Chemicals are everywhere! In our furniture, flooring, cleaning products, toys, clothes… This list goes on. The more I read, the fact I keep coming back to is that even if a specific chemical hasn’t been linked with some detrimental effect, yet, it’s safety hasn’t been proven either.
Most of the “new” chemicals used today are not tested before they are put on the market. This is something that Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and Healthy child Healthy World are trying to change. Until they succeed, I wanted to rid my family of as many of these chemicals as I could. Again, I started with the easy, inexpensive things – our cleaning products. So many can be made from safe ingredients you have around the house – edible ingredients that people have been using for years! And so cheap! Each of these cleaners costs less than $1, after the initial expense of the spray bottle ($1). And that’s including the essential oils. Skip those and you are talking $ 0.30. If you choose to reuse an old spray bottle, just make sure you clean it very well.
I started at the library with a few books on homemade cleaners. The one I really liked is Easy Green Living by Renee Loux. It was a great introduction. She organized the book according to the rooms in your house. First she explains the possible toxins in cleaners or other things. She then gives you alternatives – homemade and store bought.
All of the ingredients were very easy to get. I did order some essential oils, but you don’t need these. And if you decide you want them, try GNC at the Pheasant Lane Mall. They carry most of the popular ones – who knew! I then bought some spray bottles from the Dollar Store and made up my own labels using Microsoft Word and some clip art. So here is my list of non-toxic cleaners I use in the 2 messiest rooms.
What you will need:
Spray bottles (Dollar Store)
White Distilled Vinegar (Grocery Store)
Castile soap (Bed, Bath and Beyond (great price!) Grocery Store, Target, GNC)
Baking Soda (Grocery Store, BJ’s, Costco)
3 % Hydrogen Peroxide (Drug Store)
Essential oils (optional, but are available locally at GNC)
Hydrogen Peroxide (3% solution found in most drugstores) – I put an extra spray top (from an old bottle of window cleaner) onto the hydrogen peroxide bottle. Keep it in the original brown bottle to keep it from breaking down.
Distilled White Vinegar – Kept in a spray bottle. For more uses for vinegar, check out a great post by Live Green Mom.
Baking Soda – an old parmesan cheese shaker bottle filled with baking soda.
All Purpose Cleaner –
2 cups water, ½ cup distilled white vinegar, 1 tsp castile soap, 10 drops lavender, 10 drops lemongrass, 10 drops lemon
If you have granite counter tops, do not use this. The vinegar can damage it.
Update: I’ve since eliminated the castile soap in this recipe. I found that it often clumped and recently discovered that vinegar and castile soap don’t really work well together and can clump!
To clean counters and table: All Purpose Cleaner
To disinfect: I spray some of the pure vinegar then spray the hydrogen peroxide. The mixture of the 2 creates a super disinfectant. Some sources claim this combination will kill Salmonella and E. Coli. Never combine the 2 into one bottle and store. This can create a bad combination to leave around your house. I use this on my counters on occasion, cutting boards, kids’ reusable bottles, anything I feel needs a little extra.
Unclog a drain:
Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain
Pour 1 cup vinegar
Let it fizz for a while
Follow with boiling water
I also like to so this in the summer when I am having fruit fly problems. I read somewhere that they like to breed in your drain. I swear it helps!
Scrubbing Anything: I sprinkle a little baking soda on anything that needs extra scrubbing – pots, pans, dishes, the counter. Add a little water and it makes a great paste. Think of it as a substitute for Soft Scrub.
Oven Cleaner: Sprinkle your oven with baking soda, spray with water to form a paste. Let it sit for 12 hours. Wipe off. If the baking soda residue remains, spray with your straight vinegar. Vinegar dissolves baking soda.
Clean the Greasy Tops of Cabinets: I have to tell you how great baking soda is. If you have ever looked at the tops of your cabinets, especially the ones near the stove, you will notice a disgusting mix of grease and dust. The first time I tried to clean this mess, I was up there with a mixture of ammonia and water. Ugh the smell gave me a headache and it still wasn’t easy to clean. The next time I tried I knew better than to use ammonia. So I got up on my counter with my trusty shaker bottle of baking soda and a spray bottle filled with water. I sprinkled the baking soda all over the top of the cabinet then sprayed with the water, just enough to make a paste. I then wiped the paste away with a rag – the baking soda and all the grease-dust ick came right off! I was amazed! And no fumes!
Yes, that says USED baking soda. When I change the baking soda from my fridg and freezer, I keep it to use to clean the toilet or the drain, above. I just need the baking soda to fizz, it doesn’t need to be completely fresh to clean the commode.
Vinegar – mine is mixed with lavender, but you don’t need this.
To Clean Toilet:
Into the bowl – 1 TBSP of castile soap, 1/3 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup vinegar
Let it fizz for a few minutes
Anti-bacterial Hand Soap:
4 oz castile soap
10 drops of tea tree oil
All purpose cleaner: same as above.
I am still experimenting with homemade laundry detergents and dishwasher detergents. So far, I am not impressed with the results, but I’ll let you know if I come across anything worth passing along. Will you try these? Are you already using something similar?
Update 2/7/2011: Since this post I have tried Charlie’s Soap Powder and Soap Nuts
for laundry and Bi-O-Kleen Automatic Dish Powder with Grapefruilt Seed &; Orange Peel Extract. I LOVE them all! More on this to come. Check here for a great deal on Bio-Kleen 8/2012.
If you purchase these products through this link, I will receive a little pocket money.
This post has been shared on Frugally Sustainable’s Wednesday Blog Hop, Teach Me Tuesdays, Printabelle, Your Green Resource, and Tiny Tip Tuesday
This post was featured at Tiny Tip Tuesday.