March 15th, 2010
There’s nothing magic about 99.9% of the cleaners on shelves out there.
Guide to Homemade Eco Cleaners at Light Green Stairs is designed to help you get started with making your own cleaners. Doing so can save you lots of money and may be as effective as some cleaners you purchase. Plus, homemade cleaners are certainly non-toxic when you use the right ingredients.
Tip: If you mix your own cleaners, you’ll need good spray bottles you like to use. Repurpose very clean bottle spray bottles from non-toxic items you bought or invest in new ones. Just make sure it’s a bottle that sprays well or you’ll get annoyed and migrate back to cleaners you buy.
Special note: Always test cleaners first on a small area, especially if you’re concerned about granite counters or other surfaces. Some ingredients (essential oil, lemon juice, vinegar) used in these recipes have disinfecting properties, but no antibacterial claims or guarantees are made.
For the cleaning recipes below, ingredients precede each recipe in italics. Have fun and breathe easier when you clean.
Kitchen and Bath Surface Cleaners
In a spray bottle, mix one part white vinegar with three parts water and five to seven drops of your favorite essential oil. I use lemongrass essential oil, which is great for toning down the vinegar smell and helping to disinfect. (Whole Foods is a good place to shop for essential oil.) This mixture is also useful for cleaning pet vomit, but test on carpet first.
3% Hydrogen Peroxide
Vinegar is a disinfectant, but if you’re wanting to be extra safe, spray some 3% hydrogen peroxide on the surface, then wipe. Just remember it must be stored in an opaque bottle, so you may want to find a nozzle for the bottle it comes in. Never mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar together. That would create a dangerous acid.
Thyme Essential Oil-Castile-Water
Thyme is a powerful cleaner and it’s good in this natural cleaning spray. Fill a spray bottle with two cups water and add 25 drops thyme essential oil and two teaspoons castile (natural soap).
To make a scrub, mix baking soda with some castile. Play around with the measurements to see what works for you, but the paste should be thick.
Baking Soda-Vinegar or Baking Soda-Lemon Juice
Get frothy with some baking soda (fourth cup) and white vinegar (one cup). If you don’t care for froth or the vinegar smell, use lemon juice with baking soda instead. Whatever you use, let it stand for 10 minutes, then scrub with a brush. You may also use the Castile-Baking Soda scrub.
Sink Stain Remover
Lemon Juice-Corn Starch
No, you don’t need a strong bleach cleaner with harmful fumes for this. Simply make a paste of lemon juice and corn starch. Allow the paste to sit on stains, then scrub with a brush and rinse clean for a beautiful sparkle! For disinfecting, use the Vinegar-Essential Oil-Water spray mix or 3% hydrogen peroxide.
Mix baking soda and water to make a paste or spray oven with water, then sprinkle baking soda. Allow solution to stand in oven several hours, then scrub, dipping brush in hot water. Wipe away grime with a sponge and hot water. It beats those stinky, toxic oven cleaners.
Vinyl and Tile Floor Cleaner
Baking Soda-Water-Vinegar-Essential Oil
Dissolve one fourth cup baking soda in water, then add at least one gallon hot water and one half cup vinegar. Add four drops lavender essential oil to make it smell nice.
Window and Glass Cleaners
Club Soda-Lemon Juice
Fill a spray bottle with club soda and add two tablespoons of lemon juice.
If the smell doesn’t bug you, use straight white vinegar.
Furniture Polish (for finished wood)
Olive Oil-Lemon Juice
Combine two parts olive oil or vegetable oil with one part lemon juice (optional–you can use just olive oil). Wipe away with a soft cloth.
Boil water on the stove (supervised only) with apple peelings and cinnamon sticks. You can create your own blends by using spices like anise, rosemary or nutmeg. For when you’re away, use an essential oil diffuser.
Fabric Softener and Freshener
Vinegar (to soften clothes in washer)-Essential Oil (on cloth in dryer to add fragrance)
Add one half cup of vinegar during the rinse cycle to soften clothes. Add scent to clothes by putting a couple drops essential oil on a cloth and placing it in the dryer with clothes.
(image via sxc; sxc; sxc)
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