Save Money, Protect Loved Ones and Help the Environment With Homemade Cleaning Products

Save Money, Protect Loved Ones and Help the Environment With Homemade Cleaning Products

homemade-cleaning-products-sinkThere is a lot of  info out there about how to make homemade cleaning products. For a beginner it may seem like almost TOO much. It can get a bit confusing. Stick with me. I’ve put together a simple and easy starter kit list for you. But first, let’s take a quick look at why it matters.  

Why should you consider making homemade cleaning products for your home when it is so easy to go to the store and buy what you need?  There are a lot of cleaning products on the market that raise some important concerns.

homemade-cleaning-products-chemicalsReasons to Not Use Many Common Household Chemicals

  • Many products can irritate human skin
  • Vapors inhaled from using cleaning products can irritate allergies, be dangerous for people with breathing conditions, and allow toxic inhalants to enter the lungs
  • Buying household cleaners on a regular basis adds up to quite a bit of money each year
  • There are many product manufacturers around the world that still use animal testing of products
  • Residue left on surfaces from cleaners can be harmful to your pets
  • Chemicals washed down the drain enter the waste management system and can harm home septic systems as well as build contaminates in city systems
  • Consumer demand of household chemicals increases the production of plastics
  • Disposable cleaning containers end up in landfills often
  • While recycling is better than not, it still uses energy

homemade-cleaning-products-labelHow Can I Make My Own Cleaners?

Making your own household cleaners is cheap and easy.  Many of us are tired of paying high prices for dangerous products. I’ve put together a list with some of the items I have been using myself for years, that my mother and grandmother used, and from some of my favorite earth conscious and money saving blogs. Like I said early on, my goal is to try and make this simple so you have less clutter where you keep your cleaning supplies, less headache, and less expense.

Safe, Non-Toxic, Cheap Home Cleaning Starter Kit

Let’s start with items  you need to buy, collect, repurpose:

  • Large container of Apple Cider Vinegar (note that most in store containers of apple cider vinegar are diluted with water already to 5% acidity. This is a good thing for cleaning purposes and the mixes that follow are based on using vinegars with only 5% acidity)
  • Large container of White Vinegar (again, here you will most often find containers that are diluted with water to 5% acidity)
  • Baking Soda / Sodium Bicarbonate (you can purchase bulk amounts from online wholesalers that are not packaged in food grade environments just be sure to purchase small amounts separately for your cooking needs)
  • Lemon juice (when buying lemon juice for cleaning agents, you can choose diluted or 100% real lemon juice. You should avoid purchasing lemon juice powders as they are created by spray drying onto corn syrup solids)
  • grapeseed oil
  • Cleaning cloths (I like a variety cut from old cotton t-shirts, terrycloth towels, and old pillow coverings or bedsheets. If you have a lightweight dust mop, something such as Swiffer product, then be sure to cut some to the size of the disposable cloths and you will never buy them again)
  • Cornstarch
  • Rubbing alcohol (while rubbing alcohol is dangerous if ingested, because it completely evaporates on surfaces it is ideal for a home cleaning agent)
  • homemade-cleaning-products-bottlesTwo clean spray bottles (650 mL to fill line)
  • Glass or heavy plastic bottles with screw on lid (I like the 1pint/ 473mL or .5L size)
  • Essential oil of choice
  • Small glass spray bottle
  • Small glass jar or bottle
  • Water (if your water is mineral heavy with iron or lime, or if you use a water softener you may want to buy some distilled water or use your filtered water for these solutions to prevent any film on wood or glass)
  • Vodka (necessary for a cocktail after cleaning, no doubt)

Apple Cider Vinegar Cleaner – Your Go To Cleaner
Add about ⅔ cup (160 mL) apple cider vinegar to your clean spray bottle and fill with water to the 650 mL fill line creating roughly a 4 to 1 ratio of water to acv.

When you search the web you will find several uses of acv and water solution that vary in ratio. I use this ratio as a safe all purpose cleaner rather than mixing different amounts for each task. This solution is strong enough to kill dust mites, to be used as a mild disinfectant, and safe for wood finishes. Uses: spray on cloth (I prefer the lint free t-shirt clothes) and dust both finished and unfinished furniture and cabinetry safely. Use with terrycloth for spot cleaning hardwood floors, laminate or tile flooring. Spray on an old pillow case tied around a small broom or dust mop for cleaning moulding, trim, ceiling fan blades or other hard to reach places. Safely spray and wipe down any countertop surfaces. While I prefer the stronger mix with white vinegar for cutting board cleaning, I do take the acv mix with us on camping trips. It is mild enough for a quick clean of the hands if needed, can deodorize a musty tent with a few sprays into the air inside when  you set up, and be used with a cloth to wipe down cutlery when access to water is limited.

White Vinegar Cleaner – A Stronger Solution for Bath & Kitchen
Fill spray bottle halfway with white vinegar and the remainder with water for a 1:1 ratio

There are several uses for this solution. I use this spray for regular cleaning of bathroom sinks, counters, toilet seats, inside toilet, bathtub, shower walls and tile by spraying the cleaner directly on the surfaces and wiping with a cloth or using a scrub brush as needed. I also use this solution to spray down and rinse out my kitchen sink, cleaning out the microwave, wiping down the kitchen appliances, and shining up my stainless steel fixtures. If I open a plastic container someone has left in the sink without rinsing or have pots sitting around that have odor I spray the solution into the containers and let them soak for a few before doing dishes or rinsing out for the dishwasher.

Air Freshener – Without Harmful Lung Pollutants
In your small glass spray bottle, mix 2 tbsp. white vinegar, 2 tbsp. vodka, 15 to 30 drops of preferred essential oil scents and fill the remainder with distilled water.

I first ran across this mix on MyMerryMessyLife.com. There are several alternatives out there to move away from fabric refreshers and harmful air freshener products. What makes this particular formula good, is that the vinegar will help truly deodorize without leaving any film you may have with a baking soda alternative. The alcohol will evaporate but helps the oil bind to the water. The original blend here calls for 30 drops of essential oil and for my personal taste I thought it was a bit much. You want to be careful with certain fabrics. If you are concerned about it one option could be to add this solution to another bottle with more water to further dilute it when trying to freshen up furniture or drapery.

Furniture Polish
In a small glass jar or bottle add ½ cup lemon juice, 2 tbsp grapeseed oil and 2 tbsp water. Close and shake to emulsify.

You can pour a bit on to a soft cloth and shine your woodwork while nourishing the wood. My grandmother called this “treating the furniture” and I was responsible for this job once every two weeks in her home growing up.

Carpet Freshener
Sprinkle baking soda on carpet and let sit for about ten minutes before vacuuming.

Baking Soda – Safe Scouring Powder
Baking soda serves many purposes on it’s own or you can use it with other products. It is safe to use on glass stove tops and other surfaces that you do not want to scratch up. Simply sprinkle some on and work gently with damp cloth. I use it on my stainless steel cookware to remove water spots and stains. Sprinkle it in, add a bit of water, and gently scrub and rinse. There is nothing that works better on stainless steel pots. You can also sprinkle baking soda into the toilet for scrubbing. Dump it down your drain and follow with vinegar. Wait about fifteen minutes and follow with water to help loosen clogs. It is also good for tackling stains or buildup in grout or tile surrounding your bathtub or shower.

Lemon Juice – A Powerful  Disinfectant
Pour lemon juice directly on your cutting board and let sit for a few minutes before giving it a rinse. This will take care of any kitchen contaminants.

Rubbing  Alcohol – A Quickly Evaporating Sanitizer
While rubbing alcohol is toxic if ingested so care should still be taken when having it stored in your home with children and pets, it evaporates very quickly leaving surfaces safe. If it is powerful enough to be used as a soak in doctors offices and hosptial rooms it can be quite effective on your household germs. I like the shine it gives my stainless fixtures too. So for a deeper clean, or when people in my household have been sick, I take a soft rag and pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol on it at a time. I use it to wipe down the faucets, handles, door handles, light switch plates, basically anything that hands may come into contact with when they aren’t clean.  It is also good to use carefully on keyboards, your mouse, and great for landline phones and office phones.  

Cornstarch – Dry Cleaner
Use cornstarch on stuffed animals and brush out to help remove dirt and dust. This is also helpful on shaggy rugs that don’t wash well.

These are just a few products you can keep around the house that will simplify cleaning your home and keeping your family safe from chemicals. And remember to visit Steam Cleaner Reviews if you are interested in checking out how using a steam cleaner can reduce your need for cleaning supplies and make light work of your regular cleaning.

For related reading check out these articles and follow these bloggers and UK suppliers on Google + or Facebook

Getting to the Bottom of Borax: Is it Safe or Not?  Crunchy Betty

Top Ten Cleaning Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar  +apple cider vinegar hub

18 Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar  +treehugger

Apple Cider Vinegar in the Home  +Bobby’s Healthy Shop

DIY: Grease-Fighting Lavender Dish Soap Hello Natural

Non-Toxic Home Cleaning +eartheasy
Do you have other homemade cleaning tips you can share with us? Leave a comment.

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