Part of my new venture into homemaking (and loving it!) has been making all my own cleansers. You only need a couple of ingredients (basically vinegar, baking soda and castile soap), an empty spray bottle and the right kind of cloth for the job and you're done. It's so easy and cheap. And NON-TOXIC. You won't cough or choke using these products, I promise. And if you don't like the vinegar smell (it's grown on me), then just wait a few seconds - it dissipates really quickly. Or you can use essential oils to make it suit you. Vinegar is a natural and safe disinfectant, so I pretty much use it on everything. I really have no idea why so many cleaning products are on the market. They are mostly all toxic, pollute the planet (with the toxins and the crazy amounts of packaging) and don't work any better than the homemade stuff. So basically, store-bought cleaning products are just a way for big, non-conscientious companies to make you consume more than you need and get you to open your wallet.
Try these instead:
All-purpose Cleaner (counters, tables, tubs, toilets, walls, etc): 3 parts water 1 part vinegar 5ish drops of favorite essential oil (optional) Combine in a spray bottle and shake before using.
Windows/Mirrors: 3 C vinegar 1 C water 5ish drops of favorite essential oil (optional) Combine in a spray bottle and shake before using. Wipe with microfiber.
Scrub (toilets, showers, stovetops, pots and pans): Sprinkle baking soda in toilet/shower. Scrub with brush. Follow with a splash of vinegar. Flush/Rinse.
Liquid Dish Soap: Pure Castile Soap (like Dr. Bronner's). I like the Baby Mild so I can add essential oils if I want. Buy the big one and refill a pretty bottle. (For those of you who have Kroger nearby, I found it there in the organic section for 11.99 instead of 16.99. Score!) Water (I find watered down dish soap works just as well and makes it last a loooong time.)
Laundry Soap: 1 C baking soda 1 C washing soda (in laundry aisle at grocery) 1 C borax (in laundry aisle at grocery) 1 bar Dr. Bronners soap (I like Peppermint. It smells good, and it's a dollar cheaper than the rest. I get it at Kroger or Whole Foods for 3.49.) Directions: Cut up bar of soap into small chunks on a cutting board and pop it into a food processor until fine. Or you can grate the bar with a hand-grater, but this takes a while. Mix all ingredients together in wide mouth container. Use 2 TB per load.
Laundry Fabric Softener: 1/2 C vinegar Just add it as you would fabric softener.
Static in the Laundry: Throw a few tennis balls into the dryer while the clothes dry instead of using those smelly sheets.
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Best cloths (to eliminate paper towels): For basic cleaning, wiping up counters, etc: Cut up t-shirts (I cut them into large 10" squares) For dusting, windows, mirrors: Microfiber For scrubbing: A nubby washcloth, a natural sponge or a bristled brush
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Basic notes: It's easier to clean the shower when you're in it, so I sprinkle baking soda around before I get in and keep a bristled brush in the stall to do a quick scrub before I wash. It only takes a couple of seconds.
If you clean often instead of waiting until things look dirty, it's faster and easier.
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I hope this helps you in case you're on the fence about trying some safer homemade products. It really is ridiculously easy and will save you loads of money. And more recipes like this are all over the internet. Start with Pinterest if you want pretty pictures to go with it. :) Or you can just douse your house in vinegar and call it a day. It'll work.