I managed to convince everyone that we needed to take an almost family portrait, minus Bethany. This will be the last picture without grandchildren as Matt and Sheena are expecting their first in February. Yep, I'm going to be a Nanna to a little girl. I am quite excited!
Now the holiday is over and it is time to get back to work. For today's How-to Tuesday I am starting a series on detoxifying your cleaning supplies. I went on a rampage many, many years ago to get toxic chemicals out of my home. It has been over 20 years now since I first started realizing that companies, advertisers and the government who was supposed to make sure products were safe for my family really didn't care about making sure we were safe. No, I'm not a paid-up member of the tin hat society; but when government-speak starts saying things like "balancing the health of Canadians against the need to protect jobs". and "industry self-regulation, works to protect everyone". Well, the little hairs on the back of my neck start to twitch. (Well, back then my hairs started to twitch, now it produces a gag reflex!)
So back then I started making my own soap and basic household cleaners. Searching old books and some of the magazines available allowed me to cobble together recipes and tips. Speaking with elderly ladies in the neighbourhood was a great source of information and searching what was the internet then allowed me to connect people who were looking for the same information. It was a slow process, but over the years I replaced the toxic goo with healthier products. Trial and error have helped me fine-tune the recipes and now my house functions on healthier and effective cleaning products. The products I make today are very different from the ones I started out with. I have learned to utilize the properties of the different ingredients and this allows me to make cleaners for every day as well as for specific issues. Over the next few days, I will show you how to make basic cleaners and also show you which chemicals to avoid, and why. I will also look at which ingredients to use for specific problems.
Today we are going to start with my favourite general purpose cleaner. This is a liquid cleaner, meant to replace items such as Mr. Clean, Lysol, and Pine-Sol. It is great for cleaning the kitchen and bath; the counter-tops, stovetop, sinks, and almost all other surfaces. It is quick and easy to make and costs pennies on the dollar over the toxic commercial cleaners.
This solution is effective to use as is, however, if you prefer to add essential oils you can do so now. Roughly 30 drops of essential oil of your choice for this volume of cleaner. I tend to vary the oils I use depending upon what and when I am cleaning. Especially when dealing with those situations that arise out of homesteading 'activities'. For instance, last week we finished butchering the last of this year's meat birds; when we were done for the day, I mixed up a batch of cleaner and added 15 drops of Rosemary and 15 drops of Tea Tree oil for the antimicrobial properties. I used this to clean the entire kitchen.
I am not meticulous about over cleaning, I have always believed that we do our loved ones a disservice by cleaning everything with antibiotic cleansers. I think the key to a healthy robust immune system is to let it get exposed to *gasp* germs. This said, I am also not an idiot, and if you are butchering animals there will be bacteria that you do not mess around with, therefore I cleaned the kitchen with a cleaner containing tea tree and rosemary. If I were cleaning up a greasy mess in the kitchen I would add orange oil as it is great for cutting through grease. It is great for washing up greasy hands and sinks when the menfolk are working with machinery. Once you are done mixing your cleaner apply a label and it is ready to use.