07 October 2011

Day 7: Cleanliness is next to...

I have posted before about cleaners, because it was the first step in my make more, use less journey.  But because it is an important step in creating a home made household, I think it is wise to post it again.
First, let me start by saying that there are thousands of resources, both online and in print, for getting started with homemade cleaners.  I encourage you to check out a few of these (hereherehere, and here for a few), especially if cleaning products are #1 on your priority list.

That said, I am going to give a couple highlights here, just to get you started.  Remember, baby steps, right?

Ok, here is my basic supply list:  castile soap, vinegar, baking soda, essential oil.

That's it, with a couple additions here and there.   I do not make my own soap, because I don't have the space.  Some day I hope to, but for right now I order castile soap in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs.  I have also used Dr Bronner's in the past, but found that I like getting the basic soap and creating different scents myself with some essential oil.  Ok, let's go through these supplies one by one and discuss their uses.

1.  Castile soap:  this is a fantastic all purpose soap made with vegetable oils.  No chemicals.  Nada.  My current uses for it include dish soap, hand soap, body wash, kid shampoo, kitchen cleaner, floor cleaner, toilet cleaner, and upholstery cleaner, and general purpose cleaner.  It is also highly concentrated, so it lasts a very long time.

2.  Vinegar:  the diversity of vinegar rivals castile soap.  It is non-toxic, cost effective, and highly useful. It can be diluted with water or used full strength. If you don't like the smell, you can add some essential oil to the mix, but the vinegar smell does disappear as soon as it evaporates.  My current uses for it include floor cleaner, kitchen cleaner, fabric softener, grout and tile cleaner, sink cleaner, drain opener (combined with baking soda), window cleaner, and hair conditioner (for reals!).

3.  Baking soda:  since baking soda is a key ingredient in a lot of baked goods, you already know it is non-toxic.  Its texture makes it mildly abrasive, perfect for things that need scrubbing.  My current uses include sink cleaner (use half a lemon as the scrub brush), tub and shower cleaner, drain cleaner (in combination with vinegar), and upholstery cleaner.  I am even going to use it to make my own version of oxi-clean as soon as I run out.

4.  Essential oil:  not essential, but certainly nice.  I use a citrus oil when mopping the floor and a peppermint oil for cleaning the bathrooms.  Tea tree oil is a good disinfectant, so it is nice to have on hand also.

If you prefer to have a paper book to refer to, I recommend these two books.  I have them both, and they were very useful getting me started when I switched to natural cleaners.

Click here and here for ordering

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