DIY Home Cleaning Products

As I touched upon a few posts ago, I like to use natural, non-toxic household products whenever possible. While there are a few great brands out there that are my go-to choices for the store-bought stuff (I like Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers, and even Target’s brand Method), let’s face it—it doesn’t get more natural than making it yourself. Even if your kitchen isn’t a laboratory, you can easily keep you home clean and germ free with only a few simple ingredients, I promise.

A few years ago I bought the book, Better Basics for the Home, by Annie Berthold-Bond. In the introduction she tells her personal story of chemical poisoning (first by a gas leak and then by a pesticide), and her family’s attempt to move away from chemical pollution. In her search for clean air, she quickly realized that in our chemical age, the contamination was everywhere, especially in the products that we use on a day to day basis. She put the book together to serve as a modern day guide full of the information that used to be passed down from mothers to daughters. In just over 300 pages she manages to cover it all from household cleaners, to skin and body care, to gardening, pets, and pest control. Sort of the bible of DIY natural home and beauty care.

While there are tons of awesome recipes in the book (everyone should own a copy, really), I’ll just share a few of my favorite for simple household cleaning solutions.

First off, in the chapter on housekeeping she states that you can clean everything in the house with 5 basic ingredients. Keep these 5 on hand and you’ve got the base for most of the books recipes:

1. Baking soda
2. Washing soda
3. Liquid soap or detergent
4. Distilled vinegar
5. Antiseptic essential oil.

1. Antiseptic All-Purpose Spray Cleaner
from Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond

Ingredients
1 teaspoon antiseptic essential oil (thyme, orange, lemongrass, rose, clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon, rosemary, birch, lavender or tea tree)
1 teaspoon washing soda
2 teaspoons borax
1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent
2 cups hot water

Instructions
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake to dissolve and blend the minerals.

2. Basic Floor Cleaner
from Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond

Ingredients
1/4 cup liquid soap or detergent
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar or lemon juice
2 gallons warm water

Instructions
Combine the ingredients in a large plastic bucket. Use with mop or sponge.

3. Toilet Bowl Cleaner
from Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond

Ingredients
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
1/2 cup baking soda

Instructions
Pour the ingredients into the toilet. Let sizzle, then scrub. Flush.

4. To Brighten Clothing Without Bleach
from Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond

Instructions
Add 1/2 cup lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide to the rinse cycle of your laundry. Another option is to add 1/2 cup borax or washing soda to the wash cycle.

5. To Clean a Clogged Drain
from Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond

Instructions
Pour 1 cup washing soda into the water surrounding the drain, as close to the drain as possible. Within a minute, the water should go down. If this doesn’t work, pour 1 cup baking soda down the drain followed by 3 cups boiling water.

Happy cleaning!

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