so, i've been meaning to post something like this for a while now and Courtney over at mon petit lyons today spurred me to finally get working on it (so go check out her blog!). for most of our household cleaning needs, we use some mixture of vinegar and water. really, it's magic in a bottle and will clean everything from carpets to kitchen counters to produce. the list goes on and on and you can find out more than you ever wanted to know about vinegar with a simple google search, so i'll leave that to you.
for today, i'll give you recipes for laundry and dishwasher detergents. perhaps in another installment i can share some hair and personal care ideas as well? (let me know if you'd be interested) ok, recipes after the jump... but first, some very important notes.
disclaimer one: i am NOT the cleaning person in our household. but i fully support Nick's homemade cleaning supply-making (and using). it should be noted that these recipes and tips are really his.
disclaimer two: we didn't magically come up with any of these recipes... most of them were a matter of trying different ideas found online to see what works best for us. so i'll also give links to the sites we use as reference.
disclaimer three: something about being careful with cleaning products, storing away from children, and all of that stuff i hope you already know. though, really, if you can manage to hurt yourself with vinegar and baking soda, well, that's an achievement of its own strange virtue.
3 cups borax
2 cups baking soda
2 cups washing soda
2 grated bars of soap
first, grind up all of the soap in a food processor, then mix the rest all in, dump the whole batch in an airtight container and you're ready to go. use about 1/8 cup per load. for a family of four, this amount will last a few months, typically.
these ingredients are all pretty easy to find at large grocery stores. the washing soda is basically an amped up version of baking soda, from what i can tell, and is also sold by arm+hammer. for the bars of soap, we use Dr. Brommer's bar soap (usually one of the scented ones so that laundry smells a little pretty but you could also use the unscented). there are also liquid variations of the laundry detergent, in which you could add essential oils, but i think that the powdered is easier to make and store.
the one thing we do in conjunction with this is add a little bit of vinegar to the liquid softener compartment before running the washing machine. it does all kinds of good things, apparently: click here for a whole list of things.
more variations of the laundry detergent available here (where we found this recipe): 10 Homemade Laundry Soap Detergent Recipes.
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup citric acid
mix everything together, store in a airtight container, and use one tablespoon per load.
the only tricky thing to find here is the citric acid. i haven't found it locally in any stores, but you can buy it easily online. from what i've found, it does tend to come in very large quantities so you may want to buddy up with someone and share. if you don't want to go the citric-acid route, you can actually substitute unsweetened lemonade packets (really, my friend Cyndi tried and it works). just make sure it's unsweetened!
as with the laundry detergent, a little vinegar helps out too. we add it in the rinse if the dishes start to look spotty or filmy or anything and it helps clear that up.
this recipe and additional info is available here: Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent
let me know if you know of any other variations we should try or if there's anything else you'd like to see here. and happy cleaning :)