A freshly cleaned bathroom.

A freshly cleaned bathroom.

I like having a clean house, but I do not enjoy housework. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m lazy. My relationship with housework is a bit better now, though. I used to HATE housework, mainly because the cleaners I was using would strip the flesh from my sensitive hands and make my eyes burn. I tried product after product, rarely finishing a whole bottle of anything, in search of cleaners that didn’t make me feel sick.

There are a few “green” cleaning things on the market that work pretty well, and for a while I used those. Method brand was a favorite, and we still fill the hand soap pumps with their stuff. Seventh Generation and Ecover are also good, and I will use their laundry soap and dishwasher detergents. Eventually, though, I grew frustrated at paying premium prices for basic cleaners, so I looked into making my own.

This is not as hard as it sounds. If you can handle a funnel, you can make your own cleaners using some really basic stuff. My supplies use primarily vinegar (bought in bulk at Costco), water, baking soda (also from Costco), and Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds. Don’t be alarmed by the cost of the Sal Suds-a bottle will last you a very, very long time, as in years. Here’s a few basic recipes:

  • All purpose cleaner: Fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of Sal Suds. Shake to mix. Add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance, or tea tree oil for extra antiseptic power.
  • Glass cleaner and All purpose deodorizer: Combine equal parts water and vinegar. Add essential oils for fragrance if desired. Use on glass surfaces for cleaning, and use anywhere to deodorize.
  • Toilet cleaner: Sprinkle 1/4 cup baking soda around bowl, scrub with brush, and flush.
  • Floor cleaner: Fill a bucket with HOT tap water then stir in a good squirt of Sal Suds. Mop floor. If you overdid it with the Sal Suds and the floor is a little sticky, spray the floor with the Glass Cleaner above and mop with clean water to rinse.
  • Oh NO! Carpet Rescue: This works if you use it immediately on a fresh spill. Put about a cup of water in a blender and add a squirt or two of dish soap. Blend until really foamy, then pour over spill. Let sit for a moment, then top with a COTTON towel. I really mean it about the cotton-artificial fibers will not work. Then place something very heavy on top of the towel-I use a laundry basket with some books and/or Thing 2 in it. Leave for at least 15 minutes, and then remove the weight. The spill should have migrated from the carpet to the COTTON towel.

I find those are pretty much all I need on a regular basis, but I have seen a few more that I want to try, including a shower anti-mold spray and homemade laundry detergent.

If you want to go crazy green and make your own cleaners for your homestead, here’s some good resources: