June 11, 2013
Homemade All Purpose Cleaner
Our home has been chemical free for nearly a decade. There was a time when I was addicted to bleach and anti-bacterial cleaners for the kitchen and bathroom. My soap dispensers were filled with anti-everything soaps, and I kept hand cleaner in my purse and on my counters. A little bit of reading about what that kind of behavior does to our environment and our bodies was enough to change my ways and never ever look back.
Our home is now filled with completely natural, essential oil scented soaps, the bleach is long gone, and I've been making our household cleaners for nearly eight years. I run out sometimes, and get lazy, yes, but there's nothing like a soapy sponge to clean up the dirty surfaces when you're not up to mixing, or like me, constantly run out of one of your ingredients.
Essential oils are amazing for all manner of things, from healing the body to cleaning the sink. Just be sure you're using them for the right application!
My favorite household cleaner is to simply scrub the sinks and tubs with plain old (aluminum free) baking soda. It works just as well as the caustic chemicals and harsh powders, but it doesn't poison our water or bodies. A wet rag, a heavy dash of soda on the surface, and rub. That's it. Even with our extremely hard well water I have no need to use anything else to keep things sparkling. It even works to soak your shower head when it starts to slow down and spray funny. If you like everything to smell pretty, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the baking soda. I really like sweet orange and lavender for this.
Everyone else's favorite is my All Purpose Cleaner. My midwife, who operates a Lavender farm, once gave me some of her cleaners, so I switched for a while, but got requests from the family to go back to my cleaner. To make it you'll need:
A spray bottle
A funnel to make things easier
1 cup of white vinegar
1/2 - 1 Tablespoon of aluminum free baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of dish or castille soap
20 drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil (cuts grease and disinfects)
10 drop Vetiver, Lavender, Bitter Orange, Eucalyptus or Tea Tree oil (each of these has a different action, choose your favorite)
**I order all of my essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs at the same time that I order all my herbs, spices, salts, cooking oils, and body oils**
The right order of mixing is important here to avoid an explosive mess. In you spray bottle add about a cup of hot water, and pour in the baking soda. Swirl it around to dissolve before adding a tiny bit of dish liquid. Now, very slowly, so as not to cause an overflow, begin adding in the vinegar. When the vinegar mixes with the baking soda it is going to fizz. Remember those science experiment valcanoes of your youth? Let's avoid that. Add the vinegar in as slowly as necessary, swirling gently to mix it in before adding more. Once all of the vinegar is in you can add in your essential oils, and fill the bottle up the rest of the way with warm water.
You will see that the oils will rise to the top of the bottle. You will need to swirl it around before you use it. If you used castille soap instead of dish liquid you may have some solid white particles in your mix. This is fine and won't affect your counters.
I use this for everything from washing the doors and light switches to the counters and kitchen tiles. It works well in your mop bucket too. Just don't try it on mirrors or window. It'll work on your kitchen table too, but I'd stick with an oil based cleaner for wood if you like it to stay shiny and clear.