Fall Cleaning

Maybe I’m weird, but I do spring cleaning AND fall cleaning.  I like the idea of having a totally clean house before I have to close up the windows for the next 8 months (since it stays cold and rainy here about 8 to 10 months out of the year).  I cleaned our master bath tub yesterday and immediately ended up with a headache from the cleaners I was using.  This year, I’ve decided to use cleaners that I’ve made myself.  They’re super easy to make, and much cheaper than buying store-bought household cleaners.  Also, it’s much less likely that a dog or child will be hurt by ingesting some of these cleaners since they’re made primarily of normal ingredients that you might use in your cooking (with the exception of a couple of ingredients, but those are used rarely in the recipes I’ve come up with).

In doing my research, I’ve found some interesting things.  For example, did you know lavender essential oil is a natural disinfectant?  So is tea tree oil, but I prefer to use lavender for two reasons: 1) it smells better and 2) tea tree oil is toxic even in small amounts, which is bad in a house of two yellow labs (and eventually kids, hopefully!).  Castile Soap is made out of all natural ingredients (technically it’s supposed to be made from olive oil, but not all are) and makes a great base for a ton of cleaning supplies.

Homemade Cleaners Makings:

  • White vinegar
  • Borax
  • Castile Soap
  • Water
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Lemon Essential Oil (You can sub this for any scent you like)
  • Spray bottles

Now, before I give you all of my super secret recipes, allow me to go over where to find these ingredients since I had to ask one of my friends over and over where to find this and that.  The essential oils and castile soap (Dr. Brommer’s is the easiest brand to find) are at any health foods or vitamin store.  These are the most expensive parts of the recipes, but you use so little that they’ll last you FOREVER (and I have some fun recipes for the oils that I’ll share in another blog post!).  The washing soda you can find at grocery stores in the laundry aisle.  It took me a bit to find it, but it IS there.  I use the Arm and Hammer in the yellow box.  (Note: washing soda is NOT the same as baking soda)  The white vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and rubbing alcohol are at any drug store, grocery store, Target, Walmart, etc. (but probably also in your pantry or first aid kit).  I found spray bottles in the travel section at Target for 99¢ instead of $6.90 in their cleaning section.  They’re a little smaller, but that’s worth dealing with for a $6 difference in my opinion, especially since I bought 3 of them (2 for my all-purpose cleaner so I have one upstairs and one downstairs and one for my grease killer)!

On to the recipes!

My All-Purpose Cleaner:

1/2 c water

1/2 vinegar

15 drops lavender oil

I love this for wiping down counters, the fridge, and microwave.   Thanks to the lavender oil, it’s a disinfectant as well and will get used by being sprayed on a rag and then wiped on doorknobs, light switches, the fridge handle, microwave handle, and remote control (the most touched places in our house) during flu season for quick cleaning.

Grease Fighting Spray

1 c water

1/8 c Castile Soap

15 drops lemon oil

I use this one on the stove top after I cook anything and counters, too, when I finish cooking bacon since it tends to splatter eeeeeverywhere!  Basically anywhere with a ton of grease.  It’s also helpful to spray on any dishes that have a lot of grease, let it sit while you clean the rest of the dishes, and then wash.

Dish Soap

1 1/2 c Castile Soap

1/2 water

5 drops lemon oil

Mix together and put into a squeeze bottle and you have yourself homemade dish soap without any additives!

Microwave Cleaner

Bowl of water

Citrus peels (lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, etc.)

Put the peels in the bowl of water and microwave on high for 3 to 5 minutes.  Let it stand in the microwave for another 3 minutes and then just wipe down with a damp cloth or sponge.

My Bathroom Cleaner

1 tsp Borax

1/2 tsp Castile Soap

2 Tbsp vinegar

2 c water

15 drops lavender oil

This one is actually a misnomer, since I use it for our kitchen sink, the inside of the door of the dishwasher, and anywhere else I need something a little stronger than the first one, in addition to my bathtub and shower.  I generally make this one right before I use it, rather than putting it in a bottle and leaving it in the cabinet like I do with the all-purpose cleaner.  However, it would work totally fine being left in a bottle.  I just usually end up using all of it since cleaning bathrooms is a one-day, several-hour type of event in this house!

My Toilet Bowl Cleaner

1 c Borax

1/2 c vinegar

I usually mix this up in a bowl and then pour it into the toilet.  I let it sit while I clean the rest of the bathroom and then scrub it down at the end.

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