Household cleansing products are one of the first things I went green on. I never cared for the overpowering smells, warning labels, and toxins that conventional cleaning agents required. Not to mention one could spend a small fortune on the variety of agents needed to clean your home. (Or at least the companies implied that you needed.) My transition to cleaning my house naturally was a gradual process with plenty of trial and error. I have perfected recipes that work best for me and meet my needs. In recent years, I have discovered the power of adding essential oils to my cleaning products and now they are a vital ingredient I could not do without. The cost of creating your own cleaning agents costs a fraction of buying conventional, providing an added bonus of saving you money!
Vinegar is my best friend when it comes to making my own cleaning supplies. White distilled vinegar is perfect for cleaning your home. It is an incredible disinfecting agent. It does have a smell, but I don't find it as offensive as conventional cleaners. I've come to associate the smell with clean... and it reminds me of Easter!
Tea Tree Oil, sometimes called Melaleuca oil, is another one of my favorites for cleaning. I love tea tree oil. It has a million different uses. It is beneficial for everything from treating acne to yeast infections. It has antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. However, you do not want to ingest it. I add it to almost all my cleaning supplies.
Lemon, Orange, Lemongrass, any citrus really, and Lavender are also excellent essential oils to have on hand for cleaning.
Here are my recipes for the cleaning products I use most often.
Wipe it Away Spray
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
¼ tsp. Natural soap, I often use Dr. Bronners, but dish soap will work fine
7-10 drops Tea Tree oil
7-10 drops Citrus essential oil or whatever essential oil you prefer. (Optional)
Pour all ingredients into a spray bottle and shake well to mix. I use this solution to do most of my cleaning. I use it to clean windows, mirrors, showers, bathroom counters, and toilets. I use it in the same way I would use a conventional disinfectant, spraying down my counter tops, door knobs, and more.
Conventional window cleaners leave a film on your windows and mirrors. The natural soap in this recipe removes the film. Once you go through your first bottle, the soap isn't imperative, but I usually add it anyway.
I typically add Orange essential oil to this because I like the fresh smell and citrus essential oils lighten earthy essential oils. Tea Tree gives an earthy smell by itself. You can add whatever essential oil you prefer or none at all. Citrus essential oils are energizing and can help naturally cut through grease. Be sure not to apply these oils directly to your skin.
To mop my kitchen floors:
1-2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
5-10 drops tea tree essential oil
5-10 drops citrus oil
I add the vinegar to a bucket and fill with warm water. Then, I add my essentials oils until I am satisfied with the aroma. The oils are not required. I mopped my floors for years just using water and vinegar, but the essential oils add an extra cleaning and disinfecting power and a pleasant scent.
To clean my wood floors and dust wood furniture:
I use this recipe for both my wood floors and furniture. The vinegar cleans and disinfects and the olive oil restores moisture. Apply lightly to wood floors using a damp mop. Apply to furniture using a damp cloth or sponge.
1 cup vinegar
1 cup olive oil
5-10 drops Orange or Lemon essential oil (optional)
I combine all ingredients in a squirt bottle and shake well. I add orange or lemon essential oil for aroma.
Scrubbing toilets and stove tops:
For jobs that require a scrubbing agent I simply use baking soda.
As you can see I use the same handful of ingredients over and over. You don't really need a huge assortment of cleaners cluttering your cabinets, posing a toxic threat to your family and pets. A small investment will provide for you a great deal of potential savings and a healthier home.