The weather is slowly starting to feel like spring, and with all of April’s shower’s on their way, so is spring cleaning! Recently a thought struck me: despite what’s advertised as the header of this blog, I never did upload any how-tos for homemade cleaners. Well I’ve got some time tonight, so here goes! Oh, and please note: I do not make my own soaps. I buy biodegradable, non-toxic soaps that I can find on the cheap. If you’re looking for soap recipes, I am too!! I’m still looking for some that I can A) afford all the ingredients and B) are not oil based. If you have a good recipe for homemade soaps that don’t use single-use ingredients (as in, stuff I have to buy just for making soap) let me know in the comments please!!
Why making your own cleaning products is green:
- They’re non-toxic, and part of being environmentally friendly means keeping your immediate environment people-friendly. Filling your home with caustic and flammable agents that may be lethal to people and pets doesn’t sound like a very friendly environment to me! Please do your research on prolonged exposure and possible effects of latent toxicity before wiping down your dinner table with bleach and other products! I won’t get on a soap box here, but as a Psychology student, I care about brains. And the effects of environmental neurotoxins is scary, especially considering the heightened susceptibility of certain groups, like children, women of reproductive age, and the elderly. Just say “No!” to toxic cleaners!! Toxicity is avoidable!!
- After scrubbing your shower with whatever noxious substance you’ve chosen, it doesn’t go away once it goes down your drain. If it’s hard to stay in the confined space of a shower with those fumes, imagine how the creatures in your local watershed feel when that stuff inundates their habitat!
- How many cleaning products do you own? Remember my mini-rant about the treadmill of hair-product production? Apply the same logic here. Doesn’t it just make sense to use one or two products to clean everything you own rather than buy a specific cleaner for each thing you own?
Why making your own cleaning products $aves green:
- Buy 4 items (all under $2), make enough cleaners to last you at least 6 months. Less than $8 for 6 months. Where’s the question???
What you’ll need:
- 1 gallon white distilled vinegar
- 1 lb. box baking soda
- 1 Liter bottle of club soda
Other stuff you can add:
- Lemon juice
- Essential oils (for more pleasing smells)
- Borax (for the really tough grime)
**A quick note about vinegar-based cleaners: You absolutely will get used to the smell!! You had to learn to associate the smell of bleach and other toxic products with “clean” and they don’t actually smell good either! Also, unlike the store-bought versions, once the vinegar has evaporated, the smell is gone!**
All-purpose surface cleaner: Fill a spray bottle with equal parts tap water and white vinegar. Add lemon juice for extra disinfecting power (or increase vinegar concentration) or essential oil for scent if desired (applies to all vinegar-based cleaners listed). Safely cleans glass, stainless steel, wood, painted surfaces (like walls) and plastic laminates.
Floor cleaner: 1 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon tap water.
Stainless steel surface cleaner: Spray a mist of undiluted white vinegar and then buff with a cloth.
Teapots: Boil equal parts vinegar and water. Let stand an hour and then rinse with cold water.
Drain cleaners: Pour 1/2 cup of salt and then 2 cups boiling white vinegar down the slow, stinky, or clogged drain. Flush out with hot then cold tap water.
Bathroom scrubber/mildew remover: Spray a light coating of the all-purpose surface cleaner. Then sprinkle on some baking soda and scrub until clean. Rinse with cold water. For tough stains, try mixing 3 Tbsp white vinegar, 1 tsp Borax, and 2 cups of hot water and scrub in your solution.
Sticker and other goo remover: Apply white vinegar directly to the sticker. Let soak in 30-60 seconds and then scrub with steel wool. Let soak 10-15 mins if removing tough stickers like bumper stickers from cars. Soaking a spot will also work for residue-free sticker removal from clothing!
Window Cleaner: Use a recycled spray bottle to mist windows and mirrors with club soda. Wipe clean with crumpled newspaper for a streak-free shine!
Windshield wiper cleaners: pour some undiluted vinegar on a cloth and wipe down your windshield blades to clean away built up dirt and extend the use of your blades.
Toilet cleaner: Pour 2 cups of white vinegar in your toilet bowl and let it sit over night to remove spots and rings.
Shower heads: Soak your shower head in a bag filled with white vinegar for an hour (tape the bag up so you can leave it while it soaks). Wipe the shower head clean with a damp cloth.
Brighten yellowed clothing: Dilute 1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon warm tap water. Let the clothes soak overnight and then wash the next morning as usual.
Stain treatment: Most stains can be removed by rubbing the spot with undiluted white vinegar before washing (including yellowing from deodorant and perspiration). If the stain is really bad (like from hair dye or wine), treat the spot immediately, wash immediately, and add 1-2 cups of vinegar to the wash cycle.
Electronics cleaner: Make sure your appliance is completely turned off. Lightly dampen a cloth with equal parts white vinegar and water. Be sure not to completely saturate the rag (or if you do, wring it out well) because you don’t want any excess water or dripping!
Dingy carpet brightener: Spray the worn carpet with 1 cup white vinegar diluted in 1 gallon of tap water. Scrub the solution in with a clean stiff broom or sponge mop. Let dry.
Carpet spot remover: Dilute 2 Tbsp salt in 1/2 cup white vinegar. Apply the solution to the stain, let dry, and then vacuum. For really tough stains, mix 1 Tbsp cornflour with 1 Tbsp vinegar and scrub the paste into the spot. Let it sit for 2 days to ensure it’s thoroughly dried and then vacuum.
What are you waiting for? Get cleaning!! 🙂