Saturday, September 20, 2008

House Cleaning Recipes...

Michelle came over with the boys today to have Saturday morning scones with us, to visit for awhile, and to make homemade cleaning supplies to restock her housekeeping basket. And, while she was at it, I let her refill my almost-empty containers, too. :-) We got out the baking soda, distilled white vinegear, castille soap, Borax, essential oils, and Clean House, Clean Planet, the book we use for most of our household cleaning recipes, then Michelle got busy!

Actually, this really is a lot of fun to do with others. Michelle and I always get together to mix our cleaning supplies, and once we had a friend show up to join us because she wanted to get jump-started by mixing her first batch of cleaners with someone else (she'd kept putting off making them because she thought it would be more time-consuming or complicated than it is).

Michelle and I both love making and using homemade cleaning supplies (Aimee makes them, too), but we do purchase some "green" products at the store occasionally. For instance, I just bought some Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds, and I really like it, but, mostly, I mix my own cleaners. They are non-toxic, and you can save a lot of money. Some products that you'll spend $3 or $4 for in a store cost mere pennies if you make an alternative at home.

In this photo, Michelle is mixing baking soda with lavender flowers from the yard for sprinkling on the carpets before vacuuming. It makes the house smell good.

Michelle also mixed some "Alice's Wonder Spray," an all-purpose spray cleaner that we both use as a basic, mainstay cleaner:

To make this, you'll need liquid castile soap (don't use detergent), white distilled vinegar, borax (which is actually mildly toxic), purified water, an essential oil for fragrance (unless you use scented castile soap), and a 16 oz. spray bottle.

Mix 2 T. vinegar with 1 t. borax in the spray bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle with very hot water (shake until dissolved; be sure to use hot enough water to dissolve the borax, or it might clog the spray nozzle). Add the 1/4 c. castile soap last. To scent (if needed), add 10 to 15 drops essential oil (a mix of lavender and lemon is nice). It's best to use purified water for this recipe because minerals in water inhibit cleaning.

To use, spray and wipe as you would with any other all-purpose cleaner.

Here's my "Housekeeper's Box" re-loaded and ready to go! I love this box, and I do tote it around the house with me when I clean.

Another homemade cleaning recipe that Michelle and I both like to use is "Earth Paste Tub and Tile Cleaner." I love mixing this one. It foams up and looks like frosting. Since we use peppermint scented castile soap, it smells really nice without having to add any essential oils to the mix. We use this one to scrub the tub and tile in the bathroom and to do any other scrubbing jobs that require something more hard-working than the all-purpose spray:

To make this, you'll need baking soda, liquid castile soap, white distilled vinegar, and water.

Mix 1 2/3 c. baking soda with 1/2 c. liquid soap in a bowl. (Don't use detergent.) Add 2 T. water. Mix with a fork til smooth. Stir in 2 T. vinegar last. The mixture will foam nicely. Use a spatula to scoop your homemade scrub into a plastic or glass jar (we use a little Rubbermaid container). Add warm water if the paste dries out. When mixing this paste, don't mix the vinegar and soap directly together or you will make gunk instead of scrub. Add the vinegar last.

To use, scoop this fragrant, enjoyable scrub right out of the container with a soft cloth or sponge and start cleaning. Rinse well. If you find you are leaving a baking soda residue, use a scented vinegar rinse and your tubs will be squeaky clean!

And here's my new broom, at rest against the counter just after sweeping the kitchen.

And after sweeping the kitchen with my

fine new broom, I squirt some mopping solution on the floor, and mop with my Sh-mop. Michelle and I were both out of this, so today she made "Momma's Earth Mop" by mixing equal parts white distilled vinegar and water and dropping in several drops each of orange, lemon, and lavender essential oils. We both use empty dish soap containers to hold our mopping liquid. Give the container a shake, squirt some on the floor, and mop. It works great!