My cleaning cupboard used to be filled with 2/3 empty bottles of toilet cleaner, window cleaner, kitchen cleaner, tile cleaner, wood cleaner, bathtub cleaner, etc, etc, etc. I would buy a new bottle when the first got low (because how could we ever survive without cleaners), then forget about the first bottle, and so on. Then I had an epiphany. Why were all those cleaners necessary?
In an effort to simplify and detoxify our home, I started making my own.
Here they are:
I can do pretty much any job with these. The books pictured have been very helpful for recipes and tips, and were under $10 each. There are also all kinds of websites which offer cleaning recipes too. I tend to visit www.thriftyfun.com and www.creativehomemaking.com, but there are many places you can look if you do a google search.
Here is a summary of what I use for different jobs:
Vinegar: great all purpose cleaner, kills mildew
Baking soda: good for areas that need a mild abrasive, such as sinks and bathtubs
Borax: perfect for laundry and keeping toilets clean
Tea Tree Oil: a natural disinfectant, I add a few drops to my kitchen and bathroom cleaners
Essential Oils: used to add a fresh clean smell - not necessary, but cuts the vinegar smell if that tends to bother you
I used to be bothered by the smell of the vinegar, but now I associate it with fresh and clean. I add citrus essential oils as well.
I also make my own laundry detergent using Borax, washing soda, and Fels Naptha soap. My recipe is a 2:1 ratio (1cup Borax, 1 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup grated soap). I use the powder version because it's so simple to make, but you can also use these same ingredients to make a liquid version on the stovetop. I might have to switch to that because apparently European washers don't like American powder detergent. I don't know if home made detergent counts, so we'll see.
I used to make dishwasher detergent, but I found it to not work as well as store bought brands, and the cost of the ingredients didn't save me much money.
We don't have much precious wood in our home, but I use a dab of olive oil on a rag to polish what we do have.
Simple, right? Chaos free, right? And oh so easy. Give it a try, it's worth it for the ease, safety if you have young children, and cost effectiveness.