Thursday, June 18, 2009

Homemade Cleaning Supplies

Lately, I’ve been telling people about some easy ways to save money on household cleaning products. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction finding ways to save money here and there around the home, without having to go out and get a job. It’s my way of “making money”, which is very rewarding. I love the homemade laundry detergent, since it costs only one PENNY per load of wash. WOW. Plus, it’s all natural and safe for babies/kids. I put the link to this recipe at the very bottom.

Just as a disclaimer, I did not create these tips and recipes, but I did do all the research online and compiled the tips from various places and listed those that I found to be the best.

I use this to replace my kitchen and bathroom disinfectant cleaners:
Disinfectant all purpose cleaner: Mix a few drops of natural (Castile) soap, 2 cups water, and 15 drops each of tea tree and lavender essential oil (you can use just the tea tree oil- but 30 drops, which is what I do). You can spray this on all surfaces, like cutting boards, counters, toilets, walls, (except it will streak glass). This stuff disinfects (thanks to the tea tree oil) but is so safe you can actually spray it on your baby - you can’t say that about most commercial household cleaners.

I use this for my All Purpose Cleaner (Like 409) replacement:
All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 2 liters water. Store and keep. Use for bath and kitchen counters, toilet exterior, refrigerator, Laundry Room, Sinks, Microwave, removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels. This will streak, so not recommended on windows and mirrors.

I use this for my Windex and Hardwood floor cleaner replacement:

1:1 Ratio of water and vinegar. Store and keep in spray and squirt bottles. Use for chrome fixtures, windows, mirrors, appliance fronts, bathroom floors and hardwood floors. I've actually started adding about 15 drops of tea tree oil to this mixture now so that I get that extra disinfecting boost for my floors, since I have a 8 month old that crawls around on them constantly.

I use this to replace my Clorox Soft Scrub:
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into basin and let it set for a few minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse. A mixture of borax (2 parts) and lemon juice (one part) will also work.
Tub and Tile Cleaner: For simple cleaning, rub in baking soda with a damp sponge and rinse with fresh water. For tougher jobs, wipe surfaces with vinegar first and follow with baking soda as a scouring powder. (Vinegar can break down tile grout, so use sparingly.)

I am using this to replace my wood furniture cleaner:
Mix 1 cup olive oil with cup lemon juice. Furniture polish for your hardwood furniture.

Just some other tips in general:
Bathroom - Clean the bathtub, toilet, sink, and countertops. Use pure vinegar in the toilet bowl to get rid of rings. Flush the toilet to allow the water level to go down. Pour the undiluted vinegar around the inside of the rim. scrub down the bowl.
Laundry Room - Use vinegar as a natural fabric softener. This can be especially helpful for families who have sensitive skin. Add 1/ cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle in place of store bought fabric softener. Vinegar has the added benefit of breaking down laundry detergent more effectively. (A plus when you have a family member whose skin detects every trace of detergent.)

Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is another natural substance that can be used to clean your home. Lemon juice can be used to dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits. Lemon is a great substance to clean and shine brass and copper. Lemon juice can be mixed with vinegar and or baking soda to make cleaning pastes. Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda on the cut section. Use the lemon to scrub dishes, surfaces, and stains. Put a whole lemon peel through the garbage disposal. It freshens the drain and the kitchen. Orange peels can be used with the same results.

Another alternative is microfiber cloths which lift off dirt, grease and dust without the need for cleaning chemicals, because they are formulated to penetrate and trap dirt. There are a number of different brands. A good quality cloth can last for several years.
I am using a microfiber broom and mop that rocks! I highly recommend this. After the laundry detergent, this would be my next best find. (Thanks to my friend Gina for giving me this idea. You can launder the dry and wet microfiber pads so you don’t have to buy new ones over and over like the Swiffer products. Plus it is 10 times faster to sweep and mop with this thing than a traditional broom and mop and cleans 10 times better in my opinion. Add that with the homemade floor cleaner and you'll be saving time and money.

How cool is this?:
Microwave cleaning: Place a bowl of straight vinegar or a bowl of water with 1s drops tea tree oil in the microwave, heat for about 2 minutes. Microwave will steam itself and be easy to wipe out with a wet cloth.

Link to homemade laundry detergent recipe:
A personal side note about the laundry detergent. I made a batch just as the recipe called for, and it worked out great, but I noticed that my heavy stain loads, like my kids clothes, did not come out like I was wanting. So I just made my second batch of the detergent and this time doubled the Borax and Washing Soda to increase the stain fighting power. This has seemed to do the trick and I'm much happier with the results.

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Holly said...

I love the microwave tip - I'm trying that one ASAP! :)

Melissa said...

These recipes look great - thanks! Where can I find the Castile soap and tea tree oil?

Anissa said...

I shopped the internet for the best deal on tea tree oils and found that the best price was through

I got a buy 1 get 1 free deal on my tea tree oil. They've got all sorts of other essential oils as well if you're wanting to tone down the scent of the tea tree with something like Rose or Lavendar.

I bought my Castile soap from Fred Meyers, but I've heard they sell it at Target and WalMart too. Dr. Bronner's is the most popular brand of Castile soap. I got a 16 oz bottle for around $8 or $9. Mine has a Peppermint scent to it, which I've really liked. You can probably find this online too, but I haven't personally researched the prices.