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I admit that when it comes to cleaning supplies I am pretty much addicted to Clorox wipes or their generic equivalent. I suppose there are harmful chemicals in them and they really do end up in the trash daily, then later in the landfill. One thing I have found interesting in this cleaning journey is how many people who seem really normal make their own cleaners. And, as a matter of fact, other than the mention of essential oils that I don’t happen to own, a lot of the ingredients for these cleaners are things I have heard of and some of them, I already have. Here are some of the common recipes I have found, and how you might use them.
All Purpose Cleaner
Of all the ingredients I see in homemade cleaners, baking soda appears to be the miracle drug, followed in a close second by white vinegar. While I have been draining my industrial sized box of baking soda for at least a year, I have finally found myself dredging the remains of that fine white powder now that I am facing recipes calling for ½ cup portions. Needless to say baking soda made it to the top of the shopping list. I chose to make the recipe I found in Melissa Maker’s book: Clean My Space. Here are the items I threw into my new, shiney spray bottle
Recipe 1. From Clean My Space: The Secret to Cleaning Better, Faster, and Loving Your Home Every Day By Melissa Maker (1)
- Water – 1-½ cups
- Rubbing Alcohol – ½ cup
- Gentle Dish Soap – 1 teaspoon
- Essential Oil – 10 drops (optional)
Recipe 2. From Good Housekeeping Magazine (2)
- Baking Soda – 4 Tablespoons
- Warm Water – 1 Quart
Recipe 3. From the Earth Easy Website (3)
- Vinegar – ½ cup
- Baking Soda – ¼ cup
- Water – ½ gallon (2 liters)
Recipe 4. From HGTV (4)
- Distilled water – 1 3/4 cups
- Distilled white vinegar – 1 cup
- Castile soap – 1/4 cup
- tea tree essential oil (optional)
Recipe 5. From Keeper of the Home Website (5)
- White vinegar – ½ cup
- Baking Soda – 2 Tablespoons
- Tea Tree, Lavender, or Lemon essential oil – 10 drops
Recipe 6. From Jillee at One Good Thing Website (6)
- Baking Soda – ¼ cup
- Hydrogen Peroxide – enough to make a paste
Bathrooms can have their own unique cleaning issues, especially that toilet bowl. For many of the surfaces in a bathroom you can use one of your all purpose cleaners, like the ones listed above. If you want something fine tuned to your toilet situation check out the recipes below. Who knew Kool-Aid might be one of your options?
Toilet Bowl Cleaner 1. From Earth Easy Website (3)
- Baking Soda – ¼ cup
- Vinegar – 1 cup
Pour this into the basin and let it sit for a few minutes
Toilet Bowl Cleaner 2. From Keeper of the Home Website (5)
- Lemonade Kool-Aid
Flush the toilet, sprinkle this in and brush the sides, let it sit overnight, then flush it away
For the Oven
This particularly piqued my interest. I was reminded it had been a while since I cleaned the over we toast and reheat in most often. I knew this was my chance to try out a whole new oven cleaning venture. I chose the recipe from Keeper of the Home, primarily because it looked simple, but I had also seen that recipe and others similar to it given over an over when it came to oven cleaning. I also watched a video from Melissa Maker that taught me the value of letting cleaners soak. I made my paste, slathered it on and left it overnight. It seemed to me that I invested quite a bit of baking soda and vinegar in just this one cleaning endeavor. When I finally sprayed water on the now solid and hardened on paste. I began to see the results of my labor. The over was cleaner, but the things that were truly baked on were still there. It didn’t seem very miraculous to me, but it did the job adequately, and if you feel like you are truly being resourceful and saving the planet I could see where you would find this from of cleaning satisfying. Here are a couple options the next time you can’t avoid cleaning that oven any more.
Recipe 1. From Earth Easy Website (3)
- Baking soda – ¾ cup
- Salt – ¼ cup
- Water – ¼ cup
Make a thick paste, spread throughout oven (avoid bare metal and any openings) and let it sit overnight
Recipe 2. From Keeper of the Home Website (5)
- Baking soda – ½ cup
- Water – 2-3 Tablespoons
- White vinegar – ½ cup or so
This is an item I definitely don’t use often enough, partially because for whatever reason my daughter really loves washing windows, so I typically pay her to do it. I also don’t tend to find it a priority to clean the mirrors in the bathroom. Most of the bathrooms in our house have small mirrors that don’t get dirty quickly so I am likely to wipe them off with whatever I have on hand. The one that is bigger and does get spit on is just not my focus when I am scrubbing that sink, and I don’t get many complaints, so I am content to let it be until I glance up and Ewwww. These may solve that problem
Recipe 1. From Clean My Space: The Secret to Cleaning Better, Faster, and Loving Your Home Every Day by Melissa Maker (1)
- Water – 1 cup
- White vinegar – 1 cup
- Cornstarch – 1 teaspoon (optional)
Recipe 2. From the Keeper of the Home Website (5)
- White Vinegar – ¼ cup
- Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol – ¼ cup
- Cornstarch – 1 Tablespoon
- Water – 2 cups
- Essential oil – 8-10 drops (optional)
Laundry Stain Remover
As the mother of five I do come across the occasional annoying stain that I really want to go to the trouble of getting out. When my artist daughter used the old bath towels as paint scrubbers, no, I didn’t find that worth getting out. When my other daughter stains her shirt that probably won’t fit her next week, no. When my son stained the white tie that went with the adorable tux he wore when he was 5, yes, I broke out the stain formulas. I will also use stain fighters in the perfect storm of seeing a stain happen and being able to strip that garment from the wearer within hours of the stain happening. That has happened a couple of times this year. For those occasions these recipes might be worth considering
Recipe 1. From Keeper of the Home Website (5)
- Dawn dish detergent – ⅔ cup
- Ammonia – ⅔ cup
- Baking soda – 6 Tablespoons
- Warm Water – 2 cups
Mix together all ingredients, and then pour into a spray bottle. Spray onto the stain, let it rest a bit, then launder as normal.
Recipe 2. From Clean My Space: The Secret to Cleaning Better, Faster, and Loving Your Home Every Day by Melissa Maker (1)
- Hydrogen peroxide – 2 parts
- Dish soap – 1 part
Mix this up fresh with each stain and discard afterward
I’m not sure if I will ever be a full convert to making my own cleaners, but I am no longer afraid to branch out and try them. I hope compiling these options in one spot can help you experiment and find a batch of cleaners that works for you, your family, your home and the Earth.
- Maker, Melissa. Clean My Space. New York, Avery, 2017.
- Smith, Lauren. “9 Homemade Cleaners You Can mAke Yourself.” Good Housekeeping, 11 Jan. 2018, www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a24885/make-at-home-cleaners/. Accessed 26 Sept. 2018.
- “Non-Toxic Home Cleaning.” Earth Easy, learn.eartheasy.com/guides/non-toxic-home-cleaning/. Accessed 26 Sept. 2018.
- Sanders, Keri. “Three 3-Ingredient Cleaners for the Whole House.” HGTV, HGTV, www.hgtv.com/design/make-and-celebrate/handmade/three-3-ingredient-cleaners-for-the-whole-house. Accessed 26 Sept. 2018.
- “The Ultimate Guide to Homemade All-Natural Cleaning Recipes.” Keeper of the Home, 16 Jan. 2017, keeperofthehome.org/homemade-all-natural-cleaning-recipes/. Accessed 26 Sept. 2018.
- “IF YOU HAVE STUBBORN KITCHEN & BATHROOM STAINS, YOU NEED TO TRY THIS.” One Good Thing, 4 July 2017, www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/if-you-have-stubborn-kitchen-bathroom-stains-you-need-to-try-this. Accessed 26 Sept. 2018.