You may (or may not) remember I wrote a while back about my goal to decrease the number of chemicals in our house. That post was from back in November, but I am happy to say I have finally have a follow-up post for you (we can blame the holidays)!
My main goal was twofold: to make cleaning solutions that were non-toxic and to use more natural shampoos, body wash, etc. I have many reasons for doing this, but my number one reason was Henry. I have done a lot to give him what I consider the healthiest start to life: I exercised (sometimes) and ate well (some days) while pregnant, we breastfed for 21 months, I made a lot of his baby food back in the day, and now I mostly buy him organic food. I know I am not perfect all the time and quite frankly I don’t even try to be, but I do make an effort when I can. I also know that these lifestyle changes are not options for everyone and I certainly don’t judge people who do it a different way. I am just trying to be the mama I want to be…80% of the time (the other 20% I am feeding Henry Domino’s pizza and looking the other way when he I realize he hasn’t had a vegetable in two weeks).
So, I did my research and decided that I wanted to give the homemade cleaners a test run since this fit into my general vision of trying to avoid unnecessary chemicals in Henry’s life (and ours too). There are so many good formulas and recipes out there, but I will share what I have made and what works for us. I have also linked each title to my pinterest pins, because let’s be honest, my little brain didn’t think these up themselves. Many thanks for people braver than me to have invented these solutions!!
What you’ll need:
If you make all of these cleaners, then you will need to buy:
- Spray bottles (scored mine from the dollar store)
- White vinegar
- Washing soda (found in your supermarket’s cleaning section. I found a huge box and only needed 1/2 teaspoon - bummer! - so see if you can scrounge some off that sweet old lady on your street. Because in my head, all sweet old ladies have this kind of stuff.)
- Castile soap (again a small amount. Borrow from a friend?)
- Essential oils (such as orange, lemon, tea tree oil)
- Lemon juice
- Consider buying distilled water as it has been filtered more. Or not. Whatevs. It’s what the internets told me.
- A funnel to get everything neatly poured into your spray bottles – for the love of gawd, buy a funnel! Otherwise you will find yourself in my shoes, where I had no such tool and had to fashion one out of a paper plate. See below. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked!
I am not proud, but it got me through the day…
3 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon washing soda
1/2 teaspoon castile soap
2 cups hot water
Mix and use! This does bubble so do over a sink and leave some room in your bottle. This is now my go-to cleaner and I love it. It totally cleans and leaves a light lavender scent, which is the castile soap that I used. I really don’t like how a room smells like a harsh chemical cleaner after a deep clean, and this solution takes care of that problem. I have nothing bad to say about this one.
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water (I used distilled, but not sure if that makes a difference…)
8 drops essential oil
Again, mix and use. This cleaned my mirrors in a most lovely way. The initial aroma was a little heavy on the vinegar, but it quickly dissipated. I may consider adding just a bit more essential oil to solve that “problem” but again it wasn’t really an issue.
1/2 cup lemon juice1 cup water
I wrote this recipe and instructions right on my bottle so I would remember that I need to let it soak for five minutes before rinsing clean. Excuse my crappy handwriting. I used this on our glass shower doors and again it worked great. The shower cleaner that I used before was a nightmare and was the reason I hated cleaning our bathroom – it would smell so strong that I would have to hold my breath while scrubbing, then stick my head out of the shower, and then go back in. It would smell for hours afterwards too, even with the fan running. So talk about bathroom NIRVANA when I didn’t feel like I was suffocating while scrubbing my shower!!
(Little side note: I am including the recipes for the solutions I got from this awesome little book, The Pantry Cleaner. If you are going to use them though, consider buying her book. There’s tons more good stuff in it and I think it’s worth paying $7.99 for on Amazon – or free if you are a Prime member like me! Support the authors, I say…)
1 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide
1 cup water
The key is to allow this to site for one hour and then rinse clean. I used this in our shower and did it first so by the time I was done with my cleaning I just went back and rinsed. This is the only solution I am writing about that only gets a so-so rating, and it may be because our shower is grouted in an amateurish way. I did need to really scrub and even then there was still some mold that I shot at with the store-bought stuff, but this may just be because our shower really needs new grout. I do recommend you try it, and considering how few ingredients it uses it won’t bust your budget to give it a whirl.
The other stuff
I originally was going to make my own toilet bowl cleaner, but my husband had just bought Seventh Generation’s version of this and it worked like a charm, so until that runs out I’ll keep using it. As for shampoo, body wash, conditioner, body lotion, and dishwashing detergent I have become a big fan of The Honest Company’s products. The smell of the shower products are AMAZING and all their products are free of nasty chemicals, so much so that I use them all on Henry (not the dishwashing detergent obviously!). I have signed up for their service where every 4-6 weeks (depending on what you select) they will send you five products for a set price. I recommend you check them out and give them a try – they do send you a sample pack so you can have a risk-free trial. I am going to give their hand soap a try with my next shipment and will let you know what I think.
My overall review and tips
This stuff works, is super quick to assemble (done in one naptime, folks), my house doesn’t stink like harsh chemicals, I am not worried about Henry licking the tub after I’ve cleaned it, AND you save a ton of money. The most expensive stuff is the essential oil, and I use these a lot in other areas so I already had them. Even if you need to buy them, I think they are a nice little investment and still in the long run will be cheaper than needing to buy lots of commercial cleaning supplies.
I do recommend you stay organized so as not to get overwhelmed (which pinterest site did I love?!?!). I made a fancy little chart (seen in this post) so I could remember what I used and what I liked/didn’t like.
And buy a funnel.