Monday, February 27, 2012

Clean & Green!

Last year I changed my life to live healthier. I learned how to grow an organic garden (and fell in love with it), and started running and exercising. This year I decided in addition to living healthier, I needed to start getting rid of some of the chemicals in my house, and not just out of my food. After a lot of research I found that making your own "all natural" cleaning products is actually much much much cheaper than buying them, and they work just as well (or even better!). My kids (4 & 2 1/2) are able to help make them buy stirring and pouring, and they have a blast watching the baking soda foam up when added to vinegar. They enjoy helping me clean because they are apart of the whole process from start to finish with making the products, packaging them (I let them help decorate a new label each time for each product), and finally, trying them out. Next I hope to tackel things like "oatmeal scrubs" and lotions ect. My options are endless!!!

The cleaning products I use can be made from the following ingredients:

Baking Soda is a very simple and effective surface cleaner. It is similar to commercial powdered abrasive cleaners and has the added benefit of being an odor absorber. Baking soda can be used alone or with water and a sponge to scrub out tough stains like a scouring powder. You can leave baking soda on particularly tough stains (even pots and pans) for 15-20 minutes before wiping away.

White Vinegar is another all-purpose cleaner. Vinegar is a deodorizer, like baking soda, and is also a disinfectant. Because it is colorless and contains no colorants, it will not stain. Vinegar does not work well on marble or on grout, where vinegar’s acidity may cause damage. The vinegar smell lingers while wet, but quickly dissipates while drying. Vinegar is also an effective stain remover on sinks, floors, stovetops, chrome and countertops, and can even be used to remove rings from your toilet bowl. Finally, adding half a cup of vinegar to your rinse cycle acts as a natural fabric softener.

Lemon Juice, another highly acidic liquid, works extremely well on hard-water stains and on built-up soap scum. You can mix lemon juice with vinegar and/or baking soda to make a paste similar to the Soft Scrub brand cleaning scrub or mix it with olive oil for a wood-furniture polish.

Borax (sodium borate) works as a laundry soap but is a great disinfectant and all-purpose cleaner and can be mixed with water baking soda or white vinegar. Here are basic recipes I use for cleaning (I clean and reuse spray bottles and glass jars for storage and always label all of my products).

Soft Scrubber (like scrubbing bubbles)- Mix baking soda and water, vinegar or lemon juice to form a creamy paste. For tougher jobs, mix ¼ cup borax, ½ teaspoon lemon oil and enough vegetable oil-based liquid soap (such as Murphys Oil Soap) to form a creamy paste.

Glass Cleaner - Mix 1/8 cup vinegar with 1 quart of water.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner - Sprinkle baking soda and lemon juice into the toilet and walk away. Later scrub with a toilet brush. For “bachelor pad” toilets, spray vinegar around the bowl, sprinkle with baking soda and scrub.

All-purpose cleaner - Dilute equal parts water and vinegar. Vinegar can also be used straight from the bottle on tough stains and mineral deposits.

Automatic Dishwasher Detergent - 1 ½ tablespoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon Borax.

For Laundry, I use: Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, Borax, Fels Naptha Soap & Essential oil for fragrence.

Draino - Baking soda and vinegar

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