Monday, October 10, 2011

Homemade Cleaners

I started thinking about making my own household cleaners a little over a year ago.  With a little one crawling (at the time) and sticking his hands in and on everything, and then into his mouth, I wanted to ensure that my cleaners were all-natural. Being the, ahem..."thrifty" (or just cheap) person that I am thought that what better way to know my cleaners are safe is to make them myself, not to mention that this is the most inexpensive way.  It just so happened that a good friend of mine told me that she already made her own cleaners.  So, I got a recipe or two from her and then she gave me a whole book with recipes for my birthday!  The first things I made were a simple spray to use on my kitchen counters and dishwasher detergent.  I desperately try to avoid doing any dishes by hand, and run the dishwasher once, sometimes twice daily and it seemed like I was buying detergent every other week.  So I made my own powdered version and haven't looked back since!  Recently I decided to finally venture into making my own laundry detergent and was amazed with the results!  I was very wary of this because I REALLY liked my Tide, especially for my cloth diapers.  After experimenting with a few recipes, I finally found one that works wonderfully and for SO CHEAP!  So, for all you thrifty mama's out there, here are a few recipes for you to try (if you like)!

Disclaimer:  Many natural recipes use essential oils and the liquid ones use castile soap (Dr.Bronner's liquid castile soap can be found at Target or Whole Foods).  These items are costly initially, but will last you FOREVER!  I started a year ago and still haven't replaced either.  Essential oils have antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, depending on which you choose.  I like to use those that have all, such as lemon, eucalyptus, and lavender essential oils.

Laundry Detergent
I found the Duggar family recipe to be the best I have used:
Powdered Laundry Detergent
Liquid Laundry Detergent
The only adjustment I made was that I used homemade bar soap (from my Grandpa), but the recipe says you can use the Naptha soap they use or Dove.  Not sure where you find the Naptha.  Also, I added 15 drops of Lemon essential oil to the detergent for scent and antibacterial properties (I just like to have some scent to my detergent).  I use 1 T. for an average/medium load and large loads that are not heavily soiled.  For heavily soiled (kids clothes) I use 2 and for my cloth diapers I use 3.  

Dishwaster Detergent - Lavender Lift Dishwasher Powder
This recipe came from my book The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier (find it on Amazon).
2 c. borax
2 c. washing soda
20 drops lavender essential oil

Use 1 T in your wash compartment and I use 1 T in the rinse compartment of my dishwasher.  Works great!  Only thing is sometimes it leaves a little whitish film on plastic bottles, but that doesn't bother me.  :)

Kitchen Surfaces Spray - Lemon Blast Cleaner (also from book)
1 t. liquid castile soap
1/8 c. white vinegar
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 c. water
6 drops citrus seed extract (I use lemon essential oil)
4 drops lemon, lime, orange, or eucalyptus essential oil (I again use lemon or eucalyptus)
1 t. borax

Combine in plastic spray bottle and shake.  Spray on surface, wipe, and dry.  This has all the properties of lemon essential oil, so I use it to clean counters even after raw chicken has come into contact with it.

Wonderspray (all-purpose cleaner)
 2 T. vinegar
1 t. borax
2 c. very hot water
1/4 c. liquid castile soap
10-15 drops essential oil (I use lemon or eucalyptus)

Smash any borax clumps, mix vinegar and borax in spray bottle. Add hot water and shake until borax is dissolved. Add castile soap and essential oil and shake/stir to mix!  This one is great for all-around from kitchen counter tops to carpet stains.

The Duggar's also have a couple recipes for homemade fabric softener: Fabric Softener Recipes.  I have not used them, however I have used vinegar in my Downy ball.  It works great on my cloth diapers, but I use fabric sheets for my clothes, as they are cheap and get rid of static cling and vinegar does not.  Sorry this is so long, but thought it was worth sharing! :)


Janinne Broxton said...

Would it be alright with you if I printed this post? I love the ideas and am also an avid Tide user. I like the idea of saving money and getting better results. Thank you for this post and let me know if it's okay.

Jenny B. said...

OF COURSE, Janinne! Hope it works well for you! Anyone else may also certainly print any of this post. :)

Anonymous said...

I get the Fels Naptha bar at Fred Meyer for $1.25. Someone else told me that, so that is where I found it. The laundry soap was very easy to make...and CHEAP!