Guest Post by Michelle from Leaving Excess
When I first started making my own household cleaners, I was
looking to save money. And did I! Making your own cleaners does involve a
small upfront investment for ingredients and containers, but over time, you
will enjoy a tremendous savings over continuing to purchase commercial cleaners.
In addition to saving money, I have discovered that there
are other benefits to making my own cleaners:
::My kids can help me clean and I don’t have to
worry about them being around toxic chemicals.
::Our house is free of chemical cleaners; my allergies
have improved greatly since I cut own commercial cleaners.
::Making my own cleaners simplifies my life. I don’t
need to put the cleaner on a list, get to the store, bag it, unpack it and so
on. I just take out a few simple ingredients and make it myself when it is
convenient for me.
::Making cleaners is much better for the environment. No
more chemicals going into the water supply, no more empty containers being
The basic ingredients for making your own cleansers are
baking soda and white vinegar. Both can be purchased in bulk at discount
stores like Target and Wal-Mart, as well as wholesale clubs such as Costco and
Sam’s Club. If you just want to give a cleaner recipe a try, odds are
pretty good that you have enough on hand to make one or two cleaners.
key ingredients will be soap (either dish soap or liquid castile soap–found in
health food stores), olive oil, club soda, glycerin (look in pharmacies or
health food stores for vegetable glycerin), and sometimes borax (a powder
laundry aid found in the laundry aisle of your local store).
I prefer cleaner recipes that use essential oils. Tea tree
oil has antiseptic properties, scents like lemon, eucalyptus and lavender add a
lovely, clean scent and disguise the smell of the vinegar. You can add oils to
any cleaner recipe; the general rule is about 10 drops for a 16 ounce bottle,
but feel free to experiment. You can even mix scents.
Purchasing essential oils will be the
bulk of your initial investment. These are available at health food stores and
some natural/health sections of large grocery stores for about $5 a bottle. The bottles are small, but you use only a few drops per recipe, so a little
goes a very long way, I promise! I have been making my own cleaners since 2000
and have only replaced three bottles of essential oils.
The book that I turn to again and again for cleaner recipes
is Clean House, Clean Planet: Clean your house the safe, nontoxic way for
pennies a day by Karen Logan. Check your library or PaperBackSwap for this book. It has over 100 recipes for just about any
cleaner you could need, including pest control. You can also find a lot of
recipes online by searching for ‘homemade cleaners’ or ‘nontoxic
cleaner recipes’ on your favorite search engine. Tipnut.com also has come great cleaner recipes
and cleaning tips.
Once you have the basic ingredients, it is time to find
containers to store your cleaning supplies. I used basic Spray Co bottles
found in the gardening section of Wal-Mart. I have also heard that stores such
as Fleet Farm or Home Depot have spray bottles as well.
I like the 16-ounce
bottles, as these are the most comfortable size for me to use and my kids can
use these as well. I mix my recipes right in the containers. No mess, no
fuss! For the first few years I just tried to get the ingredients into the bottle
from the measuring instruments, but I have found that using a funnel is easier.
Here are three of my favorite cleaner recipes, all are from the
book Clean House, Clean Planet.
Club Clean Glass Cleaner–This is one of the easiest recipes around! To make glass cleaner, simply pour club soda into a spray bottle and put the
lid back on. Yes, it is that easy! I use this cleaner on windows, TVs,
computers, the washer and dryer tops, etc. You can wipe it off with a paper
towel or a microfiber cloth.
Go Spot Go! Laundry Stain Remover–This cleaner smells so good! To
make it, simply put ¼ cup liquid dish detergent into a spray bottle. Add in ¼ cup vegetable glycerin and 1½ cups water and shake well before each
Diaper Pail Deodorizer–Just put some baking soda into a container, add about 3
drops of an essential oil, and stir with a fork or shake. Sprinkle this into
the diaper pail when you change the baby (especially after a really messy
diaper) to keep the smell from taking over.
Once you start making your own cleaners, you will realize
how useful the main ingredients to these cleaners really are and how much you
can use them to make a lot of household and personal hygiene solutions for
yourself. I hope that you will give making your own cleaners a try soon!
Michelle is a CPA turned stay-at-home mom to four. She challenges the excesses that society tells us
we need and experiments with living a simple, uncluttered life on her daily blog,