Monday, February 17, 2014

Homemade Cleaner

Let's talk about cleaning.  

I enjoy cleaning more since my kids have been in school each weekday morning.  I can clean without a tornado following me!  Amazing.  I've used a ton of different techniques to help me get on a cleaning schedule but nothing ever works for me - I always rebel.  Years ago, when I was in college, I tried the FlyLady and she nearly gave me a panic attack.  But, after feeling like I am always tidying and not really cleaning-cleaning, I decided to give her another try.

The FlyLady breaks it down for you - by week and by day.  She also says that imperfect housework is still housework.  Fist Pump!  The downside is that you get a TON of emails from the FlyLady.  I admit, I delete most of them.  I pay attention to the schedule ones and then if I'm off my game, I read some of the inspirational ones.

The FlyLady has this saying, "soap is soap".  You know, I'm really starting to agree.  I've been slowly moving from the mainstream cleaners to more natural options.  After years of using a vinegar-based mixture for my floors, I have been wanting to make my own all-purpose household cleaner.  But, I kept getting stuck.  Almost all the recipes include Borax and it seems like the jury is out on if Borax is "safe" or not.  I finally decided that it's probably safer than other cleaners I've been using so I'm giving it a try. 

There's a TON of recipes out there for making your own cleaner - hello Pinterest.  I went with a recipe from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, because, they should sort of know what they're talking about, right?

All-purpose cleaner:

1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tsp. borax
3 1/2 cups hot water
1/4 cup liquid dish soap
20 drops lemon or lavendar essential oil (I didn't have any on hand and skipped it)

In a 32 oz spray bottle, mix vinegar, borax, and water thoroughly.  Add essential oil if desired.  Add dish soap last. 

I found the mixture to be too soapy and will reduce the soap next time.  I only use a drizzle of soap in my floor cleaning mixture.  The great thing about this mix is that I can use it everywhere - in the bathroom (shower, toilet, sink, etc.) and in the kitchen.   I don't use this on my floors.

What do you use for cleaning?  Do you make your own cleaner?  How do you feel about Borax?


  1. I do make my own and it is a recipe that I got from ECFE a few years back. We made it in class and I have kept making it on my own.

    2 cups water
    2 TBS white vinegar
    2 TBS dish soap ( I use seventh generation for to add a scent)
    and essential oils if you want it to smell

    Not sure about borax though.

  2. Thanks Jennifer! I was thinking of just leaving out the Borax and sticking with vinegar, water, and dish soap (which is what I use on my floors and it works well). Does your mixture work well on showers and bathtubs (i.e. soap scum, etc.)? Do you ever use baking soda?

  3. It works pretty well in the shower. We have tile in our shower and the grout doesn't get as clean as when I use harsher cleaners so I still do use the harsher ones once in a while. I haven't used baking soda but I probably should!