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Saturday, February 13, 2016

DIY Natural Home Cleaners

I have a lot of hobbies. Well, kind of. I like to try new things that I've never tried before. I like to eat healthy, paint, craft, decorate, draw, listen to music, watch movies, kayak, travel...I've tried essential oils, flower gardening, I've had yard sales, I've sold things on eBay, I've tracked my food daily, I have a running list of concerts I've seen and those I want to see, I keep a record of all of the new movies I watch, I blog, I renovate my house, I've even tried baking and cooking a time or two (even though I hate it). Variety is the spice of life, right?

Well, I've now tried something else. Remember when I said I was working on a new project? This is it. I've made my own natural home cleaners. I've seen a lot of these around the internet, just browsing on Pinterest. Some of them have the same ingredients, but there are still a lot of varieties, and they seem to be a lot healthier than the store bought stuff, like bleach, which can have some pretty harmful chemicals and can in turn, do some long term damage to your health.

I decided to make my own natural stuff, for a few reasons. One - with only a few ingredients, we pretty much had them all around the house already, so it didn't cost much to make. Two - I've started having allergies when I'm cleaning, and I'm starting to think some of the products we use around the house may be contributing to them. Three - Using bleach kind of scares me. The smell of the chemicals in it is so potent, it almost burns your eyes and nose. Nothing like this can be good for you, can it? The thought of using bleach to clean a home that we're constantly exposed to - and Saleen (our dog) is exposed to - kind of makes me cringe, so I figure there has to be a natural solution that's better for you, and works just as well.

So I made my own. I actually ended up making three different all-natural products:

  • A Natural Bleach Alternative
  • An All-Purpose Cleaner
  • A Natural Air Freshener

The process was kind of experimental, and a little trial and error. I had never made these before, so I didn't really know what to expect. First I did a little research on DIY home cleaners I found online. I looked at different recipes, and wrote down the ingredients that were most often used in them, then put together my own combination and found what worked for me.

These are all of the ingredients I used:

I also added either Lemon essential oil or Lavender essential oil to all of them (and sometimes both!).

Most of the ingredients we already had around the house, but I did have to find some spray bottles. (That's a story in itself! I'll get to that later.) I found some cheap plastic ones for the time being, but I plan on upgrading them all to glass bottles next time, since by researching I found that glass bottles are the most durable for the types of ingredients used.

Here are the recipes I used for each:

Natural Bleach Alternative:

  • 1 1/2 cups Hydrogen Peroxide
  • 1/2 cup White Vinegar (or can substitute lemon juice for a gentler solution)
  • Distilled Water to fill rest of spray bottle
  • 10 Drops Lemon Essential Oil (don't need this if you are using lemon juice)

All-Purpose Cleaner:

  • 1 cup Distilled Water
  • 1 cup White Vinegar
  • 20-30 drops Lemon Essential Oil

Natural Air Freshener:

  • 2 cups Distilled Water
  • 2 tablespoons Rubbing Alcohol (or can use vodka)
  • 10 drops Lemon Essential Oil
  • 20 drops Lavender Essential Oil

The air freshener was the hardest for me to get right, and the reason I had to buy more spray bottles. The original recipe that I used had Baking Soda in it, which would clog the spray bottle every time I mixed it in! So I definitely DO NOT recommend using Baking Soda if you will be spraying it! Take it from me. ;)

A few more notes:
  • The natural bleach substitute uses a diluted mixture of Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar, but these two ingredients in their purest forms create Peracetic acid, which can be a very strong and toxic chemical if not used carefully. So, if you have lemon juice, I've seen some people using this as a substitute for the vinegar. It's up to you!
  • I have not used the bleach alternative to wash or clean clothes yet. I might try it out, as I've heard that it does work. But so far, I've only used it for cleaning purposes.
  • The rubbing alcohol or vodka in the air freshener is apparently not necessary, but its purpose is to help the oils mix with the water, and to help the solution dry faster once its sprayed. I haven't used it enough to tell its effectiveness yet, but I've seen several recipes that use this, so I added it in.
  • I've seen other essential oil combinations used in these as well. I used all lavender and lemon because I don't have many oils, and these two are so versatile and both smell really fresh and clean.

Since this is my first time making these cleaners, I haven't used them enough yet to really judge their effectiveness, but I hope to use them around the house regularly and see how they work over time. If you want to make your own natural cleaners, I definitely recommend researching around the internet and figuring out the recipe that works best for you!

Update - I also recommend watching the documentary, The Human Experiment. It might make you think about the harmful products that you use on a daily basis! It is available on Netflix!

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