I have been toying with the idea of going full out and making my own cleaning products. The chemical load in most commercial products is enough to turn me away from them, let alone the cost. The selection of cleaning products has increased over time and with it, the cost. Unfortunately, you don’t get much for your money other than a bunch of water. Researching laundry detergent, window cleaner, etc. I found that these products are 90-98% water with a small percentage of active ingredients.
Recently, I gave a workshop at a spiritual retreat that included a part on natural cleaning products. I talked about window cleaning with a diluted solution of vinegar and newsprint that can be recycled and/or composted, laundry detergent and carpet powder. I thought it would be a good idea to share a couple of those recipes with you.
The laundry detergent is organic”ish”. There is debate going around about the safe use of borax powder, but since it is an effective natural mineral, I include it in my laundry detergent. The recipe makes one gallon (use 1/2 cup per normal load) for use in HE and standard front loading washers.
3 tbs dishwashing liquid (I use a natural soap from Williams Sonoma, but feel free to use Dawn if that is what you have)
3 tbs washing soda, this is a relative of baking soda, it absorbs grease
3 tbs borax
6-8 drops essential oil blend
Combine these three ingredients in an empty gallon jug or leftover laundry soap jug. Add 4 cups of hot water to dissolve the ingredients. Then follow with the balance of a gallon of cool water. Shake gently to combine all ingredients and allow to sit until the suds subside. Add your favorite essential oils. I enjoy Tea tree and Lemon for their fresh scents and antimicrobial properties…particularly good for washing linens and pet items.
The other recipe is for carpet powder. This is a much more effective and significantly safer alternative to commercial powders that use chemical fragrance to freshen carpets, rugs and upholstery. These chemicals release into the air close to the ground and close where pets and children are. They can breath in the vapors from these chemicals and be affected. My alternative uses dried herbs, corn starch and baking soda. I use;
1 cup corn starch
1 cup baking soda
3/4 cup powdered dried herb blend.
The herb blend is important. I use rosemary for its anti bacterial / anti pest properties as well as its scent. In addition, I use rose petals for a sweet fragrance, lavender for both scent and anti bacterial/anti pest properties. Finally I add basil, basil is also highly anti microbial and anti pest. We have four cats and a dog running around as well as in and out of the house. I like to ensure that the house is clean, freshly scented and protected against any infestations.
Combine the ingredients well. use a slotted spoon or another large holed shaker to distribute the powder on carpets and upholstery. Use a broom or brush to work the powder blend into the fibers and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes. After that, simply vacuum the powder up. It takes dirt and dust and any errant beasties with it into the vacuum to be disposed of and leaves a fresh herbal, not perfumy scent!
I will be experimenting with additional cleaning product swaps this winter that involve herbs as well as essential oils to wean us off harmful chemical cleansers! Your garden can supply so many things, food, medicine and now products to clean your home naturally!