Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday: Natural Cleaners

Well, friends, a long time ago, the twin started doing Tutorial Tuesday. She inspired me to join her and I haven't looked back. Unfortunately, due to first-trimester fatigue and nausea, the twin had to take a small hiatus on posting tutorials. I'm hoping the second-semester is nicer to her--I'm eagerly awaiting the day she returns to enlighten us with her crafty project how-tos.

In the twin's absence, Kelly, from Our Lincoln Log has joined me in weekly tutorials. She comes up with awesome recipes and natural home products so I hope you'll always check out her tutorials, too. Since Kelly has been so consistent and excited about Tutorial Tuesday every week, I wanted her to share in the fun...by joining my tutorial button:



In my recent poll, there was a three-way tie on what you wanted to see in tutorials: how to make things for babies/kids, how to make natural products for the home, and how to spruce up your blog. This week we'll start with natural home products and then get into some more blog tips next week...

Today we are making:
  • "Frosting Scrub" (reminiscent of the popular "not-hard" scrub)
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Cloth Wipe Cleanser Solution
Here are the main ingredients that you need for those three cleaners:


  • Baking Soda
  • Castile Soap (I used Lavender Dr. Bronner's)
  • White Distilled Vinegar
  • Distilled Water
  • Tea Tree Oil (TTO)
  • Peppermint Essential Oil (or another essential oil like lavender or lemon)
  • Oil (I used Lavender body oil)--sorry! not in the picture!
  • Clean, preferably sterile, spray bottles
Starting with easiest first:

"Frosting Scrub"
  • Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into a bowl.
  • Gradually add Castile Soap until you have a frosting-like paste.

  • While attempting to photograph this last step, I added too much soap (duh) and had to add more baking soda.
  • I added 5 drops of TTO at the same time, and mixed it all in.

  • Perfect! I scraped most of it into a plastic container with sealable lid and left some in the bowl to use for later.

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • Pour 1/2 litre (~2 cups or 16 oz) distilled water into a tea kettle or a pot. Warm the water but don't boil it!
  • While the water is getting hot, measure 1/2 litre (~2 cups or 16 oz) distilled white vinegar into a large container

  • Add 1/2 Tablespoon Castile Soap to the vinegar, stir;
  • Add 10 drops TTO, stir

  • Add 10 drops essential oil (i used peppermint), stir;
  • Slowly pour the warmed water into the mixture (it can foam so pouring slowly is better!)
  • Mix well. Let cool. Warning: it will smell like vinegar but don't worry! It should NOT, however, smell like ammonia!
  • When the mixture is cool, pour into a clean and sterile spray bottle.
  • UPDATE! I added just a bit of baking soda to the all-purpose cleaner to give it a little more umph in cleaning. Of course, because it reacts with vinegar, you have to add it slowly but it seems to make it a little better in cleaning the tough spots! Don't add too much or else there will be baking soda residue left on the countertops. And, with the added baking soda, make sure you very gently shake the bottle before each use.



Baby Cloth Wipe Solution

  • Pour 1 Tablespoon of Castile Soap into a mixing bowl
  • Combine 1 Tablespoon Oil--I used lavender BODY oil but feel free to experiment with almond or apricot oil! Stir

  • Add 4 to 5 drops TTO
  • and, finally, add 1 cup distilled water into the mixing bowl

  • stir to combine--I got too vigorous with mine and it created LOTS of bubbles.
  • once the bubbles calm down, pour the solution into a spray bottle

  • To use, lightly spray a cloth wipe with the solution and then do your business!

Does it work?

Frosting Scrub--9 out of 10--I couldn't believe how little i needed to use (I used WAY more than I needed). I let it sit on the stains for about 2 or 3 minutes and then i wiped everything dry--no residue! That was unbelievable to me! Very nice. In fact, this morning, I couldn't help myself and kept "stroking" the stovetop because it felt so glossy and smooth! The only thing I didn't like was that my hands felt a little gritty from the baking soda afterwards.

Wipe Solution--10 out of 10--I have been using this solution since January and it works great!

All-Purpose Cleaner--9 out of 10--worked really well! Didn't leave a streak on the countertops and the vinegar smell dissipated almost immediately. I was really pleased. I only gave it 9 because next time I think I'll add a little more soap or TTO to give it a bit more "umph". It was great for my counter tops but the KitchenAid chrome didn't look that awesome afterwards. Maybe I should just use the Frosting Scrub for that, though? Also, I got a little carried away with test driving my new cleaning products and attempted to clean the windows--a little streaky but not bad! You should have seen the dirt. Sick.

A few caveats
  • Please use caution while mixing these ingredients. While they are not as harsh as other cleaners, it can still cause skin and eye irritations.
  • I did not use gloves when mixing the ingredients or using the "frosting scrub" but I think I will from now on.
  • The baby wipes solution needs to be tailored to your baby--when I first made this recipe, I added too much TTO and it actually burned her skin leaving an irritation. I diluted the solution and it never gave us a problem--just make sure you watch for things like that!
  • Of course, don't eat it, and keep out of children's reach!
  • AND, if you have cats, a special thanks to Amy D. for letting me know that TTO is highly toxic to cats! The TTO functions as a disinfectant and it is not necessary in the recipe--the vinegar will help deodorize and clean on its own.
I'd love to hear if you made these and what you thought of them or if you have your own natural cleaner recipes that you want to share!

5 people think...:

Jill said...

For windows/mirrors, I use 2 cups water, 1/4 c. vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon handwashing dish soap (to keep from streaking). This has worked GREAT for window cleaner for the last 9 months or so. This may also work well on your chrome!

I've heard of making wipes solution with just water and olive oil only (especially if your baby has sensitivity to TTO). I use Baby Bits diluted in water, so I've not tried to make it myself. I will, though, once I run out of Baby Bits.

Thanks for the cleaning tutorial! I'll be making my own all-purpose cleaner now! That's the only cleaner I still purchase (I use 7th Generation), but I'll try this recipe soon! :)

Amy D. said...

Great post, I love learning about green cleaners!

A caveat for those with cats-
Even diluted TTO has been known to cause fatal toxicity in cats. Avoid using TTO cleaners in places cats frequent, as even small doses on the fur can cause harmful effects on the liver.

Many essential oils are harmful to cats.

Kelly said...

Thank you SO much for adding me to your button! I love it! Here is my tutorial for this week--baby leg-warmers! http://ourlincolnlog.blogspot.com/2009/06/tutorial-tuesday-baby-leg-warmers.html

The Deavours Family said...

Will you kick me off your blog if I tell you that I've used Seventh Generation for a few months (in route to making my own) to be all healthy and stuff. LITTLE DID I KNOW that mildew was clogging up my shower drain! I KNOW I can't make it any better than they AND...I must admit...that dangerous stuff I went back to using...smells better and cleans better. Oh, well, I've lived 31 years, so at least my children may have that =)

Shari@aPsychMommy said...

I haven't made my own wipes solution yet--but I'm going to give this one a try!