your buck because you use less of the non-toxic products. Who doesn’t love to get more for their money? Okay, lets start with the basics:
All Purpose Cleaner.
A simple, 3-ingredient recipe will have you cleaning everything from counter tops, to windows, to the litter box. For this recipe you will need:
- 1 cup Hydrogen Peroxide
- ¼ cup Lemon Juice
- 2 cups water
Mix and modify to your liking. Hydrogen Peroxide is stronger than vinegar and works much like bleach, but without the toxic component — it is used as a wound cleaner and is nearly odorless. Lemon juice will boost the cleaning power of the Peroxide, break down grime, prevent streaking, and leave a clean natural scent. Et Viola!
For this recipe you will need the following:
- ½ cup Baking Soda
- ½ cup Washing Soda
- ½ cup liquid Castille Soap
- 15 drops Essential oil- Tea Tree, Lavender, Peppermint or all three
- 2 tbsp. White Vinegar
Mix baking soda, washing soda, and liquid soap in a medium-sized container until it’s pasty and mushy. Add essential oils and Vinegar and mix thoroughly—the soda and vinegar will make the mixture fizz a little, but it will stop. The baking soda in this recipe will scour and deodorize, the castille soap cleanses, and the vinegar and tea tree oil act as powerful disinfectants. Scoop some out with your sponge and go to town!
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon dish soap
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 5 drops essential oil
- Spray Bottle
With a funnel, pour ingredients into your spray bottle. Shake it up, let it settle, then fill the bottle with warm water and shake again. Again, let it settle for a minute or two, add the essential oil. You can adjust the amount of the cleaner so that you are using only what you need at the time, or fill it up so that you have a ready supply at hand. Smart, huh?
Homemade Laundry Soap
This is a recipe I especially appreciate since I find laundry soap to be so expensive and filled with chemical scents and dyes.
- 1/4 bar of Castille soap
- 2 Tablespoons Borax powder
- 1/4 cup Washing Soda
Grate the 1/4 bar of Castille soap with a cheese grater. Place the soap shreds and 1 cup of water into a pot and melt over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until all the soap has dissolved. Pour 2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) of water into a large container or bucket and add the cooked soap mixture. Add 2 tbsp. of Borax and ¼ cup of the washing soda and stir. Add 2 1/2 quarts more water and stir. Cover the mixture and let it set overnight. The next morning, your soap will have thickened and gelled considerably. Stir it up. You can add the mixture to your empty laundry soap container or keep it in the bucket, filling only half way full. Fill the rest of the container with water. Stir or shake the soap before using and use 1/4 cup per load. You will find your clothes are just as clean with this DIY recipe and your soap will last longer.
Laundry and Carpet Stain Remover
- 1 tbsp. Dawn Dish Soap
- 2 tbsp. Hydrogen Peroxide
- Small Bowl or Container and Toothbrush
- Mix, and use.
This will knock your socks off. Yes, its just that easy. No, really, I swear.
- ½ Lemon
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Water
- Small Container
Juice the lemon into the container, add the oil and water. Emulsify. Get a soft cloth and start polishing! The Olive oil moisturizes the wood, while the lemon juice cleans and disinfects, all without harmful side effects. Take that, Pledge!
- 1 oz gin, vodka, or rubbing alcohol (sorry, hydrogen peroxide won’t work here)
- 6 oz filtered water
- 20 – 40 drops of essential oil-a few suggested oils are: peppermint, jasmine, or citrus oils
- Spray Bottle
This is a natural way to remove household odors, spice up linens, deodorize shoes and freshen musty rooms. It works well with most fabrics and can last up to a month!
Do I really want to take the time and effort to make my own products? Honestly, the answer is a resounding, yes! Check out these articles if you want to find out what exactly is in your household cleaners and how some of the chemicals can kill you. That’s right, kill you; or at least cause serious damage to your body and the planet.
Trying these recipes out can be a leap of faith to be sure. But, at the very least, you’ll have fun discovering ways to make something new. Really, you’ll have sparkling kitchen counter tops, clean floors, and shiny bathroom tile, all of which smells fresh and clean without harsh chemical odors or danger to your health. And you never know, you just might get hooked on DIY cleaners, saving yourself AND the planet.