July 19, 2011

Natural Home Cleaning

One of the major things we have changed in our lives, that in fact my husband instigated, was to stop buying all the various bottles of petrochemicals that are marketed to us...each for its own specific cleaning use.

We use vinegar, borax, baking soda and washing soda for cleaning just about everything.  We spent a lot of time scouring the internet to figure out the best combinations and then experimented with a fair amount of trial and error.

All Purpose Cleaner:
Spray bottle
1/2 fill spray bottle with white vinegar
Add 1 Tbsp Borax
Fill remainder of spray bottle with warm water

Shake till Borax dissolves.  We use this to clean glass and laminate surfaces.

Window Cleaner:
Spray bottle
1/2 fill spray bottle with white vinegar
Fill remainder of spray bottle with water

This is a great glass cleaner and does not streak!

Dishwasher Detergent
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup citric acid
We use 1-2 tablespoons per load in the dishwasher.  Increase the proportion of soda if you have hard water.
Use white vinegar in the rinse cycle.  The citric acid and salt keep the white film from forming on your glassware...increase the proportion if your water requires it.

Note- if you keep this under your kitchen sink....keep it in a waterproof container.  My first batch turned into a brick from the moisture, now I keep it in a sealed ziplock bag.

Laundry Soap
1 cup natural liquid soap (we use Dr. Bronner's)
1 cup Borax
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup baking soda
12 cups water

Heat 6 cups of water on the stove. Add liquid soap, 
Borax, washing soda, and baking soda, stirring to dissolve.  Once everything is dissolved add 6 more cups of water.

This makes a concentrated detergent.  I just use an old laundry detergent bucket to hold it after it is cooled.
Use about 3 tablespoons (a little less than 1/4 cup) per load. 
We use white vinegar in the rinse cycle. This helps to remove smells, but also helps to limit static cling.  

We never use dryer sheets.
We just do not spend money on any of those kind of products anymore...and I feel pretty silly for the amount of products we used to buy because we thought we needed them to get anything clean!

I used to have one cleaning product that I loved and did not know if I could find a more sustainable alternative -- powder cleanser.  I really love to have a sparkly clean sink and bathtub!  The other day I came across this cleanser Bon Ami Powder Cleanser.  I found it at a local natural food store...it is pretty inexpensive (about $1.50 for 14 oz.).  We have used it and it works beautifully.  The only ingredients I am unsure about are how the feldspar and limestone are obtained....the company website says the feldspar is a bi-product of quartz mining, so maybe it is somewhat sustainable.  I will have to investigate this more in depth, and will post again with the results.

Do you have a favorite natural cleaning recipe or product?

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