Thrifty Oreganic Thursday: Homemade cleaning part I

Everywhere we turn, it seems like we hear about going "green" or being sustainable. I very much agree with these notions, however I roll my eyes a little bit when businesses boast all of their "greenness" just to make a few extra dollars. And extra dollars you will pay, because if it's "all natural" and free of all the "bad stuff", it's sure to cost you more!

Recently I had the epiphany that "less" shouldn't always cost more; especially where cleaning products are concerned. Even though I love products such as 7th Generation and the like, I'm learning that it's not too difficult to make one's own cleaning products.

I will save all the details for a future post (as I'm learning more, I'll share!) but I will offer a few useful ways to use items you probably have around the house in ways that you may not have thought of:


As the box says, there are lots of ways to use baking soda to clean. I like to mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a cup or two of baking soda to scauer the sink or bathtub.

Hydrogen Peroxide is an excellent disinfectant for countertops, shower curtains, cutting boards and toilet seats. Hydrogen Peroxide does not contain harmful toxins that other disinfectants have, which makes it safer to have around kids (although don't drink it!) Do a 50/50 mix in a spray bottle and have it handy under your bathroom and kitchen sinks.

Corn Starch, according the the _Encyclopedia of Country Living_ can be used as an "extra-fine polish that imparts a sheen to glass and other surfaces".

Vinegar (white) can be mixed with warm water to remove mildew in the shower or tub (2T vinegar to 1 quart of warm water).

Old Tee-Shirts and/or flannel receiving blankets ( www.freecycle.org) can be cut into cloths perfect for cleaning. (This one's rather obvious)

Lemons smell wonderful and contain citric acid, which is known to oxidize. It can be rubbed on a wood cutting board to clean and disinfect.

To clean a toilet, lower the water level in the bowl. Sprinkle baking soda around the inside of the bowl. Pour in enough vinegar to dampen the baking soda and scrub with your toilet brush to remove stains. If you wish, you can always add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

For more ideas, visit Metro's sustainability webpage!

What are your thrifty household cleaning tips?


Alana said...

I find that I save lots of money on cleaning products if I just don't clean my house! (Just kidding). Thanks for the tips. They are useful.

Christina said...

I use vinegar, a lot.

And I use my cloth diapers that are no longer fit to be diapers as cleaning rags. They are the best (this is maybe the 3rd or 4th child using these diapers so they are definitely well used). They are the chinese pre-folds.

funny thing... i told myself that i was going to switch to home made all natural cleaners (from the metro website... ooh, we bought our paint from there, too) as soon as i ran out of the chemical stuff that i bought from costco. anyway, so i bought vinegar, spray bottles, and baking soda (big bag) and printed off my directions and found, when i was cleaning out our back porch closet a costco sized thing of 409 and windex! so i'm working on using that stuff up:)

Erica said...

I use mainly vinegar, baking soda, and just plain old water with a little elbow grease to clean my home.

I infuse vinegar with cut lemons and it smells SO good! Very cheap and safe to use.

I like to make my own cleaners, as I really don't trust that even the *green* ones are even that safe. I feel safe that if I'm moping my floor and it still isn't dry, that my 10 month old can crawl on it and be just fine.

Helenrr said...

Hey there Carrie, good to talk with you yesterday! :) I use basic cleaners and I have made window cleaner with a teaspoon of dish soap (I like TJ with tea tree oil and lavender), 1/4 c. vinegar and a gallon of water (+/-). just put it in a spray bottle and go forth! Also, sprinkle baking soda on a wooden cutting board after wetting it down, let sit 5 minutes and rinse. Tah Dah, no more smells. (I really like that one, since we use tons of onions and garlic). Borax is also a great cleaner, hard water booster and diaper pail additive. I have also found it to be the only thing to stop black mildew growing in shower areas (bleach just bleaches it out). Take care and happy cleaning! Aunt Helen

Iconography Girl said...

Thanks for these tips!

I keep a spray bottle of 1/2 water, 1/2 distilled vinegar for general cleaning. I was told hospitals used vinegar once upon a time because of its disinfectant properties. It has been an invaluable tool during our never-ending potty-training. I love the idea of infusing it with fresh lemon!

(The spray bottle is also fun to give the kids: no damage done, everything just gets clean!)

And I'm like Christina: I'm still using up my Costco sized containers of Clorox Cleanup and Simple Green (which is decent, anyway).