December 28, 2011

DIY Cleaning Solutions

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Christmas is over.  But this will not be a glum post about missing the holidays. Instead I'm excited for the new year.  Packing away the decor leaves fresh, open spaces and loads of possibilities. My guests have gone home and I'm imaging ways to hostess next year so that opening up our home will be more fun, seamless, and welcoming.  I do love Christmas, but it is time to move on and embrace what's ahead.

So this brings me to the Organizational Bliss project.  As I took down that decor, I got an eyeful of some spaces that need a good cleaning. I could blow the equivalent of dinner and a movie on cleaning products, but there are simple homemade alternatives.  I recently checked out Tsh Oxenreider's book, Organized Simplicity, The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living from my local library.  The most valuable part of it for me was the bevy of cheap, natural cleaning solution recipes for just about every stain or mess in the house.  And I'm going to share them with you.

In a few places I've noted that washing soda is not the same thing as baking soda.  Washing soda, sometimes called soda ash or soda crystals, is a cleaning agent that works well on oil and alcohol based stains. It is not interchangeable with baking soda.  Substituting baking soda will reduce the effectiveness of the solution. Washing soda can be purchased at your local market and at  If you buy on Soap, remember to shop through BigCrumbs to get cash back. Read here for more details about how BigCrumbs works.

And now the recipes.

Carpet Cleaner, Heavy Duty
1 part salt
1 part white vinegar
1 part borax

Mix the ingredients into a paste and rub on the affected area.  Let it sit for a few hours.  Then scrub away with a brush or damp cloth.  Make only as much as you need because it doesn't store well.

Dishwasher Soap
1 part borax
1 part washing soda (*not baking soda)

Mix the ingredients and substitute in equal measures as you would for your regular dishwasher soap.  If your water is particularly hard, increase the amount of washing soda.

Furniture Polish (for unvarnished furniture only)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 Tbsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well before each use.  Store any extra in the fridge because lemon juice can spoil. 

Glass Cleaner
 2 tsp white vinegar
1/4 gallon water

Combine in a spray bottle.  Works best when used with crumpled newspaper to wipe down the surface.

Laundry Soap
1 cup unscented, dye-free soap (such as Ivory), grated or ground with a food processor
1/2 cup washing soda (*not baking soda)
1/2 cup borax
A few drops of essential oil for scent, optional

Combine and store in a  labeled container.  Use 1 tablespoon for lighter loads; 2 tablespoons for heavy loads.

Mold Remover
1 part hydrogen peroxide (found at drugstore)
1 part water
A few drops of essential oil, optional

Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle.  Let the cleaner sit on the stain for about an hour before scrubbing off.

Oven Cleaner 
3/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup water
    Mix the ingredients into a paste and apply over a dampened area.  Let sit overnight.  Then scrape off and rinse clean.

    Toilet Bowl Cleaner
    1/4 cup baking soda
    1 cup white vinegar
      Combine all ingredients and pour into the toilet.  Let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrub with a toilet brush and rinse.

      Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover
      1/4 cup white vinegar
      1 Tbsp borax
      1 Tbsp liquid dish soap
      2 cups water

      Combine in a spray bottle and spray on affected areas and then scrub.  For tough spots, apply baking soda the area to add extra scrubbing power. (Recipe courtesy of this page).

      Tsh also runs a smart little blog, The Simple Mom, with lots of inspiring ways to down-size, declutter, and live life more thoughtfully.  I recommend a browse when you need a break from cleaning or maybe a post-Christmas pick-me-up.

      Happy cleaning and happy new year!

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      Chemical Based or Earth Friendly Mold Remover said...

      nice article... i hope there's more article to read... keep on posting

      Karly Mittens said...
      This comment has been removed by the author.
      Karly Mittens said...

      If you haven’t tried making your own cleaners yet, there’s no time like the present to get started. They’re safer, cheaper, more eco-friendly, and really much easier than you might think.

      Oven Cleaning Melbourne | Oven Cleaning Gold Coast