As a researcher the idea of making my own house cleaning products takes me back to those chemistry labs I suffered through in high school. The lighting bunsen burners and measuring chemicals in beakers are stained into my memories.
But now I get to go back just mixing different solutions together to make my own house cleaning products. This time though, I'm having more fun doing it. And - I don't have to worry about a failing grade.
Here are a few of my goto ingredients:
I 100% stand by vinegar. This is a great and useful solvent that can be used to clean just about anything. Vinegar is great full strength or diluted a little bit. No matter what you are trying to clean, you can do it with vinegar's power behind it. You can use vinegar diluted with water to clean your windows and mirrors. You can also use it to clean your countertops and bathroom surfaces. This will kill the bacteria and make your items shine.
Vinegar is also great full strength on your stainless steel products. You can also use it in your toilet bowls and on your floors. It will take away the bacteria and also get your floors to shine the way that you want them to.
Baking soda is another great one to use in homemade cleaning products. This is a great product that you can use to clean your sinks. Just dump a little baking soda down the drain followed by a little bit of vinegar and you will have a bubbling cleaning product that will not only clean but sanitize. You can use baking soda in the oven with a little bit of ammonia as well. Place a bowl filled with baking soda and ammonia in the oven and close the door. This will help to freshen it up and loosen the grime that is attached to the inside.
There are so many other things that you can come up with. All you have to do is have a little bit of imagination and thought behind it. You can make just about any kind of cleaner that you need without going out and buying the harsh and overly priced ones from the store. You will have fun creating and coming up with your own homemade cleaning products.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some recipes to get you started:
In a 16 ounce spray bottle, mix vinegar with borax. Fill bottle halfway with very hot water. Shake until borax is dissolved. Add liquid soap or detergent. You may add essential oil, such as lavender, eucalyptus, or rosemary. Choose something medicinal-smelling over sweet-smelling, so that it can stand up to the odor of vinegar.
This formula will not create a lot of "suds," but it does the trick! Commercial soap makers use cheap industrial chemicals - mainly sodium laureth sulfate - to create the foaming action of your soap, but it does not mean it is any more effective at cleaning.
It really is a psychological marketing tactic - an illusion, if you think about it. Your dishwasher detergent does not foam, but your liquid dish soap does. The dishwasher soap is really much stronger, in order to be able to perform effectively. So is it important that sink version foams? In a word, "No."
It should be noted that some people develop sensitivity to the sodium laureth sulfate over time, because of over-exposure. It really is everywhere you look - hand soap, shampoo, dish soap, laundry detergent, bubble bath. If you have allergies and sensitivities, you may want to try the following formula:1/4 cup soap flakes*
Combine soap flakes and water and stir until the soap is dissolved. Cool until lukewarm.
Add the glycerin and the essential oil, and stir well. As the formula cools, it will begin to form into a gel. Using a fork or whisk, break up the gel, and pour into a squeeze bottle. (A funnel will be of great help.) Reuse an old dish soap or shampoo bottle for the container.
To use, simply squirt 3 into hot running water in the sink. Use with hot water. Do not use it in automatic dishwashers, because the agitation will make it foam up too much and cause the things that are supposed to spin in the dishwasher to get slowed down or stopped by the foam.
*If you cannot find packaged soap flakes, buy castile soap from a natural foods store or from the internet and use a box grater to turn it into flakes
Dissolve soap flakes with 3 pints of water over medium heat, until dissolved (about five minutes.) Stir in the washing soda and borax. When it begins to thicken, remove from heat. In a two-gallon bucket, put a quart of hot tap water, and then add the soap mixture. Mix well.
Fill the bucket to the top with cold water. Stir well, and pour into storage containers (use a funnel.) Since it can separate with sitting, shake the storage container well before using. Use 1/2 cup per load. (You may need less with a front-load/high efficiency machine.)
Washing soda is essentially sodium carbonate (in the same family as baking soda.) Since it has a pH of 11, it can damage surfaces, as well as eyes and skin, so take proper precautions. Do not use on aluminium or fibreglass. Be sure to read and follow all manufacturers' instructions.
However, if the memories of chemistry labs are still to much for you, there is the option to look into some natural cleaning products.
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