Or, 6 Reasons Why These Magic Mixes Will Cause You To So Deeply Regret All Those Years and Dollars You Wasted On Commercial Products That You May Need Grief Counseling
1. They are homemade.
As Pinterest users can testify, anything DIY is automatically more awesome than the alternative. Which makes you cooler than other people who don’t make their own stuff. You can feel a little smug in your heart when you see people grabbing crap from the cleaning aisle, cause you don’t need some giant corporation to make your products for you. You’re self-reliant! You’re like a freaking pioneer in the wilderness! Before you know it, you’ll be growing your own wheat, constructing a water mill to grind it, and then baking homemade bread over a fire. That’s right. A fire built with wood you chopped.
[SIDE BONUS: The more stuff you make at home, the more prepared you are for the zombie apocalypse.]
2. They have simple, easy-to-find ingredients.
Everything you need to mix your own cleaning solutions can be found at your local supermarkets, and you probably already have a lot of this stuff at home. It’s best to buy these in bulk sizes if possible—that usually gives you a better value. Like the 32oz Dr. Bronner’s soap instead of the 16oz, and a gallon of vinegar instead of a small bottle. One exception is olive oil: I buy a cheap little bottle instead of using the kind I cook with. You’re not concerned about quality or taste–just its, well, oiliness. Here’s what you need:
- Liquid Castile soap –> in the organic beauty aisle*
- Essential oil (choose one with antiseptic properties) –> ditto*
- Rubbing alcohol
- White vinegar
- Borax –> in the laundry aisle by super washing soda
- Baking soda
- Olive oil
*I can usually find these for cheaper on Amazon than in a store. If you have a Prime membership (so worth it OMG), you can have them shipped super fast for free!
3. They smell ridiculous.
Before you mix up your solutions (recipes below), you have the exciting task of deciding which scent combinations to use. Dr. Bronner’s liquid Castile soap comes in a variety of ridiculous scents which are also based on essential oils, so you can combine different soaps with the oil of your choice for a knock-your-socks-off aroma. For instance, I made my first batch of cleaners with peppermint soap and lavender oil. For my next trick, I will be using citrus soap with thyme oil. Or you could try lavender soap with eucalyptus oil, or eucalyptus soap with tea-tree oil, or—well, the mind reels! And I think you will find that these heavenly smells actually make cleaning pleasant. I myself often feel compelled to burst into cheery song and let a little birdie alight on my finger.
4. They are effective.
I just recently became aware of the cleaning power of essential oils. I’d been using some boring vinegar-and-water mixes with a little baking soda here and there, but boy do these oils pack an extra wallop. They cut through grease better, they leave surfaces more resistant to grime, and they have natural disinfectant properties. I mean, seriously, it’s like cleaning with fairy dust.
5. They are environmentally friendly.
No nasty man-made chemicals or pollutants here. Safe for humans, safe for pets, and safe going down the drain into our lakes and rivers. In fact, not only are these cleaners not bad for you–they are very likely beneficial. Essential oils are known to have very positive effects on mood and overall wellbeing. Aromatherapy FTW! Of course, it’s important to remember that Borax and essential oils can be toxic in high quantities, but these solutions are so diluted there’s little risk of danger. Just don’t, you know, drink them or anything.
6. They are cheap.
Ok, I sat down, screwed my courage to the sticking place, and did some math. It was very complicated and I had to retire with a cold compress and hot tea afterward, so I hope you’re properly grateful. Anyway, if you follow the recipes below, you will need to mix more of the solutions around every six weeks or so. And remember that a little goes a looooong way (time to break that Lysol-spray-induced habit of sloshing gallons of cleaner around). With this in mind, I figure these solutions will ultimately cost you around 10 bucks a month. Basically, that’s six different solutions for $1.67 a piece. Remember how much you paid for the aforementioned Lysol? Mmm-hmm. You’re welcome. Please send all cards and flowers to my secretary.
I make multiples of some bottles so I can keep one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom and so forth. You need some empty spray bottles and some condiment squeeze bottles. Reuse old ones or get them cheap from the dollar store or Wal-Mart or something like that. And yes, I count the drops of essential oil.
All-purpose cleaner - makes 2 medium bottles
Use on all surfaces except maybe granite, wood furniture, and food areas like cutting boards.
2 cups hot water
2 tbsp Borax (dissolve)
1/4 cup vinegar*
1/2 cup Castile soap*
40 drops essential oil
Disinfectant - makes 1 medium bottle
Safe for use on granite, great for killing germs anywhere.
3 tbsp Castile soap
30 drops essential oil
Enough water to fill bottle
Glass cleaner - makes 2 medium bottles
Shake often to keep mixed.
4 cups hot water
2 tbsp cornstarch (dissolve)
1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
1/2 cup vinegar
Furniture polish - makes 2 small bottles
This one separates super fast, so shake every other spray or so. Goes a REALLY long way.
1 cup olive oil
1 cup vinegar
60 drops (about 3ml) essential oil
Shower spray - makes 1 bottle
Lightly mist walls and tub after you shower—no more evil soap scum!
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar*
2 tbsp Castile soap*
10 drops essential oil
Soft scrub - makes 2 squeeze bottles (mix in individual bottles!)
Scrub into tubs, sinks, and toilets—let sit, then rinse.
1/2 cup baking soda per bottle (1 cup total)
1/2 cup Borax per bottle (1 cup total)
1/2 cup Castile soap per bottle (1 cup total)
15 drops essential oil per bottle (30 total)
Splash or two of water per bottle (get it to the consistency you want)
Shower spray: Guys, I had to tell you, I’ve just started putting this solution in a sponge brush with a fillable handle, thanks to a hot tip I found on Pinterest (unfortunately I can’t credit the originator, as the pin didn’t lead to the right place). AHHHHMAZING!
Soft scrub: So if I, erm, don’t use the soft scrub solution very frequently, I find that it begins to harden in the bottle. If you’re a
slacker busy person like me who can’t always regularly clean your sinks & tubs, you might consider making the scrub in smaller batches instead so it stays fresh. If you do get some hardening, a little sploosh of water and a stir should also do the trick. Just a heads up, y’all.
Some readers have reported that combining vinegar and Castile soap creates a clumpy unblended mixture, so I recommend using either vinegar or Castile soap in these recipes, depending on your preference and desired effect! For myself, I’ll probably use vinegar in both.