Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Organic Cleaning

I woke up this morning, to the smell of freshly baked bread - thanks to the timer on my bread machine. I opened all the windows to let in the fresh breeze and prepared a toasted slice complete with my sisters and my homemade strawberry jam.

I am working this year at living more organically, with less refined foods, whole foods, and only locally grown produce (this is a hard one). I've done a great deal of canning myself, including jams, pickles, apples, pears, peaches, beets, and frozen a bunch of broccoli, cabbage, peppers, and beans. It's been difficult, as I am sure any of you out there agree, its hard to live without all the quick modern days convinces of fast foods, ready to eat meals, preservative filled breads, meat laced with growth hormones, and toxic house hold cleaners. I decided today was a great day for spring cleaning, and I know its something that all of us have either just finished, or are gearing up too do. I had to replenish my supply of homemade organic cleaning products today, and figured now would be an excellent time to share with all of you some of my recipes!

First, lets assemble a list of ingredients, most I'm sure you already have in your house:

White Vinegar
Baking Soda
Salt
Lemons
Tea Tree Oil
Dish Soap (or Pure Castile Soap)
Reusable Rags
Spray Bottles and Glass Jars.

Seems like some pretty basic and simple ingredients right? Any combination of the above cleaners will work just as well, actually most of the time better than any toxic, store bought product you can purchase! Let's get cleaning!

Organic Window Cleaner:
1/2 cup White Vinegar
3 cups Water
1-2 Squirts of Dish Soap (organic)

I've found this is very effective, the few squirts of dish soap makes sure that all greasy finger prints and dirt is washed away. Try using this with a reusable microfiber cloth, or a hand full of newspapers. Bottle and mark clearly in a clear plastic bottle and store for next time.


Oven Cleaner: (or any grimy surface - works well on a bath tub too)
1 Lemon, cut in half
1 Bowl of Baking Soda
1 cup of pure Vinegar with a few squirts of dish soap.

With a reusable rag, wet the surface with the vinegar and soap solution, you can also bottle and spray the area. Take your 1/2 lemon in one hand, dip the cut end in your bowl of baking soda, and use the lemon as a scrub pad on your grimy surface.

If you'd like to use a scouring sponge for the above combine 1 cup baking soda, with enough dish soap to form a paste, add a little lemon juice and spoon on a scrubbing pad. If you'd like to bottle and keep this recipe, just add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist.

Toilet Cleaner:
1 cup Baking Soda
1 cup Vinegar
5-7 drops of Tea Tree oil

This is a very effective cleaner. Feel free to let this sit in the toilet bowl for a while. If you've got a big job to do, turn off the water supply valve, flush the toilet, scoop as much water out of the bowl as you can, and use this mixture on an empty bowl with a scrub pad. For extra strength, add 1/4 cup of salt, just be careful as salt may scratch your surface, but does work very well on a porcelain toilet.

Floors (including Hardwood):
1/2 cup White Vinegar
1 Gallon Hot Water

This is very effective on any washable floor surface. I use this all the time on my hardwood floors, sometimes in the kitchen I do add a squirt of dish liquid, as the floors tend to be a bit greasy from cooking. You can also sub the dish liquid for 1 cup of lemon juice. Lemon juice will also cut through the grease, and leave a beautiful shine to the wood floors.

General Multipurpose Cleaner (great for all kitchen and bathroom surfaces)
3 cups water
1/2 cup Vinegar
2 squeezes of Dish Soap
3-5 drops of Tea Tree Oil

Combine, bottle and use on any washable surface! For grimy kitchen messes, add a few table spoons of lemon juice to cut through any grease!

Laundry Detergent:

For White Clothes

1/4 cup washing soda (sodium carbonate) in place of bleach. (Bleach is one of the most toxic substances for the environment. Washing soda costs only a few pennies per wash load, and it is far less expensive than bleach.) Along with the washing soda, add 1/4 cup of white vinegar.

For Dark Clothes

1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of salt. (Salt helps restore faded colors, and to remove dirt and grime.)

Polishing Wood Furniture:

Straight citrus oil (can be purchased everwhere) on a lint free rag. Citrus oil is very inexpensive!

Here is a great tip (especally if you have kids): for crayon marks, spilled candle wax, and residue left from tape and other adhesive, dab with mineral oil and wipe gently with a rag. Mineral oil is the main ingredient of many commercial products that advertise the removal of greasy wax stains and marks.

So that's it, that is whats under my kitchen sink right now. Nothing toxic, nothing that will harm our environment, nothing expensive, nothing I wouldn't have in the house anyways! Does anyone have and recipes or advice they would like to share? I would be honored to post and organic cleaning recipes and tips here, just e-mail me and let me know!

Cleaning organically and proud of it? Feel free to post the picture below, and add the following link to these recipes for all your blogging friends to see. All you need to do, is save this picture to your desktop, then when your customizing your blog side gadgets, add a picture, browse for it on your desktop, and add the "link" below! Easy Peazy! Share these wonderful recipes with your friends!

Here is the handy dandy link:

http://endeavorsandsuch.blogspot.com/2009/05/organic-cleaning.html

Happy cleaning everyone!

Embrace your grimy journey ;)

18 comments:

Bohemian Single Mom said...

This is great stuff here Bret!
I love it!!!
Now I have no more excuses to delay my spring cleaning:)
While my cleaning supplies mainly consist of the same stuff, I am loving all your recipes with the lemon, etc. And I LOVE the smell of tea tree oil...smells clean and natural.
And ORGANIC vinegar!!! Cool.
Also need to pick up some liquid castile at the health food store...I love how well that stuff works!
Added your cool little gadget to my sidebar!
Thanks!

Ayre said...

I'll definitely have to try some of these...especially after the comet addiction wears off lol...

CrystalChick said...

Yikes, I cleaned my toilet today with Comet. :(
Ah but I do have some enviro friendly glass and surface cleaner that's lavender scented. :)
I try to buy better products when I can. We haven't gone organic eating either, but I definitely use some yummy things. And our weather being better now will bring the farm markets!

I sometimes make a blend of baking soda and essential oils for the rugs maybe with lemongrass or orange. Lots of others are good too. The baking soda is great before vacuuming for absorbing all sorts of odors ... we do have pets... and kids.... and parties.... and the oils just make it smell wonderful.

mrsb said...

That's exactly the brand of Castile Soap I buy :O) One bottle just last forever! Plus, I love reading the bottle, lol.

I have to admit, I do buy a general purpose cleaner for every day use, but it's a brand that is very eco friendly - anything you could clean with water, you can clean with this cleaner. It has grapefruit oil in it, and I am a sucker for the smell!

When I really want to go full throttle cleaning, though, it's always vinegar and tea tree. Such great cleaners!

rock, paper, scissors said...

Bret,

You are a treasure trove of info! I would like to try some of these cleaning supplies. I've got some time coming up soon and my house will really appreciate all the good cleaning!

xo
Jane

Faith said...

Good for you going green!! And actually, the stuff cleans pretty darn well. Thanks for posting more ideas for me to try, and thanks also for commenting on my blog. ;-) I am going to be checking out Star Trek soon, I hope!

Cheers!!

iGoddess' evil shoe-loving twin said...

*HUGE, GINORMOUS HUGS*

I love you. =) Thank you for your comment, hon. Seriously.

Dia said...

What great list & recipes!

I, too, clean green - a fav. for drains is to sprinkle with baking soda, then pour in some vinegar - & let it burble away awhile, then flush with hot water. Doesn't disolve hair, but does flush out dirt & grease.

I keep a spritz bottle with water/vinegar mix for counters etc, & love our fairly local 'bio-klean' products (Vanc. WA - I'm in Oregon) for laundry & dishes :) & thanks for the linky!
Hope you do try the granola - it's so easy & yummy

Hugs

Bohemian Single Mom said...

You should get in touch with Nydia...I know she wants to see this post now that you've got it up.
:)))

Eco Yogini said...

We were just trying to figure out a non-harmful way to clean our oven (as we don't have any chemical cleaners in our home) and found that most chemical oven cleaners have baking soda as their main ingredient! I'm forwarding along your recipe to my fiancé :)

I'm allergic to tea tree oil (one of the 0.1% of the population who is) so that's out for me.. weird huh?

Grace said...

My mom (http://marjean-gettingbacktobasics.blogspot.com/) told me about your blog. Thanks for the cleaning tips--I was looking for one for the stove.

Nydia said...

I finally mamaged to post your gadget! And also to print the recipes to take them home...

Kisses!

Tresa said...

I can't wait to make some to use ... maybe no more allergies :)
hey you might want to try this out it's not a cleaning thing for your house but more for yourself.

1/4 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 Cup Dry Oatmeal
2 tsp Honey

Apply to face and let sit for 10 min than rince. A silky facial :)

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Maureen said...

This stuff is great! I've been using vinager to clean my house for a while but I never knew you could use it to wash clothes. Yeah for more frugal living! Thanks for sharing this. :)

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