Monday, June 20, 2011

Make Your Own House Cleaning Products!

A Clean Home...Naturally!

When I think of the term “home economics” it brings back memories of giggling girls huddling in groups in mini-kitchens surrounded by ingredients, mixing bowls and spatulas.  Now, in my late forties I have found myself one of the many unemployed and the term “economics” has taken on a whole new meaning.  This word, “economic,” not something I paid great attention to when I was working full time, has finally caught my attention!  Not long ago I reviewed the money we were spending in the grocery store, especially on the non-food items such as cleaning products.  I couldn’t believe it!  When you evaluate your grocery bill it may astound you, as it did me, how much you are spending on cleaning products.  I realized one day that I just didn’t want to spend all that money to keep my house clean!  On the other hand, I certainly did not want to live in filth!  So I looked through some old magazines and found some recipes for homemade cleaning products that I was able to modify for my own use with products I already had laying around the house.  To my surprise they cost pennies to make, work as well (and in most cases better) than commercial products and are environmentally friendly as well as going easy on my fragrance-triggered asthma. 

Homemade cleaning products are great for the person with allergies or asthma because you can control which ingredients and fragrances go into the final product.  You can make everything to clean your home from dishwashing soap to laundry soap to furniture polish and window washing formula.  You can make up just what you need for the job or you can mass-produce and store as you would commercial products.  The amount of money saved at the grocery store is amazing and will leave you enough to spend on something more fun, like taking your sweetheart out for dinner.

The basic ingredients for these cleaning products are probably already in your kitchen pantry and are just waiting for you to discover what they can really do for you.   If you would like to try your hand at making your own home cleansers, here is a list of some things you will need: 

Baking soda
Lemon juice
Rubbing alcohol
White vinegar
Essential oils (lemon, orange, lavender, tea tree, rosemary and peppermint are good to name a few possibilities)
Liquid and/or bar castile soap
Plastic buckets or containers and spray bottles to hold your eco-environ-friendly cleaning creations. 

Here are a few of my tried and true recipes, modified from various recipes I have seen over the years.  The fun is in experimenting, once you know the basics! 

My Basic Laundry Detergent uses:
1 bar of shredded castile soap
2 cups of borax
2 cups of baking soda
About 30 drops of the desired essential oil

I mix it all together and pour it into an old bucket and use ¼ to ½ cup per load.  Our clothes are as clean and smell as fresh, if not fresher, than they did using the old commercial brand.  Essential oils add deodorizing as well as an antibacterial benefit to your wash. 

I hardly ever use commercial bleach anymore.  I simply add ¼ cup of white vinegar to my wash load with a few drops of lemon essential oil.  It works as well as commercial bleach and leaves your clothes much softer than bleach.  Just use that nasty old bleach for the really heavy stains! 

To make a basic fabric softener I make up a gallon at a time with:
1gallon of vinegar, usually apple cider but basic white works as well
 4 to 6 cups of dried, pulverized lavender buds
 10 – 20 drops of lavender essential oil 

I place the pulverized lavender in a large container and pour the vinegar over it.  The mixture should sit for a week and then be strained. Add the essential oil to the liquid and use ½ to 1 cup of this liquid in your final wash rinse.  Your clothes will be “downy” soft for a mere fraction of the cost of a jug of commercial downy!  If you do not grow lavender perhaps you know someone who does and if not, it is readily available at your local natural market or health food store. 

Essential oils are also available at your local health market and work great for cleaning due to their antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial actions.  It is fun to experiment with different oils to obtain different fragrances in your cleaning products.  In my laundry lavender reigns supreme but I like citrus best for all purpose cleaner or window washing formula. 

To wash my windows or mirrors, I use 1 cup of white vinegar to 1 tbsp. Lemon juice with lemon or lemon eucalyptus essential oil.  This leaves your surface streak free with a clean fragrance much more pleasant than Windex! 

To make a simple furniture polish I just mix a tablespoon of olive or mineral oil with ¼ to ½ cup lemon juice in a bowl.  This leaves a beautiful high shine on your furniture without any harmful chemicals that over time can injure or fade your wood. 

Because I don’t own a dishwasher, I go through a lot of dishwashing liquid.  Even the cost of that adds up quickly when washing dishes by hand so I make my own by using 2 cups of liquid castile soap with 1 tbsp. Borax and 10 – 20 drops of essential oil.  I usually use lemon or orange but peppermint is fun too!  You will undoubtedly find your own favorite.

For a general all purpose cleaner I use (you probably can guess!) 1 cup of white vinegar to ¼ cup lemon juice and 20 drops of tea tree oil.  Tea tree oil is a major germ fighter with antibacterial as well as antiviral action.

These are a few ideas to get you started in the world of homemade cleaning products.  By making your own products you can clean your home for pennies on the dollar, help the environment and take pride not only in a clean home but in the fact that you do not have to rely on commercial cleaning products ever again!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very good info, sounds like you know what you are talking about!