Guest Post by Kari Patterson
Months ago I printed SPRING CLEANING across this week in my calendar. I’ve looked forward to it for months. No, don’t love cleaning, but I do love having cleaned. I love having a home of peace, order, and beauty. Not perfect, not spotless, but fresh and fun. I feel happier when things are reasonably clean and as my husband says, “A happy wife is a happy life.”
Now here’s the thing — I don’t think any of us love cleaning, so how can we make the whole thing more enjoyable? For me, I feel better about my cleaning when I feel better about my cleaners. A simple switch to natural, homemade household cleaners can be better for the environment, better for your body, better for your budget, and beautiful to boot.
:: Better for the environment
“Conventional cleaners seep into our water, and it’s difficult for water treatment plants to handle a large volume of these chemicals. Many cleaners are also petroleum-based, which further depletes our natural resources.” (Simple Mom)
:: Better for our bodies
Conventional cleaners pollute the air around us. Since many of us clean with children running around, we’re wise to keep the air clear of these harmful fumes. Natural homemade cleaners can be used while pregnant, used near children, and even used by children. A three-year-old, eager to help, can squirt a vinegar-and-water solution onto the floor as the two of you tackle chores together.
If natural cleaners enable my children to do more chores at a younger age, I’m sold!
:: Better for our budgets
Homemade cleaners cost pennies. Borax, washing soda, bar soap, and vinegar can make up most household cleaners. (Winco carries both Borax and Washing Soda in the laundry aisle.)
It sounds silly, but somehow a pretty bottle of clear-and-healthy-cleaner inspires me to clean much more than a neon-yellow bottle of Lysol that reeks of chemicals. So, I mix up the natural stuff and store it in Mrs. Meyers bottles.
For the laundry detergent, I mix up a large batch and keep it in a hot-chocolate tin covered with paper from an Anthroplogie catalog. Just a pretty little detergent-container can make sorting stinky socks a little more enjoyable.
How to make your own? My two favorite homemade cleaners are Tsh’s All-Purpose Cleaner and Dry Laundry Detergent.
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 gallon (1 liter) water
a few drops of essential oil (optional)
- Combine the ingredients, stir, and pour into a spray bottle.
- Optional: Add a few drops of essential oil. Tea tree essential oil has antiseptic properties, making it a winner for cleaners. But my favorite aromas come from orange, lemon, and lavender essential oils.
The base for this detergent is mild bars of soap. Here’s what I do with all those little bars of soap you use in hotels. You know how you usually use them once and then leave them in the shower? I put them in a baggy, bring them home, then keep them all in a big ziplock and make laundry detergent.
1 cup grated soap (see directions below)
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1 drop essential oil (optional)
- Take the mild, dry soap bars and toss them in the blender. Pulse until grated/powdery. (Be sure to wash the blender well afterward so your next smoothie doesn’t taste like Irish Spring.)
- Combine 1 cup of grated, dry soap with the borax and washing soda.
- Optional: Add 1 drop of essential oil. (I use rosemary oil and then dry clothes with Mrs. Meyer’s basil-scented dryer sheets. The laundry scent is heavenly; the price is even better!)
Leave a comment! What are your favorite all-natural cleaning products? How do you add beauty to your household cleaning routine?
Kari Patterson is pastor’s wifey, preschool mommy, writer, speaker, reader, blogger and frugal living enthusiast. She writes all about the beautiful mess of life over at KariPatterson.com.
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