There has been an increasing interest in homemade cleaners. There are several reasons for this. It’s cheaper to make your own. You know exactly what’s in it. Some people have allergic reactions to some cleaners or are troubled by their strong odors.
One common ingredient in many homemade cleaning formulas is white distilled vinegar. Vinegar is very effective in killing most germs, bacteria and even mold. It’s also economically and environmentally friendly. Some people are reluctant to use vinegar because they don’t like the smell. Vinegar’s odor dissipates as it dries and it dries very quickly.
This brings us to another common ingredient in homemade cleaning formulas – scented oils. There are many scents to choose from – Whole Foods has a great selection and testers are provided so you can check them out before purchasing. Maybe you like the calming effects of lavender for your furniture dusting solution in your bedroom. Maybe you like the invigorating effects of mint for your bathroom. Maybe you like citrus cleaners but want something different than the traditional lemon. How about lime? For a tropical twist, add a touch of coconut to the lime. Maybe in the fall and holiday season your thoughts turn to cinnamon and cloves. When making your own formulas you have complete control over the scents you use in your home.
Microfiber cleaning cloths are a necessity. Some people simply clean with microfiber cloths and water. I find that may work great for mirrors but I like the disinfecting qualities of using a homemade cleaner with vinegar. When cleaning with a microfiber cloth, if it gets too wet you many notice spots and streaks forming. Toss the cloth aside and grab a clean one. The cloths can be cleaned simply with hot water. I toss mine into the wash but I place them in a lingerie bag so that they won’t cling (and possibly snag) other articles in the wash. Keeping them in the separate bags also reminds me NOT to put them in the dryer – this is very important. Simply hang them to dry. I’m not fond of the cloths found in the dollar stores. Thicker cloths will simply work much better and thin cheap cloths are a waste of money. You can buy the cloths in bulk at Costco and BJ’s as well as online at Amazon.com.
Although I don’t purchase my microfiber cloths at the dollar stores, I do purchase spray bottles there. These too are a necessity. I usually mix my formulas directly in the bottles so it’s helpful to purchase bottles which have measurement markings. I label each bottle with the type of cleaner i.e. bathroom cleaner, glass cleaner, etc. I also attach a label with the formula I used saving me the added step of having to look it up when it’s time to make more.
Here’s a basic formula for a general all-purpose cleaner that I use to clean my bathroom to get you started: Simply combine equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle – pretty simple! Add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice.
This is the formula I use in my kitchen: 1 cup water, 1 Tbs Castile soap and 6-10 drops of essential oil. Castile soap comes in a variety of scents as well as unscented – if using scented tread lightly with the scented essential oil.
Check out the blog next month for more tips and formulas.