Monday, May 28, 2012

livinGreen: cleaning supplies + DIY all purpose cleaner

Arlo has started scooting around the house. not quite crawling, but close. He also reaches, grabs, and gets into anything he can. his new movements bring babyproofing the house to mind.

While Arlo will probably manage to find things (dangerous things at that) throughout the house I never knew I had, I know he will never get into any harmful chemicals. How can I be so sure? I simply won't have any in the house.

For the past few years, I've thought a lot about the way our society shapes us. It shapes us to be consumers.  My whole life, I thought that you needed a separate product for each chore to be done in the house. Glass cleaner for windows, dish soap for dishes, tile cleaner for tiles, etc. etc. etc. Not too long ago, I realized that this simply wasn't true. Although those products' ingredients are specified for certain actions, there are many natural, safe approaches to cleaning that work for many chores. Personally, I don't want to take any risk of my sweet son getting into chemicals that could involve a trip to the emergency room (and most of them will), so I have started cleaning my house the natural way.

With just a handful of basic ingredients (we'll start with just 3), you can clean your entire house without risk of harm to ANYONE in your house.

#1: CASTILE SOAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 it's probably my favorite cleaning ingredient ever. why? You can use it for anything you'd use "normal" soap for, but you can change the scent by adding a few drops of whatever essential oil that you want (if you get the unscented kind). also, you only need a few tablespoons of it in a big amount of water (dont know the ratio offhand)... basically, you buy some, and don't have to get anymore for about 6 months or so. the most perfect, money saving thing ever.


it smells disgusting, but it cleans ANYTHING. walls, windows, and whatnots. The smell can be taken care of by making an all purpose cleaner with citrus fruits (see DIY instructions below).

I use this to scrub everything! EVERYTHING! Perfect for sinks, bathtubs, a little sprinkle in facewash for a scrub (i use honey for facewash... it really works people), and i even use it to wash my scalp. I have a head full of dreads, and rather than spending a ton of money on a no-residue shampoo, I use baking soda (also apple cider vinegar- another one to keep in the house, and lavender oil) to clean my locks. Keeps them sparklin clean and nice smelling.

Baking soda also eliminates smells from just about anything. Our diaper pail smells TERRIBLE unless we sprinkle baking soda in it about once every day. just a bit does the trick. and people think that they have to drop dozens of dollars on name brand diaper pails- HAHA! no, siree.

so there you have it. The three most important ingredients. No doubt I will be sharing more of these magical substances as time goes on, but start with those. Now, onto the DIY!


(these are estimations, as specific amounts aren't really necessary)
*a bottle of distilled white vinegar. just the kind you can buy at any general store (if you can, buy local!)
*a few citrus fruits. I used a grapefruit and two oranges, and filled 2 16 oz jars
*one or two old jars (from pickles or something) that you've washed out

Step 1: peel your fruits!!!! you won't need the meat from the fruits, so eat that up- it's good for you. 

 Step 2: Fill a jar (or jars) up with the peel, and pour in vinegar until the jar is full.

Step 3: let the mixture sit for 2 or 3 weeks, then pour into a spray bottle and voila!!!! You've got the cheapest, easiest, most natural cleaner ever.
wasn't so hard, was it?

He likes it, and so will you :)

(just so you know, i didn't "invent" this cleaner- SO many people long long ago used to use it. My mother had a love for eco friendly cleaning, and used vinegar to clean lots of things. adding citrus was simply a touch i'd heard of before to take away from the smell!)

Chelsea, Arlo, and Olive


  1. thanks for your comment on my fabric round up! I'm glad it is helpful! Your blog is super cute, this cleaner recipe looks awesome!

  2. What a great DIY. I absolutely love making my own cleaners, I just always feel so much better knowing what's in the products I'm using.

    1. thank you! and ME TOO!

      there's also something about doing things yourself that makes their use a bit more meaningful. glad you liked it

  3. first time at your pretty site ! cutest baby ever ! i am definitely going to try to make some the diy cleaners ... if only i didn't hate vinegar ! ill just plug my nose.

    1. awe, thanks!
      let me know how your cleaners work out... and if you have new recipes, feel free to share them :) :)

      also, don't be like me and spill the vinegar all over the place :S. it was GROSS haha

  4. All purpose cleaning supplies carry the load of your housework. It won't harm washable floor finish, cleans effectively without leaving dulling streaks.