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Homemade Cleaning Products – Part I

July 12, 2012

I have a huge list of subjects which I have planned to blog about before I delved into the subject of homemade cleaners but I just couldn’t wait any longer.  So I will return to the list following a few posts about homemade and natural cleaners.

Every time I put in a load of laundry or am making my next batch of detergent I think about how I would like to write about the process of making cleaning supplies on the blog.  So I couldn’t resist any longer!  I must admit – I’m a clean freak!  I have been since a young age.  I probably have a slight case of OCD but don’t we all to a certain degree?!?  Humans are creatures of habit – so however you want to put it, we can’t help it – it’s an innate characteristic in all of us.  After I became a Mom I started paying a lot more attention to what chemicals I was using in the house, as well as on our bodies.  I did some preliminary research online and found a plethora of information regarding the effects that household cleaners and chemicals have on the body in the long-run.  Everything from causing cancer to birth defects to infertility issues and lots more!   It’s pretty scary!

So, after realizing what I’ve been subjecting my body to all these years, I was determined to eliminate as much exposure to these harsh household cleaners and chemicals as I could.  I’m the type of person where once I know something is bad for me and what can happen, I will take the appropriate steps to eliminate said things.   I wanted to make this change for myself, as well as my son.  Like any parent, you hope to raise your child(ren) the best way possible, you try and make the best decisions, and protect them from what you can to ensure they live a long and healthy life!  🙂  With regards to the endless amounts of toiletry products sold today that are contaminating our bodies with numerous chemicals, I will be writing about this in the near future, so please check back for that!

I first discovered the countless ways white distilled vinegar can be used as a cleaner and after that I was hooked!  Check out this site here – it lists over 80 uses for white distilled vinegar around the house!  Vinegar is my go-to cleaner for most things around the house.  I even use it when I’m rinsing and preparing fruits and veggies – it’s a lot cheaper than buying those cleaners sold specifically to “clean” your veggies and fruits.  I am a very frugal person so if I can cut corners and still get the same effect I will happily do so.  I also use vinegar when washing my clothes – I pour some in during the rinse cycle to help get any extra soap residue out of the clothes and it also acts as fabric softener.  Here’s an extensive list of ways to use vinegar when doing laundry.

I have a bunch of industrial size spray bottles (Home Depot sells a 32 oz. size for a $1) in which I fill up with a variety of mixtures to use when cleaning various areas of the house.  I just label the outside and reuse them.  One mixture is vinegar and water, which I mostly use to clean off surfaces.  (If you want, you can add a little lemon juice too for more disinfecting power.)  Another is a bleach and water mixture (just a little bleach will go a long way) that I mostly use to clean the kitchen and bathroom sinks and any other areas that require a more deeper clean.

**Update: Substitute Grapefruit Seed Extract instead of bleach to make a chemical free, deep-cleaning alternative.  

Borax is a popular natural cleaner that has countless uses throughout the household and beyond.  We use it mainly in our homemade laundry detergent (please see the next post to learn how to make it).  By itself, Borax is also an excellent de-greaser and stain fighter – it breaks down and turns into Hydrogen Peroxide, which is the main ingredient in OxiClean.  Another use for Borax, which we use lots, is for a bug repellent – we mix Borax and water in a spray bottle and spray around the house (inside and out) for bugs.  This is the perfect natural solution when there’s little ones in the house.  

Lemon juice is another natural substance used for countless cleaning uses and is an excellent natural disinfectant as well!  If you have a cutting board that has some stains on it, rub some lemon juice on it and let it sit until you see the stains fade (usually letting it sit overnight works best).  The lemon juice also disinfects the cutting board at the same time!  For an extensive list of ways to use lemon juice as a natural cleaner go here.  On a side note, lemon juice is a natural digestive aide, so drinking a warm glass of water in the morning with lemon juice in it will aid in healthy, problem-free digestion!  🙂

Baking Soda has endless capabilities from cleaning various surfaces to neutralizing acidic odors to boosting laundry detergents’ power by neutralizing the pH balance.  Arm & Hammer Baking Soda is becoming more popular on the market as a multi-purpose cleaner – from toothpaste to deodorant to laundry detergent – more people are learning about the numerous benefits baking soda offers.  I personally love using baking soda mostly when doing laundry.  I will add it at the beginning of the load to better balance the pH in the water to get clothes cleaner, fresher, and brighter.  It’s also the perfect addition when washing babies’ clothes, because it acts as a tough stain fighter sans the harshness of commercial stain fighting solutions (just add 1/2 cup when adding the laundry detergent) or add a 1/2 cup during the rinse cycle to further deodorize the soiled clothes.  For further uses of Baking Soda, go here to the Arm & Hammer website.

Dawn Dish Soap (the original blue kind) has been around for almost 40 years and has held strong as the best household cleaning staple to fight grease and much more.  There are endless expensive soap scum cleaners on the market but nothing will remove soap scum better than a mixture of Dawn and white distilled vinegar.  Just warm up one cup of vinegar in the microwave and pour it in a spray bottle.  Then add a cup of Dawn to the bottle, shake and spray where needed.  (If you want to make a smaller or larger batch, just make sure it’s a 1:1 ratio for best results.)  The mixture will be a watery-gel like substance, which allows it to stay better on vertical surfaces while soaking. Let it sit on the dirty, scummy surface for a while – between 2 hours to possibly over night if needed – then use a sponge and some warm water to scrub off (you shouldn’t have to scrub much at all).  The results will amaze you and you’ll never use anything else to clean your showers and baths again!  Besides the sparkling noticeable results in your shower and tub, the savings when making your own cleaner are unbeatable!

19 oz. bottle of Dawn – $5.97     –>  $2.50/cup

1 gal. bottle Vinegar – $2.12      –>  $.13/cup

–>  $2.63 per 2 cups of cleaning solution  (32 oz. spray bottle holds max. 4 cups)

For those who might be more interested in purchasing natural cleaners, Shaklee is the route to take.  I recently discovered an all natural, biodegradable household cleaner, sold by Shaklee Corporation.  They’re one of the first companies ever to sell a biodegradable household cleaner.  Shaklee is also the first company in the world  to obtain “Climate Neutral” certification and totally offset CO2 emissions, thus resulting in a net zero impact on the environment!  Their products are naturally safe and proven effective.  I purchased two of their cleaning products after using a sample I was given and was really impressed!  The two products I purchased were a bottle of the Basic H All-Purpose cleaner and the Basic G Germicide cleaner/disinfectant.  If you check out their website, they also sell starter kits that include a variety of cleaners and laundry detergent, etc. to use around the house.

The Basic H is sold as a super concentrated solution in a 16 oz. bottle and creates over 48 gallons of all-purpose cleaner.  It retails for about $12.00 a bottle.  All you need is 1/4 TEASPOON of Basic H and 16 oz. of water in a spray bottle to make an all-natural, super powerful, all-purpose cleaning solution!  If you wanted to make a cleaner for windows and mirrors, just add 1-2 drops in 16 oz. of water!  And for a degreasing solution, mix 1 1/2 tsp to 16 oz. of water.  I also use it when cleaning my floors too.  So as you can see, this one bottle will last you a few years and is pretty much all you need with regards to cleaners!  It was so nice to purge all the various cleaning supplies I had in my cupboard and replace it with just a few spray bottles.  🙂

The Basic G is a super concentrated germicide solution that disinfects, cleans and deodorizes various surfaces and kills over 15 major pathogens – from salmonella to MRSA (“staph” germ).  So just like the Basic H, you just need the tiniest amount of Basic G (1/2 oz.) per gallon of water and viola,  you have a disinfectant cleaner for ten times the cost of commercial cleaners and  a lot more effective than most brand name disinfectant cleaners.  The bottle is sold in a 1 Quart size, will make up to 64 gallons and retails for about $20.  This bottle will last a household a few years or more, depending upon how often they use it.  The one draw back regarding the Basic G is that it’s not completely all-natural but it is the most effective, guaranteed, complete disinfectant!  Shaklee also sells disinfectant wipes, which has Basic G as one of the ingredients.  My friend who introduced me to Shaklee products was telling me about how she uses the Basic G to sterilize all the surfaces used before starting a new batch of beer.  (When making your own beer you must have a completely sterile environment for the yeast, otherwise your entire batch of beer will not turn out!)  Thus far they have never had a bad batch of beer and contribute a lot of their success to using the Basic G as their disinfectant.

Well I hope this information was informative and helped to educate you further about ways to clean your house without spending much money, as well as cutting down on the number of harsh chemicals used and exposed to.  One thing that I sometimes remind myself is that there was a time when all these hundreds of cleaning products didn’t exist yet the house was just as clean!  Consumerism has taught us that we need these various specific products to ensure our house is clean, etc. but in all reality we don’t need any of such products.  Lots of people tend to assume it takes a lot of time and effort to make their own cleaning products and so it’s just easier to buy the specific products.  When in all reality to make your own cleaning products, it takes less than 5 minutes!  However, there’s nothing wrong with buying and using cleaners, there’s just a lot more positives to making your own, natural remedies.  I think one of the best aspects of making your own cleaning solutions is that most of the individual ingredients used when making the cleaning products lasts a few re-fills or more.  So in the end, you’ll find that you don’t need to replenish cleaning products nearly as much as if you were purchasing the ready-made items.

In the next few posts I am going to show you how simple and quick it is to make your own cleaning products, like laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, hand soap and liquid body soap.  Once you see how easy (and cheap) it is, you’ll never go back to commercial products again!


One Comment leave one →
  1. July 12, 2012 4:01 PM

    Thank you so much! I can’t wait to try these tips out! I look forward to learning how to make the laundry detergent too!!!

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