For a few years now, I’ve been using simple ingredients and all-natural cleaners around our house. I began making my own cleaners as a way to save money, rather than looking for a way to cut out toxins and live “greener” or healthier. But along the way, I discovered those were nice fringe benefits, too!
Now, let me be honest. Not all homemade cleaning recipes are made equal. In fact, some I have tried turned out to be an absolute flop. Using simple ingredients to clean your home naturally is a process. If you are used to harsh, fragrant, store-bought cleaners and have been using them for a long time, it may take awhile to get used to the results (and smells) of homemade cleaners. Some people are converted overnight, and others need time to find the natural recipes they like best.
Here’s a line up of what we use around our house. These are the actual recipes I use on a regular basis.
1. Powdered Laundry Soap
This laundry soap is a cleaning powerhouse! I’ve been very impressed with this recipe and have been using it for several years. You’ll still need to pre-treat tough stains (like grease, blood, etc.) before washing.
- 2 bars of Fels Naptha or castile Soap
- 2 cups borax
- 2 cups washing soda (this is not the same thing as baking soda or washing powder. Make sure you buy washing soda)
- 10-15 drops of essential oil (optional)*
Grate the bars of soap into fine pieces. Mix with the 2 cups of borax and 2 cups of washing soda in a glass or metal bowl. Stir with a metal spoon and break up any chunks of the powder as you go. Add in 10-15 drops of your favorite scent essential oil. We like to use lemon or lavender.
Use approximately 1-2 tablespoons per load, depending on soil level of clothes and your personal preference.
*Note: Essential oil is not required for this recipe or any of my recipes. However, they not only add a nice scent, they add significant cleaning power, too!
2. Liquid Laundry Soap
I also like to make liquid laundry soap from time to time. It is a little more time-intensive to make, but it seems to last longer, too.
- 1/3 bar Fels Naptha, castile soap, or Ivory Soap, grated
- ½ cup washing soda
- ½ cup borax powder
Bucket with lid — 2 to 5 gallon size
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Grate your soap and place in a saucepan. Add 6 cups of water and heat on medium until the soap melts. Add in washing soda and borax and stir until powder is dissolved. Remove from heat.
Pour 4 cups of hot water in your bucket. Add soap mixture and stir well. Add in 22 cups of warm water. (This is 1 gallon and six additional cups.) Stir well. Let your soap sit in the bucket overnight. It will be a thick gel the next day. I use rubber gloves and “squish” up the gel by hand to mix it into a nice liquid. Use ½ cup per laundry load.
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3. All-Purpose Spray
Use this spray for nearly everything around the house. From cleaning sinks to countertops, this powerful spray is all you need.
- 16 oz. glass spray bottle*
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 and 3/4 cups water
- 15 drops of lemon essential oil (or other scent you like)
- 1 teaspoon borax**
Add all ingredients to spray bottle. Shake thoroughly.
*Note: I like to use glass spray bottles when I make any of my homemade cleaners. That way you don’t have to worry about your vinegar or essential oils leaching toxins out of the plastic into your recipes. It’s an initial up-front expense but the glass bottles can be re-used over and over.
**Note: Although it is natural, borax is toxic when ingested, and can cause skin irritation. Like any other cleaner, keep away from children and pets. You can omit the borax from the recipe if you’d like and it is still a great cleaner!
4. Window & Mirror Cleaner
- 16 oz. glass spray bottle
- 1 and 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup distilled or filtered water
- 8 drops of any citrus essential oil (optional)
Add vinegar, water and essential oil to spray bottle and shake. That’s it! You are now ready to clean.
5. Homemade “Soft Scrub” for Bathrooms, Showers, Tile, Etc.
- ¾ cup baking soda
- ¼ cup liquid castile soap
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 5 drops lemon or orange essential oil (optional)
In a bowl, combine the baking soda and castile soap. Add the water and stir. Add the vinegar and essential oil. This should make a nice, soft paste consistency. Store in an airtight container and scrub away to your heart’s content!
6. My “Secret” Bathroom Cleaner
Whether it’s cleaning the tub, the shower, or the toilet, I have a very simple method for cleaning them. I use:
- Baking Soda
- Glass spray bottle with 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water
For the tub, I sprinkle baking soda in, all around, leaving a little extra on the grimy areas. I spritz my vinegar/water mixture on top of the baking soda. It starts to chemically react and foam a little. I use my other secret weapon – elbow grease – and rub and scrub with a washcloth!
For the toilet, I use the same process except I use my toilet brush for the scrubbing. This simple method keeps our toilets clean and fresh … without toxic chemicals!
Feel free to share your favorite recipes in the comments section below!