It’s spring, and if you’re like us, you are not only craving that warm sun on your skin, but also a good dose of spring cleaning your home. Those feelings reminded us, as well as you all asking, (sorry for the delay) that we are long overdue on sharing our recipes of safe, non-toxic cleaning concoctions. We get so caught up in the auto-pilot of making, using, making, using, that we don’t stop to just share how we actually make the products, so this is the perfect time of year to spread the love, not the toxicity, and chemicals, especially since we already shared recipes regarding the skin and body, now it’s time to do so in the realm of cleaning.
The first area we will hit is laundry. It may not seem all that important, but what you wash your clothes in, not only plays a role in the longevity of your clothing, but those clothes sit on your skin- all of it! You should care about what lies on the largest organ you have. Through the years, we noticed that with detergents that had high volumes of perfumes and dyes, we started having skin irritations, and unexplained rashes. We started buying detergents that were made for babies, and then we opted to make our own. Not only is it so much healthier for us, but also for the planet.
Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin
- 8 cups of baking soda
- 6 cups of super washing soda
- 2 bars Dr. Bronner’s castile soap (we use 1 lavender, 1 peppermint)
Grate the two bars of soap, either with a cheese grater, or cut into cubes and then put into a food processor. Just be sure to clean the tools well, after. Mix all the ingredients together well, and store in an airtight container. We store this in a former laundry detergent container, so the top screws tight. Use about ⅛-¼ cup of detergent (depending on the load size). Note, since this is a powder, even if you are washing in cold water, start the load with hot water, in order to dissolve the powder detergent, for a few seconds, then switch to cold, if you are going to wash in cold. This prevents the powder from caking onto your clothing.
Aluminum Foil Dryer Balls
- Tin Foil
This is super easy. Just take tin foil, and make 3 balls. Make them tight, and add a few layers so that they have a bit of weight to them. We have three, and keep them stored in a jar on top of our dryer. We’re not ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy,’ so we cannot explain why this helps take the static out of your clothes, but trust us, it works. You can save money by not buying dryer sheets, and save the earth by not contributing so much waste by just using aluminum foil balls.
Let’s move to the kitchen. Dish soap is something that took some experimenting, but we finally have it nailed down. If you are accustomed to the commercial dishwashing detergent, lots of suds and bubbles, then this will take some time to get used to. Those suds and bubbles are all about the marketing, and filler. Oprah taught us that years ago, folks. Oh, and by the way, we are referring to dish soap for handwashing your dishes, which we could go into why we prefer this route, not to mention that it is also better for the environment, but you can go read all about our hand washing dishes practice here.
- 2 ½ cups of distilled water (or boiled water)
- 1 ⅓ cups Dr. Bronner’s castile soap (we like the citrus scent for dish soap, but you can choose any scent you prefer, or add essential oil to unscented)
- 3 tsp. washing soda (do not skip on this, you need it for grease fighting power)
- 2 tsp. vegetable glycerin
If you did not boil your water, heat your distilled water, then add your washing soda so that it dissolves. Add castile soap. Add the glycerin. Stir with a whisk, then place in a container of your choice. We use the equivalent to about ⅛ cup for a sink of dishes. Be sure to wash with very hot water, and rinse with hot water. Again, without the suds, this takes getting used to, but it is a much healthier way to wash your dishes.
Some other general household items that we use, and have converted to non-toxic, green, healthy versions of the unhealthy ones are:
Liquid Hand Soap
- 4 cups of distilled water (or boiled water)
- 1 cup Dr. Bronner’s castile soap (we like to use the lavender scented for hand soap but you can choose any scent you prefer, or add essential oil to unscented))
- 4 tbsp vegetable glycerin
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, then pour into a hand soap pump of your choice. We have two hand soap pumps, and this batch makes enough to fill the pumps 6-8x. The consistency is thinner than most store bought soaps, but it cleans well, and it doesn’t leave a residue. Feel free to add a couple of tablespoons of aloe if you have dry or sensitive skin.
- 3 cups of distilled water (or boiled water)
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil
- Spray bottle
Mix ingredients together, and store in a spray bottle. Can be used to clean kitchen countertops, bathroom, anywhere germs reside. White vinegar acts as a disinfectant that can destroy some bacteria and viruses. The essential oil helps to reduce the vinegar smell that lingers a bit while cleaning. Don’t let that deter you though, the vinegar smell doesn’t last long, and is much better than breathing in a ton of cancer-causing chemicals that you can find in your traditional store-bought cleaners.
- Antibacterial cleaner from above
- Baking soda
Spray the toilet with your antibacterial spray, then sprinkle the baking soda throughout. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then scrub with a toilet brush.
- Microfiber cloth
- Polishing cloth
To date, there hasn’t been anything to clean glass and mirrors better than these two items. Simply wet your microfiber cloth and wipe your glass or mirror, then go back over it with a dry polishing cloth. No chemicals used, only water.
It is necessary to point out that in these recipes, please be sure that when the ingredient calls for distilled water, it is important to use that, or to boil the water. Distillation is the most effective method of killing bacteria, viruses and other biological contaminants. You don’t want to start your cleaning product with water that already has these contaminants in it, so be sure not to skip this step.
Controlling what is in your cleaning supplies makes homemade/DIY cleaners a great alternative. When you make your own cleaning products, you reduce the cost of cleaning, but you also don’t have to worry about your child or pet coming into contact with the product, let alone, yourself, as you breathe in the vapors, since you are actually doing the cleaning. Cleaning with safe household products will eliminate the potential threat to the environment, inside your home, as well as outside, while reducing your carbon footprint, and that is great for everyone. Lastly, the ingredients we mention in each recipe can be purchased in bulk, which helps reduce waste.
We hope, even if you can implement even one of these recipes into your cleaning regimen, you find them an enjoyable alternative. Let us know what you think!