Wednesday, April 19, 2017

48 My Favorite Homemade Cleaning Recipes and a Printable

I have been making and purchasing cleaners for years and both options have advantages and disadvantages. I will admit, there were times I felt my homemade cleaning recipes were too complicated and found it to be easier to just go out and spend $3-5 on a new bottle of counter spray or toilet bowl cleaner. But then I would worry that I didn't know what I was actually using and if it was totally safe for my family. And I would be left with extra bottles and packaging to dispose of and it felt a little wasteful. So, I decided if I was going to make my own cleaners at home, I wanted to do it as simply as possible. I searched high and low for recipes containing three or fewer ingredients, and if I couldn't find a recipe, I experimented until I came up with one I liked. I tried different methods and portions and tested many of the recipes on multiple surfaces for overall cleanliness and streaking.... I am really happy with where I have landed on my homemade cleaning journey, and even more happy to be updating all of you!


I really hope that those of you who have been on the fence about homemade cleaners will find some inspiration and feel a little more eager to try it out. The best part is that there is very little to lose. The cost of many of the ingredients needed to make these cleaners is quite low, and even better, many of the products last through multiple batches.

I have a cabinet in my laundry room dedicated to holding my bulkier ingredient items, such as large bottles of vinegar, distilled water, boxes of baking soda and items for making my own laundry soap. By having a place to store all of the ingredients together, I am able to quickly whip up a new batch and also purchase these ingredients in larger, less expensive quantities.


T H E   B A S I C S


If you are just starting out, many general cleaners can be made with very basic ingredients.

DISTILLED WATER // It is generally recommended to make cleaners with filtered or distilled water. This provides the best cleaning result and also doesn't negatively impact any of the added ingredients in any way (vs. tap water which may contain hard water, minerals, etc...)

VINEGAR // Vinegar is great for cleaning because it actually has the power to clean up messes and dirt and contains some disinfecting properties. It doesn't streak, dries scentless, and is even more powerful when paired with baking soda.

DISH SOAP // Yep! You trust it to clean your dishes, why wouldn't it be great for counters, floors and the shower too? A little goes a long way and it can tackle quite a few jobs!

BAKING SODA // Whenever I need a little extra scrubbing power, I reach for the baking soda. And it becomes even more beneficial when mixed with additional ingredients. For example, next time you have an awful dish or pan to wash, sprinkle it with a little baking soda and add some dish soap and hot water. Let it soak for 10-20 minutes and the end result is pure magic.


So far you are able to create quite a few cleaners with products that are extremely inexpensive. But if you are looking for the true powerhouse item, add Castile Soap to your list.

CASTILE SOAP // This soap is extremely concentrated, but it is also a really great cleaner and degreaser. Simply pair it with distilled water and it can take on your toughest jobs. I especially love it for cleaning my stove/oven and also for tackling dirty doors and trim. (Castile Soap can be found at many Natural Food Stores, Target and Amazon. It seems more expensive than traditional soaps and cleaners, but a very small amount contains mega amounts of power. A single bottle will last a very long time, and it can also be purchased in travel sizes so you can give it a try with little risk or investment).


T H E   S P E C I A L   A D D I T I O N S


Now that you have the ingredients to conquer 90% of your jobs, there are a few additional items that take things even further and can aid in creating a some really effective specialty cleaners.

WITCHES HAZEL // Safe enough to be used on your skin but also a natural deodorizer.

RUBBING ALCOHOL // Dries ridiculously fast and streakless with disinfecting properties. It is also an amazing stain remover.

OLIVE OIL // A natural way to treat wood finishes and can also be used to polish stainless steel.

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE // A natural whitener.

LEMON JUICE // Smells amazing and has a lot of cleaning power; a great booster when whitening and cleaning bathroom finishes.


Essential oils are not crucial for effective cleaning, but they do have a lot of positive qualities and there are three I find myself reaching for over and over and over.

LAVENDER // Added to a baking soda shaker and sprinkled on our mattresses, it not only deodorizes but leaves behind a soft, sleepy scent. I also add this scented oil to my fabric softener and room freshening spray.

LEMON // Let's face it, lemons have a super-mega-clean aroma. I use this essential oil with the majority of my cleaners because it smells so fresh and also cuts down on the vinegar scent.

TEA TREE // Tea tree oil is a natural and safe disinfectent. Adding this oil to cleaners helps to remove unwanted bacteria, making it ideal for cleaning germy areas like bathrooms.


H E L P F U L   T O O L S


You don't need much to make your own cleaners, but there are a few items that are helpful in making the process quick and effective.

MEASURING CUPS & SPOONS // For the most part I tend to eyeball or get my measurements close, it really doesn't have to be an exact science. But there are times when I do like to keep my portions just right and find it helpful to utilize measuring tools.

MIXING BOWL // A few of my favorite recipes work better as a scrub or paste that I like to mix in a bowl first and then transfer to the final container. Additional recipes require heat so a bowl is also helpful in heating the ingredient(s) prior to mixing.

FUNNEL // A funnel is extremely handy for pouring the ingredients into spray bottles; I especially prefer a collapsible funnel because it can be stored right inside my cleaning caddy.

SPRAY BOTTLES // You can utilize the empty cleaning bottles from your past purchases, but if you plan on permanently switching to homemade cleaners I recommend also switching to glass spray bottles. Plastic bottles can break down over time and seep into your cleaners, especially when paired with a few specific ingredients, but glass will stand the test of time.

SHAKER // Using a shaker for your baking soda makes it easier to store under a sink or in a caddy, and is also easier to control the quantity being used when sprinkling it into sinks, toilets and even on carpets and mattresses.


Quick Tip: You can add a bottle sprayer directly onto your Peroxide and Rubbing Alcohol bottles. This allows you to utilize them quickly for those on-demand tasks.


T H E   R E C I P E S

ALL PURPOSE CLEANER // 2 CUPS DISTILLED WATER, 1 TSP CASTILE SOAP

Works great for cleaning just about anything and is also a wonderful degreaser. I especially prefer this mix for cleaning my oven, stovetop, trim and doors. It is also safe to be used on most surface types.



ALL PURPOSE CLEANER // 1 1/2 CUPS DISTILLED WATER, 1/2 CUP VINEGAR, 1 TSP DISH SOAP, 1-5 DROPS ESSENTIAL OIL (OPTIONAL)

This is my "go to" all purpose cleaner for any quick cleaning task; especially counters, tables, and floors. This was actually my newest floor cleaning recipe, and when I saw it left my floors streak-free, I figured why not use it for everything? Vinegar may not be safe for all surfaces (some stones specifically), which is why I wanted to offer the above option as well. I do find that if too much Castile Soap is used in the first recipe, it may create a slight haze or some streaking, so I do prefer this version to the other for my primary surfaces.



BATHROOM CLEANER // 2 CUPS DISTILLED WATER, 2 TBSP VINEGAR, 20 DROPS TEA TREE OIL

A great cleaner with disinfecting qualities. Works best when paired with a sponge or microfiber cloth.


GLASS CLEANER  // 1 CUP DISTILLED WATER, 1 CUP VINEGAR, 1-5 DROPS ESSENTIAL OIL (OPTIONAL)

This recipe not only works great on glass, mirrors and windows, but it will also leave your fixtures and hardware shining and streak-free. Works best when paired with a specialty glass cleaning cloth. You can also pair this spray with baking soda to clean bathroom toilets and kitchen sinks.




SHOWER SOAP SCUM SPRAY // 1 CUP VINEGAR (HEATED), 1 CUP DISH SOAP

Heat the vinegar in the microwave and then add dish soap. The heat helps the dish soap to quickly combine with the vinegar (and it won't separate even after being stored for some time). Saturate shower walls and doors and let sit, or soak items containing soap scum in a bucket with this mixture. Wipe down shower with an abrasive sponge for optimal results (should remove soap scum with ease). To maintain a clean shower, add mixture to a dish wand and use every couple of days post shower.




WOOD POLISH // 2/3 CUP OLIVE OIL, 1/3 CUP VINEGAR, 5 DROPS LEMON ESSENTIAL OIL

Use to bring back the grain and finish to wood accessories and furniture. Works best when paired with specialty polishing cloth. Above you can see the oiled area on the left and the un-oiled area on the right. I use this on my wooden utensils and handles, cutting boards and wood furniture pieces. I also trust that it is food-safe because of the ingredients.




FLOOR CLEANER // 3 PARTS WATER, 1 PART VINEGAR, 1 SMALL SQUIRT OF DISH SOAP, 5-15  DROPS OF ESSENTIAL OIL (OPTIONAL)

Can be used on most flooring types and will leave your floors clean and streak free. Works best when paired with a dry or slightly damp mop or microfiber cloth. As I mentioned above, I also added this recipe to a spray bottle for everyday cleaning of most surfaces, and also for spot cleaning our floors in between moppings. This mixture can be added to spray mops or used in a bucket (again, I find it works best when the floor isn't overly saturated so wring your mop well).


AIR & FABRIC FRESHENER // 1/2 CUP DISTILLED WATER, 1/ CUP WITCHES HAZEL, 20-30 DROPS LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL (OR FAVORITE SCENT)

The witches hazel is a natural odor neutralizer while the water and essential oil add a pleasant aroma to the room. Lightly spritz around the room and near textiles, just be sure not to completely saturate any surfaces.




TECH SCREEN CLEANER // 1/4 CUP DISTILLED WATER, 1/4 CUP RUBBING ALCOHOL

Although vinegar leaves 99% of my surfaces streak free, it didn't have the same effect on my tech screens. I can only guess that it may be the heat of the screens paired with the dry time of vinegar that left my screens quite streaky. Swapping the vinegar for rubbing alcohol did the trick, and leaves my screens crystal clear!




LAUNDRY DETERGENT // 2 CUPS CASTILE SOAP FLAKES (GRATED), 2 CUPS WASHING SODA, 1 CUP BAKING SODA, 1 CUP COARSE SEA SALT (OPTIONAL)

FABRIC SOFTENER // 2 CUPS VINEGAR, 20 DROPS LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL (OR FAVORITE SCENT)

This recipe is quite similar to one I had been using for years, but it is slightly modified to be even safer. My previous recipe called for Borax, and although it is a natural ingredient, there are debates that it may be toxic and harmful. However, Borax is frequently found in many cleaning recipes, especially laundry detergents. After some research and testing, I found that swapping the Borax for Baking Soda yielded the same results. I also switched from using Fels-Naptha to a straight Castile Soap bar. I can get four cups of grated flakes from a single bar, so I double this recipe each time I make it (every few months). Finally, we have hard water and the salt helps to combat that. You can make a scented softener out of coarse sea salt and essential oils, or just add the salt directly into your detergent recipe. Be leery of using Epsom salt as a softener (as some recipes suggest), as it technically isn't salt at all and can actually make your water harder.

I find it works best and is easiest on our HE washing machine to add 1-2 tablespoons of the powder directly to the washer drum with the clothing/linens. I then run the scented vinegar through the fabric softener dispenser. Our clothes come out soft, fresh and clean (with zero vinegar scent).

I store the softener in this bottle and the detergent in this container.





SOFT SCRUB // 1 CUP BAKING SODA, 1/4 CUP CASTILE SOAP, 1 TBSP DISTILLED WATER, 1-5 DROPS ESSENTIAL OIL (OPTIONAL)

Mix in a bowl to create a paste consistency (may need to add more baking soda to thicken). Store in a squeeze bottle or lidded jar (I used an old dish soap bottle). Works best when paired with an abrasive sponge or scrub brush.


GROUT SCRUB // COMBINE BAKING SODA AND WARM WATER IN A BOWL (MIX INTO PASTE). FOR WHITENING POWER COMBINE 1 CUP DISTILLED WATER, 1/4 CUP LEMON JUICE, 3/4 CUP HYDROGEN PEROXIDE

Spread Baking Soda paste into grout lines. For whitening power, spray lemon/peroxide mixture onto paste and let sit. Scrub lines with heavy duty bristle or grout brush. Wipe clean with water and dry microfiber cloth.

See more in this post here.


F R E E   P R I N T A B L E S


That was A LOT of information, but hopefully it was easy to understand and feels doable! My younger kids love to help make these recipes (it is almost like baking and science combined), and I have also convinced quite a few friends to move to the homemade cleaning side as well. You can do it!

But to make it even easier, I created two different printables that contain all of the recipes above.

FREE homemade cleaning recipe chart | FREE homemade cleaning recipe cards (to be printed on 3x5" index cards)


I keep these recipe printables in two locations. I laminated the larger chart and store it with my bulk cleaning ingredients in our laundry room. I also printed the recipes on 3x5" blank index cards, which I laminated and placed on a binder ring. The cards conveniently tuck right into my cleaning caddy.



Raise your hand and comment below if you are feeling inspired and excited to give this a try! And don't be afraid to start small and grow your homemade cleaning products and skills. Start with a simple counter or floor cleaner and expand from there. Not only do the cleaners work, you will know exactly what you are cleaning with and what you are being exposed to. It is oddly satisfying to mix up a batch of something and watch it work just as well as something much more costly.

And last but not least, I recently discovered a couple of resources that will help you determine which products are safest to use in regards to your cleaning and beauty routines. I was both relieved and shocked to find these sites and will definitely be checking on our personal care products in both areas frequently. Just go to either of the sites below, enter your product in the search bar and click the item that matches. You will then see ratings and information in regards to the product and its overall safeness.

EWG Cleaning Product Search
EWG Beauty Product Search





Looking for more product details? Check out my favorite cleaning supplies and tools here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

7 A Surprising Solution for Smaller Sewing Supplies

I am working on a supersized homemade cleaners post for you all soon, but in the meantime, I thought I would share my newest storage find. Generally, I only blog about storage that we DIY, or a full blown before and after transformation of a closet, drawer or space, but sometimes a really great piece of storage finds its way to our home and I get excited to share. And although it is nothing earth-shattering or groundbreaking, I can't help but feel my heart pitter-patter when I stumble across a really great storage solution.


As we have been transforming our laundry room, I realized that I want to be really selective about how we utilize and store all of our essentials. The wallpaper is busy in a beautiful way, but that means that I would like to conceal smaller items and keep the remainder of the surfaces clean and inspiring. We also plan to add an outlet to give our stick vacuum a permanent place to charge, which trumps the wall space needed for my pegboard organizer showcasing my sewing tools. The wall organizer worked really well for many of the primary sewing items, however, I also had another batch of additional supplies tucked away in a different spot.

I have been helping a girlfriend organize her kitchen, so we took a trip to our Container Store to source product and solutions. While we were there, I decided to stroll down every last aisle and take in all of the prettiness and newness; I only get to check out the store in person a couple of times per year. And then I spotted them, the prettiest storage boxes in the store, and at a really great price to boot!



I remembered my quest to conceal my sewing supplies, so I snagged two of the boxes and decided they would be a really great contender. If the sewing supply situation didn't pan out, I could think of 101 other ways to put the boxes to work. They are light-weight, decorative and versatile... a winning combination for sure.

So I then went on the hunt for some internal organizers. With all of the needles, safety pins, tools, spools, etc... I was going to go against my typical advice and planned to organize the inside of an organizer. I love decorative boxes because they tend to let you store stuff in an easy and pretty way, without having to worry much about what is happening inside. But in this case I wanted to keep everything divided and portable.

Assuming I would have to try and find some sort of plastic lidded compartment box(es) that would be a tricky fit, I began searching all of the aisles again. Out of the corner of my eye I spied some dividers that were similar to the shape of the box (although they were designed and intended for a different system altogether). Could this be the winning combo? YES! They fit perfectly! And then I realized that if I twisted the dividers so they didn't stack exact, they would actually stack just the way I needed.


This is 100% one of the reasons I love to organize. I love the thrill of the hunt and the excitement that comes from finding unexpected solutions and I get unusually giddy when these magic moments happen.


I couldn't wait to get home and begin dividing out all of my items. The biggest win was that my machine peddle fit the larger compartment and brought all of my supplies together.



As I mentioned, when you stack the organizers in the same direction, the top sinks right into the bottom. But simply rotating the top organizer and there is enough support to stack them together without any sinking.



Above you can see the fit and the stack. Good thing you can't see the funny dance I did when this quick little project was done!


The second box holds all of my embellishments and tools such as snaps, buttons, pom makers and my grommet kit.


Oh! And the boxes come with a darling little gold label holder too. I mean seriously. #doesntgetbetter


Decorative boxes can be found almost everywhere, but they can quickly get spendy. I think these boxes are a great value considering their size, the detailing on the lid, and label holder. Too good to keep this find all to myself.

Should we play a game and name the other 101 ways these boxes and organizers could be used? I will start... Small games, cards and dice, school and office supplies, craft supplies, small tools, cords and gadgets, jewelry.... 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...