Monday, July 12, 2010
After reviewing Life's Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets, I came across Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck. I am extremely impressed with this book. It covers a wide range of topics, including clearing clutter, cleaning kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, laundry, lawns and more--all with natural products, which usually save you money and are safer for your home (and kids) than their chemical-laden counterparts. Regardless of where one falls on the "green" spectrum, this book is quite balanced. I appreciate all the ideas for how to use vinegar, baking soda, Borax, hydrogen peroxide, and more.
Here are a few of my favorite ideas for homemade cleaners:
Dishwasher Detergent: make your own using an equal amount of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and 20 Mule Team Borax. (I used 1 c. of each and stored my mixture in an empty pickle jar). This works well, although my glass came out a little cloudy. Be sure to use vinegar or a rinse agent.
Showers: Remove soap scum with Borax (wet the surface, and scrub with a brush dipped in Borax), or use hot vinegar and scrub. Wiping the sides of a newly cleaned tub or shower with a cloth dampened with Murphy's Oil Soap will delay the recurrence of soap scum. Rinse well.
Remove mildew with full strength white vinegar. Wipe it on with a rag, or spray and let it sit for awhile. Another option is to apply hydrogen peroxide and allow it to dry. Repeat as needed.
Laundry detergent (not in the book): Grate one bar of Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soaplike a block of cheese. (You can put it in the blender once grated to break it up if desired). Add 1 c. 20 Mule Team Borax and 1c. Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda. Use 1 tablespoon for lightly soiled loads and up to 3 tablespoons for heavily soiled loads. My boys get their clothes really dirty, and this detergent mix works great. (I usually add a bit of OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover to each load).
(I buy my Fels-Naptha and washing soda at our local Ace Hardware and Borax is available just about anywhere--Target, Walmart, KMart, etc.)
This is much cheaper than commercial detergents, and I think it is better for my kids (one of my boys is eczema-prone).
Speaking of laundry, I better get to it!
Have a great Monday. Please feel free to share any homemade cleaners you use and what your experience with them has been.