Did you read this? A few of my loyal band of merry readers emailed me about making my own cleaners. So this post is a) to share how to clean a house with green/eco/frugal/non toxic/friendly and generally happy cleaners that you make. and b) offer proof that it cleans very well.
This works especially well if you are
what to clean with.
basically, vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, dish soap (phosphate free), optional essential oils.
Why vinegar? it is acetic acid, a strong acid with a ph of 2ish. Bleach is used because it is a strong base with a ph of 12 ish. Extreme acids and extreme bases are good cleaners because bugs and people like neutral environments (ph of 7). Not that I am saying to use bleach for everyday cleaning...but I digress...
Basic spray cleaner: 32 oz spray bottle. 1/2 to 1 cup vinegar, 1 squirt (1-2 teaspoons dish soap), blend of essential oils (total 20-30 drops. less if peppermint or tea tree because they are strong!). fill rest of bottle with wash water and shake to mix up. This can clean just about anything.
To scrub (grout, toilet bowls, burnt pan bottoms): baking soda and good scrubbing tool (tile brush, old toothbrush, toilet brush, scour pad).
clean microwave: 1 cup-ish of lemon juice in a bowl + water to fill up. cook in microwave as long as you would a cup of tea (3-5 minutes). Open door wipe down. Lemon juice evaporates to deodorize, the citric acid disinfects, and the humidity softens any crusty stuff. I usually put my dish sponge in the bowl with the lemon and water to cook it (yummy). I feel like it disinfects sponges. And feeling like something has been cleaned counts, right?
I order mine from New Directions. Make sure to use Essential oils and not aromatic oils. Body Shop also carries them. What are they? Read wiki. I like Worwood's book Complete book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy I got that book a couple of years ago and it has been really handy.
In the winter I like to use clove (smells Christmasy), otherwise a good household scent is peppermint and lavender (1part peppermint to 2-3 parts lavender). The best disinfectant is tea tree. Diaper pail or bottom of trash can getting stinky? A few drops of tea tree on a piece of TP, thrown, should take care of the smell and diinfect the cause of the smell too.
A good combo for sick person clean up and to disinfect when a virus is going around is tea tree + eucalyptus. A palm size of vasoline+ 1 drop eucalyptus is a nice chest rub for a stuff nosed child that can't sleep well (a la vicks vapor rub)
Citronella smells like lemon pine sol cleaner and it is a natural bug repellent. About 30 drops of citronella in the mop water smells really nice and it helps in the spring time if ants are fighting to move in. The ideas run on and on to the power of ten.
but does it clean as well as my blue/pine scented/foamy/$4 non-reusable bottle? or silly hippy Kristen thinks this works because...?
Lots of reading and research backs me up. Using the stuff above is effective for cleaning and sanitizing. Need something more solid? I took a microbiology course at Boise State a couple of years ago (has it been that long already?) For a lab project, I brought home supplies. Swabbed, smeared, cultured etc. ta da. The petri dish does not lie. I have a fantastically clean house (um. well. when we've actually cleaned it is clean. Of course an excellent cleaning product unused is very ineffectual. whoops.)
and finally get some equipment
Paper towels are flimsy. How can you really get remnants of bread dough off the counter tops once it is dried down on there like cement? No. you need lots of rags, a grout brush, scour pads and elbow grease. Lots of elbow grease. Leila (her again?) posted about cleaning. It's good if you want to read a long post about rags. but I guess if you've read this far you are a sucker for long boring posts.