Natural Home Cleaning

 in Lifestyle

Being green and saving green is easy.

You’ve started to take the steps to green your world, your diet and your wardrobe but the next more challenging part is about to begin. How do you clean the house? We are so conditioned to use bleach and pinesol type products in order to think that something is clean (read: germ free).
How do we even disinfect without chemicals?

I’m here to tell you it is way easier than you think and there are now plenty of at home DIY cleaners.
And now some good biodegradable ones are on the commercial market too.

I personally use 4 things:
Tea Tree Oil
Biodegradable soap

Just about everything will come clean with these simple ingredients and the first three are powerful disinfectants. Soap and friction is all you need to clean your hands, there is little difference when it comes to other surfaces. I use regular biodegradable soap on and for just about everything. To clean my tile floors, the bathtub bottom, around all my sinks. When it comes to the tolits though I like to get a little bit tougher and use vinegar, lime peels and tea tree oil.

Benefits of Natural Cleaners

Soft on your skin and the environment.
A lot of the cleaners we use require you to wear gloves, if you don’t those harsh chemicals are easily soaked into your skin and body. Not only that but many cleaners are washed right into the water polluting them.
It’s so much work to get dirty water clean again, why willingly add to the mess?

Citrus acts as a natural bug repellent.
My rule is bugs outside are okay, but the inside is my space. I get a bit tired of moving them back outside with cups and cardboard I learned I needed a more preventive solution. Citrus has been my saving grace. The oil from the peels or a concentrated citrus essential oil sprayed to the doors and windows helps prevent the entry of small creepy crawlers. Cleaning your counters with the vinegar and citrus concentration below will also help all those pesky ants that

No Animal Testing
For vegans this is huge, we don’t want to support the cruelty industry. Many beauty and cleaning products have been tested on animals that live in terrible small laboratory cages and many of those animals were harmed.

Honestly cost is what matters to most people. They look at the biodegradable soap and the earth friendly toilet scrub and don’t buy it because it’s a few dollars more expensive. I understand, I too an on a budget and every purchase matters. It’s why I started making at home cleaners to begin with. When you do it yourself the cost is cents instead of dollars.

Getting Started

Get a bulk of vinegar.
Buy a bag of discount citrus that is over ripe.
Collect all the costco or bulk plastics you have around (like the big spice and seed containers) or an old glass jar.

All Purpose Cleaner

I personally clean my tile floors with soap and water but I spray this cleaner onto the door cracks weekly to prevent bugs from entering the house. I also use this for the tub or harder to clean surfaces like my whole bathroom and the kitchen stove/sink or anything with stains or grease.
You can also add a couple tablespoons of the finished dilution to your floor water for the fresh, clean smell.

What you need:
White Vinegar
1 big glass or plastic bottle – if using plastic the citrus smell will be permedient and you won’t be able to use this container for anything else. I personally just keep reusing the same one and use plastic because I have extras in the house I would like to reuse and reduce my environmental impact.
5-8 citrus fruits — you are only going to need the peels so very ripe or even going bad oranges will work. I usually use a mix of limes, oranges and sour oranges because these are what we constantly have in the fridge.
Tea Tree Oil – optional – If you want to add 5 drops you will do this in the spray bottle after the product is done.

1. Peel the citrus fruit trying to get as much of the white without any of the inner fruit.
We want to extract the oils from the peel but the inner fruit will rot and make your cleaner go bad faster.

2. Fill the chosen container more than half full, compacting the peels well as you go. It doesn’t have to be exact but the more peels you get the more concentrated your mixture will be. However, I’ve found filling the container all the way up doesn’t leave enough room for the vinegar. I aim for more than half and less that 75% full.

3. Completely fill the rest of the container with white vinegar.

4. Allow to sit for 2 weeks to extract all the citrus. You will know its done because it will smell a whole lot more like citrus than vinegar. I usually have 2 of these going at a time in old bulk spice containers so that I never run out.  

5. Strain out the peels and funnel into a spray bottle.
   Use as is or dilute with up to 50% filtered water.

6. If you want to add extra microbe killing potential (because vinegar isn’t enough for you), 5 drops of tea tree essential oil can be added at the end to your spray bottle.

The fast method:
If you don’t have time to soak your own citrus peels you can do with same thing with citrus essential oils. This option works just as good, but is slightly more expensive.

1. In a spray bottle mix ½ vinigar and filtered water.
2. Add 10-20 drops of citrus essential oil. (depending on the size of your spray bottle)
3. Use as desired.

Toilet Scrub

If for some reason your all purpose cleaner isn’t doing the job on your toilet or other surfaces, you can use a powder concentration.

What you need:
¼ cup Borax Powder
1 cup Baking Soda
10 Drops of Tea Tree Oil

1. Mix all the ingredients well in a jar.
2 Spray your all purpose cleaner on the surface to wet it so the powder sticks.
3. Sprinkle the powder into the toilet or onto the tough grime, wait 5 minutes and scrub with a brush.
3. Wipe clean with a wet rag if needed.

I like to use the shakers you usually see at pizza restaurants, the ones with the big holes. It makes application easier, but you can use anything you have on hand. A hot nail can also be used to make holes in an old plastic jar lid. Reduce, reuse!

Happy Cleaning!

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