Back To Basics
Becoming more self-sufficient is easier than you think. I started making my own cleaning products and soaps because I was unhappy with the results that store bought products gave me, they were expensive and put chemicals in the air of my home. In society, we have truly gotten away from the ways of our grandparents and replaced them with convenience at the grocery store.
The first homemade soap that I made was laundry detergent. With the exception of grating a bar of laundry soap, this is so easy to make. After making laundry soap, I made some liquid castile soap by grating a store-bought bar of castile soap and adding it to distilled water. This became the base ingredient in many of these cleaning products listed below. Then I made homemade soft scrub, an all-purpose cleaning spray and glass cleaner.
If you want to go "green", you can start with making your own cleaning supplies too!
Made from 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, 1 laundry bar (grated very small)-I like Fels Naptha. I use a parmesan cheese hand grater. I tried my food processer, but it wasn't fine enough gratings. Make as many batches as you like and use between 1-2 Tbsp. per load. This container was purchased from Target and holds 5 batches of the laundry soap. That lasts me for two months, and I do a lot of laundry here on Burnt Mill Farm. It works great for HE washing machines (remove the liquid detergent tray first). You can also add some essential oil or fragrance oil of choice.
You can make your own glass cleaner with ingredients you probably already have in your home. I remember watching commercials on tv of a popular window cleaner saying their window cleaner contained vinegar. My goodness, that's one of only two ingredients you need to properly clean a window. I have no idea how these chemical companies have sold as much window cleaner as they have over the years. Our society has truly gotten so dependent on pre-made cleaning supplies.
Mix 50% white distilled vinegar (or citrus vinegar) with 50% water. You can add a few drops of lemon or peppermint essential oil if you like. It's that easy! Dry with a newspaper or lint-free towels. Walmart carries 32oz. spray bottles, in their cleaning section, for about $1. Natural foods markets and some grocery stores carry essential oil in 0.5oz. sizes.
*Note: You should wash off chemical residue leftover from commercial cleaners from all glass surfaces first. Mix 1/4 cup liquid castile soap in a small bucket of warm water. Add 1 cup white distilled vinegar and mix.
Liquid Castile Soap
Here is an easy way to make liquid castile soap, which can be used for cleaning purposes.
Heat up 10 cups of water (preferably distilled water). Pour the water into a pitcher. Grate a 4oz. bar of castile soap. I use Kirk's Coconut Castile Soap. This can be purchased at Walmart (in a 3-pack) or a natural food store. Add the grated castile to the water and stir. Let it sit for 24 hours. At that point, it is ready to use. Time to get cleaning!
*Note: If you store this liquid castile soap in a cool location, it will thicken. It will liquify again once left out at room temperature.
You can substitute any recipe calling for white distilled vinegar with citrus vinegar. This will make your cleaning products smell better and will have some essential oil power. Use any jar you have on hand and fill with white distilled vinegar. Add citrus rinds: lemon, orange, grapefruit. Let sit for 5 weeks and strain.
*I have found that canning jars with lid and band, as pictured above, will rust if storing vinegar for long periods of time. It will work, but I prefer to reuse my large jelly jars for this purpose.
Soft Scrubbing Cleaner
In a bowl, mix 1 Cup baking soda with 1/4 Cup liquid castile soap (preferably unscented). Stir thoroughly, using a fork. Add 1/2 tsp. of an essential oil or fragrance oil of choice. For me, I used an orange fragrance oil. I usually use the All-Purpose Cleaner on my stove top surface after cleaning the grime off with this soft scrubbing cleaner. I wanted to save my essential oils for more important cleaners. Store this mixture in an 8-oz. jar with a tightly fitting lid to keep it from drying out. I reuse my small jelly jars.
Soap Scum Cleaner
Use a large, glass measuring cup that holds 4 Cups of liquid. Fill the 4 Cup measuring cup with white distilled vinegar (or citrus vinegar). Heat in the microwave for about 1 minute or until hot. Pour this liquid into your spray bottle. Then make 16 kind of long squeezes of clear liquid dishwashing soap (NOT dishwasher liquid) into the spray bottle. I had exact measurements in the beginning, but it became easier just to make a kind of long squeezes. I'll see if I can locate the original recipe to give more exact measurements.
Shake the bottle before each use. Spray this solution all over your shower, sink, etc. and let sit for 1-2 hours. Use a wet rag and wipe over the surfaces that were sprayed on. Rinse with clean water and you're done. This solution has a bit overwhelming scent. Open a window or turn on your fan if possible. I have never found an easier way to clean our bathroom.
This can be made by filling a 16 oz. spray bottle with 1 tsp. Borax and hot water. Shake well until the Borax is dissolved. Add 2 Tbsp. white distilled vinegar (or citrus vinegar) and shake again. Add 1/4 Cup of liquid castile soap (preferably unscented). Add 10-15 drops of an essential oil. I use Tea Tree Essential Oil to give some disinfecting qualities.
As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for you, O God. Psalm 42:1