Basic Vinegar Cleaner
This was my first foray into home made cleaning products. I was impressed with how cheap it was, but I was most surprised to find that it was much more effective at cleaning than the products I'd been using. We keep a spray bottle filled with it on hand and use it for everything from cleaning the stove and oven to removing wallpaper adhesive (really!). The area will smell like vinegar for a couple minutes afterward, but it passes quickly, especially if you have the windows open. (And it's a significant improvement over the smell of industrial chemicals!)
As with all cleaning products, test on a small area first.
If your surface needs deep cleaning, you can spray a light coat and let it sit for a few minutes, or you can add some baking soda to make a paste and scrub.
I found spray bottles at the dollar store. We bought a few with different colored handles and keep them full of this, bleach water, and plain water. It's extremely important to label your bottles so you don't mistake one for the other in a hurry.
In a spray bottle, combine
1/2 c. white vinegar
1-2 tbsp (approx) dishwashing liquid
warm water to fill
Once I tried the vinegar, I was excited to try replacing my dishwasher soap and laundry soap. I still haven't been successful with the dishwasher soap, but this laundry detergent is a staple at my house. We have really noticed that we don't have to recycle boxes or bottles for detergent, which has significantly reduced the cleaning product waste around here.
You can easily scale this recipe up!
1 part grated Fels Naptha soap ($1 per bar, available at HyVee or you can buy online here)
2 parts Borax
2 parts washing soda
We use 1/4 c. per load, cold or warm. I grate the soap in the food processor and it's done in seconds.
If you like scented laundry, you can add some essential oils to the mix or each load.
"No Poo" Method
Finally, I wanted to share the fact that I don't normally use shampoo these days. Instead, I use the 'no-poo method' of using baking soda and vinegar to clean my hair. If you color your hair or have very delicate hair this method might be too harsh for you, but otherwise it's an excellent way to reduce the amount of shampoo you use or eliminate it completely.
Keep a small cup in the shower.
Use it to make a paste of baking soda and water. I have a lot of hair and use around 1/4 cup of soda.
Spread the paste onto your scalp and scrub, being sure to touch all parts of your scalp. You don't need to clean the ends of your hair because they really don't get dirty.
Rinse very well.
Rinse the cup and combine equal parts vinegar and water. Add this to your hair and let it sit for a few moments before rinsing well. (I find that my hair does not smell like vinegar at ALL after this!)
Until next week, keep it simple!