I started making some of my homemade cleaning products when I had a really bad reaction to some oven cleaner a few years ago and started to really think about the chemicals I was exposing my body to. Since then I have gone a bit crazy and am now making almost all my cleaners myself. Of course, it is also much cheaper which is an added benefit for cheapskates like Stephen and me=) Here are a few of my favorite recipes:
All purpose kitchen/bathroom cleaner. This is seriously good stuff. I pulled out my oven the other day and used it on the six-month-old, dried-on blackberry jam goo that dripped down between the oven and the cabinets when I was going through a canning phase last summer (hey, I’m being honest here=). Just sprayed it on, waited a couple of minutes and wiped it right off. Seriously. Spray on a bathtub, sprinkle with a bit of borax powder or baking soda as an abrasive, and scrub to remove soap scum. It also works surprisingly well for an on-the-spot ant killer (don’t ask) and keeps them from returning for a couple of days:
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup Dawn dish washing soap
2 TBS. Borax
4 c. hot water
dissolve borax in the hot water, add all remaining ingredients to a 32oz. spray bottle
One part white vinegar to 10 parts water in a spray bottle. Use a squeegee instead of paper towels.
Low-sudsing laundry soap:
1/3 bar of Zote Soap, grated (I find mine at Dollar General-super cheap!)
1/2 cup washing soda (not baking soda!)
1/2 cup borax (both can be found in the laundry aisle, are cheap, and go a loooong way)
Add the soap and 6 cups of water to a saucepan, heat until melted. Now add washing soda and borax and stir until dissolved. Pour 4 cups of hot water into a large bucked, then add the soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon+six cups more water and stir. Some people add a couple drops of essential oils for fragrance. Let the mixture sit overnight to gel (it won’t be a solid gel-that’s okay) This should make about 2+ gallons of detergent. Put it in old detergent bottles for handy measuring and use about 1/2 cup per load. If you hang half your laundry, or even just a load now and again to dry, (I always hang sheets and blankets) you are doing even more for the environment.
phosphate free Dishwasher detergent:
1 cup borax (see, lots of uses!)
1 cup washing soda
2 packets of unsweetened lemonde drink mix (citric acid)
mix. use 2-3 Tbs. per wash. If you have really hard water, or see a film on your glasses, try adding a bit of vinegar to the rinse.
Okay, this one IS TOXIC, but not nearly as much as what you might buy in the store, and there are no fumes. It is also the ONLY thing I have found that helps with our awful ant situation. The actually take it back to the nest and destroy the colony *there are many kinds of ants, if this does not work, adjust the ratio slightly and try again. It needs to be strong enough to kill them, but not so strong that they die before they take it back to their nest*
1 cup hot water
2 cups sugar
2 Tbs. Boric Acid (Find in your local drugstore)
Dissolve the boric acid and sugar in the water. Soak a few cotton ball in the mixture and place them on plastic milk jug caps around the foundation of your house (or where ever you have a problem) Sore the rest of the solution (this lasts forever!) in a lidded containter labled POISON. If you have pets, put the cotton balls in plastic containers with holes punched in them so ants can get in but your pet can’t. There will be MASSES of ants for a couple of days (resist the urge to kill them!), then none. pick up the cotton balls and you have no more poison around either. I go through this treatment once every 1-2 months or so in the spring and summer to keep the pavement ants that live under our concrete foundation at bay. It was just awful before I figure out this trick. We seriously tried EVERY store bought concoction possible, even the awul, fumey, highly toxic ones and had pretty much decided that we have some sort of mutant ants here….
I’m sure I have a few more recipes around here, but right now I need to go mix this year’s first batch of ant bait. They found the cat food dish this morning….. uhgggggg!