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.


Jackie said...

Is that 1 1/2 or just a 1/2 teaspoons??

Aimée LeVally said...

It's one half to one whole TABLEspoons depending on your preference. Different water and different soaps react in different ways, so you may need to play with it to find your best amount so that there is no residue when you wipe up.

HeatherLee said...

What baking soda do you use?

Aimée LeVally said...

Hmmm...I can't go look right now, but I think it might be Bob's Red Mill? I would always try to get organic and aluminum free. This makes sure that you are not poisoning your body or water supply with GMO corn or aluminum. Both are believed to cause cancer, and aluminum is strongly linked to Alzheimer Disease and several auto-immune diseases. When I can't find something at my market which fits the bill for a natural home or food supply I check with Mountain Rose Herbs and Amazon.

Karen Wright said...

What is the shelf life of this cleaner? I am looking for something I can store for a month or two, since I do not marathon-clean. I tried a recipe with lemon juice and had to pour it all out because it smelled like rotten fruit after a week. I am completely new to this kind of lifestyle and homemade cleaner is baby step #2 for me, behind homemade laundry soap.

Aimée LeVally said...

There s nothing in the mixture that should go bad as juice would, so I would suspect it would keep indefinitely. On bottle usually lasts me about two weeks, but I have made different scents and kept them for months at a time.

Karen Wright said...

Wow!!! Just tried this cleaner. My kitchen is CLEAN including the high chair, which is notoriously yucky. And nobody had to get short of breath from noxious fumes. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

paulkole said...

Lavender Solution is really useful for your house, This cleaner that would kill germs without hurting anyone or also the other member of the house and leave my home sparkling clean..

Lavender house care

Siera Miller said...

Not only does this cleaner work well, it smells great! I usually use lavender, but you can give it whatever scent you like. Another bonus about making yourself!

Best regards! New Addington Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

Nicole said...

Make your glass and mirrors shine: Wash them with a combination of four tablespoons lemon juice and ½
gallon water.