but wait, there’s more… nontoxic cleaning with pantry ingredients

What if I told you that I not only use the inhabitants of my pantry to create wholesome dinners for my family and friends, but to make my house sparkling clean as well?

Just like a box of factory-made food, store-bought cleaning products often come slapped with a list of ingredients that take a PhD in chemistry to understand. Who needs all that? Most people are trying to simplify their lives, not add homework! But when I did my homework and learned that most of the unintelligible chemical nonsense is actually quite poisonous to both humans and the environment, I knew that something had to be done.

If I’m going to put time, effort and love into making wholesome food, why would I stop there? If I care so much about what is going *into* my body, why wouldn’t I care about what I’m spreading *around* my body? If I work so hard to eat locally in order to benefit my community, why would I clean in such a way that is harmful to the people around me?

Hard questions to be sure, but thankfully there is a rather easy answer and it’s to be found in the kitchen cabinets!

Here are a couple of recipes that I use on a weekly, if not daily basis in my home. I have a strict set of criteria for my cleaning products: they must work well – I need something I can rely on to get the job done the first time. The product must be as ‘clean’ as possible, meaning that it can’t contain any ingredient I wouldn’t put directly on my skin. I have a little one now and the thought of scrubbing out the tub he is going to soak in with a toxic cocktail of chemicals sends a shudder down my spine. The last thing is that they have to be efficient. I’m not too interested in something that may work – but it takes an untoward amount of time or effort to do so. Again, I have a little one and not a lot of time to spend putzing around with elaborate cleaning schemes.

Alright then! Having said all that, let’s get to it… and just in time for cleaning house before the holidays!

Window Cleaner/ Daily Shower Cleaner/ All Purpose Cleaner

*I use this to clean just about everything, from windows to floors…

1 cup vinegar

2 cups  hot water

2 tsp dish soap or 1/2 tsp castile soap

10 drops essential oil such as lemon, lavender or tea tree (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and use as desired.

Scouring Powder Replacement

* I use this any time I need a scouring agent – on baking dishes, cutting boards, stubborn stains, in the toilet bowl…

1 cup baking soda

5-10 drops of essential oil

Mix well and fill a parmesan cheese shaker. Use as you would scouring powder. To boost the effectiveness, I add a few drops of vinegar to create a powerhouse of cleansing foam that breaks down just about every mess I’ve encountered.

Bleach Alternative Spray

*this is one of my favorite recipes!

1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide

1/4 cup lemon juice

water to fill a spray bottle

5-10 drops tea tree essential oil (adds a cleansing, disinfecting boost)

Use to remove stains, to disinfect and deodorize, pour 1/2 cup of the mix in your white load of laundry in lieu of chlorine bleach. I use this on my whites and baby clothes and they come out squeaky clean.

Gunk-be-Gone

* for all your sticky messes!

Mix together equal parts of baking soda and coconut oil. Rub onto your sticky residues and then wipe off.  This works wonders, I love it!

So what do you think? Are you ready to make your home a little merrier for the impending holidays? An hour or so in the kitchen with a few simple ingredients could set you up with an inexpensive, powerful, people and earth-friendly arsenal of cleaning products that will make your house shine! Enjoy…

Advertisements

This is the way we scrub the tub

Seems like my natural cleaning idea got some cogs turning, so I thought I would write a little and share my first homemade cleaning product adventure.

Aren’t you excited?

Better get some popcorn, I’ll wait.

So – I thought that we’d just slowly transition as we ran out of cleaning products, and then anything still left clinging to the side of the cupboard at the turn of the year will be ousted and replaced.

What was the first cleaning buddy to finish the race? Scouring Powder, because I love it so and use it on everything. Everything. AND – I am a die-hard brand nazi on this one, Comet is the *only* way to go. I’ve tried the all-natural stuff, Bar Keeper’s Friend, and several other brands and never found one I was as satisfied with as Comet. Unfortunately, it’s not that good for you. Not good at all. I can’t deny that it does a kick-butt job cleaning, though. The only problem I’ve ever had is that it seems to NEVER wash off. I don’t care how many times I rinse, there remains a light, bleachy, powdery film – yum – don’t you just want that left all over your baking pans and tub?

I didn’t think so. Well, neither do I. The Comet ran out this morning and I turned to the first homemade replacement in my recipe file (I’ve been collecting homemade cleaning product recipes – like a geek).

Baking Soda; it’s the other white scouring powder. You can buy it for a ridiculously little amount of money and it’s not going to kill you, always a bonus when considering something you clean with.

I filled a quart jar with baking soda that I bought at the co-op (for about a dollar) and then added a few drops of various essential oils; peppermint, basil and lavender. Then I shook the daylights out of it to mix the oils into the powder. Already the stuff smelled a whole lot better then Comet (although, who isn’t secretly attracted to the scent of bleach??)

Viola – we’re ready to scrub-a-dub-dub!

To be super cool, and nifty-like, I cut the top off of an empty salt container and used that for the lid of the jar, screwing the band around it so it stayed on. It now has a handy pouring spout. Thank you, Pinterest, for making me look so clever.

Time to clean the bathroom. I usually use Comet to scrub the sink, inside of the toilet bowl and shower stall/tub. Today I just shook my scenty baking powder all over and then doused it with some white vinegar (in a squirt bottle, the same vinegar I use for my hair). It makes a satisfying volcano of cleaning power and all I can think is that it’s like those cleaning bubble guys you see on T.V. – on steroids. I then proceeded to clean as I usually do, scrubbing and singing and rinsing and everything came out spotless – with no creepy, bleachy residue. The tub squeaked with cleanliness and the sink faucet shone. It didn’t take me any longer to clean this way, in fact I think I had to rinse everything a whole lot less which made it quicker.

Sorry, Comet – you done been shown up, big time.

…the dynamic cleaning duo…

My cleaning basket and its residents. Comet has given its spot to baking soda. The remaining items are; Windex, Murphy’s Floor cleaner, and Simple Green all purpose cleaner.