Tuesday, April 22, 2014

SPRING {cleaning}

it's earth day! yahoo!
and what's a better way to celebrate the earth than to make non-toxic cleaning supplies using recycled spray bottles! double yahoo!

here's the deal:
I really like making my own cleaning supplies for several reasons:
1. My college minor of Environmental Science is feeling fulfilled when I reuse an old bottle and not buy a new one at the store.
2. I think vinegar is a super hero in the cleaning world.
3. Although I really love the smell of chlorine (and I have to admit every few weeks, I do clean with the bleach-y stuff to get that smell back), but overall I think the smell of lavender is much more lovely, and it doesn't really feel like I'm cleaning*.
*yes, yes it does.  I'm kidding, I just tell myself that I'm not cleaning.
4. You really don't have to buy any weird ingredients to make your own cleaning products.  Well, you might think that essential oils might be a little weird, but you can buy a small bottle at Whole Foods for about $8 and it'll last FORever.

I have two more caveats:

1. Tea tree oil is a great essential oil to have in your repertoire (I also have eucalyptus and lavender - both very nice too, in case you were very curious.) But the Tea Tree oil is a beast - not only that it smells minty fresh but it also kills bacteria.  So I'm a big fan of adding it to any homemade cleaning supply.  I mean, why not?
2. Castille soap is awesome.  I love the smell of the lavender version.  Castille soap has more uses than I know what to do with, just click on the link, the possibilities are endless!  Endless, I tell you.  (Umm...I love this soap, but I do not think I will ever use it to brush my teeth. I like to be green, but I have limits.) Castille soap is super concentrated so you only need a very little bit in any of these recipes and the bottle is gigantic so it'll last forever.

OK, now that we've covered that...
Here's what I use:

Shower cleaning spray:
[Equal Parts Blue Dawn dish soap + Distilled White Vinegar]

We inherited some nasty shower doors when we moved into our apartment and believe you me, I tried every single shower door cleaner I could find to clean them.  None of them worked nearly as well as my homemade version.  Seriously, it's amazing how well it works! This was the first cleaner that I made and totally sold me on making my own cleaning products.

All you need is an empty spray bottle. Fill half of it with blue Dawn Soap (yes, blue. I have no idea why, but stop asking questions and just make it) and the other half with distilled white vinegar. This spray lasts for a long time, I think I've been making this spray for a few years and I just had to buy a new bottle of Dawn, so I might have this GIANT bottle of soap until my children (that I don't have) are 75 years old, but it was the only size that Target had.  And to make matters worse, I actually already had a small bottle of Dawn hiding behind the garbage bin under the sink, so now you can count on coming over to my apartment anytime you need to make your shower cleaner because, MY GOODNESS, do I have a stash!

Homemade Soft Scrub:
1 2/3 cup Baking Soda
10 drops of Tea Tree Oil

I found a version of this on Pinterest a year or so ago but I put it in a spray bottle (which wasn't a good idea, it's too thick.) So when I saw Dusty make her own soft scrub in a jar, my mind was blown. Hello! What was I thinking, how did I not think of that?!?

Homemade Wipes:
Mike goes through undershirts like Barkley goes through stuffed bunnies (which is fast, in case you were wondering.  She'll find the weakest point in the stuffed bunny and exploit it.) So we have a lot of t-shirt rags piling up.  Dusty made homemade wipes and I thought, what a perfect use up of the undershirts! Plus, we have more mason jars than we know what to do with (the local honey that we buy comes in mason jars).   I did some research on the other links Dusty had about making your own wipes and decided to try the version that used Castille soap (you know, I've got a bottle of it that I'm dying to use.) These wipes are awesome, I've nearly finished the first batch that I made earlier this week already.  One thing to note: they are really sudsy, which came to a surprise on the first use, but I just rinsed out the wipe with water and re-wiped the kitchen counters and that was all I needed to do.  And using the same wipe, I was able to wash the kitchen floor.  (Our kitchen is the size of a postage stamp - the 64 cent kind.) Plus, it's cutting down our paper towel usage - AWESOME!

All Purpose Spray {picture a spray bottle with clear liquids inside}:
Vinegar + Water + Tea Tree Oil
This one is the mecca of all sprays.  All you need is another empty spray bottle and fill it up with equal parts vinegar and water.  Then, add about 8-10 drops of tea tree oil. Shake, spray, clean. Vinegar and water is a good spray to clean windows and mirrors.  I haven't tried it with the tea tree oil added in. We'll see, I'll let you know next time I clean the windows...just FYI, I rarely clean the windows. We can't get the outsides of any of our windows and the apartment company doesn't clean them, so this is the one area of cleaning that I say, screw it. I mean, I can clean the inside all I want and they still look dirty. When we have a house though, watch out, I've got 5 years of no-outside-window-cleaning-energy pent up and ready to burst. Actually, I'm not so sure about that. You could also say that since I haven't raked leaves in 5+ years, I'm bursting at the seams to do that too, but, I'm not.

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