The Sustainable Home
A previous blog compares two wonderful cleaning products...Mrs. Meyers and Method. They are expensive. I am unemployed. Refusing to cave in to chemical yuckiness and after feedback from friends who do not even buy commercial cleaners, I decided sometime back to try noncommercial cleaners.
I am hooked. First a disclaimer. There is ONE ingredient here which is all-natural, Borax, but some people really do not like it one little bit. More on that later. Now for the good stuff...
First, I figured out a decent stock of cleaning products to MAKE everything I need. Here's the list:
Super Washing Soda
Citric Acid (or you can do what I did, and get unsweetened lemon kool-aid)
Essential Oil of your choice (I used Rosemary and Mint)
...and here's a picture:
Next, I make what I call my "basic mixture"...
4 parts Borax
2 parts Super Washing Soda
1 part Baking Soda
a little essential oil (a few drops works just fine)
This mixture forms the basis for everything else, and has some great uses on its own. Here are a few:
-Sprinkle on the rug before you vaccuum to make the rug smell fresh.
-Use to keep bugs away--Borax is a natural bug repellent!
-Scrub sinks, tubs, and toilets with it
To make a spray, dissolve about 1/2 cup in 16 oz white vinegar. This makes a terrific disinfecting cleaner for the bathroom and kitchen. You will not smell the vinegar!
For dishwasher detergent, add a packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid to a cup of mixture. Fill the rinse dispenser of your diswasher with white vinegar. Since I have a terrible dishwasher, it didn't work very well in mine, and I am still perfecting this recipe...I ended up breaking down and buying Seventh Generation, which works a little better.
For laundry detergent, grate 1/3 bar of laundry soap (I use a home made stain stick soap...you can buy mine in the Shepherd's Harvest Store or use a bar of goat milk soap) into a pan. Pour 6 cups of boiling water over the soap, and heat it on a low setting until the soap is melted. Add 1 cup of the basic mixture and stir until it is dissolved. Pour 4 cups of hot water in a large bucket, add the soap mixture, and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups warm water and stir well. Let the entire mixture sit for 24 hours. It will gel, and end up looking like a gloppy "egg noodle soup," but it works very well! Use the rest of your laundry soap as a stain stick. You may add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance if you like.
For windows, mix vinegar with a few drops of essential oil...lemon works well for cutting grease. Works like a charm.
And now...drum roll please...I promised you some good information about Borax. The very best source-of-all-sources I could find was from my favorite blogger, Crunchy Betty. Here are her very well documented thoughts on Borax: http://www.crunchybetty.com/getting-to-the-bottom-of-borax-is-it-safe-or-not
Sooo...I am pretty happy with all my new spiffy cleaning "inventions" and am spending literally a FRACTION of what I previously spent on cleaning products! My home smells terrific--all minty and stuff--and I feel pretty good about using more natural ingredients in my cleaning routine.
Let me know if you try it...off to make some soap. The clean-up will be nice this time!
Method vs. Mrs. Meyers...some of my favorite non-toxic cleaners!
Mrs. Meyers' Clean Day
Liquid Dish Soap, Countertop Spray, All Purpose Cleaner, Surface Scrub, Surface Wipes, Bathroom Cleaner, Glass Cleaner, Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- Cleaning power! All of Mrs. Meyers' products are tremendous at cleaning just about whatever you throw their way.
- Huge variety of scents, if you find one you like, you can use it all over the place. The scent usually dissipates quickly after the product dries, but Mrs. Meyers sells candles if you want it to linger. All natural essential oils are used for the scent. Also, they have cool scents like basil (nice for the kitchen) and lavender (for the bathroom) if you like that sort of thing!
- Price. The products are pretty expensive, BUT there are ways to get around this sticking point. The All Purpose Cleaner is concentrated, and can be used as the kitchen counter spray, thus saving quite a bit if you have a spray bottle. I dilute it 3:1. Also, you can purchase most of these products from Amazon.com by subscription--free shipping, great savings, and automatic delivery at fixed intervals...works great! If you purchase this way, it is less expensive than Wal-Mart!
- Scent. Both a pro and a con...my husband is very sensitive to the essential oils, and it makes him sneeze and sometimes causes a slight headache. If I clean when he is not home, no worries.
MethodProducts I have used
Antibacterial Kitchen Cleaner, Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner (Spearmint), Daily Shower Spray, Glass and Surface Cleaner, Squirt and Mop Hard Floor Cleaner (Lemon Ginger), Good for Wood Daily Clean, Dish Pump, Marine Naturals Refreshing Body Wash, All-Purpose Cleaner
- Generally excellent cleaners. Best product, hands down, is the Daily Shower Spray--keeps my shower spotless with an occasional wipedown. Love it! The Floor Cleaner is also terrific, and smells wonderful. The other products are good as well, although I tend to like the Mrs. Meyers all purpose cleaner best.
- Best scents--no headaches for my husband! They smell wonderful, not overpowering, with absolutely no chemical smell. I LOVE the scents!
- Expensive! Very expensive! Again, I have found a way around this...here is my secret...the website www.soap.com has good prices on Method products to begin with. Sign up for their emails and get coupons. Look on www.retailmenot.com and search for coupons for soap.com. You can usually find 20% off and free shipping, and sometimes 30% off and free shipping if you order over $49. of product. Then order refill sizes. You can order about a 6 month supply for less than 1/3 of what you would pay in a grocery store. Totally worth it!