Monday, March 15, 2010

And it smells like Easter eggs!

Mr. Spaniel and I often joke about needing a counselor for our green disputes—I get really annoyed sometimes when he chides me for using plastic "Tupperware"-like containers for my lunch, while he fails to appreciate the genius that is my request for a more vegan lifestyle. I think his "greenness" is motivated by health concerns, whereas mine are more ethical/environmental (and sometimes financial). But we both agreed that commercially-available household cleaners are just bad, and, as I mentioned last week that I make my own household cleaners.

Even though I saw the need, giving up my Windex, Clorox and 409 was kind of rough. I'm kind of a neat freak, and I have a thing for Old English lemon-scented furniture polish and freshly-bleached toilet bowls (yes, really). I wasn't totally on-board yet when he picked up a book of organic and homemade "recipes" from the library that he thought would work just as well. Happily, I was wrong! They work just as well, they're safe to to keep around the house (no fumes to hurt you, babies or pets!), and they're really inexpensive to boot! I'll share the recipe for a few of my go-tos, and you can try them for yourself.

Almost all of the recipes I've found revolve around water, vinegar, and essential oils. We get our essential oils online, but they sell them at Whole Foods, too.

All-purpose cleaner
I use this one on tiles, tubs, glass, and spot cleaning on the floor. It's pretty much good for just about any household surface except for wood (and it's okay for that, too).
- Distilled water
- Vinegar
Mix in equal parts. I store it in a spray bottle, so it's always ready to go.

Kitchen and bathroom "scrub"
- Water
- Baking soda
This seriously works on everything, and better than my soft scrub bleaches ever did. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the area you want to clean (for me it's usually burned food on the stove or a pan!), and scrub with the abrasive side of a damp sponge. Just don't spray the all-purpose cleaner on it like I stupidly did at first; they neutralize each other and nothing gets cleaned.

Wood cleaner/polish
- All-purpose cleaner
- Olive oil
- Rosemary essential oil (antiseptic) (optional)
Put a few drops of olive oil and rosemary essential oil on a cloth, spray the wood with the all-purpose cleaner, and rub the oils in. Easy!

If you'd like more "recipes," the best resource I've found is Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living, which has an organic version of pretty much everything I ever use at home, including some really good skincare mixes.

Let me know if you try any of these!


  1. We make all our own cleaners too, primarily the first two you mentioned. Simple, cheap, and my allergies have improved sooooo much (many store-bought cleaners are just toxic.)
    And we're currently battling on the vegetarian lifestyle (my push) so I get where you're coming from.

  2. I love using Vinegar to clean - Nana & Mom did too. Mr. B HATES HATES the smell - even if I add oils & burn candles after. I mostly use Murphy's & Trader Joe's now.


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