I typed this up for a couple of moms so I decided to make a journal post out of it. I feel good when I use these cleaners because they are not hard on the environment and they don't have caustic fumes that give me migraines and cause my sons asthma to flare, they are cheap and easy to make, you don't need to spend a fortune to have a clean fresh house.
I love all of these cleaners, I am experimenting with essential oil and creating all kinds of fun scents. I buy vinegar by the gallon and the largest box of baking soda that I can find so that I never run out. some of the essential oils that I love are lemon, sweet orange, lavender, peppermint, bergamot & eucalyptus. All are on the inexpensive side as far a essential oils go.
I also use borax mixed with baking soda for carpet cleaning and tough bathtub rings, it is to be used with caution since it is toxic if swallowed. So if you use it keep it out of kids reach. I put it on pet stains, let dry and then vacuum, it works like a charm, but I don't have babies crawling around, if i did, I would use baking soda rinse with vinegar and then blot up.
Fill a 16 oz spray bottle with 1 cup white distilled vinegar, 1 cup distilled water*. That's it!
All Purpose Cleaner:
Fill 16 oz spray bottle with 1 cup white distilled vinegar and 1 cup distilled water* Add to that 1Tbsp of mild liquid detergent or soap. If you want it to disinfect, add 20 drops of tea tree oil (found in the vitamin/supplement section of Target or Wal-Mart).
Another All Purpose Cleaner:
Disolve 2 Tbsp of Borax in 1 cup very hot water. Add 1 cup cool water to a spray bottle, then pour in the borax/hot water mix. Add 1tsp liquid detergent and essential oils if desired.
Brew 2 cups strong peppermint tea (I know it sounds weird, but it smells good and the peppermint in the tea helps kill germs) Add the tea to a bucket of water along with 1/2cup of white vinegar and 1tsp of mild soap or detergent. Mop as usual, no need to rinse.
Instead of fabric softener in your laundry, use 1 cup of vinegar in the final rinse. I just add it to the softener dispenser in my washer and it works well.
Instead of scouring powder, use straight baking soda, just put it in a shaker bottle(an old Parmesan cheese shaker works great). Just shake it on the surface and scrub and rinse.
Making soft scrub is a little more tricky because the mixture can dry out and clog the squirt bottle (I use a 16oz sports bottle that I clearly label). In a small bowl mix 1 2/3 cup baking soda with 1/2cup liquid soap dilute with 1/2cup water. Add 2tbsp vinegar LAST. Stir till all lumps are gone. If it pours easily in the bottle you have the right consistency, if not add more water. Use like you would soft scrub.
I have been experimenting with homemade veggie wash spray (the kind that cost $5 a bottle at the store) I think I've come up with a pretty good approximation, so I thought I'd pass it on.
Homemade Veggie Wash Spray
1/2 cup vinegar
1-1/2 cup distilled water
1/2 tsp castile soap
1 tsp peroxide
10-15 drops grapefruit seed extract
Put all ingredients into a 16 oz spray bottle and shake to mix. spray your fruit and veggies with the spray, rub for 30 seconds then rinse.
Fabulous Fragrance Spray
Mix together in a 6 oz spray bottle 1 oz polysorbate 20 (optional) and 25 drops of your favorite essential oils, either alone or in combination shake to mix, then add 5 oz distilled water to the bottle and you have a fabulous fragrance spray that won't make you sneeze or have a headache. Shake before using. These are some great combos that I love:
clary sage, lemon, orange, rosemary and ylang ylang
lavender and peppermint
Autumn Spice Scent
orange, cinnamon, clove and ginger
fir, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus
Laundry Soap Powder
Put one 4 oz bar of castile (olive oil) soap in the food processor and grind into a fairly fine powder. Add to that 1/2 cup borax and 1/2 cup washing soda. At this point you can add your favorite essential oils if you wish. Stir it all together and store in a closed container. Use 1-2 tablespoons per wash load, adding it to the water before you add your clothes.
This is my recipe for liquid detergent. It makes 2 gallons of thin liquid detergent I use 2-3 tablespoons per load. I have a front loader washing machine, but I am sure it will work in traditional machines too. It is low sudsing.
1 Cup Dr Bronner's Sal-Suds
1/2 Cup washing soda
1/2 Cup baking soda
1/2 Cup borax
On top of the stove in a large dutch oven, heat 6 cups water and Sal-Suds on med heat until it heats up but not to boiling. Add in the washing soda, baking soda and borax and heat until disolved. Take it off the heat and add essential oils and equal amounts of Polysorbate 20 if desired. Into a 3-4 gallon bucket pour 4 cups of hot water. Add to that your heated water Sal-Suds, sodas and borax mixture. Next add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of cool water and stir. Transfer into 2 clean 1 gallon containers and let sit for at least 24 hours before using.
Another Laundry Soap Liquid (courtesy of my friends Saffy and Dest)
1/2 of a 4oz bar of soap (grated)
½ cup washing soda
½ cup borax powder
~You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~
Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved and starts to thicken. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. If adding Essential oils, do so now. Then add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of room temp water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. It turns out best if you cover it and leave it alone. Waiting is the hardest part.Homemade Toothpaste:
4 tbsp vegetable glycerin or unrefined coconut oil
1/4 tsp menthol crystals
1 cup baking soda
1200 mg soy lecithin
10 drops peppermint essential oil
1 tsp - 1 tbsp water as needed
In a glass bowl measure out vegetable glycerin. Add in the menthol crystals and microwave for 20 seconds. Stir to dissolve. To a small mixing bowl add baking soda, the glycerin mixture, peppermint oil and soy lecithin. Beat with a mixer on low speed until combined, adding extra water as needed to obtain the desired consistency. Once combined beat the whole mixture on high speed for 1-2 minutes to make sure everything is combined properly.
Storing the mixture in a glass container with a tight fitting lid is optimal, since it tends to dry out quickly. Use a pea sized amount to brush your teeth. I guarantee your teeth will never feel smoother with any commercial toothpaste.
I have tried, unsucessfully to develop a phosphate free dishwasher detergent. I just haven't been able to get quite the right proportions and combinations of ingredients. There are some great products out there though. I usually use Seventh Generation or Ecover but have recently found that Costco sells a good one under their Kirkland brand name. If you find they aren't cleaning well or are finding spots on your dishes, try using vinegar in the rinse agent compartment and putting a small amount of citric acid in with your detergent.
*use distilled water for these recipes so that the minerals in your water don't lessen the effectiveness of your cleaners. Alternately you can boil your water and then let it cool before mixing you cleaners.
*Essential oils can be added to any of these recipes to make whatever fragrance you like.