how to make your own cleaning supplies.

how to make your own cleaning supplies

If you know me at all, you know I am a *bit* of a clean freak. You might even call it a disorder. I’m pretty sure I can blame this on my childhood for two reasons: 1) my nickname was Messy Jessi and I guess somewhere along the line I decided I didn’t want it to be, and 2) my mom never.stops.cleaning. (love you mom!). The problem with cleaning is that if you are using common cleaning products, you might be wiping up a few germs, but you are filling your home with toxins that are much harder for your body to handle than the microbes it was designed to fight on its own. Still, not cleaning is not really a wise option either (nor an acceptable one if you suffer from the aforementioned cleaning disorder). The good news is making your own cleaners is super easy – plus it is relatively cheap and makes cleaning smell like a day at the spa (or so I’m told…I’ve never actually spent a day at the spa…).

Making your own cleaning supplies may seem like just one more thing that you don’t need to add to your list of to-dos. Sometimes living a whole-foods, natural lifestyle can seem exhausting. Overwhelming. Overrated. Did I already say exhausting? It looks something like this…I start to make some muffins, but realize I’m out of flour. Grind the grains into flour (thank goodness for a flour mill or this would be an even longer process!!). Mix up the muffins. Put the muffins in the oven. Clean the entire kitchen because I’m a mess in the kitchen, especially when there’s a lot of fluffy, powdery stuff to pour and spill. Eat the muffins. Clean the entire kitchen again because somehow 3 little boys can turn a batch of muffins into an explosion of crumbs that seems to spread out exponentially from the table. Realize it’s almost 9 o’clock and we still haven’t started school or done our morning chores. Round up the boys to give them jobs. Youngest: pick up your toys…again. Middle: wash the windows that you mashed muffin goo all over when you left the table without wiping your hands first. Oldest: clean the bathrooms…yes, the toilets have been “decorated” again. Realize there’s no window or cleaning spray left in ANY of our cupboards. Time to make some more cleaning supplies…ugh…

But here’s why I don’t throw in the proverbial towel. According to the EPA, most people spend about 90% of their time indoors. For my family, 90% of that time is in our own home. The problem is that indoor air is among the top 5 environmental risks to our health with levels of pollutants 2 to 5 times higher (and in some cases even up to 100 times higher!) than the air outside. Most of the pollutants in our indoor air come from off-gassing of materials used to build or decorate our homes (e.g., paint, carpet, and cabinetry). Unfortunately, most of us can’t just rebuild our homes with more natural materials. But what we can control is how well we ventilate our home to help freshen the air and dilute the toxins, and what we introduce into the air with the household cleaning supplies and personal care items we use. For today, let’s just talk about household cleaning supplies.

what’s wrong with common household cleaners?

Common household cleaning supplies release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, which evaporate when the products are used and sometimes even when they are just sitting in storage.

Volatile organic compounds irritate the eyes, nose and throat, and cause headaches, nausea, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. Some of them can cause cancer. – EPA

Experts estimate that the average American uses about 40 pounds of unsafe cleaners in their home every year. Studies have shown that only 26 seconds after exposure, the chemicals from your cleaners can be found in every organ of your body. So it seems that if you use commercial cleaners to clean your home, you are simply exchanging germs and dirt for a layer of chemical poison. The good news is there are two easy solutions: 1) make your own cleaners or 2) buy truly pure cleaners from a company that you trust. The problem with option 2 is that I’ve yet to find something that is both truly pure and affordable.

my recipes for household cleaners.

Today I am going to share my five favorite recipes for how to make your own cleaning supplies. All you need to get started are some empty spray bottles (preferably bottles that have not previously been used for commercial cleaners as the toxins continue to leach out of the plastic), an inexpensive jug of distilled white vinegar, unscented liquid castile soap, borax, vodka, distilled water, and essential oils of your choosing (optional, but a valuable addition in terms of germ-fighting ability and smell). The essential oils I have listed in my recipes were mostly chosen for their antimicrobial abilities and their fabulous aromas, but you can use whatever you like. I use peppermint oil in the window cleaner as it detracts insects from entering the house through the windows. Avoid using citrus oils on granite as the acidity can damage the finish (the same reason not to use vinegar in your granite cleaner). Happy cleaning!!

DIY All-Purpose Cleaner
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 15 drops lemon essential oil
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1 tsp. borax
  • < 16 oz. distilled water
Instructions
  1. Mix first 4 ingredients in a 16 oz. spray bottle. Fill the bottle with distilled water. Cap and shake well before each use.

 
DIY Mirror & Window Cleaner
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 10 drops orange essential oil
  • < 16 oz. distilled water
Instructions
  1. Mix first 4 ingredients in a 16 oz. spray bottle. Fill the bottle with distilled water. Cap and shake well before each use.

 
DIY Hardwood Floor Cleaner
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 tsp. distilled white vinegar
  • 1 drop lemon essential oil
  • 1 drop clove essential oil
  • < 16 oz. distilled water
Instructions
  1. Mix first 3 ingredients in a 16 oz. spray bottle. Fill the bottle with distilled water. Cap and shake well before each use.

 
DIY Granite Countertop Cleaner
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup cheap vodka
  • 3 drops liquid castile soap
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • < 16 oz. distilled water
Instructions
  1. Mix first 4 ingredients in a 16 oz. spray bottle. Fill the bottle with distilled water. Cap and shake well before each use.

 
DIY Air Freshener
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cheap vodka
  • 15 drops essential oil of your choosing (my favorite is 5 clove, 5 lemon, 5 rosemary)
  • < ½ cup distilled water
Instructions
  1. Mix first 2 ingredients in an 8 oz. spray bottle. Fill the bottle with distilled water. Cap and shake well before each use.

 

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6 thoughts on “how to make your own cleaning supplies.

  1. Darci

    Well I’ve always liked to clean as I grew up with the same never.stops.cleaning mom 🙂 thanks for making the DIY approach sound so do-able and now that I know vodka is involved…well, it’s just so much less overwhelming

    Reply
    1. Jessi Post author

      Good question! Alcohol is anti-bacterial and acts as a preservative for the essential oils. It also helps a tiny bit with emulsifying the essential oils throughout the water (but you still need to shake before use). You can substitute rubbing alcohol or vinegar, but vodka has a less obtrusive smell. And as noted in the original post, I use vodka instead of vinegar on granite counters as vinegar is too acidic and can damage the finish. Hope that helps!

      Reply

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