Homemade Cleaners

homemade cleanersAs part of my aggressive campaign to cut all chemicals out of my life, when we moved to Oklahoma, I threw out my embarassingly excessive collection of cleaners and narrowed it down to just these four (plus my homemade laundry detergent!).  This has had several huge benefits for me:

      • A large amount of space under my sink and in my laundry room became available.  Since I can use these to clean just about anything I need to, I don’t need a whole bunch of other chemicals!  I just kept these and tossed the rest.
    • I’m not worried about what will happen if one of these accidentally gets ingested.  Sure, dish soap and rubbing alcohol weren’t meant to be ingested but they are better than all those chemicals I can even name on the products I used to use!
        • I’m saving money!  These are very cost-effective to make, since the main ingredient in most of them is vinegar.  The most expensive thing I have been adding is essential oils but since it only takes a few drops, a bottle will last me a really long time.
      • And perhaps the biggest benefit for me – I’m not unnecessarily exposing myself to a bunch of chemicals, which is important to me in my life post cancer.  I’m doing everything in my power to keep my body healthy and one of those things is limiting my exposure to chemicals.

So here are the four cleaners I use on a daily basis to keep my house spic and span!  The bottles I use (which I bought from Wal-Mart for just a few dollars) hold more than 32 ounces, so I normally make up that much at a time but you could cut the recipe in half depending on the size of your bottle.

Granite Cleaner

  • 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol
  • 6 drops of dish soap
  • 5-10 drops of an essential oil
  • About 3 1/2 cups of water

Granite is a tricky surface to clean, and it doesn’t like the acid in a more traditional vinegar based cleaner.  This is a good alternative and it really makes the counters shine without destroying them.

Glass Cleaner

  • 2 c. rubbing alcohol
  • 2 c. water
  • 4 Tbsp vinegar
  • 5-10 drops of an essential oil

There are a lot of glass cleaner recipes out there, but this one was fairly simple and it works great.  I saw a few that used cornstarch and apparently that works very well but it concerns me that would gunk up your spray bottle, so I went with this and am very happy with it.  I use it to clean my windows and mirrors as well as the glass top on my stove.

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • 2 c. water
  • 2 c. vinegar
  • 5-10 drops of an essential oil

If you only make one of the cleaners I am recommending, it should be this one.  I use it for, well, everything that isn’t granite or glass, so most of my house.  I use white vinegar (I’ve seen some recipes that call for apple cider vinegar, but I like it better with the white).  The essential oils help mask the vinegar smell but it goes away pretty quickly without any help.

My “Secret Sauce”

  • 2 c. dish soap
  • 2 c. hot vinegar – it has to be warm!

This is my secret weapon.  It is perfect for hard to clean things – I use it for my sink (I have a copper sink so it’s tricky to keep clean!) and for the tub and my glass shower door.  It can clean ANYTHING.  No really.  I don’t know what to call it, since it’s not really designed to clean something specific… but it’s great to have in your arsenal.

If you want a recommendation for an organic dish soap to use in making your cleaners, I would recommend this one – Earth Friendly Products Dishmate.  I like the almond scent but there are several choices.

As far as essential oils go, I don’t use the same oil in each bottle.  You could – I just like the variety.  You can use whatever you have on hand, but for me, I use Young Living Oils.  They are one of the highest quality oils available on the market – many of them are ingestible.  I add Thieves to my all-purpose cleaner, Purification to my granite cleaner, and Lemon to my glass cleaner.  I don’t add any to the secret sauce, since the dish soap I use already has a scent.

As far as my floors go (I’m sure someone will have this question!), I use a steam mop with just really hot water.  If I find a stubborn spot, I will clean it by hand with my all-purpose cleaner (we have tile floors).

So there you have it – my homemade cleaner line up, along with my Homemade Laundry Detergent – it’s all I need to keep my house healthy and clean!

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 12.45.33 AM

Homemade Laundry Detergent


Post-chemo, one of the things I became a fanatic about was cutting out chemicals from my life.  No, no one knows what causes the type of cancer I had, but since my treatments, I have done everything in my power to ensure that if it does come back, I won’t be able to blame myself.  So for me, that includes soaps, bug spray, medicines, cleaners, fertilizers, etc.  If there is a natural way to do it instead of automatically going to chemicals, I have sought it out.

Now I make all of my cleaners, including all purpose cleaner, window spray, granite cleaner, laundry soap, etc.  The only one I haven’t been able to find a good substitute for is dishwashing detergent but trust me I am looking.  This post will be part one in a series of the cleaning products I am currently using and I am very happy with the results of.

The recipe I use for laundry soap is dry – I don’t know about you, but trying to find space to store mass quantities of liquid in my house with three kids is precarious at best and a disaster at its worst.  The recipe is pretty simple – just 3 ingredients. It is low sud so it does work in HE washers.

  • One bar Fels Naptha soap, grated
  • One cup Borax
  • One cup Washing Soda

I’m a little extreme, so I made an extreme batch – I used 10 bars of soap, 10 cups of borax, and 10 cups of washing soda, mixed it all up and then put it in a pretty glass jar with a pretty label in the laundry room.  I have no idea how long it will last.  For my family of 5, I’ve been using this batch since July (so over 6 months now) and I’m still not halfway through it… so I’m hoping if I make up this much at a time, making laundry soap will be a annual event.  I use one tablespoon per load and I am very happy with the results.

The only issue I would mention is there is no smell.  This doesn’t bother me – if my clothes are clean, they don’t need to smell good – but I know some people prefer that their clothes have a scent.  I don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets (again, the crazy fanatic no chemicals thing) but I’m working on a way to use essential oils to scent my clothes in the dryer (so far, I haven’t had any luck but I’m not giving up yet).