Recipes for Green Household Cleaners

| 2/8/2010 1:06:00 PM

Tags: cleaning, homemade products, cleaners, soap, do it yourself, crafts,

A photo of the Sell family December 2009The practicality of homemade household cleaners on any farm makes perfect sense. As an aspiring homesteader, I have to get decisive about what we buy and what we make. For a while now, I have been purchasing 7th Generation dish detergent and dish soap for its nontoxic qualities and environmentally friendly ingredients.

But it comes at a higher cost than the sulfate laden store brand. (Initially, of course. We all know that the cost is paid long-term for putting those chemicals all over our eating utensils).

The Little Handbook of Easy-to-Make Green CleanersAnd this week, we ran out of dishwasher soap. Not a good week for the Sell household to run out of anything. We are between end of the month bills and investing a lot of up-front purchases for the farm this year; in other words, broke!

So I'm thinking to myself as the dishes began to pile up ... there must be a way to make this stuff at home. Homesteaders of the past had founts of knowledge passed on to them by mothers and grandmothers, uncles and fathers. But in our generation, our predecessors (God bless them) had been taught that buying things was much better and easier than making anything in home. So this fount of generational wisdom is now merely a trickle.

This is why having internet at my fingertips helps me on a daily basis. The collective knowledge has pooled online and I only have to do a quick search to see if what I want to do is possible.

Homemade dishwasher detergent is possible!

All it takes is two very key ingredients that we happened to have on hand: Washing soda and Borax.

Washing soda and Borax make a good start for homemade cleaning products.

These boxes were found in our local grocery store. I have to imagine they are in yours as well, since our small town grocery is no Walmart Superstore.

It's a simple one:one ratio.

Dishwasher Detergent

1 cup Super Washing Soda
1 cup Borax

Mix together 2 tablespoons per load. Close door and wait. Upon completion, inspect dishes and be in awe. You did it!

And we have enough for probably two weeks of dishwashing. (We do a load at least once a day).

But wait, there's more! A couple years ago, I got interested in making a lot of my own cleaners. I gleaned advice from a couple magazines and put together a PDF of homemade cleaners. To put into perspective, I haven't purchased cleaner (except the dish stuff) since I found these recipes. Everything in our house gets cleaned exceptionally well with these recipes! And adding the essential oils is ESSENTIAL! For one, it's fun to play with making your own scents, but it helps cover the strong vinegar smell that goes along with some of the cleaners.

My favorite essential oil to use? Grapefruit. Andy's? Lemongrass.

Click on the links below to open each page of my little booklet.

Recipe for homemade cleaner for wood and leather. 

Becky and Andy
2/28/2010 1:51:14 PM

Hello everyone! We've been away, so I am trying to catch up on comments today. Tammy, Do the links work now? I retried them today and they seem fine for me. Can you share your laundry recipe? I'm always looking for "new material" as it were. :-) Dave, You have a good point with the essential oils question. I think you could try it either way. Wanna report back and tell how it worked? I'm so glad you've been inspired to make some things on your own. It's so simple yet amazingly empowering. Shake off your generational heritage and forge a new path! Vicki, I don't believe you have to melt the soap. I haven't. I think the key is to evenly mix it all and once in the wash, the soap will do it's thing. Susan, Shannon, Angelique, I'm glad I could help! This was a new thing for me too and I'm always looking for more ideas. Please share on here if you have something! Angelique, I don't have a lot of other collected recipes unless you have access to raw milk. Then I can hook you up with some great "value-added" recipes to get the most out of that product.

2/24/2010 2:00:16 PM

Love the article. Is there any way to get the booklet, and any of the other material you have? We just started our 'Green Acres' farm last year.

S.M.R. Saia
2/16/2010 7:33:31 AM

Thank you so much for these great recipes!

2/12/2010 6:31:27 PM

Can't wait to try some of these! I've been using baking soda now for a few months as a toothpaste and deodorant--so much cheaper, and environmentally friendly, too. And I think they work--I haven't noticed anyone making wide circles around me. :-)

2/12/2010 1:29:52 PM

Becky, I'm always interested in making my own cleaners-thanks for all the recipes. Do you have to melt the soap for the homemade laundry detergent? I can't wait to try that one as well the dishwasher detergent. vickie

Nebraska Dave
2/9/2010 6:26:12 PM

Becky, I’ve been using Borax laundry booster for many many years. It will also deter ants from coming in the house by sprinkling it around the outside foundation. I quite honestly hadn’t ever considered making my own cleaners because it never crossed my mind that it could be accomplished so easily. I guess I’ve been one of those brain washed guys from the generation that just blindly buys cleaners from the store because that’s the way it’s always been done. I’m going to try some of these recipes. Do you call it a recipe or a formula? I never was good at chemistry. It always turned out stinky or didn’t do what it was supposed to. My oven could use a good cleaning so I think I’ll give it a try. Is it better to mix the essential oils in the powder before you store it or as you use it? It’s seems to me that the oil would make the powder clump. I know vinegar sure helps with cleaning of all kinds. You have really piqued my interest about all this making your own cleaning stuff.

2/9/2010 11:18:23 AM

Great post, Becky! I'm starting to do more of this myself. I use my homemade laundry detergent and fabric softener exclusively now (for nearly a year). I love them both, and the results. I wasn't able to open all of the links to your cleaner recipes, but I'll try again later. Thanks for sharing!

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