Monday, May 18, 2009

Making My Own Natural (and cheap!) Cleaning Supplies

A couple of weeks ago, I was cleaning my apartment on a Saturday afternoon (as per usual) and the smell of the cleaning supplies started to overwhelm me to the point where I had to leave the apartment for a couple of hours just to let it air out. I was running out of Lysol all-purpose cleaner, and I decided to buy a new bottle, but to instead try making my own cleaning supplies. I figured it would be cheaper than buying another bottle of chemical cleaner, and a lot healthier for my (and my cat's) lungs. I went out and bought a cloth mop and a bucket, threw out my disgusting old Swiffer WetJet, and got to work.

I did some research online and discovered I could make a basic floor cleaner using ingredients I already had in my cupboard. It took a few weeks of experimenting with different ingredients and mixtures to get it right. The first week, I mixed a cup of white vinegar and a half cup of baking soda, along with 2 liters of water. That mixture turned out to be too watery, and the baking soda left a film on my wood floors. The following week, I tried a different approach, mixing a half cup of vegetable oil with a cup of white vinegar and a cup of water. That one turned out to be way too oily, and halfway through the week my floors started to feel sticky. Eugh. Finally, this week, I got it right: 1 quart of water, 1 teaspoon of white vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. My floors shined, weren't sticky, and there was no flim left behind. If I change anything next time, I might bump up the vinegar a bit (perhaps go with a tablespoon of vinegar instead of a teaspoon), but that's it.

Making my own cleaning supplies has been great. My apartment no longer reeks of chemicals each week, and I feel good about not harming the environment with chemical cleaners. Plus, I'm saving loads of money on cleaning supplies, since they're not cheap. Environmentally-friendly cleaners are even more expensive than chemical cleaners, and you can easily spend upwards of $30 stocking up every few months.

I'm still using Clorox GreenWorks spray cleaner for now, but once I run out of that I'll be making my own spray cleaner, too. Perhaps I'll even follow Trent's lead and make my own laundry detergent once I run out of Purex.

Here are some links I found useful, in case anyone else is interested:

eartheasy's guide to non-toxic home care
how to make your own non-toxic cleaning kit
25 safe non-toxic homemade cleaning supplies

Happy cleaning!

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