Wednesday, May 5

homemade cleaners

there are several reasons to make your own household cleaners:

  • simplicity - they are more versatile, so you need less of them to get more jobs done
  • ecology - they are safer for the environment b/c you use less chemicals and less packaging
  • physically - they are safer for your health b/c they do not use such harsh chemicals
  • economy - they cost significantly less money to buy the supplies, so you save LOTS
plus, they work just as well as store-bought brands.  actually, i think they usually work better!  i finally decided to make my own cleaners because i was tired of paying continually inflating prices for things that get washed down the drain, literally.  i mean, have you seen the price of tide laundry detergent lately?  for a 96-load container of high-efficiency detergent, we're talking about nearly $20!  no thanks.  instead, i make my own.  the ingredients were hard to find initially, but now i know i can find them all at my local rural king [not sure where to find them in more metropolitan areas if you don't have a rural king].  the following recipe will get you approximately 160-200 loads [twice as much as the big name-brand cartons!]:
  • 1 box borax
  • 1 box arm & hammer super washing soda [NOT baking soda]
  • 4 bars laundry soap, grated [i used fels naptha brand, but i hear there are others, like zote, sunlight bar soap, or kirk's hardwater castile]
  • instructions: grate the bar soap finely using a grater [a little time-intensive, but it's a good arm workout!], mix all ingredients well in a bowl, store in an airtight container
  • use 1/8 cup per load
i bought a special grater to use only on laundry soap.  i also bought a pretty, large jar to store it in.  on the ingredients, i spent $13.62 - which means i'll spend at least 64% less on this detergent than i will on the overpriced name brand!  other perks: it doesn't suds hardly at all, so it's perfectly safe for high-efficiency machines, and shaun and i both think our cloths come out softer with this new detergent.  plus, we love the smell, which is much fainter once the clothes are dried.  

[my 2.5 gallon jar of laundry detergent]

other cleaners i make:
  • a mild cleanser of 2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid [i use dawn] mixed with 2 cups water
  • a glass cleaner of half vinegar and half water
in my "going green" post, i mentioned my recent switch to cleaning cloths over paper towels, which i use regularly with the mild cleanser.  i keep them on the counter.  i'd like to eventually find a more aesthetic bottle for the spray since i keep it out, but it works for now.

[i can go through 3-4 cloths on a busy day!]

but with all my increasing love of homemade cleaners, there is one that i can't do without from the store. if you haven't discovered this, my friend, you need to get it now!  i use it to clean EVERYTHING!  most often, it's used to scrub my stainless steel pots and stove top, but it can be used on nearly every surface since it's an extremely mild abrasive.  just make sure you use gloves!  may i introduce you to... bar keeper's friend!

[a staple in our home now]

i hope you're inspired to make some of your own cleaners.  let me know if you do, how it goes.  and happy cleaning!

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