Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm finally biting the bullet

OK, I keep reading about making the switch to all-natural cleaning agents, and I have decided I'm finally going to bite the bullet, and just do it. I love the idea, but I'm such an addict to the cleaners I love, that I've been putting it off. Ajax, bleach, etc.... it's not like there's a 12-step program to free yourself from household chemical addiction. They do such a good job, it's hard to break away.

But, I've been compelled, of course for health reasons (nasty chemicals), and another for economical reasons. Using common household items is SO much cheaper, and it's simpler, too. From my research, I have concluded you really only need a handful of everyday products. I have decided to use the following items only:

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Meet my new allies: rubbing alcohol, Borax, white vinegar, baking soda, and tea tree oil.

I got the following recipe online and decided to try it. I got all the ingredients at Target, except the essential oil, which I ordered online (I got grapefruit- yum). Tea Tree oil is antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral, and a little goes a long way. I like the idea of adding essential oil, because I like the house to smell clean when I clean it.

All - Natural Cleaner

2 cups water
1 tsp. Borax
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
a few drops of Tea Tree Oil
1/4 tsp. essential oil (optional)

Boil the water, then dissolve the Borax into it. Cool to room temperature.

Add the vinegar, Tea Tree Oil, and the essential oil, and pour into a clean spray bottle.

This is an all-purpose cleaner, but is not for use on granite or marble. You should never use vinegar on any natural stone as it dulls the finish. You can make an easy granite spray cleaner by mixing one part alcohol with three parts water, and adding a few drops of a ph neutral dish soap such as Seventh Generation and a little tea tree oil if you like. I already use Seventh Generation for washing dishes (also found at Target), so it's convenient. Buffing with a chamois is also great way to make granite shine.

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My Windex will be switched out for a 1:1 ratio alcohol/water mixture for window cleaning. That should be easy, and I happen to LOVE the smell of alcohol (reminds me of the fun of getting my ears pierced when I was a girl). I actually used the all natural cleaner I that made on my mirrors, and it didn't streak. The hard change that I foresee though, is going to be giving up my beloved Ajax for sinks, toilets, and showers, and using baking soda instead. I have a LOT of tile in my bathrooms and I like super clean toilets (I suppose most of us do.) Yes, I'm kind of scared about the baking soda. But I will give it an honest try, and a lot of elbow grease. If not, I reserve the right to return to Ajax!

I also just ordered some all-natural goat's milk laundry soap that contains Borax. I'll let you know how it goes! I have heard that a little essential oil in the wash makes for heavenly-smelling laundry, so I think I'll try that as well. I am going to discontinue the use of bleach - so we'll see how white my whites are! Again, I reserve the right to go back as I know I will be quite unhappy if my whites aren't white.

I would love to hear from everyone as to what their favorite all-natural cleaning solutions are! Will update soon on my success....

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Megan said...

I have moved more towards natural cleaners due especially to cost. One item that has no chemicals that I LOVE for scrubbing my sink, shower, etc. is Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. They work with just chemicals. They require very little elbow grease while scrubbing and get rid of soap scum, grim etc. and leave a smooth clean surface.

I also have started making my own laundry soap which is SUPER inexpensive. Pennies per load. Although there are many recipes out there for it, here's the simple one I tried. Not bad for about 3 gallons of laundry soap.

Grate 1/3 to ½ bar of Fels Naptha. Cook over heat in 4 cups of water until dissolved. Fill a 5 gallon bucket half way with hot tap water. To this hot water add the pot of melted soap and water from the stove. Next add 1 cup of the Super Washing Soda and a 1/2 cup of the Borax Laundry Booster.

The Mom said...

So fun! I've started doing the same thing, because I don't want to worry about cleaning my house while my girls are by my side...and because it's cheaper and easier than buying a different bottle of cleaner for each cleaning task. I'm working on a detergent for my dishwasher - borax and baking soda - just trying to find the right ratio. I'm going to start making my own laundry soap, the same as the one suggested in the comment above only I've read that you can leave it dry, just process it all in an old food processor and add a little essential oil. I also read on Dr. Mercola's website that you can use peroxide and vinegar as a strong, natural, harmless cleaner that will even take care of yucky stuff like salmonella. You need a spray bottle of each, the cleaning comes when one is sprayed on top of another. I love it!!

I'm excited to see how your new cleaning adventures go!