Simply DIY – recipes for making green household cleaning products

clean3Let’s take a break from cooking (but just this time) to get our house in order.  

A lot of cleaning products as you already know, are very toxic and natural ones usually cost quite a bit more.  Have you ever tried making your own that work just as well but are better for the environment and your lungs?

You won’t believe how easy these are to make and how effective they are at replacing your regular ones.  You may never buy another household cleaning product ever again.  And most of these items you already have in your fridge/pantry.  clean1Go to a dollar store and buy a few spray bottles. Try them and let me know what you think.

Glass and Tile Cleaner:

 ¼ cup white vinegar

1 quart water

Mix together, pour into a spray bottle.  Works just like Windex.

clean4Liquid Laundry Soap:

1 cup of grated Ivory soap

½ cup *washing soda

½ cup Borax

2 Tbsp. Glycerin (buy at your local pharmacy)

2 Gallons of water (NOTE: this recipe originally called for 2 cups water).  Also, feel free to add a few drops of essential oil like lavender for a fresh scent.

Mix first three ingredients together.  Add glycerin and water.  Use ½ – ¾ cup per load.  Best when used with cold or warm (not too hot) water.

Scouring Powder for Stainless Steel:

1 part salt

1 part baking soda

Mix together and pour into a jar with a sprinkle top.

Carpet Stain Cleaner:

Put 1 part white vinegar mixed with 1 part water in a spray bottle.  Spray directly on stain, let sit for 5 minutes or so, then clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water.

Drain Cleaner:

1 cup baking soda

1 cup salt

1 quart boiling water

Blend soda and salt together and pour down the drain followed by boiling water.  Let set several hours or overnight.

Oven Cleaner:

3 parts baking soda

1 part water

Nylon scrubber

Combine baking soda and water and use like a paste with the scrubber and your elbow grease.  For the hard parts mix half baking soda, half salt to increase abrasiveness.  Keep baking soda off the heating element.


Homemade Furniture Polish:

Cooking oil (no need to waste the good stuff on this, cheap unhealthy stuff will do fine)
Lemon juice
2 rags
1 container to hold the mixture
In your container, mix a few tablespoons of oil with a dash of lemon juice. Stir or shake well. Dip your rag into a tiny bit of the oil-lemon mixture. Rub thoroughly over the wooden surface, adding more liquid as needed. When completed, the wood should be dirt free and glistening.  Use the second cloth to rub down the furniture so no oil remains on top, so the furniture is not slippery or prone to giving oil stains.  Note: This works on faux wood as well as real wood.
*WASHING SODA (see liquid laundry soap above), also known as soda ash or sodium carbonate has many uses, from acting as a pH stabilizer in pools to acting as a water softener to removing calcification in water heaters to making lye pretzels. Washing soda is a beneficial item to have around the house, especially if you want to make homemade laundry detergent, as it is one of the main ingredients. However it is not so easy to come across.  Fortunately it is very easy to make.  One ingredient needed: baking soda. Here’s what you do:  1. Fill a wide baking dish with baking soda. 2. Heat in the oven at 400 degrees until all the baking soda becomes washing soda. Occasionally mix it so that this process happens faster and more uniformly.  3. Use as needed!
How to know when it’s done:  Washing soda is grainy, baking soda is powdery.  Washing soda is dull and opaque, baking soda is crystalized like salt and reflects light, i.e. it is semi shiny. Washing soda is separate grains, baking soda clumps together.
A bit about Borax (in case you’re as confused as I was):CLEAN1 (2)

Borax is very effective, versatile, affordable, and eco-friendly compared to petroleum-based ingredients in conventional cleaning products.

Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a boron mineral and alkaline salt that’s mined directly from the ground.  Borax is not boric acid.  Borax and boric acid are found together in many places, especially volcanic areas where the borax has naturally reacted with sulfur. You can also find both compounds in seawater. It’s a naturally occurring element but even things from nature can be harmful (like asbestos or mercury).

Bottom line: While it may be listed as “poison” on the box, it’s only toxic at very, very high levels. (Like salt, baking soda, and even water is.)  Here’s one more bit of info for you:  Boron is an essential mineral that the body needs for bone building, immune function, and brain function.  Plants need it to grow. But, like anything, it’s needed in small moderation. Much like salt. Boron is found aplenty in borax. People even take borax as a supplement and swear by it (I am NOT recommending you do this). That’s a little extreme, but use it as a gauge as to how harmful borax really is.

It is not harmful to the environment. In fact, the largest borax (borate) mine in the world – found in Boron, California – is considered by many to be the most ecologically sound and environmentally sustainable mine in the United States. This is also the mine where 20 Mule Team comes from.

Not unlike conventional cleaning products, homemade or store bought green cleaning solutions should be stored safely away from children and pets. When handled with respect, borax is a great addition to your cleaning arsenal. Mix solutions in your kitchen, away from food and clearly label your finished product.

Source: The David Suzuki Foundation



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