by Teresa J. Mitchell
To some people, the idea of making your own cleaning products sounds a bit too "far out." If you start down that path, you could be seen running around the woods barefoot in a tie-dyed outfit. Really? No, not really.
Why should you take the time to make your own eco-friendly homemade cleaners? Homemade cleaning products not only make good sense for your health, but save you "cents," as well!
All you need to get started is the desire to become a not-so-mean green cleaning machine and a few items you probably already have around the house.
What do you need to get started? Try these suggestions:
✓ Spray bottles and glass jars
✓ Baking soda
✓ White vinegar
✓ Natural soap - unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars
✓ Olive oil
✓ Fresh lemons
✓ Washing Soda
✓ Alcohol -- ethanol or 100 proof alcohol in solution with water
✓ Essential oil of tea tree and lavender
✓ Citrus Solvent
✓ Eco-friendly sponges or cloths
Now that you've gathered up your supplies, here's how to use them:
To remove cooking odors: Simmer one tablespoon of vinegar in one cup water while fish or another smelly culprit's cooking. To get fish or onion smells off utensils and cutting boards, wipe them with vinegar and then wash in soapy water.
To disinfect your chopping block: Rub a slice of lemon across a chopping block to disinfect it. To remove stains, squeeze lemon juice on the spot and let it sit for 10 minutes. Wipe clean.
To clean the oven: Lightly spray the surfaces with water. Make a thick paste with 3/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup water. Spread it throughout the oven interior, avoiding bare metal. Let sit over night. Remove with a spatula and wipe clean.
Do you appreciate the convenience of a pre-made cleanser? Make your own! Combine these basic supplies for safe, alternative home care products:
Mix two cups water, a few drops of natural soap, and 15 drops each of tea tree and lavender organic essential oil. Spray this on changing tables, cutting boards, counters, toilets and sinks.
Combine 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice in a glass jar. Scoop up with a soft rag and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store in the refrigerator.
Mix one cup soap flakes, 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax. Use one tablespoon for light loads; two tablespoons for heavy loads.
Mix three tablespoons vinegar with two cups of water and spray onto the window or mirror. Use a cotton cloth to clean.
To discourage mold, mix two cups of water and three drops of tea tree essential oil. Once a week, spray vulnerable areas with this solution and then wipe dry.
In a spray bottle, combine two teaspoons tea tree oil in two cups of water. Shake to blend. Spray on problem areas. Do not rinse.
Mix two cups baking soda, 1/2-cup liquid soap, four teaspoons vegetable glycerin, and five drops of an antibacterial essential oil. Then, tackle those tiles! It rinses easily and doesn't leave grit. You can store the scrub in a glass jar for two years.
If you need a tougher abrasive sprinkle on kosher salt, and scrub with a wet cloth or sponge.
You've been tossing a few things together in a spray bottle for a while now and you're ready for variety. How about a fresh grapefruit scrub...for the tub? One medium grapefruit will clean your entire tub or shower top to bottom, even the fixtures.