Many, many moons ago I resolved to stop buying pre-made, bottled cleaning supplies and try out some of the super-simple 'recipes' that are always popping up on homemaking blogs (to prove exactly how many moons ago this decision was made, I just came across an email to myself from September 24, 2010 with the beseeching subject line "MAKE THIS!" in which I listed several links for cleaning concoctions I think I should make).
I should also mention that since discovering that we were with child last fall we completely abandoned using any cleaning agents around the house (aside from soap for dishes). That means for about 8 months I've been using lots of muscles and effort to scrub down the bathroom and kitchen with nothing but rags and hot, hot water. Obviously this is not the best- nor the preferred- method of keeping a healthy, clean living space.
Well it only took the better part of a year, but after a shopping spree for some essential items, I finally set aside a morning to boil, stir and brew up three cheap, easy, and non-hazardous cleaning agents for our household use.
Concoction #1: All-purpose Cleaner
In my pursuit of a chemical-free, fresh-smelling and disinfecting all-purpose spray I first wanted to try a recipe from Ashley English. I mixed up 32 oz of it this morning in less than 10 minutes and immediately (and eagerly) went to work in the bathroom. I decided to use lemon essential oil because I think most of us associate "clean" smells with citrus-y products. I have to say that the bathroom smells fresh, the counter tops are aglow, and I've found a winner of a cleaner! Try it for yourself!
Concoction #2: Diaper Wipe Solution
Luke and I are planning to cloth-diaper our baby. I hope to write more about that decision and also the learning curve in the future. But for now I'll just say that we are excited to try cloth-diapering both for its economical and ecological benefits. Not only are our diapers reusable, but so are our diaper wipes, which means that I am planning to use some sort of liquid that will moisten the cloth wipes, soothe the baby's bum, and also serve as a cleaner/disinfectant. My sister-in-law makes her own spray using some combination of Dr. Bronner's Baby Soap and water. So simple! I decided to try something very similar (if not a bit more complicated) for the Little Oyster's little bum.
The diaper wipe solution took about 1/2 hour to make (since you have to let the boiled water cool), but I doubled the recipe and it's sitting in a canning jar just waiting for the baby to arrive! I haven't yet decided whether to a) keep it in the canning jar and dip in the wipes when necessary b) place a bunch of wipes in a bigger container and cover them with the solution (just like the disposable wipes come) or c) invest in a bpa-free spray bottle. I'm guessing a little trial and error will be helpful in making that decision when the time comes.
Concoction #3: Laundry Detergent
A few months ago another sister-in-law undertook making her own laundry detergent and reported back to me with rave reviews. Apparently this is one of the simplest and cheapest homemade cleaning agents to make. I bought the three ingredients for $11 and it produced 10 gallons of wonderful smelling, delightfully thick and gel-like laundry detergent. Oh, and it took less than an hour to make! The solution has to sit over night to cool and thicken some more, so obviously I haven't got to try it yet. But I can't wait to see how it works! In the meantime I'm going to take this blog's word for it and say that it is well worth the $11 and 1 hour.
After an invigorating morning I'm feeling inspired to clean, clean, clean! We'll see how much actually gets done, but at least for now cleaning is something to look forward to rather than something to dread! Do any of you have favorite cleaning supplies or tips like these? If so, feel free to pass them along!