Natural Cleaning Recipes

  • Air Freshener / Deodorizer
  • All Purpose Cleaner
  • Auto Cleaner Recipes (Car Wash Solution, Window Cleaner, Chrome Cleaner, Tire Cleaner, Carpet and Upholstery Stain Remover, Interior Cleaner, Interior Protectant / Dressing, Windshield Washer Fluid, Car Wax)
  • Bleach Alternatives
  • Brass or copper cleaner
  • Can Opener Cleaner
  • Candle Wax Remover
  • Carpet Cleaners & Deodorizer (Carpet Spot Remover, Carpet Deodorizer/Freshener, Carpet Steam Cleaner Solution, Carpet Cleaner for Pet Accidents, Indoor / Outdoor Carpet Cleaner)
  • Coffee Maker Cleaner
  • Coffee and Teacups Stain Remover
  • Chrome Cleaner
  • Dishwasher Detergent
  • Dishwasher Rinse Agent
  • Dishwasher Cleaner
  • Disinfectants
  • Drain cleaner
  • Fireplace Cleaner
  • Floor Cleaner (For No-wax vinyl, Linoleum or Tile Floors)
  • Furniture polish
  • Fruit and Vegetable Wash
  • Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Deodorizer
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Grease Remover
  • Grout Cleaner
  • Laundry Recipes (Laundry Booster, Laundry Detergent, Fabric Softener)
  • Laundry Stain Removers (Blood Stain Remover, Coffee & Tea Stain, Remover, Crayon Remover, Deodorant Stain Remover, Grass Stain Remover, Grease Remover, Ink Stain Remover, Iron Scorch Mark Remover, Mustard Stain Remover, Rust Remover, Set-In Stain Remover, Sweat Stain Remover, Sugar-Based Stain Remover, Tomato Stain Remover, Vomit Stain Remover, Wine Stain Remover)
  • Label Remover
  • Litter Box Deodorizer
  • Metal Cleanser
  • Marble Cleaner
  • Microwave Oven Cleaner
  • Mineral Deposit Remover (Showerheads and Faucets)
  • Mold & Mildew Remover
  • Oven Cleaner
  • Porcelain Cleaner
  • Rust Remover
  • Scouring Cleanser
  • Scouring Powder
  • Shoe / Athletic Shoe Deodorizer
  • Shower and Tub Cleaner
  • Silver Cleaner
  • Stainless Steel Cleaner
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • Wallpaper Remover

 

Frugal & Natural Cleaning

Strong, toxic chemicals and petrochemicals are making their way intoour homes and water supply. Although we can’t completely control what others do, we can make small changes in our lives to reduce these dangerous chemicals in our homes, gardens, and communities. One way to do this is by using homemade cleaners as our ancestors did, even though they at times require a bit more elbow grease. There are many inexpensive and healthier alternatives to the array of commercial cleaners on the market today.

With just a few common household ingredients many general and specialty cleaners can easily and inexpensively be made. Below are some basic ingredients you will need as well as cleaning supplies to create your homemade cleaning kit. Always make sure to label the bottles of your homemade cleaners.

Natural Cleaning Ingredients:

White Vinegar (Acetic Acid):

White distilled vinegar (other vinegars can stain) is one of my favorite cleaning ingredients for it’s versatility. It is highly useful in cleaning most surfaces, removing mineral and soap deposits, cutting grease, removing stains, disinfecting, and also has many laundry and gardening uses.

Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate):

Baking soda is an all purpose, non-toxic cleaner. It’s mild abrasive with many cleaning, stain removal, freshening and deodorizing purposes.

Salt:

Salt is a stronger abrasive helpful in those tough situations. Care should be taken not to scratch delicate surfaces.

Borax (Sodium Borate):

Borax is a natural mineral that kills mold and bacteria. An alternative to bleach, it deodorizes, removes stains and boosts the cleaning power of soap. Borax can be found under the name 20 Mule Team, in the laundry aisle or at Soaps Gone Buy.

Note: label any cleaner made with borax, since it is mildly toxic.

Cornstarch:

Cornstarch can be used to starch clothes, as well as absorbing oils and grease.

Essential Oils:

Essential oils can be used for disinfecting, medicinal, and fragrance. They can easily be found in most health food stores.

Note: Do not confuse with fragrance oils, which are not natural.

Lemon Juice (Citric Acid):

Lemon juice can be used to cut through grease and remove perspiration and other stains from clothing. It is used as a bleach alternative.

Castile soap:

Castile soap can be purchased at a health food store. This is an all natural soap made from vegetable oils (mostly olive oil).

Washing Soda (Sodium Carbonate):

Cleans clothes, softens water, cuts grease and disinfects. It also increases the cleaning power of soap. Washing soda is available at Soaps Gone Buy.

Cleaning Supplies:

  • Sponges
  • Old towels, hand towels, and dish towels
  • Old newspapers (great for cleaning windows)
  • Old toothbrushes

NOTE: Sponges can be easily cleaned and disinfected by soaking in white vinegar overnight (the acetic acid in the vinegar will kill germs), microwaving for 1 minute or my favorite washing in the dishwasher.

 

Working Together

In past generations communities regularly worked together. Chores andgoods were regularly shared with others, and anything extra was given away without a second thought. For instance, my great-grandmother would clean her best friends home and she would make the clothes for our family. When my uncles did well on a hunting or fishing trip, anything out family could not use would be given away. Waste was something not done in that time as it is today. Current generations have a lot they can learn from our ancestors.

  • Go together with others to make purchases at big box stores – Not everyone will have the space to store large quantities of paper products or canned goods. By sharing those large purchases, multiple families can benefit from the large quantity savings.
  • Barter / Trade chores with others– We all have different strengths and weaknesses; things we like and dislike to do, why not make the best out of the situation and trade duties with others in your family or community. This may be something you do for a career, a hobby of yours or just something you don’t mind doing as much as your neighbor does. Some options are:
    • Cutting hair
    • Styling hair or a make over for a special event
    • Sewing or mending
    • Cooking
    • Shopping
    • Painting
    • Auto maintenance
    • Lawn mowing / landscaping
    • Pool work
    • Housekeeping
    • Child care
    • Tutoring
    • Personal trainer
    • Computer work
  • Dinner Sharing – Organize a group of friends that share in cooking dinner on weeknights. Dinners can be made ahead and delivered on or before the desired night. It’s almost a quick to make 1 lasagna as 2, so share one with a friend, and they can return the favor. With some prior planning, 5 families can share the responsibility and only cook 1 night per week. When organizing such an group, detail has to be made to the family’s style of eating and any food allergies. Vegetarians and meat lovers don’t mix well in a group like this. It may take some time to gather the right mix, but well worth the effort in the long run.
  • Childcare Sharing – Most families with small children would love a night out with the adults. Organize a group of parents to share in the responsibility. Gather a few friends that also have children and take turns with the childcare duties each Friday or Saturday night. A group of four families would yield the duty about once a month, and a night out a week the rest of the month without the babysitter fees. It’s also a good idea to balance if the children get along well together and if all have similar parenting styles.
  • Clothing Exchanges – Many times there are items in our closet that we just don’t enjoy wearing for some reason. They are in good repair, but it would be nice to have something new (or at least new to us). Why not have a clothing exchange? Gather up your gently worn items, bring them to the exchange and choose from the items that others have brought. Everyone gets a new look to take home with them. Organizations such as Clothing Swap, Swap-O-Rama-Rama, and Buffalo Exchange set up these exchange events. Or you can host your own exchange. Invite friends, set a minimum number of pieces for each to bring, and enjoy the trading.

 

Frugal Cooking

Cooking at home is one of the best ways to manage the grocery budget. Frugal shopping for the ingredients further helps. Not only will you be saving money, but you can eat more nutritionally, by eating at home and knowing what is really going into your and your family’s diet.

  • Plan your meals ahead of time – Take a look at what is on sale each week, and plan your meals around sale items such as meat, chicken, etc. Typically, each store will have the basic items on sale once per month.
  • Cook seasonal produce – Not only is seasonal produce less expensive, it often tastes better since it doesn’t have to be shipped great distances (often from other countries to have a different climate than where you are located).
  • Buy local – Buying locally produced foods are less expensive since they require less fuel to reach your table. Farmer’s Markets (local market’s in your area can be found at Local Harvest) and Pick Your Own Farms (local farm listings are at Pick Your Own) are great locations to purchase fresh produce that’s locally grown and picked while it’s at the peak of flavor. Some supermarkets also provide regional products.
  • Plant a vegetable garden – This is the most economical source for high-quality produce.
  • Use coupons and store sales – Find bargains on your favorite items. If you don’t get the Sunday paper for circulars, you can usually find the items on sale at your favorite grocery store’s web site.
  • Do the prep work – The bagged salad greens, prepared produce, and shredded cheese are much more expensive than already prepared items. This convenience can really add up on the bottom line of your grocery bill, and add increased risk of contamination at the processing plants. It takes a minute to cut up a head of broccoli and can be about half the price of purchasing the cut up flowerets. Setting aside an hour our two a week and to do the slicing, chopping, and shredding (if you can get the kids involved, that’s even better). Preparing these items yourself will provide you with both the cost savings and the convenience when you need it (trying to put together a quick dinner after work or grabbing a healthy snack).
  • Stock up when prices are good – Stock the freezer and pantry when frequently used items go on sale.
  • Reduce waste – When you roast a whole chicken or turkey, use the bones and a few vegetables to make a stock and freeze for future use.

 

Charitable Giving

Reuse your unwanted items by giving them to friends, family or a charity. For unneeded items that are still in good condition, think of someone else that may be able to use it. If you can’t think of a friend or family member that would like the clothes that no longer fit you or that old refrigerator, consider one of the many charities that could use your item(s). With a little creativity, can both clean our your house and be useful to someone else.

Clothes:

Think of charities like Goodwill Industries, The Salvation Army, or church organizations; or giving to friends, family or offering at freecycle.org. We all lose and gain weight or just get tired of items that are still if very wearable condition. Why not share them with others that can use them?

Books & Magazines:

Welcomed at Goodwill Industries and The Salvation Army. You may also want to check with nursing homes, hospitals, or abuse shelters to see if they take these donations.

Appliances:

Some utility companies give homeowners a credit to dispose of old refrigerators or freezers since those older than 10 years are not energy efficient. If your old appliance contains a large amount of steel, it may be processed to make new products. Call your municipal waste collection service or utility company for recycle sites.

Batteries:

Don’t throw away your old rechargeable batteries and cell phones. When the rechargeable batteries in your laptop computer, cell or cordless phone, digital camera, camcorder, or cordless power tools finally run out of juice, recycle them. It’s an easy way to do something good for the environment. Visit Call 2 Recycle to find a rechargeable battery collection site near you.

Construction Materials:

Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores accept most new and good-quality used construction materials, such as cabinets, laminate floors, doors, windows, drywall, roofing materials, paint, lumber, and working appliances, says spokesperson Katie Evans. Or check with local theater and high school production companies, which might be able to use materials for building sets.

Computers:

“One computer monitor can contain three to eight pounds of lead and other heavy metals – toxic substances that can end up in soil and water,” says Marti Matsch, spokesperson for Eco-Cycle, a non-profit recycler in Boulder, Colorado. Save important information on a CD or memory stick, then use a data-wiping software program, or have a qualified technician clear your computer’s hard drive. To donate, check with local charities, or log on to the National Cristina Foundation, enter the computer’s basic specifications, then be matched with a non-profit organization that can use the equipment for training or job development. The computer needn’t always be in working order because many organizations refurbish them.

Cell phones and office supplies:

Most cell phone companies will recycle old phones, or you can donate them to organizations such as the Charitable Recycling Program. You select the local or national charity, which receives cash or a merchandise credit. Some retailers also have free drop-offs for electronic equipment. For example, Best Buy stores contain recycling kiosks that accept cell phone, rechargeable batteries, ink-jet cartridges, PDAs, DVDs, and CDs. Staples has a similar program, and they also recycle larger items like PCs, monitors, and printers for a fee of $10 per piece; associated equipment like keyboards and mouses are free. For TVs, speakers, and VCRs, find a local drop-off site and recycling events at My Green Electronics. Manufacturers such as Sony offer drop-off locations at waste management sites in nearly 20 states for almost any electric item, including small appliances like blenders, toasters, and irons. Sony products are recycled for free; others are recycled for a per-pound fee.

Exercise Equipment:

Goodwill Industries and The Salvation Army will typically accept exercise equipment, but this will typically require you to transport the items. Offering the items through freecycle.org is a great option in this case, especially for large items. The interested individuals from freecycling will gladly pick it up from your home for you.