Saturday, July 3, 2010

Natural Cleaning

Being a migraine sufferer scents will tip me over the edge in an instant. You know that person in the supermarket who accidentally fell into his bottle of aftershave? Or the sweet old lady who bathed in her perfume? Those are instant set-offs for me. Which means the smell of cleaning supplies can tip me over just as badly. Sadly, even the smallest hint of scents can really do me in some days too.

Finding unscented cleaners can be tough and expensive. Not to mention there's still a lot of unsafe chemicals in them that aren't much better for any of us to be breathing. So our basic arsenal of cleaning supplies in the cupboard looks like the picture to the left. In fact, there are only two other cleaning agents in my home: Baking Soda & EcoStore Laundry Powder.

We clean everything with this stuff, from the grape juice stains on the kitchen counters to the icky black ring around the tub after the kids have a bath. I usually make up a batch of all-purpose cleaner once a month, but I recently stocked up on more bottles so I'm hoping it'll last just a pinch longer this time.

All Purpose Cleaner

6 Tablespoons Vinegar
1 teaspoon Borax
1/4 teaspoon Dish Soap
4 Cups HOT water

Mix it all up in a large container/bowl and then pour it into spray bottles. Most of the time the hot water will instantly dissolve the borax, but if, when you go to clean, you see a white residue in the bottom of the bottle, just give it a good shake and carry on as normal.

A double batch of this stuff fills up 5 of these spray bottles. I paid $1 each for them at my local K-mart garden center area. We use this cleaner for everything. Cleaning up after raw meat has been on the counter, washing the bathrooms & toilets down, cleaning the grotty outside table, dusting, simple juice spills, etc. It works wonders and because my kids know not to drink it I have no trouble handing them a bottle and setting them to work. In fact, it's my 9 year olds weekly chore to clean one of the bathrooms in our home. Now, if I could get him to clean the toilet without gagging we'd be on to something... Oh, and for the record, those suds will disappear after the cleaning solution has settled. I took the picture within minutes of pouring the fresh stuff into them.

For cleaning our tubs I simply wet them down and sprinkle baking soda in and then scrub them down. It doesn't take much effort to "scrub" them and one of those nifty green scrubbies down the cleaning isle is usually good enough. If you get a really tough ring of dirt around the tub I find that I can sprinkle extra baking soda onto it and then scrub it with a stainless steel scrub. Be careful not to scrub too hard with one or it might scratch your tub though!

For the toilets we wet the bowl and sprinkle in 1/4 cup of baking soda and then dump in about the same amount of plain white vinegar. Please don't break your budget by forking out for cleaning vinegar. It's just a fancier bottle with the exact same stuff as normal white vinegar down the baking isle. Don't be fooled by the fancy labels! We scrub the toilets with a toilet brush and flush them down. We use the all-purpose spray to clean the rest of it.

Baking Soda is like the all around hero in this house. We use it in place of cleanser. I can sprinkle it in the oven when I have a spill and using a scrubbie in there I can have a shiny clean oven without all the toxic chemicals from oven cleaner. If you're oven also happens to be super greasy I hear lemon works well to cut through that.

I even wash my hair with baking soda. I just mix about a tablespoon of baking soda with about a cup of warm water and then use it on my hair like shampoo. It doesn't foam up and it has no scent to it which means I get wonderfully clean hair without a headache! I use apple cider vinegar as a conditioner.

So recently, I decided it was time to try making my own deodorant, which might seem really crazy but I figured why not! I'd seen a couple of different recipes out there for it and opted to go with the one I liked the most. The recipe comes from Angry Chicken and can be found here. It's really oh so simple and works amazingly well.

I picked up my cocoa butter and shea butter from Me Time, and managed to get both as organic butters. They also sell on ebay, which is how I purchased through them. You can also pick up the supplies through the Australian Soap Supplies, but they have a minimum purchase order of $50 AUD for Aussie residents and I really didn't need that much stuff.

I picked up 500g of each butter and it was enough to make a double batch. In fact, I still have some cocoa butter left, but not of the Shea butter. I poured the deodorant into the little bottles you see in the picture and stuck them all in the fridge to speed up the chilling/setting time on them. It's winter here right now, so the stick I'm currently using is in the bathroom and holds up just fine. We'll see how it will handle it in the summer. This stuff softens on contact so it's quite easy to apply. The double batch filled up three full bottles and then that small capfull. Needless to say we'll be set for a while!

Notes: I didn't use the essential oil or the vitamin e capsule because I didn't have either on hand. Plus, I'm just not into scented stuff (you know, migraines and all that..) I also chose to purchase the little dedorant containers you see in the picture above because the store bought bottle I was using would literally fall apart by the time it was empty.


Renelle said...

Wow, we use some of those ideas but I never thought of washing our hair like that genius. I'll have to experiment. Great ideas, Taa. Take Care

Phyllis said...

Great recipes. I will have to try them out. I have some cleaners recipes as well. You might want to take a look at them. I have down essential oils in them, but you can just leave them out.

Tracey said...

Love it! We have been making our own products for a while now, and I can definitely tell the difference.

Liz said...

Cleaning vinegar is different to normal white vinegar - it has a different ph. But if normal vinegar works for you then don't worry about it!