Beginner’s Guide to DIY Cleaners
Have you ever stopped and thought about the cleaners you buy to clean your home? Recently I read an article on pets and small kids dying from liver failure after being exposed to a very popular floor cleaning product. A cleaning product that I have been using in my house for years. It made me stop and think about the things I use to clean the house, our laundry and even us. I use organic products for our shampoos, body washes and that kind of thing – for the house it is a very different story. I have been using the same products for decades. I looked through the organic cleaning products available at my local big box store and did a double take. There are very few of them and they are very expensive. One all purpose cleaner that is similar to 409, it cost $8.99 and was half the size! That is just insane. I have been researching different formulas for DIY cleaning formulas and found they mostly use the same ingredients in various amounts. For the last week I have been trying out my own formulas and I am loving them. I am slowly building my DIY Cleaning collection as I run out of the commercial brands that I have used before. As I develop more cleaners I will let you know about them. For now this is a Beginner’s Guide to DIY Cleaners – what you need to start making your own cleaners at home!
TOOLS TO GET YOU STARTED
You can get started using DIY Cleaners with things you probably have in your home already. Honestly, I recommend you try it with stuff you already own that way you can figure out what you need as you go. When your ready to buy a few things this is the list of what I bought. (There are affiliate links. If you click on them it won’t change anything in your shopping experience. I will get an attaboy for sending someone to their site and if you make a purchase I get a small percentage – so I can buy more cleaning products for the house! So help me out and click through the links below to see the products.)
You can get a spray bottle in various sizes and types to put your cleaners in. The type of bottle you get depends on if you are going to have them on display or stashed under the sink. While I am experimenting I am using a plain spray bottle I have left over from my failed attempt to keep a bonsai plant alive. I plan on buying a set of amber glass spray bottles. Why amber glass? The amber protects the essential oils from going funny from sunlight, and the glass won’t hold smells if I switch up my oils with the seasons. *Note: if you use a clear bottle for your cleaners always store it out of direct sunlight.
You know those old parmesan shakers they have on the table in Italian resteraunts? The squat little mason jars that are so cute you just want to fill them with jelly beans? You will need some of these for the powder cleaners. Personally I like the ones with smooth sides – the labels just stick to them easier.
These come in handy to keep everything organized. You don’t want to have to sniff and guess which bottle has what cleaner in it. The best part about these are they will dissolve when you wash them. That way you don’t end up with layers of sticky residue on your bottles. Don’t worry they won’t melt if you get a drop of liquid on them. They are made for canning and can handle a little water.
This is just going to make everything much easier. If you have one on hand, perfect grab it and your set. If you have to buy one I suggest a metal one – it won’t stain or retain smells from your essential oils like a plastic one might.
One of the greatest things about DIY Cleaners is you probably have everything you need on hand to make one. The only thing I had to invest in was a few essential oils to get me started. I had lavender on hand, but I purchased lemon and peppermint.
This is a mild abrasive that will be gentle enough for almost any surface in your house. It also absorbs odors so it is great for cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, and pet areas.
You don’t need fancy sea salt, just plain table salt in that big blue container. It is a little more abrasive than baking soda but it is still considered a gentle scrubber.
You can use any vinegar you have on hand to get started – just not balsamic that is just for salad dressing. Some people like to use apple cider because white vinegar has a stronger smell. Honestly it really does have a strong odor when you have a full bottle open on the counter. When you mix it with the other ingredients and clean something you won’t smell it at all after your done cleaning. I have been using plain white vinegar in my solutions so far because I have a big bottle to clean fruits and veggies.
You need this if you are going to make cleaners and keep them for a while. Regular water can develop bacteria and that is just gross when you are trying to clean your kitchen counters. Check the bottom shelf at the grocery store, it has to say Distilled not spring, baby or fresh. If you don’t any when your making up your cleaners boil water and let it cool completely and that will work too.
This is the only dish soap I have ever bought. It cuts through grease but is gentle. You can add it to your formulas if you need a little extra umph.
This is the fun part. There are some oils that you should use because they have antiseptic or antimicrobial properties and are key to getting the result you are looking for. Then there are ones that are added just for their aromatherapy benefits. I have a small (but growing) collection of essential oils that I have been experimenting with. I need to warn you the essential oils you will buy for your DIY Cleaners is going to be different from the extracts you can buy in the grocery store to cook with. There are essential oils that are food grade – make sure you read the labels carefully before adding it to any tea or food.
DIY CLEANER RECIPES
Now the fun part. So far I have thried these three cleaners and they are doing every thing I hoped they would. I will let you know when I have other recipes ready for you to try, but for now these will get you started.
1/2 c distilled water
1/2 c white vinegar
8 drops lemon essential oil
Pour everything into your spray bottle and shake it up. Then just spray it on the surface and wipe it down. There is no need to rinse after because it is food safe. *Shake the bottle before each use.
1 c water
1 c vinegar
10 drops essential oil (you choose your favorite scent!)
Mix it all together in a spray bottle to spot clean your floors.
* If you are going to mop a large area keep the ratio of water and vinegar even then pour it into a bucket and stir. Pour out the dirty water when you are done.
2 tsp dawn
2 c distilled water
2 tbsp vinegar
5 drops essential oil (optional – I don’t use any in this one)
Mix it all in your spray bottle.
*Make sure to shake well before using.