natural cleaning recipes

We’ve been making almost all of our cleaning products for many years now.  It’s inexpensive, easy and most importantly, safe; safe for us and safe for the environment.  Usually I just make things as I need them, but lately I’ve been making a point of setting aside a bit of time some Sunday afternoon to make up a whole bunch of things to have on hand.  It’s ever so pleasant to have whatever I need within easy reach.

I thought I would share a few family favorites with you, and maybe you will share a few favorites too.  Between us we could make a wonderful resource for others.  My recipes come from several different sources.  Some are just things that I’ve came up with over the years.  Some come from the lovely book that my friend gifted me a few years back (there are a few other recipes in that post as well).

All-Purpose Cleaner

1/2 teaspoon washing soda

2 teaspoons borax

1/2 teaspoon liquid soap (I like dish soap because it cuts grease and I often use this spray in the kitchen)

2 cups hot water

15 drops each lavender and tea tree essential oils (I’ve been using all lavender lately or a combo of lavender and rosemary)

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake.

Soft Scrub

1/2 cup baking soda

enough liquid soap or detergent to achieve a frosting like consistency

5 drops essential oil of your choice (optional)

Stir all ingredients in a bowl, store in a sealed jar.

Laundry Stain Remover

(home-made ‘Oxy Clean’)

2 cups water

1 cup hydrogen peroxide

1 cup baking soda

Mix all ingredients together.  Soak laundry in stain remover for at least 20 minutes before washing.

My Favorite Laundry Soap

4 cups hot water

1 bar Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Castile Soap

1 cup Washing Soda

1/2 cup Borax

~Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water.  Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

~Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water.  Add melted soap, washing soda and borax.  Stir well until all powder is dissolved.  Fill bucket to top with more hot water.  Stir, cover and let sit overnight.

~Stir and fill a jar or other container half-way with soap and the fill the rest of the way with water.  Shake before each use.

~Use 5/8 cup per load for top load machines and 1/4 cup per load for front loaders.

This recipe makes 10 gallons of liquid laundry soap, but it’s stored in a concentrated form in a 5 gallon bucket with a lid.  We keep ours in the basement.  Whenever we need more, I go down, stir it and ladle some out.  I use a half-gallon mason jar to store soap in our laundry room.  I keep the measuring cup with it.  After measuring out the proper amount for each load, I rinse it under the water filling the washer, then dry it and put it back for next time.

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29 thoughts on “natural cleaning recipes

  1. Melody Post author

    Actually a friend of ours makes soap and it’s just fabulous: justsoap, so that’s all we use at sinks and in the shower. The non-curly haired boy-ish people in the house use his shampoo bar too. We love it. No shower issues.

  2. Kate

    Great tips! I like the laundry stain remover, I’ve been looking for one and will definitely try it out. I love to soak a cotton ball in lavendar oil (or whatever floats your boat) and I drop it in my vaccum bag. Then the air smells as clean as the rug looks! Baking soda sprinkled on the rug to freshen (or after a baby or pet has a spill or accident) really helps too. I’ve also made those reed diffusers with essencial oil mixed with a carrier oil (I had grape seed) and place them around the house.

  3. M

    wow – that laundry liquid recipe sounds great. Does it work for cloth diapers too?
    I am totally going to use it (ok, once we are moved out of this apartment where I have 27 stairs and a long hallway to get to the laundry).

  4. M

    oh and I was going to say as well my cleaning ‘recipes’ are laughable:
    spray cleaner = dilute vinegar
    laundry stain removier – dump in some hydrogen peroxide (hey, my birthing linens look great!)
    surface scrubber – sprinkle on some baking soda and rub with a moist cloth

    I am so boring :p

    once when DP had to take ds to emerg (for a burn) they were hassling him about not being vax’d and extended it to – and what about your cupboards with cleaning supplies? do they have safety locks on them? and Dp was like “erm, to keep the kids out of the diluted vinegar? or the baking soda?” lol.

  5. Melody Post author

    Yup. Good for diapers too. I really like it a lot! And goodness knows you must be swimming in diapers these days! And on that note, I’ve been meaning to ask, is there anything you need for the girl?? Anything I could send? You are much closer now, you know. Oh, and I loved hearing about you harvesting yarn from that sweater. I know just the one you are talking about. I remember both dyeing and knitting it quite clearly, even though it was over 6 years ago now. It was such soft, good wool too. I hope it became something cozy for the babe.

  6. durafemina

    it really is the softest wool. Currently incarnated as a wee soaker, and a nice ball waiting for time and inspiration :)
    And I don’t *need* anything for this little one (well, time? sleep? a name for her?) but I did find myself wistfully thinking that gender neutral everything is all very well and good, but I actually wish I had a couple *pretty* things for her (what possessed me to give away 99% of dd1′s clothes? my faith in birth control? ha!). To that end, I am furiously knitting a tiny fuschia tunic dress – hopefully faster than she is growing!

  7. Kyce

    I’ve seen many recipes for laundry soap and wanted so badly to make that part of my routine. Until now, though, I haven’t seen one that seems simple, truly economical, and doesn’t involve grating a bar of soap each week. Thank you!

  8. Heather J.

    Thanks for the great cleaning recipes! I worked my way through college cleaning houses for people, and I always made my own cleaners (very similar to yours). At first customers were skeptical, but I ended up giving out recipes again and again!
    I made your recipe for laundry soap last night and it came out great. Thanks again.

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