Hey everybody, as promised today I am going to share my recipes for effective alternative cleaners, because making your own cleaners is great but if they aren't effective you will not continue to use them.
These recipes have evolved over many years and all have been tested in our farm family of seven; and believe me my four boys know how to test.
Let's get started with the easy one, glass cleaner. Yep, good old vinegar and water. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar for every litre of water. If you have tried this before and been less than impressed with the results try mixing the vinegar with HOT water, not boiling but close. You may also need to add a 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide OR 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol to the mix to remove the film left by commercial brands. I even use this in my car and truck instead of commercial window cleaners. When making this for the car, always add the rubbing alcohol; it helps with the bug bits in summer and keeps the liquid from freezing in the winter.
I'll admit it, this as my last hold out. I could never find a liquid dish detergent recipe that worked for me. It wasn't until I found a recipe for "household cleaning soap" in an old book that I found a effective soap.
You will need a bar of plain, plant based cold processed soap. I make my own but you should be able to find some at your local health food store. Water, washing soda and essential oils are optional.
Start by grating your soap with an old cheese grater, or a new one from the dollar store. You will need 1/2 cup of these soap flakes. Add 1 1/2 cups of hot water to the soap and stir until the flakes dissolve. Mix in 1- 1.5 Tablespoons of washing soda. The amount will vary depending on your water hardness and personal preference. You can pour everything into an old bottle and use as you would any other dish soap.
All purpose scrubbing powder,
Mix baking soda and water to form a paste. This will replace products like Comet and S.O.S. pads. It removes any burnt on foods in my stainless steel pans as well as cleaning countertops and stove tops.
This is also what I clean my oven with. When you use natural products to clean your oven you have to stay on top of spills. Wiping them the day they happen instead of letting them bake in. If you have a particularly stubborn spot try adding some salt to your paste for more scrubbing power.
This is an all purpose soft scrub I use for cleaning the tub, toilets and sinks.
You will need:
2 cups baking soda, 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup of the dishwashing soap above and some antibacterial essential oil such as lavender, tea tree or rosemary (optional)
Mix everything in a glass jar, I use a mason jar, and store in your cupboard. If you find the mixture dries out you can add a little water.
Powdered Laundry Soap:
You will need more of the vegetable based cold processed soap grated into flakes, some borax and washing soda and essential oils (optional).
Mix 1 cup of soap flakes and 1/2 cup EACH of borax and washing soda. If you want to skip the borax add equal parts of soap flakes and washing soda. Mix well and add essential oils if desired, 10 - 15 drops will suffice. Use 1 - 2 Tablespoons per load. You can use this as is or make a 'liquid' laundry soap by placing the dry ingredients in a bucket and adding 2 gallons of hot water. Stir until soap dissolves then let cool. You soap will be more of a gel than a liquid. Use 1/2 cup for regular loads and 3/4 cup for extra dirty loads.
These are my staple cleaners, they are the every day workhorses of the homestead and I can tweak these to make more potent products if needed. Give some of them a try, you don't need to start using all of them at once, but you can! As your current products run out try one of these alternatives, they might make cleaning fun or at least interesting!
Have great day everyone