Friday, January 9, 2009

Spring cleaning?

Maybe if I were SuperWoman, I would be starting my spring cleaning, but, I'm not! I've put it off until scheduled it for the first week of March, but in the meantime I needed to make some more of our regular cleaners for everyday use. I have a nice big basket that I lined with pretty fabric and it is our home cleaning kit. I use empty spray bottles from the Dollar Store and fill them with these homemade solutions - labeled well!

Today, one of my dear home school friends asked me to share my recipe for the cleaner I brought to co-op yesterday for our end of the day cleaning sessions. I thought I'd share these recipes here too because they work so well for me and are fairly inexpensive. Essential oils can be costly initially, but I just use a few drops and they seem to last a really long time. The lovely scents make me smile while I clean and they do linger, making the house smell fresh - which is really a blessing!

Heather's Counter Top Spray
Mix in a spray bottle:
1 T clear, non-sudsing ammonia
1/4 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
1 T clear liquid laundry detergent
3-5 drops essential oil (I like lavender and eucalyptus)
2 cups tepid water
Remember - never to use products containing vinegar, alcohol or lemon on marble counters as this will etch the surface, causing damage.
*Multiply all ingredients by 7 to make a gallon of this solution (that's what I did for co-op!)

Heather's Carpet Fresh
2 cups baking soda
1 cup corn starch
6 drops essential oil - I like lemongrass or lavender
Combine in a large shaker ( like a Parmesan cheese container) and cover tightly.
Sprinkle lightly over carpet - let sit for 10 minutes; vacuum thoroughly.
Test first in a small area - my carpets are very light colored and I don't know how they will work on darker carpeting.

Glass Cleaner Recipe
Mix in a spray bottle:
1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
1 cup water
1 tablespoon clear, non-sudsing ammonia
3 drops essential oil - I like wintergreen or lemongrass for windows

Super Grubby Window Shine
Mix in a gallon container:
1/4 cup of sudsy ammonia
1 cup of rubbing alcohol
1 teaspoon of dish washing liquid
8 cups of water
Pour into spray bottles.

Combine 1 cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup of washing soda.
If you like you may add a few drops of essential oils like thyme, lavender or tea tree to make your scouring powder a natural disinfectant.
Sprinkle and use with a damp rag, using rubber gloves to protect your hands.

Bathroom Disinfectant
2 tablespoons Borax
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups hot water
Combine the borax and lemon juice with the water in a spray bottle. Shake until the borax dissolves.

Super Strong Spray Cleaner
*For the really grungy places that we don't want to admit to!
Combine in a spray bottle:
1/2 tsp Washing Soda
1 tsp Borax
1 tsp vegetable oil-based soap (I grate a bit of a bar of Fels Naptha)
2 Tbsp vinegar
2 cups of very hot water
Shake well until all the solids have dissolved. Spray and wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge.

No-Scratch Soft Scrub:
1/4 cup Borax
1/2 cup baking soda
3 tsp. clear liquid dish soap
1/2 teaspoon lemon oil
hot water
In a bowl, mix the borax and soda with soap to form a creamy paste. Add lemon oil and blend well. Slowly add hot water until smooth. Scoop a small amount of the mixture onto a sponge, wash the surface, then rinse well. This keeps well when tightly closed. Shake well before using.

***These are my trial and error formulas that have been working well for me, but I'm no chemist! Be very careful not mix chemicals like bleach and ammonia or vinegar together - it is very toxic!

I have not come up with a creamy wood furniture polish that really makes the grade, and it appears that Mrs. Meyers stopped selling her wonderful furniture cream in my favorite - lavender, so if you have a recipe or favorite earth friendly product, please do tell! I am using up some lemon oil, but I don't like all of the oily residue. Or the prolonged polishing!


  1. Thanks for sharing your recipes! I would like to get into making my own cleaners this year.

  2. Thanks for the recipes! I love the snowman!

  3. These are great "recipes".

    My husband's Master's Degree is in Wood Technology & Furniture Engineering.

    He has always told me how important it is to put moisture back into wood. I have forgotten for awhile.

    He likes lemon oil or an old fashioned bees wax "paste". Sometimes I'll use Old English scratch cover (I have both their light and their dark bottles) when the scratches become noticeable. He says Old English is good.

    You don't want to mention any of those spray cans and dusting helpers in front of him. :)

  4. Thank you Brenda - those spray cans are taboo here too! Our sweet girl has mild asthma and we avoid aerosols as much as possible for her sake - except for when I have the urge to spray paint and I do that outside! I get awesome coupons for all these sprays, and it is tempting, but I just think they are so bad for our environment and our health - we ingest enough synthetics without spraying them in our homes on purpose.
    I have made the bees wax paste with turpentine, but it was very unpleasant smelling and the bees wax is very pricey. Is there a good commercial preparation?

  5. What a post! How do you know all these things! Wonder woman:-)

    I think the photos of your bags on the side of your blog looks great.

  6. Ruth - I'm not to be mistaken for WonderWoman - I couldn't fit into her get-up if I tried - no spandex in the world would stretch that much ... I like natural cleaners, but they are getting really expensive and harder to find effective ones, so that's why I have been using these recipes. I found some of them in the Natural Baby care book, and some on line - I've just tweeked them to make them effective.
    Our sweet girl reacted really badly to strong commercial bathroom cleaners when she was just a little thing, and it was then that I started to do a bit of looking into how harmful they can be.

  7. Thanks for sharing! I have a goal this year to make more of my own cleaners as my current ones run out.

  8. I LOVE these!! I hope you don't mind, but I blogged about these on my blog. :)

    Mrs. U

  9. I have used the following recipe for polish and it works very well I love it for my antiques.
    Brocante Polish
    125ml Linseed oil.
    30g unrefined beeswax, grated.
    5 drops Lavender essence.
    5 drops Rosemary essence.

    Heat the linseed oil in a bain-marie, then add the beeswax. Stir well until the beeswax has dissolved- (don't allow to boil!). As the mixture cools and thickens, stir in the essences, then transfer to a sealable jar and use as you would furniture polish.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing you recipes! I have several that I use myself ... no expensive store bought cleaners for me! But I do like the sound of several of yours a bit better so I may give them a try this week.

    Snowboy is sooo cute!



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