Thursday, September 1, 2011

Going Green

A couple of weeks ago I went to Target to buy laundry soap.  It seems that about every 6 weeks I run out of laundry detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, bleach, Woolite, blah blah blah.  Well- those things are stinkin' expensive!  It seriously costs me like $60-$70 a trip when I need to buy it all.  Well- I decided that enough is enough.  I decided to go green.  I decided not to throw my money away at the companies that charge me $18 for a product that costs about $1 to make and contains potentially harmful chemicals.  Now- with that said... I am not the type of person that is always watching my carbon footprint and recycling like I should and such... but I am the kind of person who is willing to find little ways to make a difference in the environment and improve my way of life.  In this case, it will also ease the stress on my pocketbook as well.

So anyway- I decided that I would make my own cleaning products.  I have been reading quite a few blog posts about the subject and I found a few recipes that I thought would be the best suited for me and my life.  I have made and tested the following products: Powdered Laundry Detergent, Surface Cleaner, Mildew Cleaner, and Dishwasher Detergent.  

I have had quite a few inquiries about the recipes and the outcome of my cleaners, so I thought I would blog about them and give you my opinion... and share the recipes as well. So I have discovered that there are a few things that you should have in your cleaning arsenal at all times.  Always have these things on hand.  They are for the most part quite affordable and they will last forever.  One of the great things about them as well... they are non-toxic.  So, if your kids, pets, or brothers decide to lick, step in, or touch the things you clean... they are going to be alright.  There are no fumes either.  SO GREAT.  OK- here is the list of must haves:

-Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer makes one that you can get at Wal Mart)
-Baking Soda (not the same as washing soda)
-Vinegar (just regular white vinegar... and buy the BIG one like in the pic above)
-Borax (you can find this at Target or Wal Mart or the grocery store)
-Essential Oils (tea tree, grapefruit, and lavender are some great ones. These are used to make some of your cleaners smell good.  That is all they are used for)
-Lemon Juice (used as an antibacterial agent and also a scent provider)
-Hydrogen Peroxide
-Liquid Castile Soap (I found Dr Bronner's at Trader Joes for about $10)

OK- First up:

Surface Cleaner
-16oz Spray Bottle
-2 tsp Borax
-1/4 tsp Castile Soap
-Hot water (it needs to be hot so the Borax dissolves)
Mix all ingredients together in spray bottle.  The castile soap I got is scented with peppermint already so I didn't need to use any essential oils or anything to scent this particular cleaner.
I used this on my kitchen today.  It was wonderful.  It cleaned my counters, sink, and stove top great and my kitchen smelled so good.  This can be used on ALL surfaces.  It is quite gentle but effective.  I did have to mix it around a few times during use to make sure the Borax was getting mixed in.

All Purpose Liquid Cleaner (like to clean your floors)
-1 gallon HOT water
-1 tbsp baking soda
-2 tbsp castile soap
I have not used this yet, but I am sure it works great.  Just put it where you need it and clean clean clean.

All Purpose Abrasive Cleaner
-Castile soap
-2 tbsp baking soda
Mix together to make a foamy paste.  
I used this to clean my stove top.  It worked quite well.  It took a little more elbow grease to get the stuck on gunk to come loose but it wasn't that bad.  Again, the peppermint smell was great.

Dishwasher Detergent
-1 cup Borax
-1 cup Washing Soda
-3 packets Lemonade flavored unsweetened Kool-Aid
Mix together in big container.  Use 1 tbsp per load of dishes. 
I used this today.  I thought the dishes would have a lemon scent to them but they didn't.  They did come completely clean but there was soap scum on lots of my glasses.  I don't know if this is the detergent's fault though.  My dishwasher is kind of a piecer.

Mildew Killer
-Spray Bottle
-1 part Hydrogen Peroxide
-2 parts water
5 drops essential oil
Mix together in bottle.  Spray on area.  Let sit one hour. Rinse after one hour.
I haven't used this one yet.  I didn't have an hour to wait for the cleaner to sit.  I am planning on using it after the Labor Day holiday though.  I used grapefruit oil in mine.  It smells divine!

Powdered Laundry Detergent
-1 cup grated Fels Naptha (this is a bar soap you can get at Wal Mart in the laundry section)
-1/2 cup Washing Soda
-1/2 cup Borax
Mix together in big container.  Use 1-2 tbsp per load depending on size.
I have my test load of laundry in the dryer right now so I don't have a definite answer on how this works yet.  I used it on some towels that had been left in the washer for almost 2 days... so they were smelly and mildew-y.  They came out of the washer quite clean smelling though.

So- there you have it.  I am also going to make my own air/fabric freshener (like Fabreze) but I haven't made it yet so I am not going to write it here.

Let me know if you have any questions.  I am planning on making toilet bowl cleaner in the near future.  I will also let you know how that one works out for me.  

Well- I hope this has been informative!  Let me know if you have any questions!


Steph said...

Cool! You've inspired me!

andré said...

so you love the new laundry detergent? does the savings stack up against costco's life-time-supply bottle?

Britta Mosman said...

You go Girl! haha :) I also make my own laundry and cleaning supplies. They are fantastic! Plus easy on the pocket book! Also, just a little FYI. Lavender essential oil kills 99% bacteria. Just like Lysol. So putting it in your cleaners is awesome!

The Walker Missionaries said...

I found that if you also put a measuring cup with 1/2 of white vinegar in on the rinse cycle, it helps with your dishwashing spots. Also, where do you get the castile soap and what does it look like?