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Homemade Cleaning

This is my big list of homemade cleaning products for…

30 Days to Love the Home You Have

by Cybele
My slide into the den of homemade cleaning has been a slow one. It started seven years ago when I first developed a crush on Shannon Lush and her book, Spotless. At first, I approached it in a hobby horse way, because I didn’t believe things that are safe to eat or not that toxic could actually clean well. I mean all those smiling people in the advertisements telling me to protect my family with their Wham Bam Thank You Mam product had to be telling the truth and all those fumes had to mean something. I didn’t really care that they made me breathe a bit funny, left a nasty chemical residue on everything they touched and were environmentally questionable. A clean home was worth it.
This faith in commercial cleaning products took a tumble when I wrote a kitchen story for Home Beautiful Magazine, way back when, and while researching I stumbled on a study, showing that the cleanest surface was stainless steel wiped down with vinegar. This got me a-thinking and started me a-using a lot more vinegar around the place. More recently, I read that Choice and the lovely scientists at Mycologia, one of the world’s leading mould testing companies, say that the best way to get rid of mould is with a 80% percent vinegar – 20% percent water solution and most off the shelf mould cleaners don’t do as good a job.  Apparently, all those fumes out of the fancy bottles weren’t doing much because most of the active ingredient had already evaporated. I got annoyed. Why didn’t I know this? I guess there’s not a whole lot of money in letting people know that something unpatented, costing less than a $1 a bottle, is just as good at doing the job.
Vinegar. Is there anything it can’t do?
Homemade cleaning I find having individual labelled products easier, so everyone in the house can use them (with instructions on the label if necessary.) I don’t want to give anyone any excuses not to do their chores…
In terms of  essential oils and fragrance, I really like the combination of lemon and tea tree, but please feel free to use different oils or none at all, if you prefer. There is a list of the ingredients at the end of the post.

Cleaning Spray – I call him, Little Squirt: The wonder sprayHomemade cleaning

3 ½ cups vinegar
½ cup water
A couple of squirts of dish washing liquid (US: dish washing soap)
1 teaspoon lemon essential oil or this lemon oil
1 teaspoon tea tree oil
All mixed together in a spray bottle and can be used on most hard surfaces with a cloth.

The Cream Cleanser – AKA The Super ScrubberHomemade cleaning

¾ cup bicarbonate soda (US: baking soda)
¼ liquid castille soap or dish washing liquid (US: dish washing soap)
10 drops lemon essential oil or this lemon oil
10 drops tea tree oil

Window Cleaning – for really Classy Glass ; )Homemade cleaning

For small windows and mirrors:
3 cups methylated spirit
1 cup of water
Mix in a spray bottle and use with a microfibre cloth, paper or chamois
My favourite method for big windows is:
About 4 litres or a gallon of warm water
A couple of squirts of dish washing liquid (US: dish washing soap)
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup methylated spirit
Mix it in a bucket, pop a tea towel along the bottom of the window to catch the drips, soap the window with a sponge and swipe with a squeegee. Use some paper to fix any  stray dribble marks and wipe the blade of the squeegee with a tea towel between swipes. Once you get a rhythm going you can knock out quite a few windows in under half an hour.

The Dishie Dish CleanerHomemade cleaning

1 cup castille soap
¼  cup water
10 drops essential oil
2 teaspoons vinegar
*UPDATE* This mix cleans well however it needs a lot of rinsing to remove the washing residue or a wipe with vinegar and I have tried lots of alternative recipes and have found the same issue. I was quite happy to rinse the dishes in water with a splash of vinegar. The difficulty is when other family members were washing up the dishes weren’t being rinsed as thoroughly. In the end, we have reverted to using a non-toxic and Eco friendly commercial dishwashing cleaner.

Oven Cleaner and my friend, Sun in the OvenHomemade Cleaning

1 cup salt
1 cup bicarbonate soda (US: baking soda)
¼ cup water
¼ cup vinegar
Make a paste and apply mixture to walls and floor of the oven, avoiding any holes and element fittings and leave overnight. Using a spray bottle with ½ water and ½  vinegar (or the cleaning spray listed above) wipe off the paste. Rinse really well with water as any remaining salt could be corrosive.
I confess the first time I did this, my oven was really dirty so I had to do it twice, but since then once has been enough.

Stainless Steel Cleaner, AKA Liquid SteelLiquid steel

I use the cleaning spray first, then for shiny stainless steel I use the Classy Glass Spray (methylated spirit and water) and for brushed stainless steel I wipe with baby oil (thanks to Shannon Lush’s advice.)

Toilet Cleaner

1 ½  cup bicarbonate soda (US: baking soda)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon liquid castille soap
10 drops tea tree oil
Squirt into the bowl, spread using the toilet brush and leave for 5-10 minutes, spray with vinegar or the cleaning spray and scrub with the brush.

Carpet Cleaner

I am including this to make this a comprehensive list, however. I haven’t had carpet for a while, so I haven’t had a chance to try this out, but from my research it seems to a good option. I would love to hear how you go.
¼ cup salt
¼ cup bicarbonate soda (US: Baking soda)
¼ cup vinegar
Rub paste into carpet, leave to dry and vacuum.

Primary ingredient list

I have made an active decision not use borax, even though it is a popular ingredient in a lot of homemade cleaning products, because it is classified mildly toxic and I don’t understand its chemical make up enough and most importantly, I have been really happy with the above list without it. Another popular ingredient is Cream of Tartar, but I have done comparisons and bicarbonate soda always seems to do a better job.
Bicarbonate soda or baking soda is an alkaline salt that comes in a fine powder. It reacts with acid to release carbon dioxide, which helps dig up the dirt. It can usually be found in the baking section of the supermarket.
(liquid) Castille Soap is named after an olive oil producing region of Spain. The proper stuff  comes in both liquid and solid form and is made with vegetable oils with no detergents or animal fats – always check the ingredients. Can be bought at a health food store or online. This is how it’s made.
Clove Oil
is a potent smelling essential oil from the dried clove flower and is credited as being a mould (US: mold) inhibitor. This is the clove oil I made.
Eucalyptus Oil can be used instead of tea tree, as it is anti-bacterial and fantastic for cleaning, just bear in mind it should not be used on painted and plastic surfaces as it is also a paint solvent.
Lemon Oil is extracted from the lemon peel and is used as a stain remover, furniture polish and insect deterrent. This is the lemon oil I made.
Methylated spirit is a raw alcohol that can usually be purchased at the hardware store.
Tea tree oil is a great anti-bacterial essential oil that is easy to use because it mixes with water.
Vinegar is an acidic sanitizer and preservative. It is often called cleaning or white vinegar and is usually in the condiment section of the supermarket.
Enjoy!
Cybele x

What is your favourite cleaning tip?

About BlahBlahMagazine

Cybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn't cost the earth. Follow on google: +blahblahmagazine twitter: @blahblahzine or Instagram: BlahBlahMagazine

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21 comments

  1. Great info Where can I purchase the brown apothecary spray bottles?

    • I bought the half litre brown glass bottles from an Australian aromatherapy shop and they had a standard size neck, so I was able to clean and reuse the spray nozzles from the old plastic cleaning product bottles I had bought previously at the supermarket. I will have a look around for my receipt to get the exact bottle neck size and try to track down an online supplier. Would a US, English or Australian supplier be best for you?

      • I’d love to know if there’s an online Australian supplier – these bottles are so pretty. I love the labels you made! Can’t wait to this out myself.

        • I’m so glad you like them. I must confess I really like having pretty bottles in the cleaning cupboard. It makes me smile. I’ve been trying to find somewhere that stocks all the bottles, spray guns and pumps but haven’t had any luck. In these pictures I reused pumps and spray guns from old containers and bought the amber 200ml bottles from here: https://www.escentialsofaustralia.com/php/product_listing.php?gid=24
          The labels are manilla package labels and stamped with an interchangeable letter stamp, both available at most stationery shops.
          Over the last year, I haven’t bought any commercial cleaners, so have run out of spray guns to reuse. Since then, I bought some spray bottles from a gardening shop and used the spray gun, because they seem to be the sturdiest and they have lasted really well. The best pumps seem to be from the reusable pump bottles from IKEA and I have tried quite a few.
          I would love to hear other people’s experience with reusable pump and spray bottles, as so many seem to be really poorly made and just don’t last.
          I hope this helps x

  2. Thanks a lot for your wonderful recipes. I am very eager to start making some of them. For some reason, I cannot get the link to how to make ‘clove oil’. Could you please check if there is a fault with the site or perhaps you could send me by email.
    Thanks again

  3. Thank you so much for letting me know. I have fixed the link so it should work again now. I’d love to hear how you go.

  4. What about the tins, where did you get them?

  5. These lists of homemade cleaning products are pefect for my house. I want to try all of it especially the oven cleaner. Thank you for sharing. I will also recommend to my friends.

  6. All the recipes are easy to be mixed and seem to be quite efficient. I have such a bunch of good recipes that I often give to my clients and friends. Your list of recipes is a great source of ideas and I’m definitely recommending your post to some people. Thanks for sharing!

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