What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Homemade Cleaning Solutions

We have been seeing an increase in allergies, asthma and chemical sensitivity due to indoor air pollution in our homes and workplace. The problem is manufacturers convince us that our houses need to smell of the latest, greates scent du jour in order to be clean. An earlier entry focused on what chemical free cleaners I use in my home that don't harm our indoor air quality or the environment. Several recipes for cleaners follow.


My last entry didn't give a picture so I thought today I would post one. My favourite non-toxic, environmentally friendly cleaner is Simple Green®. It can be used for so much! Since I make up my own solutions, I splurged and bought commercial spray bottles at Sam's Club but you can find similar at the dollar stores or if you really want to save, just put the word out to your friends to save their empty spray bottles for you. Notice, I do lable my spray bottles and that is important. The pile on the left is a small portion of my cleaning cloths. I bought two 25 packs of terry cloth wash cloths at K-mart for $2.99 a piece. I use these for wiping up spills and cleaning. The handheld steam cleaner is on the right and by far could almost eliminate everything else but the wash cloths!

Steam Mop

Let's see, floors - we all have them and somehow we have to keep them clean. I use three tool: swiffer, steam mop and carpet steam cleaner. My steam mop is likely the second most used cleaning appliance in my home. Floors are squeeky clean with no chemical or residue. It has more than paid for itself! Not shown in the picture is my Bissell Carpet Steam Cleaner. It is an older model earned though Z-Points years ago. It's still going strong and does a great job of cleaning carpets.

Ok, so you are all gun ho on going towards non-toxic cleaners BUT you don't want to or can invest in a handheld steam cleaner ($39.99), steam mop ($79.99) or Simple Green ($8.99). The first thing is to congratulate yourself on making one more step to a healthier home and you. The second step is to arm yourself with a few inexpensive supplies: vinegar, baking soda, washing soda, spray bottles, pure bar soap and bleach if you can use it. Total cost should be under $15. From there you can start replacing your regular toxic cleaners for more environmentally friendly onew with one or more of the following recipes. Your home will smell clean and be clean without you polluting your indoor air or your body.

Warning: Even homemade cleaners can pose a risk to children and pets. Always label your homemade cleaners including a complete list of the ingredients. Keep them out of the reach of children and in case of accidents, call your poison control centre.

All-purpose Cleaner
50 ml borax
125 ml pure soap
1 drop eucalyptus oil
4 L hot water
Mix thoroughly

Wall & Floor Tile Cleaner
125 ml shredded coarse soap
125 ml washing soda
4 L hot water
Dissolve ingredients in hot water. Use a stiff brush to scrub the tiles with the cleaner. Rinse well as soap based cleaners toend to leave a film. Dry.

Laundry Powder
250 ml pure soap flakes or powder
25 to 50 ml washing soda
*Do not use in high efficiency front loading washing machines!

1 part vinegar
2 parts water
For kettles, pour the solution into the kettle, bring to a boil then let sit for a few minutes. Pour out solution and rinse well. For shower heads or spayers, remove and let sit 30 minutes in the solution, rinse and replace.

Window Cleaner
1 part vinegar
1 part water
Place in a spray bottle. To use spray then wipe.

25 ml chlorine bleach
1 L water
Mix then pour into a spray bottle. Use for killing mould, germs and bacteria.

Non-caustic Drain Opener
125 ml baking soda
50 ml white vinegar
1 kettle boiling water
Pour the baking soda into the drain followed by the vinegar. Leave for 15 minutes. When the fizzing has stopped, pour in the boiling water.

Silver Cleaner
1L warm water
5 ml baking soda
5 ml salt
small piece of aluminum foil
Mix and place the silver in the cleaner. Replace the foil whenever it turns black. Be careful when cleaning silver plated items.

Oven Cleaner
25 ml dishwashing soap
15 ml borax
1 L warm water
Mix and pour into a spray bottle. Spray on dirty surfaces and leave for 20 minutes. You may need steel wool to remove some stubborn spots.

Scouring Powder
50 ml pure sop flakes
10 ml borax
375 ml boiling water
50 ml whiting (fine chalk powder available at art supply or decorating stores)
Dissolve the soap and borax in boiling water. Cool to room temperature and addwhiting. Pour into a plastic or glass container and seal well.

Garden Gnome
© 2007


icancarryallthebagsandthebabiestoo said...

I have a friend who only uses non-toxic cleaners for her home. She makes them all. She loves vinegar scented with lavender oil. I do too, but it's difficult when it's so convienient to just pick up a clorox wipe and make my counters and spills clean again.

I definately want to make a healthier, more natural home for my children. I think that once I've mixed up a bunch of solutions, it will be much easier to do.

I need to bookmark your page.