I love homemade products! Cleaning products, beauty products – you name it!
I started taking an interest in ‘making my own stuff’ around 5 years ago. I started by making my own beauty products. I make my own lip balm, hand lotion and body moisturizer. I also make shaving soap for my husband and he loves it!
I then moved onto making my own cleaning products.
I might love the smell of a freshly bleached bathroom as much as the next person – (yes, I actually kinda do love that smell, as it smells ‘clean’) – but guess what?
- You don’t have to use harsh chemicals for your house to be clean
- You don’t have to have a bathroom that smells like a chlorinated swimming pool
- You can have a fresh, clean house that’s ‘green’ and kind – to you and to the environment
- You can save heaps of money on cleaning products and go spend it on yourself instead!
A school of thought regarding my current health condition is also that I should avoid harsh chemicals as much as possible, too. Added to that – I have such sensitive skin that I just can’t take the risk with some of this stuff anymore.
Being a neat/clean freak and The Organization Queen, am I going to let that affect my cleanliness or my makeup/beauty regime? No way Jose!
I had a REALLY bad experience with some cheap, store-bought makeup once. Silly me, I’d decided to buy some eyeshadow for $5.00 from a shop that I should have known better than to buy from. I loved the color of the eyeshadow, though. It was a gorgeous green and really suited my eyes. Anyway, after using it for around one week, every day, here’s what I looked like………
Yep – that big red ring covering my eyelid and half my cheek was caused by this ridiculous makeup.
It was only rectified via months of cortisone cream.
I swore that never again would I be affected in such a way.**
** BTW – do you realize that once you’re affected by something like this, this can actually make you allergic to that particular pigment for life? After this experience I went out and bought another eyeshadow, 10 times more expensive, in brand that is hypo-allergenic. I bought that same green color and lo and behold, my eye ‘broke out’ again. I wrote to the company and received a lovely response from them which basically indicated that even though their products are hypo-allergenic, if I’ve been affected by that color before – in any brand at all – it can ‘set me up’ to be affected by this color for life. Of course this more reputable brand refunded my money in full!
So what’s all this got to do with getting organized?
Part of getting your physical clutter organized – is – yes, you guessed it – CLEANING!
When we start sorting out our physical clutter, of course we want to clean the room as we go, so that we’ve got a beautiful fresh, clean space.
No, I don’t want to turn you into a 1950s housewife that spends her entire day on house cleaning!!
What I DO want to do, though, is let you know that a clean and organized house can be obtained in just minutes per day and that a little time spent making your own products can not only save the environment, but it can save you money AND save your skin – literally!
I’m working on an exciting series for you where – room by room – we’re going to get our Physical Clutter organized and clean!
Now I know that not everyone likes cleaning. That’s perfectly fine! As a matter of fact, even though I kinda love cleaning, I actually outsource my cleaning every second week, and do it myself every other week. This is a part of my work-life balance plan. I’d also recommend that you outsource your cleaning too, if it means you get to spend more time doing what you love and what you’re good at or passionate about!
That being said – if you want to organize your physical clutter – there is at least that one clean that you’ll need to do as part of the initial clean and organize regime! If you want to use ‘friendly’ products for that clean – (and perhaps for future cleans**) – then the first step is to ensure we’ve got the right products available so that when we come to cleaning and organizing each and every room – you’re ready.
** Even if you decide to outsource your cleaning, you may want to ask your cleaner to use your funky, homemade, green, dollar-wise and people-friendly products!
Without further ado:
- Sponges – buy different colored sponges for different areas. For example, I use blue sponges for my kitchen and red sponges for my bathroom. Never the twain shall meet!
- Always use rubber gloves. Again, I buy different colored gloves for the kitchen and for the bathroom
- Buy disposable paper towel for use in toilet cleaning so that you never keep what you’re cleaning the toilet with. (Apart from a toilet brush, but we’ll get to that later).
- Keep all your cleaning products in a bucket, together, so that when it’s time to clean, you just grab your bucket
- Replace kitchen sponges often. I replace mine every few weeks. I rarely recommend bleach for anything, but if you continue using a sponge for more than one week, just take one capful of bleach (20mls or so) and around a liter of water in the sink, and soak your sponges. Be sure to rinse them well, post-soaking!
You can clean your entire house with just the following ingredients:
- sponges – get two different colors
- rubber gloves – get two different colors
- spray bottles
- lavender oil
- paper towel
- lemon juice
- white vinegar
- washing soda crystals
- soap flakes (or grated laundry soap)
- black tea
- bicarb soda
- table salt
Now onto our recipes. And don’t worry – there is not one recipe here that’ll take any longer than 5 minutes to prepare! Most take literally, seconds, not minutes.
Here we go:
Laundry Detergent Powder
2 cups washing soda crystals
2 cups household borax
2 cups soap flakes (or grated laundry soap).
That’s it!! Mix these up in equal parts and use 2 tablespoons for every full load of washing.
The total cost for this entire recipe will be around $10.00 or so – but this will last you for SO LONG!
If you’re game, you can also try some homemade Fabric Softener.
½ cup white vinegar
Add this to the fabric softener ‘compartment’ of your washing machine.
DON’T FREAK OUT! No, this does not make your clothes – or you – smell like vinegar. It will cut down any residual soap and will truly make your clothes softer. Once your clothes are dry – I guarantee you they won’t smell at all. (Wet vinegar smells. Dry vinegar doesn’t).
Glass and Mirror Cleaner
1 spray bottle
Yep. That’s it. Brew up a strong cup of black tea, pour it into the spray bottle, and Bob’s your uncle. Give it a try! Spray this on a glass surface, wipe off with old newspaper and watch the tannins from the tea clean the glass better than any commercial brand. At a cost of what? 10 cents or so?!
All Purpose Cleaner #1 – Shower Cleaner
1 spray bottle
1 cup lemon juice (Hint – I buy already-squeezed lemon juice and use it for my cooking, then – once it’s past it’s use-by date – I then use it for cleaning products)
1 cup white vinegar
You can use this on surfaces at home such as shelving, benchtops, sinks etc. It’s fantastic as a shower cleaner, too! Yes, it removes soap scum. Just spray it, leave it for 10 minutes, then scrub it off. (Note that you shouldn’t use vinegar on marble).
All Purpose Cleaner #2- Lavender Scented
1 spray bottle
1 teaspoon lavender oil
1 liter water
You can use this all purpose cleaner on surfaces at home such as those mentioned above (benchtops, sinks etc). For cleaning showers though – stick with the above recipe for All Purpose Cleaner #1
Floor of Shower Scrub
1 cup table salt
1 cup bicarb soda
Shake this onto the shower floor and then spray it with white vinegar if the floor is really dirty. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then scrub it off.
Sink Cleaner (kitchen and bathroom sinks)
You can use the ‘Surface and Shower Cleaner’ recipe above for sinks or – if you really want a deep clean – sprinkle some Bicarb soda on the sink, then spray it with white vinegar. Watch it fizz, then scrub it off with a sponge.
1/2 cup bicarb soda
1 cup white vinegar
jug of boiling water
Put the bicarb down the sink. Leave it for 15 minutes. Some of the bicarb may sit in the plughole – that’s fine.
Then pour the white vinegar down the sink.
Make sure not to breathe in the fumes!
Leave it for 10 minutes, then pour the entire kettle of boiling water down the drain.
To clean the inside of the toilet
Shake bicarb soda into the toilet bowl
Pour/spray in white vinegar
Make sure not to breathe in the fumes!
Let it sit for 10-15 minutes
Scrub it with the toilet brush
Flush the toilet whilst swishing with the brush to (1) remove any remaining bicarb and (2) rinse the brush
To clean the outside of the toilet
Spray with our white vinegar and lemon ‘Surface and Shower cleaner’, then wipe off with paper towel. Dispose of the paper towel and don’t use re-usable sponges for the toilet!
Toilet brushes can be a haven for germs. So after you’ve cleaned the toilet like this, here’s the second (and I think, last) time I use bleach.
- Pop a bit of bleach into the toilet bowl and leave the toilet brush sitting in the bowl to soak/sit in it for 10 minutes or so.
- Flush the toilet, letting the water rinse the brush
- Fill the toilet brush ‘container’ with a bit of hot soapy water (dishwashing detergent is fine) and pour that water into the toilet
- Make sure your toilet brush is replaced often!!
1 cup white vinegar
1 bucket hot water
Mop your tiled floors with this simple, cheap and friendly formula!
I don’t personally have a recipe for this – as I’ve never had wooden floorboards – but Shannon Lush, from “Lushhouse” (Australia’s queen of homemade cleaning products) recommends the below:
1/2 bucket hot water
1 pot of black tea
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 drops lavender oil
Either wrap a broomhead in old pantyhose, or use a mop to clean with this cute concoction.
Sprinkle bicarb soda onto the carpets
Let it sit for a while. The longer you let it sit, the more time it has to neutralize odors.
Shop-bought carpet deodorizers disguise the smell. Bicarb neutralizes it! I know which one I’d prefer!
Wow – this is a long post. I hope I haven’t forgotten any recipes!
Of course I need to add a standard disclaimer here which is, I’m not a scientist and I’m not a product manufacturer. Follow all tips with caution and care!!
We’ll soon start on organizing our Physical clutter, room by room, and now that we’ve got our cleaning products ‘sorted’ – we’ll be good to go!
Are there any other recipes you’d like, in terms of house cleaning products? Do you have your own recipes you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!