Did you know that you could actually clean most anything using insanely common items such as baking soda, soap and vinegar? Way back in the day, yes, all the way back in 2005, I went to a “make your own cleaning products” workshop at La Co-op La Maison Verte .  At this very workshop my hunch was confirmed; it is possible to make cleaning products with simple and cheap ingredients.  For many of my clients, it is important to avoid using harsh chemical cleaners in their homes.  You too might enjoy seeing how easy it is to make your own green products.

Bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

Image via Wikipedia

Scrub Paste.  (It’s excellent!) In a tight fitting jar, mix together in the following order:

1 2/3 cups baking soda, 1/2 cup liquid soap (dish-soap, Dr. Bronner’s, etc.), 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of tea tree essential oil.

(If there is a little residue from the baking soda, just spray with a wee bit of vinegar and wipe)

Uses: any greasy, grimy job, like tubs, sinks, garbage cans, counter tops, super dirty floors, toilet bowls, it works!

All-Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner

In a 16 oz. spray bottle:

Put 3 tablespoons liquid soap or 1 tablespoon of liquid hand-dishwashing detergent and 30 drops tea tree essential oil in bottle and fill with purified water.

Uses:  Kitchen and bathroom floors, toys, doorknobs, phones, toilet seat and rim, garbage cans, dirty windows, baseboards, floors, walls

Chrome/Glass Cleaner

Fill any spray bottle with club soda.

Other uses for club soda: clean plants, stains like wine, juice, tomato sauce.

Scented Baking Soda

In a glass sugar container with a perforated top, fill with:

Baking Soda and your favorite essential oil

Uses: any stainless steel surface, like the kitchen sink, removes odours (carpet, cat box, garbage can), scuff marks and smudges

Scented Vinegar

In any size spray bottle, fill with:

Cats help with so many things in this life, just not the cleaning!

White distilled vinegar and your favorite essential oil.

Uses: to prevent soap build-up in the bathroom spray shower a couple times a week, removes baking soda residue, removes odours, any stainless steel surface, also can be used as a fabric softener.

Oven Cleaner

Spray water on bottom of the oven, sprinkle 1/4 cup salt mixed with 3/4 cup baking soda, spray again with water and let sit overnight.  Next day scrape with a putty knife/steel wool/ pumice stone.  Rinse with scented vinegar.  Prevention: Use oven liners which are pure aluminum, so you can recycle them when you are done.

Cutting Board Cleaner

Spray cutting board with water, then work salt or the cut side of half a lemon into the surface.  Let sit, then rinse with water and dry.

Lemon

Image via Wikipedia

Furniture Polish – love it! In a 16 oz. spray bottle:

2 teaspoons olive oil, 20 drops pure lemon essential oil, 1/4 cup white vinegar and fill with purified water. Shake well before using.

The vinegar and lemon oil dissolves dirt and smudges, while the olive oil shines and protects the wood.

Uses: wooden surfaces such as cabinets, picture frames, wood paneling, varnished wood floors, dusting furniture and dust mopping floors.

A few additional tips:

1) Replenish these products on a regular basis.  If the oil goes off in the bottle, throw the old stuff out and make new stuff.

2) If you are concerned about using petroleum based products, remember, if the soap is made from synthetic ingredients it is likely a petroleum based soap.  There are many good brands out there that use vegetable oils so be sure to read labels!  Castille soap is an amazing option.

3) Also, most distilled vinegars are made from petroleum.  Heinz is a grain-based vinegar, so look for that.  Do not use any vinegar on any stone or marble.

4) If you do not like the scent of tee tree essential oil, try pure lavender essential oil or pure lemon essential oil.  These oils are also disinfecting oils.

Happy Cleaning!

Many of these recipes are found in “Clean House, Clean Planet” by Karen Logan

This info was compiled by Tammy Schmidt, Montreal.

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