Friday, 12 August 2011

The Frugal Green Cleaners We Use

I have had this post on my list of ones to write, so here are the cleaners I make up to use in our house, this is a bit of a long list but I've included 15 recipes for you.  They are eco-friendly, safe around children, pets and I try where I can to have them grey-water safe so that we can re-use the water on the garden.  Even though we don't have a septic tank, I try to use septic tank safe ingredients so that what we are flushing down the drain isn't harmful - just to do our little bit to help the natural eco-system.  I also firmly believe that we do not need to be killing off every single germ and bug around, it never hurt past generations, and as the old saying goes "A peck of dirt never hurt anyone", I certainly think over my time growing up on the farm I inhaled my fair share of dirt!  I also have recycled as many containers as I can to store my cleaners in - Reduce- Reuse-Recycle

A note about my use of Essential Oil - Some of the recipes I am using at the moment are from the Green Goddess Website (Link on the sidebar) and Wendyl uses Essential Oils in her recipes.  They have different elements that they help with such as Anti-bacterial, Anti-Viral and various cleaning properties.  I confess I'm a bit of a scent lover so using the EO's in the cleaners satisfies my need for a nice lingering smell, but that is just me.  If you only wanted to get the most common, I would get Lavender, Eucalyptus and Tea-Tree (you can get this in the supermarket in NZ easily and Eucalyptus and Tea-Tree are also a great First Aid/Medicinal item for colds/coughs and cuts/grazes).  You will get a lot of use out of these.  Health food shops and some chemists will sell them or trademe is somewhere I get my Essential Oils and things for making my beauty products from, but they aren't entirely necessary and I have also given some recipes without them in.

Spray Cleaner (Version of Spray N Wipe)
In a 1 litre spray bottle nearly filled to the top with warm water, add a good teaspoon of baking soda, a few drops of liquid soap and 10 drops of lavender or tea-tree oil for an anti-bacterial boost.  Give it a good shake each time you use it.
I have also in the past just used in a spray bottle a mix of half water half white vinegar. 
For my wooden table tops I have a bottle of the first mix with an added teaspoon of Olive oil to help with nourishing the wood.

Cleaning Paste (Like Jif for harmless scrubbing such as showers,baths etc)
Mix in a bowl a paste of baking soda and white vinegar, and rub onto surface using a cloth or scrubbing brush.
For Peppermint Cleaning Paste which is what I am using currently, in a bowl mix 1 cup of Baking Soda, 1 tablespoon of Creme of Tartar.  In a seperate bowl or jug mix 10mls of liquid soap, 5mls of water and 1ml of Peppermint Essential Oil (to be honest if I had no Peppermint Essential Oil and wanted to make this recipe I would probably just use Peppermint food flavouring - or use any Essential Oil you might have), store in an airtight pot and scoop out little handfuls directly onto the surface or onto a wet cloth.  It takes a bit to get used to using this one but it is very good to use and the peppermint in it is yummy :)

Microwave Cleaner
Put 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed into it and microwave on high for 1 minutes.  Wipe it all over with a cloth and warm water.

Window Cleaner
In a spray bottle mix of half water and half white vinegar - newspaper is good for wiping the windows down.  I generally use for the window surrounds a bucket of soapy water and wipe them with a rag.  Or you could use some spray cleaner. You can add some lavender essential oil to cut some of the vinegar smell, however this does disappear as it dries.
If the windows aren't to bad I have a window Micro-fibre cloth which I use with just plain water

Dusting Cloths (Instead of dusting sprays like Pledge)
These Lemon Dusting Cloths are great to use and I have even used them on the car interior!
Mix about 1/2 cup of Water and 1/2 cup of White Vinegar in a bowl.  Add 6 drops of Lemon or Bergamot Essential Oil.  Soak your clean dusting cloths (either cut up about 10 pieces of rag or re-usable chux cloths cut into smaller squares), squeeze out the excess liquid so they are just damp.  Peel the rind off of 4 lemons and lay a couple of pieces inside each cloth and roll up one way and then the other to create a ball.  In an old jar or container place these cloths in as well as layering some spare rind in with them also.  You can pour a little of the cleaning liquid over the dusters.  These stay damp for a surprisingly long time.  I made my last lot about 2 months ago, there were 10 in the container and I'm down to the last one now.  I can do my whole dusting with one cloth and sometimes just re-wet it with some water if I need to.  The lemon rind has gone a bit moldy but the ones on the inside of the cloth are still fine.  Once I've used one I put it through the wash and collect them all back up again to make a fresh batch once I run out, you should be able to re-use these cloths for a long time.

Toilet Cleaner
Baking Soda and White Vinegar - Sprinkle baking soda all around the bowl and pour white vinegar all over it, let it fizz and sit for 10mins then scrub with the brush and flush away.  Using rags clean the seat and the whole toilet surround with Spray Cleaner and then give it a quick spritz with Anti-Bacterial Spray and leave it to dry.  Put the rags to soak in a bucket of warm water and either a good splosh of bleach or a cup of white vinegar to kill off the yucky germs.

Anti-Bacterial Spray (for hands, toilets, chopping boards once they have had raw meat on them, and great to have when someone is sick)
Make up a mix of these Essential Oils and store in a dark coloured glass bottle with a dropper top  (I got mine from the health shop for less than $2.00NZ).  Just remix from this base as needed and you can also add some of this mix to liquid handwash to give it a little anti-bacterial boost - I use this in my kitchen handsoap for washing hands for cooking.
20 Drops of Sweet Orange Essential Oil
10 Drops of Eucalyptus EO
10 Drops of Lavender EO
To make the spray in an atomiser bottle (Storage box or Payless have these or a $2shop) mix 1 cup of water and 8 drop of the EO base.  Give it a good shake before each use.  Wherever you use it just spray and leave to dry.  Great for bowls or chopping boards that have had raw meat on them, wash them as normal then give them a spray and let it dry.

Liquid Handwash
I have made this liquid soap with a cold-pressed soap I got from a soap shop.  I was assured it was a coconut oil based natural soap but I wasn't entirely happy with the soap itself in this mix.  It went very thick once it cooled and couldn't squirt it through the pump, so all I did was give it a whizz through the blender and that seemed to improve it.  Not one to waste if I can avoid it, I will use up the rest of the soap for my next mix but hopefully for the one following my homemade castile soap will be ready to use by then.
In a bowl put 250mls of boiling water then add 2 tablespoons of grated soap and stir well. Let it sit and dissolve for about 10mins.  Stir in 2 teaspoons of Glycerin, 2 teaspoons of Rosewater and 10 drops of preferred essential oil (I used the Anti-bacterial base mix).  Stir well and when smooth and still warm pour into a soap dispenser bottle.  When its cold it will set more like a jelly. 

Washing Powder
The Washing Powder I make up is in the post Green Friendly, Frugal Washing Powder Concentrate
 to make this add 1 cup of Soda Ash/Washing Soda and blitz in the foodprocessor. Drizzle in 60 mls of Liquid Dishwash/Liquid Castile Soap, this may froth up a bit if using Washing Soda.  Next add 1 cup of Baking Soda and 2mls of Essential Oil of your choice and blitz it up.  If you used Washing Soda Crystals your end result will be a pasty clay, with Soda Ash it will result in a powder. Use 1 tablespoon per load, if its an extra large load or quite soiled use 1 1/2 tablespoons.  Keep it in an airtight container.

Fabric Softener
I just use plain old White Vinegar in the softener holder, the washing comes out smelling really fresh, and great to help with odours in the wash, like from wet sheets from a 4year old.  You can add some essential oil to it for a scent but I just get the scent through from my washing powder which is enough.  In Wendyl's book A Home Companion she has a recipe for Fabric Softener which is 1 cup of Washing Soda, 1 cup of White Vinegar and 10 drops of EO of your choice.  Mix up and store in a recycled bottle and use as normal.  I haven't tried this myself but I will soon when I really get back into drying my towels outside.

Fabric Soak
If you have fresh stains or shirts that have gotten a little high, just soak them for a while in a bucket of warm water and a good sprinkling of baking soda, works a treat on my DH's work shirts which either smell of coffee or the lovely sweaty work smell.  Also works very well with childrens cloths that have had little accidents in them.  Baking Soda is a great deoderiser.

Wooden Furniture Polish
A little bit of Olive Oil and some Lemon Juice mixed together and apply lightly with a soft cloth. Then with a second cloth polish off well so no residue remains.

Floor Cleaner
This a recipe I can use on tiles and lino just fine but doesn't seem to work as well on my wooden floors so I am back to the drawing board on this one in our house.  Google here I come :)
In a bucket of hot water add a good sprinkling of baking soda, a good splosh of White Vinegar and sometimes I add some tea-tree oil.

Mould Remover
If its not to bad I spray on a half water and half white vinegar leave for 5 to 10 mins then wipe with a damp cloth.  If its quite heavy mould I use straight white vinegar in the same way.


Carpet Spills and Smells
I remove or soak up most of the mess then pour neat vinegar on leave it for a few minutes and then rinse off with warm water and rags.  Test on a small spot first.  For yucky smells, sprinkle over baking soda leave for a while and vacuum up, also works well on furniture.

I have in my laundry and under my kitchen sink a bottle of white vinegar and a pot of baking soda.  They are the two most used items in my house, so I make sure they are always handy.
For washing up our dishes, we do this by hand as we have chosen for various reasons to not use our dishwasher unless we absolutely have to.  There is a small selection in our supermarket of dishwash liquids that fit the bill for us so I use them.  Earthwise is what I have currently but I do use Eco Store also.  Both are grey water safe and septic tank safe.  I am in the process of researching home made alternatives.

These are most of the cleaners I can think of now, if I have others I haven't posted in here, as I come upon them I will post them.  Any questions feel free to ask :)

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Hiya, thanks for taking the time to comment on my post. I can't wait to read your comments and to share ideas, I am a busy mummy with 2 boys to run around after so I will try and get to comments as quickly as I can...if there is a delay in seeing them published this is why, not because I don't care, I'm just taking some time to smell the roses :)

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