Sunday, February 1, 2009

What IS Clean??

Keeping my house clean for my family's health is very important to me. Picking up cleaning products with labels of danger and ingredients that I am unfamiliar with can be quite unnerving. Over a year ago I decided to throw out all of my commercial "brand" cleaning products and to buy empty spray bottles and make my own cleaners. It was super easy, and anyone can do it. A few of the items may be something you haven't purchased before, but they are not hard to find or expensive. This method of cleaning is neither toxic or expensive, it's actually cost EFFECTIVE, and better for the environment because it limits the packaging that you buy since you are reusing the bottles each time you make another batch. Of the items I do not make on my own, I have replaced them with products that are safe and Eco-friendly.

For my friends at work, who are interested to know these recipes, this blog's for you!

What you need:
Spray Bottles
Baking Soda
Washing Soda
Distilled White Vinegar
Tea Tree Oil
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap (I personally like the lavender for a nice scent)- or an eco-friendly liquid dish soap
Olive Oil

(I have copy/pasted these recipes directly from: HERE)

Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave grit.

Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.

1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water
Spray bottle

Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.

1 cup or more baking soda
A squirt or two of liquid detergent

Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface is totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top. Let the mixture set overnight. You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven. If this recipe doesn’t work for you it is probably because you didn’t use enough baking soda and/or water.

1/2 teaspoon washing soda
A dab of liquid soap
2 cups hot tap water

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

1/2 teaspoon oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax)
1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.

Keep a clean spray bottle filled with straight 5 percent vinegar in your kitchen near your cutting board and in your bathroom and use them for cleaning. I often spray the vinegar on our cutting board before going to bed at night, and don’t even rinse but let it set overnight. The smell of vinegar dissipates within a few hours. Straight vinegar is also great for cleaning the toilet rim. Just spray it on and wipe off.

Nothing natural works for mold and mildew as well as this spray. I’ve used it successfully on a moldy ceiling from a leaking roof, on a musty bureau, a musty rug, and a moldy shower curtain. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note that the smell of tea tree oil is very strong, but it will dissipate in a few days.

2 teaspoons tea tree oil
2 cups water

Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse. Makes two cups.

Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82 percent of mold. Pour some white distilled vinegar straight into a spray bottle, spray on the moldy area, and let set without rinsing if you can put up with the smell. It will dissipate in a few hours.

Additionally, from my house to yours:

Instead of dryer sheets (very toxic - google it!) or liquid fabric softener, use 1 cup of white vinegar in your last rinse cycle of your washer. Your clothes will be soft and fresh, and no, they won't smell like vinegar!

We use straight washing soda in our dishwasher, and vinegar is the rinse aid.

I make my own baby wipe solution for my cloth baby wipes! Check my blog archive for that recipe!

I also recommend Charlie's Soap for your laundry detergent. It's fabulous, you only need 1/8 cup for each load, and it can get anything out!

What are / or where can I find these products??

You can get Charlies Soap, Dr. Bronners, and Tea Tree Oil all at Earth Fare.
Additionally, I have also found Dr. Bronner's at BILO and Target in the Organic Healthy & Beauty isles. Tea Tree Oil is also readily available at GNC. So far I have only found the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda at the Harris Teeter at Steelecroft (Hwy 160/49)- but haven't checked other H.T.'s. Here are some links for a few of the products as well.

Arm & Hammers's Washing Soda
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap
Charlie's Soap