Don’t you love a new year? January has always been such a cleansing time for me. Time to put away all the troubles of last year and start clean. It’s too cold outside to work on the gardens and outdoor projects so I find myself turning to projects in my house.
Two of my missions for this year are to limit the chemicals I am bringing into my house and to get my budget under control. Making my own homemade cleaning products can help with both! I have thought about doing this so many times in the past, but I admit I am a bit of clean freak and I wondered if natural, homemade cleaning products could really be as good as the chemical laden ones in the store.
So I scoured (get it…scoured!) the internet in search of some of the best homemade cleaning recipes and asked my bloggy friends to share their wisdom with me and I’ve set out to compare what I’ve found with the products I am currently buying at the store. Check out the results!
Homemade Glass Cleaner
Between the kid’s fingerprints and the dog’s nose art on the windows, glass cleaner is something I go through pretty quickly. To test out this homemade glass cleaner recipe, I enlisted my youngest and told him the words he always wanted to hear – I wanted you to make a mess. He stared at me like it was a trap. He had a great time messing up the bathroom mirror, flicking toothpaste and soap suds on it. It was completely filthy by the time he was done and we let the mess dry for about 15 minutes.
The recipe I am trying today can be found here:
Lesa has you mix up rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, cornstarch & warm water – all things I already had lying around their house. For my super scientific experiment I squirted 5 sprays of the homemade solution on the left half of the mirror and 5 sprays of Windex on the right half and wiped it clean. Both cleaners left the mirror sparkling and streak free. The homemade cleaner did require a little more wiping, but for just a few pennies for the entire bottle I can scrub a little more!
Homemade Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaning Spray
I admit, this one was my biggest stumbling blocks to using homemade cleaning products. I worry about cleaning my bathroom and having it not really be “clean”. Can natural cleaning products work as well as bleach in the nasty areas of your home?
I did some research and found that bleach rapidly loses it’s effective germ killing powers. Even in unopened bottles while it’s sitting on store shelves. Just 3 months after packaging, bleach is already down to 50% of it’s original strength. After a year it is basically ineffective – so your bleach might not even be cleaning as well as you think anyway.
Anything that recommends gloves & a mask while using is probably not something you should have around in your normal cleaning arsenal. Inhaling chemicals is one of the most potent ways to get chemical compounds into your body. And the bleach production process releases cancer-causing dioxin as well as brain-damaging mercury into the air surrounding chlorine plants so it’s also not good for our planet. That sounds like three strikes and you’re out for bleach.
So what are our other options? There are plenty of essential oils that have disinfecting properties. A study found in the Journal of Antibicrobial Chemotherapy found that several essential oils were effective against major bugs like the flu and e coli – topping the list were tea tree oil and coriander.
I found a great post by Simple Life Mom with lots ideas for essential oil blends to use in disinfecting & cleaning – check that out here! I decided to combine the essential oil blends with this great Homemade Antibacterial Spray by Faithful Farmwife.
The recipe’s main powerhouse is white vinegar which contains 5 percent acetic acid, which does have antimicrobial properties and has been shown to be effective against some strains of e coli. Vinegar is an awesome natural cleaner, but the thing it is not super at is cleaning up general grime and dirt. Plain old soap & water are still your best bet for that. I love that her recipe includes a couple drops of dish soap – she marks it as optional but I would definitely recommend adding it. You can use liquid castille soap for a more natural option.
I mixed up the vinegar, water, & dish detergent from the Faithful Farmwife’s recipe and for essential oils I used 15 drops tea tree oil, 15 drops peppermint and 20 drops sweet orange. All the essential oils really masked the vinegar smell and I think it smelled great! I cleaned my bathroom, using no more effort than when I use bleach – and as a bonus I wasn’t gagging or worrying about ruining my black yoga pants with bleach marks.
Natural Tub Cleaner
Now it’s time to tackle the tub – yuck! This is probably one of my least favorite cleaning chores. What I usually use is bleach spray and a Magic Eraser (which now that I read the back of the box to see just what is in Magic Erasers is something you should not use together!).
The box didn’t help me when it came to learning just what magic is in Magic Erasers. Truthfully it’s not something I wanted to know the answer to because I love Magic Erasers so much! But I did some research and it looks like they are actually not that bad. A melamine polymer, it is not “natural”, but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence it is toxic. Other than trace formaldehyde being used in manufacturing (that doesn’t exist in the final product) I saw nothing to be concerned about. Whew! I love my Magic Erasers!
I was reading about Baking Soda for Scrubbing your Bathtub by Our Little Urban Homestead and thought it was worth a shot. Let me tell you – this is a game changer! Not only am I not inhaling fumes using bleach while scrubbing the tub and saving TONS of money – my tub has never been cleaner!
I have one of those old, one piece tub/shower combos from the 1970s. I had kind of just accepted that the yellowing process was part of the tub being old. I sprinkled baking soda in the tub and used my Magic Eraser & water to scrub it clean and it’s like a whole different color. So I sprinkled some baking soda on the Magic Eraser to clean the walls – it is sparkling now! I finished it up by spraying the vinegar disinfecting spray I used in the rest of the bathroom and rinsed it all down the drain. I am sort of grossed out that my tub had been that dirty before! This one gets a great big thumbs up!
……..get blog post done…….clean nasty bathroom……..try out homemade cleaning recipes………NICE! Checking all kinds of thing off my list today! I think I have some winners here that will not only save me money and reduce the chemicals in my house, but work really well! Ready to tackle another room naturally? Check out my post on homemade cleaners for the kitchen!
If you try any of these out or have any tips to add, I’d love to hear about it!
Other great bathroom cleaners I want to try, but haven’t had a chance to make myself yet:
For all those dirty towels & linen closet!