Cleaners and Detergents

20 Sep

Below are some of my favorite “homemade” cleaners. I love them because they not only WORK, but they are not harmful to the environment, have low or no toxicity (good if you have young children or pets around), and are SUPER cheap and easy to make. The first time I made these, it took me 20 minutes to mix up the cleaners, and 20 minutes to mix up the laundry detergent. In less than an hour and for under $15 I had everything I needed to keep our home and clothes clean for six months or MORE! Most of the ingredients you need can be bought for a few dollars at a supermarket or grocery store and will be enough to make multiple batches of each of these cleaners and detergents.

Mold killer

  • Spray bottle
  • Small funnel
  • 2 tsp. tea tree oil
  • 2 cups of water
  • Combine in the bottle using the funnel and shake well before using.

Soap scum cleaner

  • Spray bottle
  • Small funnel
  • Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid detergent
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Combine 1 part Dawn with 5 parts vinegar, spray in the tub or shower, let sit for a few minutes, then wipe clean. If you do this regularly (I like to spray right before I get in the shower and then give everything a quick wipe down as I shower off), you won’t have to scrub anything! If you wait a while between cleanings, you’ll have to scrub some, but it will greatly reduce the amount of “elbow grease” you have to apply to the job!

All purpose cleaner

  • Spray bottle
  • Small funnel
  • ½ tsp. washing soda (or 2 ½ tsp. borax)
  • A dab of liquid soap (Blue Dawn)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Put all in the spray bottle and shake until dissolved. This will work for cleaning sinks, toilets, countertops, floors, any surface you want to disinfect. Throw away your assortment of 405 and whatever else!

Window cleaner

  • Spray bottle
  • Funnel
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. liquid detergent (Blue Dawn)
  • 3 tbs. vinegar (white distilled)
  • 2 cups water
  • Combine all ingredients in bottle and shake well. Basically, this is Windex without the alcohol. Use with paper towels or lint-free cloths and it works GREAT!

Bleach alternatives

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Lemon juice (unless you follow up with a water rinse, this will dry and leave a sticky film)
  • Kosher salt (a good scrubbing abrasive, but do not use on delicate surfaces)
  • All these are good especially for cleaning grout and other places that stain or gather dirt easily. Not very effective on deeply soiled spots and not for use on clothing. If you have a heavily stained area or stubborn stains, regular bleach is still the best option.

Disinfectant spray

  • Spray bottle
  • Undiluted white distilled vinegar
  • Gentle, natural, non-toxic, this is my favorite way to quickly disinfect something. Spray on counters, tabletops, or fabric and let sit for a few minutes. It also works great on baby and kid items that can’t be washed, like toys and stuffed animals. For the best results with those things, spray and set in a sunny spot to dry. The disinfectant effects of both the vinegar and sun will kill most germs. For hard surfaces wipe with a clean cloth or sponge (if you don’t it will leave spots when it dries). For fabric, just let it air dry. If you spray often on wood, you will want to be sure you regularly rub some oil or furniture polish on the wood surface to keep from drying it out (unless the wood is coated with an acrylic or polyurethane or some other waterproof finish).

Laundry detergent

  • 5 gallon plastic container with lid (like an empty and cleaned icing bucket from Krispy Kreme)
  • Long handled spoon
  • Knife or grater
  • Old and empty laundry detergent bottle
  • 3.1 oz Ivory soap bar
  • 5 cups not quite boiling water
  • 3 gallons of hot water
  • ½ cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • Shave the soap into the not quite boiling water in the 5 gallon plastic container. Stir until soap is dissolved. Pour in 5 gallons hot water when soap is almost melted. Stir well. Add the washing soda and stir until dissolved. Add the borax and do the same. Cover and let sit overnight. Put some in an old laundry detergent bottle and use ½ per load. Shake well before using, as the detergent is clumpy. This is GREAT soap for high efficiency washers because it is low sudsing detergent. For added fragrance, you can put a tbsp. of tea tree oil or any other natural oil essence you like in the 5 gallon container a mix well. I LOVE how well this detergent works with cloth diapers!!! I add fill the fabric softener dispense with white distilled vinegar for each diaper load and they come out SOOOO clean and smell SOOOO good. The ingredients in this detergent also keep your washing machine clean, as they help clean out calcium deposits, scum and hardwater build-up. Each load of laundry costs less than $0.01 in detergent. One 5 gallon bucket batch keeps me going for 4 months, at six loads of laundry a week or more.

Oven cleaner

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Liquid dish detergent (Blue Dawn)
  • Throw out your toxic oven cleaners! Simply sprinkle a layer of baking soda over your toughest messes, add water to make a paste, and let sit overnight. Wipe it with a wet soapy sponge of liquid dish detergent. If you still have some tough spots, repeat this process as needed. No scrubbing or scraping necessary.

Pet stain remover

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Sponge
  • Old tooth brush
  • If you have pet stains in your carpet, rug or wood flooring, simply pour the peroxide over the spot and watch it foam. When it stops foaming as much, wipe up with a sponge. Scrub the spot with an old toothbrush if needed, and repeat this process until the stain is gone. It works quickly and well. Test on a small unseen area of the carpet or rug before you use on the stain to be sure it won’t bleach out your carpet. Let air dry. After using on a hardwood floor, you may want to rub oil or furniture polish back into it enough to keep the wood from drying out but not enough to make your floor dangerously slick! The pet stain and peroxide will destroy any finish if you have such a thing on your wood flooring. Be prepared to resurface and refinish it if you have multiple stains or large areas of stain to clean.

©2010 Reformation Lady and Chandra E. Wellman. All rights reserved.

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2 Responses to “Cleaners and Detergents”

  1. Linda Speyers December 7, 2010 at 7:24 pm #

    Awesome! And awesome website. You’re something else, reformation lady!!
    So what good books are you reading lately that you highly recommend?
    I’m reading Phillip Yancey’s “The Jesus I Never Knew” and learning that the first beatitude is “Blessed are the DESPERATE”…

    • reformationlady December 8, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

      Good stuff. I was introduced to Phillip Yancey in high school by my Worldviews professor (at BFA high school) during a time when I was questioning the validity of Christianity. Have you read “What’s so Amazing About Grace?” or “The Bible Jesus Read”? Those are good books as well. I have since come to not care for some of his other writings, but those two are worthwhile as well as the one you are reading. Another author similar to him, but I think with more substance to his writing, is Lee Strobel. If like Yancey and haven’t read any of Strobel’s books, you should check out “The Case for Christ” and “The Case for Faith”.

      Right now, I am slogging through Jonathan Edwards’ “Religious Affections” and “Freedom of the Will”. Enjoyable, but such heavy concepts at times I can only read a paragraph or two! Religious Affections deals with how do we recognize genuine faith in ourselves especially (but others also) as opposed to religiously dressed-up unbelief. The thesis is that true believers in Christ do not “fall away”, but how do we account for those who give the appearance of being true believers but then later abandon their walk with Christ? Edwards was writing out of the upheaval and revivalism of the Great Awakening movement in New England in the 1700s, so it was as hot a topic for him as a pastor then, as it seems to be for us now amid the “Seeker Sensitive” movement of our own day. How do you account for people who come in to the church, seem to receive the Word with great joy, are baptized, and then walk right out the back door of the church never to be seen or heard of again? Edwards’ so far has some really enlightening thoughts of how to understand this and how to prevent it’s occurrence through a Biblical evaluation of what true faith is, and how to disciple people to know what it is, to grow in it, and whether they have it or simply have a false assurance of salvation. Not easy reading, but well worth the “slogging”. :o)

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