Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cleaning Up

I'm still "making," even when I am not knitting as much.  Speaking of which, and I'll get on to the real topic in just a minute, I finally got up the guts to start knitting with that handspun I made so long ago.  It seriously feels like forever, I guess it was last spring though.  Anyway, it is on its way to becoming a cowl and I will definitely post pics when it is done.

So my wee one and my cloth diapering adventures have inspired me to become a little more green (or a little more crunchy, as some might see it) in the rest of my life.  I've often thought about making my own cleaning products, but never got around to actually doing it.  I mean, yes, I did basic things like run vinegar through my coffee pot and pour baking soda followed by vinegar down a slow drain, but I had never sat down and worked on figuring out how to replace all of my household cleaners with stuff I made.  Luckily, I have friends who are just as in to this as I am, some with more experience than I have, and I have some great reference materials.

Yesterday, armed with a 13lb bag of baking soda, 2 1/2 gallons of vinegar, a box or borax, a box of washing soda, some LemiShine standing in for citric acid, a few random bars of hotel soap, and various recycled containers, I had a couple friends over to get started because making things is always more fun as a group.

We decided to make the following things:
Dishwasher Detergent
Stain Gel
Diaper Pail Freshener
Fabric Softener

The first step was to pick some recipes.  I was armed with The Peaceful Housewife's e-book, The Green Grandma's book Vinegar Fridays, Home Ec 101, and a natural cleaners e-book I grabbed for free in the Kindle store one day.  We ended up using The Peaceful Housewife's recipes for the most part.  Vinegar Fridays is a great tips and tricks book with plenty of recipes as well, many of them very similar to The Peaceful Housewife's e-book.  The e-book is very clear and easy to follow, so it was easy just to bring it up on the screen and follow the recipes.  Vinegar Fridays is written more conversationally and covers much more, but it has no index so we went with what was easy for this first get together.  Buying supplies at Sam's Club and splitting the cost makes it even cheaper for everyone than it already is, so I recommend going that route if you and some friends want to try making your own cleaning products.

We started by making enough of each thing that we would each have a decent amount to take home and test drive.  The only one I have had the opportunity to try so far is the dish detergent, but I am a fan so far.  The hard water hear usually leaves me with cloudy glass ware, I've tried a few different detergents and wash procedures to try and fix this and this morning might be the clearest and sparkliest my glasses have been in a while.  I am excited to try all the others and I will try and be sure to let you all know how it goes.  I'm 100% positive I am going to love the diaper pail freshener because I already use the same thing purchased from The Peaceful Housewife's store.  I am planning to try the fabric softener out on a load of towels because that is usually the most static-y load of laundry I do.  We never used fabric softener before, but way back before the cloth diapering we used to use unscented dryer sheets and Jenny even has a solution for that (she basically tells you to make a dryer sheet out of the fabric softener that you just made and a washcloth.  Clever, right?)

I mentioned those recycled containers, remember?  Well rather than buy containers, wash out and keep things that open and close easily.  I like containers with screw on lids, like empty salsa jars, peanut butter jars, etc. just make sure they are thoroughly cleaned and completely dry before using!

So why didn't we make laundry detergent since that seems to be one that many people start with when they start making their own cleaners?  Well 2 of us already had 500 load supplies from The Peaceful Housewife, so I think we're set for a while!

Do you make your own cleaning supplies?  If so, what do you make and where do you find your recipes?


Amy said...

I buy very few commercial cleaning supplies. My main multi-purpose cleaner is in a spray bottle filled with vinegar (go light on the vinegar), alcohol, water, and essential oil (my favorite is rose). I use it for everything. It's especially good for carpet cleaning. I even use it for my steam cleaning solution. Also, you can mix it with a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid and water for mopping.

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Kristin said...

I haven't tried to make my own yet, but I would love to start!