Super Cleaning Recipes

Basics:
Soap-Water spray – add a small squirt of dish soap (Dawn, Seventh Generation, Ivory) or Dr. Bronner’s to a spray bottle full of water. Shake and spray.

Vinegar Spray—mix equal parts of white vinegar with water, and add your favorite essential oil (25 drops). My favorites are lavender or tea tree oil for their antiseptic properties. Remember that vinegar and oil don’t mix well (think about salad dressing), so don’t use this to clean the grease on your stove unless you’ve already cleaned with soap and water or baking soda and water.

Scented Baking Soda—fill a shaker-type container with baking soda and add about 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. I prefer lemon. Use the scented baking soda anywhere you would use a cleaner like Soft Scrub. It is amazing how well baking soda can get stains off of counter tops!

Bathrooms
Counters—a simple dish soap and water solution works really well. I fill the sink with warm water and a tiny squirt of dish soap or Dr. Bronner’s and use it to clean the counters, sinks, and all the parts of the toilet you touch with a sponge.

Toilet – sprinkle about ½ cup baking soda in the bowl and the water. Pour about ½ cup vinegar into the bowl. Watch it fizz. Scrub with a toilet brush. To clean the seat and rim, use your vinegar-water solution or soap-water solution.

Tub—I love this simple recipe:

Tub Paste
Squirt some peppermint (my favorite for cleaning) Dr. Bronner’s soap, about 1/4 cup or more, into a sealing container. I use a cleaned, 32-ounce, plastic yogurt container.

Add about half as much water as you did soap.

Mix in baking soda, adding a little at a time until it forms a nice thick paste, about the consistency of store-bought cake frosting. If you add too much baking soda, thin it with a little water.

To use, scoop some cleaner out onto a dampened sponge and scrub your bath tub. It works amazingly well and smells so good, you’ll want to eat it.

Dusting
I bought a few microfiber cloths from the automotive section at Walmart. The automotive microfiber cloths are very similar to the cleaning aisle cloths but are half the price. I just wipe everything down with a dry cloth once or twice a week. If you want to polish your wood (which I don’t do, but may someday if I had more nice wood), you can make a furniture polish out of ½ cup of olive oil, 1/8 cup vinegar and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Put on rag and polish. If need more shine, add more vinegar.

Kitchen
I clean everything with dish soap and water most of the time, and once a week I deep clean with simple mixture of ½ water, ½ white vinegar and 25 drops of tea tree oil for antiseptic purposes (mix in spray bottle, spray everywhere).

The sink is cleaned with scented baking soda: fill a container (I use an old, large plastic cinnamon holder, a grated parmesan cheese container would work well also) with baking soda. Add 10 drops of lemon essential oil (or your favorite) and stir with a fork. Sprinkle into sink and scrub. Rinse well. If it leaves a white residue, spray with your vinegar solution.

Dishwasher Detergent – I have been using homemade automatic dishwashing “detergent” for over a month now and love it. It’s so easy:

1 cup washing soda (not baking soda, but it is made by Arm & Hammer and found in the laundry aisle though not at our Walmart, but HEB)
1 cup Borax (also in the laundry aisle, and while not non-toxic, it is much less-toxic than your other options)
10 drops lemon essential oil

Mix with a fork or butter knife and store in an old glass jar or Tupperware. Place ½ Tablespoon in the smaller detergent cup and 1 Tablespoon in the larger detergent cup in your dishwasher.

Sometimes I mop the floors with a tiny bit of dish soap and warm water and other times I mop with warm water and 1 cup of vinegar (I add 10 drops of lemon essential oil for a nice smell).

For the Clorox Wipe Addict:
This was me for a little while, but I couldn’t bear to spend so much money on chemicals and landfill-cluttering tree-products. I cut up one of Thomas’s old white t-shirts into large squares and placed them in a container that I filled with a soap-water solution. Ta da! Wipes that I can use and then throw in the laundry basket. I also made them with a vinegar-water solution that works great also.

Sleep-It-Off Oven Cleaner
Ingredients: salt, baking soda, water, a shaker (I used an old Parmesan cheese shaker), and a spray bottle with water and a couple tablespoons of Dr. Bronner’s or dishwashing soap (like Dawn).

Mix ¼ cup salt with ¾ cup baking soda. Fill the shaker.

Spray the oven with soap and water spray. Shake the salt-soda mixture on. Spray again with water until the mixture is slightly damp and pasty. For the side walls, make a thick paste and sponge it on.

Leave it overnight. In the morning, get a putty knife/scraper, and scrape off the goop and pile it onto an old newspaper. Use a scotch-brite sponge to work off any tough spots. Wipe down with a soap and water spray. Rinse.

That’s it! It worked amazingly well, even on my oven that I haven’t cleaned in over two years.

Laundry:
I’ve been checking out recipes for making your own laundry soap. It isn’t very complicated and you can make a ton of it for just a few dollars. Here is a liquid recipe Liquid Recipe and this is what I use:

Powder Laundry Detergent
1 bar Zote soap, or Fels Naptha or Ivory (in laundry aisle of your supermarket)
2 cups washing soda (not baking soda, this is also in the laundry aisle of your supermarket, made by Arm & Hammer)
2 cups Borax (also in your laundry aisle)

Cut soap bar into large chunks and feed through your food processor grater. Combine grated soap, borax and washing soda in food processor with the processing blade. You may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your food processor. This will mix it all up and make it into a fine powder.

Store it in an old plastic tub or some other sealing container. You only need 1-2 tablespoons per load. It won’t make as many suds, but it really cleans amazingly well, and it does not leave your clothes smelling like perfume. I was able to wash my food processor easily with lots of hot water, but next time, I’m just going to make a quadruple batch since the hardest part is cleaning the food processor.