After taking steps to live a more conscious existence, I have found that the health benefits from making my own household products outweighs buying the “brand of the month.”
My reason to make my own products stem mainly from the the harmful chemicals present in store bought brands. After using store bought chemicals for years, I noticed my eyes would burn and lungs would hurt after cleaning with them. The FDA doesn’t mandate ingredient disclosure to household products. That means that what may be deemed “safe” for one person may be harmful to another. As well, terms like “bio-based” and “solvent-free” have very broad meanings and do not necessarily indicate that a product is safer. I knew the chemical cleaners were doing more harm than good, and would much rather preserve my health and not pollute our water supply any further.
I have found many of these homemade cleaners and products use similar ingredients, therefore, purchasing them would be a lucrative investment.
5-6 bars of soap (a homemade laundry bar, Dr. Bronner’s, Ivory, ZOTE, or Fels-Naptha)
Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
Distilled white vinegar
Unsweetened lemonade drink mix and/or citric acid
Using the mentioned shopping list, you can make these 10 household products and
1. Laundry Detergent
1 bar (or 4.5 ounces) of shaved bar soap (a homemade laundry bar, Dr. Bronner’s, Ivory, ZOTE, or Fels-Naptha)
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of washing soda
In a large container, thoroughly stir all ingredients together for 5 minutes and enjoy the results!
Use 1 Tbsp per load (or 2-3 Tbsp for large or heavily soiled loads).
2. Fabric Softener
1 gallon distilled white vinegar
30-40 drops of essential oil (popular scents include: lavender, a combination of lemon and citrus for an energizing pick me up or invigorating peppermint)
Combine all ingredients and shake well. When ready to use shake mixture and add to rinse cycle.
For small or average loads add 1/4 cup to the rinse cycle, or a little more for large loads.
3. Dishwashing Detergent Tablets
2 cup washing soda
2 cup baking soda
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup citric acid or 3 packets of lemon drink mix
1 cup vinegar
10-15 drops essential oils (lemon, lavender and peppermint will add antibacterial properties and aromas to tablets)
In a large bowl, add ingredients. When the vinegar is poured, it will create a slight fizzing and will die down within 1-2 minutes.
Add your mixture to ice cube trays, pressing with your fingers or back of a spoon.
Allow mixture to dry in a warm and sunny spot for 24 hours or until completely dry. Remove and add to an airtight container.
Add one tab to the dishwasher dispenser. Also use vinegar or jet-dry in your rinse dispenser too.
4. All-Purpose Cleaner
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup baking soda
Juice of lemon
1/2 gallon water
Shake well and apply for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc. Or use a citrus-based natural all-purpose cleaner.
5. Drain Cleaner
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup vinegar
4 liters hot water
Add ingredients and pour into drain. The resulting chemical reaction can break fatty acids down into soap and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. After 15 minutes, pour in hot water to clear residue.
Caution: do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener–the vinegar can react with the drain opener to create dangerous fumes.
6. Oven Cleaner
3/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup water
Use a moist sponge to wet oven surface.
Combine ingredients to make a thick paste, and spread throughout oven interior. (avoid bare metal and any openings)
Allow to sit overnight. Remove with spatula and wipe clean.
Rub gently with fine steel wool for tough spots.
7. Toilet Bowl Cleaner
1/4 cup baking soda
1 cup vinegar
Mix ingredients and pour into basin.
Allow to sit for a few minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse.
8. Window Cleaner
2 ounces water
10 drops lavender or lemongrass oil
Add ingredients to a spray bottle. Shake bottle to mix ingredients together and spray on surface to wipe grime off windows.
9. Floor Cleaner
¼ cup liquid Castile soap
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
10 drops peppermint essential oil
2 gallons warm water
Add ingredients to a bucket and mop floors.
10. Furniture Polish
1 c. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice
Shake well and apply a small amount to a cleaning rag or cloth.
Spread evenly over furniture surface. Turn cloth to a dry side and polish dry.