“Dirt is only matter in the wrong place.” ~ Henry John Temple
In love with cleaning and household tasks? Umm, no! Who loves surrendering hours of time inhaling strong, unhealthful chemicals and wearing hot, rubber gloves? In listening to the same commercials for years, it’s easy to believe one product will handle just the sink, while another will effectively sanitize countertops! As a result, numerous bottles and cans occupy kitchen cabinets and bathroom closets. What if the location held only four containers?
A lifestyle change requires a belief that toxic chemicals and store-bought products no longer serve your needs. Start by tossing out or giving away one or two of your cleaning products. In learning about green ingredients, it’s important to be realistic and choose recipes that work for you and your home! First, it’s vital to understand the value of each natural ingredient. Did you know lemon juice has antibacterial and antiseptic properties and acts as a natural bleach? While the citrus smell is refreshing, the oils in the rinds aid in promoting a shine!
- Baking Soda: A mild alkali, which means it is a basic ionic salt that dissolves and removes dirt and grease in water.
- Castile Soap: A versatile vegetable-based soap made from coconut, castor, and hemp oils. It is non-toxic and biodegradable.
- White Vinegar: Another natural, nontoxic cleaning product able to kill bacteria, cut through grime, and dissolve hard-water deposits.
Solutions Take Seconds to Make
A container can make the difference for both application and ease of use! Consider using canisters to hold powders, with tablespoons to measure quantities. You’ll also need a few small spray bottles! The effort is worth the seconds it takes to make! And, don’t forget to label it!
- Kitchen Spray: Fill a small spray bottle with water two inches from the top. Add three tablespoons of liquid Castile soap, and three drops of lemon or lavender (optional). Diluting the soap with water alters the shelf life, normally, two weeks. Make as much as you need!
- Dishwashing Liquid: Bring one cup of water to a boil; then pour into a bowl with 1/3 cup of washing soda. Stir until dissolved. Stir in 1 cup of liquid Castile soap and ½ tablespoon of vegetable glycerin. Store in a glass container! (Do not use essential oils. Do not use this recipe to clean aluminum pans.)
- Disinfecting Wipes: Combine two cups of warm filtered or distilled water with one tablespoon of liquid Castile soap and one cup of 70 proof Isopropyl alcohol. Tea tree and lavender essential oil drops are optional. You can use washable cotton washcloths or paper towels. Cut the towels in half, place in a glass jar, saturate with the solution, and pull out the tube! That’s it!
- Scouring Powder: In a quart jar with a screw-tight lid, poke holes into the top; then, add one cup of baking soda, ½ cup salt (not iodized), ½ cup washing soda, and five drops lemon essential oil. Mix or stir well.
How to Use: Spray the surface of the tub with water or undiluted white vinegar first, and then sprinkle powder. Allow to sit for five minutes before scrubbing! Rinse with water!
- Floor Cleaner: Add one quart of warm water to a bucket. Pour in ¼ cup of liquid Castile soap. Add five drops of lemon juice.
- Laundry Soap: In a sealable container, add one cup of each ingredient—washing soda, baking soda, and soap flakes. Mix thoroughly!
How to Use: Add one tablespoon of powdered detergent per load of laundry and fill the bleach compartment with white vinegar to brighten, soften, clothes and kill odors!
- Stain Removers on Fabrics: Add four tablespoons of baking soda to a small bowl and sprinkle water until it achieves a paste-like consistency.
How to Use: Spoon the paste onto the carpet or fabrics that contain grease, oil, or other stains. Blot but do not scrub. With severe stains, wait a few hours! Use a damp cloth to dab once again. Repeat if necessary! Once dried, vacuum!
- Window Cleaner: Add one cup distilled white vinegar to a spray bottle; then, add two cups of water and shake well. Use a squeegee or cotton cloth to dry clean.
Using natural ingredients to clean and sanitize your home has tremendous rewards. While eliminating toxic fumes, the cost to clean the kitchen, bathrooms, floors, windows, and laundry requires pennies. In time, you’ll want to expand the opportunity to switch to greener alternatives, perhaps by including a lemon, wood polish and air freshener.