Collected here for your convenience are my favorite cleaning recipes that I have tested and regularly use. They are composed of natural ingredients that you can generally find in your grocery (otherwise I will link to Amazon or elsewhere for ease), and they are easier on your wallet to buy and the environment to absorb than the cleaners you buy in the store.
Copper Cleaner Paste
Copper is one of the best materials to cook in
- it heats fast, and it cooks evenly. It is,
however, a little high maintenance in
appearance. If you do not like the patina that
forms on copper (or brass) after use, you will
want to use this recipe,which costs next
to nothing to make and is bio-friendly.
1 tsp salt
1 cup white distilled vinegar
Flour, enough to make solution into paste
Mix the three ingredients, adding flour until your solution thickens to a paste. Smooth the paste all over your copper or brass surface evenly so that it will not leave streaks. Let sit for 10 minutes, and rinse thoroughly in warm water. Dry your copper immediately to avoid water spots.
This is a nifty little trick to sharpen up your
kitchen sink disposal blades, freshen the smell
emenating from your sink, and generally clean
out your in-sink disposal.
Left over lemon peels
Ice cube trays
Container for frozen cubes
Save the peels from a lemon that you've squeezed all the useful juice out of. Snip the peel up into little pieces, and put the pieces into an ice cube tray. Fill the ice cube tray as you would normally for ice cubes, and pop it in the freezer.
Once the disposal cubes are frozen, pop them out of the trays and into a container to keep them corralled in the freezer.
At least once a week, turn on the sink tap to full cold, turn on your disposal, and pop two of these cubes down the drain for their cleaning benefits.
This shower spray makes your whole bath
smell delightfully pepperminty and helps keep
mold and mildew at bay in between deep
cleanings. I did feel a little sketchy going into
the liquor store and asking them for the
cheapest vodka they had, so I may have
assuaged my awkwardness by delicately
letting the cashier know it was for cleaning.
20-30 drops peppermint extract
water (you can use distilled here, I prefer not to)
Add the peppermint extract to 1 part vodka and 5 parts water, and mix. Spray showers daily (after showering, and particuarly focusing on the corners of shower curtains), and spray other bathroom surfaces before wiping clean.
After letting many others experiment with
recipesfor me, I settled on this recipe that I
tweaked a little. The cleaning results are
excellent, though I confess I am a
pre-scrubbed dish kind of person. I eliminated
Borax from the recipe, after giving more thought to
eventually converting to a grey-water system. We're not there yet, but when we do convert, all of my cleaning recipes will be non-toxic for the environment.
1 1/4 cup washing soda
3/4 cup baking soda
1 1/2 cup anhydrous citric acid
1/2 cup sea salt
1/4 up to 1/3 cup vinegar (add as needed)
15 drops lemon eucalyptus oil
ice cube trays
rubber gloves or latex-free gloves for protecting your hands
*Turn on a fan in your work area, or set up a cross-ventilation, as the baking soda and vinegar will react and produce a fair amount of carbon dioxide.
Whisk all of the dry ingredients together so that they are thoroughly mixed, add the essential oil, and then the vinegar (which will fizz; it mushrooms up, but you can stop it's ballooning progress by popping it with your finger).
Stir further until the mixture is clumping fairly evenly, and then pack it into ice cube trays, taking care to keep the tabs small enough to fit in your dishwasher's tab slot. (Under-fill the trays, as the mixture will continue to mushroom up.)
Let the tabs dry fully in the ice cube trays, 24-48 hours, before popping them out and storing in a jar.
The uses are many:
-Produce wash (rinse produce in a bowl of 1 part vinegar : 4 parts water to rid it of bacteria and fungus - produce keeps much longer in the fridge)
-Fabric softener ----------->
-Lime deposit cleaner (fill a plastic bag with 1 part vinegar : 3 parts water and submerge showerhead for 30 minutes, fastening with a rubberband; rinse clean with cold water)
-Wooden cutting board cleaner (spray on, scrub with brush, rinse thoroughly, and let dry thoroughly)
-Flea & Insect Repellent (APPLE CIDER vinegar - add a tablespoon to your pet's water bowl each time you fill it up)
All you need is
Dab some essential oil (like lavender) on wool dryer balls and toss them in to dry with your laundry instead of disposable dryer sheets.
This solution works well on wood floors.
The Castile soap and the vinegar pack a
cleaning punch, and the tannic acid in the
black tea leaves the hardwood nice and
shiny. Lastly, the lemon ecualyptus oil adds
a fresh, clean scent.
NOTE: You'll want to cycle through this cleaner fluid on a regular basis to keep things fresh, so don't make too big a batch each time you need to refill.
*Fill a recycled pump dispenser or spray bottle with a watered down version of the solution to spray as you mop, as the swiffer mop does not hold enough fluid to clean a large surface area.
1/4 cup strong black tea
1/8 cup vinegar
1 TBS Castile soap
10 drops lemon eucalyptus oil
Brew strong black tea (2 teabags for a normal cup).
Let tea cool, add all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
You may get some clumping when you add the Castile soap, this is fine, just break it up and stir thoroughly.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Toilet bowls are one of the few areas where I
feel that strong cleaning chemicals may have
a place. Therefore, I was dubious that any of
my natural cleaners would kill enough bad stuff
and leave the toilet bowl nice and clean, so I didn't
try out this cleaner until I ran out of commercial
cleaner and hadn't cleaned the toilets in more than a week... I have now been using this recipe for months with complete satisfaction.
Liberal sprinkling of baking soda
20 drops of Tea Tree oil (also found at Trader Joe's)*
1.5-2 cups distilled vinegar
Lift your toilet seat and lid, and liberally sprinkle baking soda around the inside of the toilet bowl. Using a pipette*, dropper 20 drops of Tea Tree oil all along the baking soda. Splash the vinegar as evenly over the baking soda and enjoy the resulting fizz for a second. Then scrub the heck out of the bowl with a brush.
Shake out your toilet brush and lower the toilet seat (not the lid) over the brush, holding the wet brush end over the bowl to drip until you've finished cleaning the rest of the bathroom.
*Find a pipette here.
I've been using this on everything from
laundry to our shaggy Moroccan wool rug
with great success.
1 dark spray bottle (H2O2 is light sensitive; I like to use old glass vinegar bottles spray-painted black)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup Castile soap
1/3 cup vegetable glycerin
1 Tbsp hydrogen peroxide
40 drops lemon essential oil
Pour all ingredients into your dark spray bottle and gently swirl to mix each time you use. Spray your stain as soon as possible to treat, checking a small, inconspicuous spot first for color fastness.
If you treat whites, leave the treated article in direct light (sunlight is best) for an extra brightening boost. If the article treated is colored, do not leave in light, as the color can be bleached.
When we first moved into our home, it was
the first place I had lived with stone surfaces
(we had formica and corian counters growing
up). Our friends and previous homeowners had
graciously left a stone cleaner behind to get me
started, and I have since used it up and replaed it with this
homemade version, which leaves the counters and table
smooth and clean.
70% isopropyl alchohol or stronger*
lemon essential oil
cap full of Thieves Household (optional)
*if you use 70% isopropyl, use a lower ratio of water, if you use stronger, like 90%, use a larger ratio of water
Add several drops of dishsoap (about 8-10) to a clear glass spray bottle (I like using old apple cider bottles from Trader Joe's with salvaged spray bottle tops), along with about 15 drops of lemon essential oil.
Then add about a 1:3 ratio of 70% isopropyl alcohol to water, add in the Thieves if you like, screw on your sprayer, and gently swirl the bottle to mix the ingredients.
Spray either directly on the stone surface to clean (if there's food gunked on), or onto your rag first for a gentler clean, before wiping down the granite/marble/quartz/composite surface.
Cleaning Arsenal Checklist:
Hard Supplies (things you keep for storing and tools for cleaning)
Empty glass vinegar bottles (for cleaning solutions)
Salvaged sprayers from old spray bottles (tip: collect these from friends and family)
Glass jars with lids (for scrubbing powders)
Sturdy scrub brushes
Old rags (keep a variety of terry cloth and old t-shirts)
Ice cube trays
Wool dryer balls
Soft Supplies (things you rotate through, ie: cleaning agents)
Castile soap, both liquid and solid bars
Anhydrous citric acid
Biggest bottle of distilled vinegar
Soap Nuts for laundry
This is a great all-around cleaner for wiping
up spills to soaking stains to cleaning up
cat vomit (sorry... it's a fact of life for cat-
owners). If you can't wait for the finished
product, you can use a little vinegar on a rag
to clean up messes in the mean time.
*As a fall/winter seasonal change, I like to add a cinnamon stick to the steeping orange peels. The spice of life.
Distilled white vinegar
Large jar for steeping
1 cap full of Thieves Household
Empty spray bottle (for finished product)
Save the peels from an orange or two. Fill an old, large jar with vinegar, leaving room for the orange peels. Add the orange peels and let steep in a cool, dark cupboard for about two weeks (it's ok if you need it before, or if you forget about it for a while, just not too much in either direction). During those two weeks, periodically turn the jar upside down (you don't have to shake), and replace it upright in the cupboard. At the end of two weeks, strain some into a spray bottle in a 1:4 ratio of orange-vinegar:water. Add a capful of Thieves Household cleaner to your bottle. Add water to fill.