Annie B. Bond, author of Clean & Green (Ceres Press, 1990), has some great ideas for creating our own non-toxic cleaning kit. This kit would make a great Christmas present for the eco-minded in the family! Here’s what she says:
Most modern synthetic cleaning products are based on age-old formulas using natural ingredients that were passed down through the generations because the chemistry was right. So why not return to the original naturally derived
ingredients? You’ll have cleaning products that still work, but don’t pollute, AND you’ll save money. Most are in your kitchen cupboards. Mix with well-chosen and environmentally friendly green cleaning products found in health food stores, and you’ll easily transform your home into a non-toxic and healthy haven.
Non-toxic cleaning can give you a deep feeling of gratification—knowing you’re protecting your family's health, and that your home promotes rest and recuperation rather than harm.
This kit will supply you with enough cleaning product for months of cleaning. And as an added bonus, ounce for ounce homemade cleaning formulas cost about one-tenth the price of their commercial counterpart—and that includes costly, but worthwhile essential oils, and concentrated, all-purpose detergents for homemade recipes.
White distilled vinegar
A good liquid soap or detergent
Tea tree oil
6 clean spray bottles
2 glass jars
CREAMY SOFT SCRUBBER
Pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave grit or mar the surface.
Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.
1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water
Put ingredients into a spray bottle, shake. Use as you would a commercial brand. The detergent in is important. It cuts wax residues left behind from commercial brands you might have used in the past.
1 cup or more baking soda
A squirt or two of liquid detergent
Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven; cover the grime with enough baking soda so the surface is totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top. Let the mixture set overnight. You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven. If this recipe doesn’t work, it’s likely you didn’t use enough baking soda and/or water.
ALL-PURPOSE SPRAY CLEANER
1/2 teaspoon washing soda
A dab of liquid soap
2 cups hot tap water
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.
1/2 teaspoon oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax)
1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.
Keep a clean spray bottle filled with straight 5% vinegar in your kitchen near your cutting board and in your bathroom. Spray vinegar on your cutting board before going to bed at night—don’t rinse—let it set overnight. (The smell of vinegar dissipates within a few hours.) Straight vinegar is also great for cleaning the toilet bowl rim. Just spray it on and wipe off.
Tea Tree Treasure
Nothing natural works for mold and mildew as well as this spray—whether you’re dealing with a moldy ceiling from a leaking roof, a musty bureau, a musty rug, or a moldy shower curtain. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. The smell is very strong, but it dissipates in a few days.
2 teaspoons tea tree oil
2 cups water
Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend. Spray on problem areas. Do not rinse. Makes two cups.
Straight vinegar reportedly kills 82% of mold. Pour white distilled vinegar into a spray bottle, spray on the moldy area, and let set without rinsing (if you can put up with the smell—it dissipates in a few hours.)
Be sure to label all homemade cleaners and keep them away from pets and children.
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