Recently I gathered supplies to make a variety of non-toxic homemade cleaners. Every product I purchased can be used to make several different types of cleaners, and many have other uses around the house. This keeps things simple and my cabinets uncluttered. Each product, on its own, is inexpensive and contains enough for many doses. However, buying everything at once wasn’t cheap.
Surprisingly, everything I needed was easy to find. There are no large natural goods retailers in my city, only expensive mom-and-pop shops that are out of the way. I want to support the small businesses, but for the purposes of this blog I want to keep things as simple as possible. Therefore I purchased everything from my grocery store. In the future I plan to explore the local stores and tell you all about them.
This is what I bought:
- Kosher Salt (1.99) – Great for cooking, but I will be using it in my dishwasher detergent
- Borax (2.99) – for making bathroom scrubs, laundry detergents, dishwasher detergents, and lots of other things
- Washing Soda (2.99) – not to be confused with baking soda, this is a great laundry booster that I will use in dishwasher and laundry detergents.
- Fels Naptha soap bar ($1.29 for 1 bar)– laundry pre-treater and ingredient in homemade laundry detergent. Some recipes call for this, but I’ve heard criticism that this soap is not very natural.
- Castile Soap (3.99 for 3 bars) – perfect soap for sensitive skin (even babies and pets), washing hair, and making homemade detergents and cleaning anything in your house. I have also purchased castile soap from a farmer’s market stand for $3-5 per bar.
- Ivory Soap (2.50 for 6 bars) – Apparently, this stuff can be used for about any household cleaning or personal hygiene need—including brushing your teeth. Hmm…not a bad idea for a post, but not exactly an appetizing one!
- Baking Soda (.64 for 16 oz. Box) – Cleans and deodorizes everything in your house, including you!
- Lemishine (3.69) A natural product made from citric acid and citrus oils that already works wonders when added to your dishwasher detergent. It’s expensive to use in its full strength, but I will use it in small amounts for my homemade detergent. Unsweetened lemon soft drink mix will also work, but ounce per ounce it costs the same.
- Joy dish soap (I had this on hand) – Wash your dishes with it. Or, use it in your homemade soft scrub and dishwasher detergents.
- Lemon Juice (2.65) – Its antibiotic, stain-treating, and odor-removing properties make it perfect for a toilet cleaner, bathroom scrub, laundry treatments and of course, many other uses. Plus, it smells much better than vinegar.
- Vinegar (1.25 for 64 oz store brand) – The main ingredient in natural glass and anti-bacterial cleaner recipes. It can also dissolve scale in your shower head. Like baking soda, you can use it for anything. Put them together and they’re unstoppable!
- Lavender (7.99), Tea Tree (6.99), Lemon (5.49), and Eucalyptus (4.49) essential oils – These oils have natural germ and fungus-fighting abilities. I already use tea tree and lavender oils in my homemade baby-wipe solution, but now I will use them in anti-bacterial cleaners. Rubbing eucalyptus oil on glass will apparently keep it from fogging up. Essential oils have many healing properties, so they are good to keep in your medicine cabinet. They can be rather expensive, but the cost will be spread over many, many uses. Plus, they smell pretty.
Other things I had to buy:
- Toilet brush (6.19)
- Cotton-head mop (8.99)
- Spray bottles (1.99 each, I bought 4)
Total expense: about $73.00.
Yikes. That sounds like a lot for a bunch of cleaning products. But like I said, I can make lots of batches out of each product. And, you probably have some of these in your cabinets already.
Before you completely go green, I suggest you follow my friend Alex’s advice. Of her similar quest to go green, she writes, “I have a lot of products, so what I am doing is being realistic. I am going to finish all of the products that I have, and as I finish them I will replace them with an eco-friendly/animal-friendly option. I am doing this for 2 main reasons: 1) it would be WAY too expensive to switch all at once, and 2) it would be wasteful to throw all of my old products (and containers, that can often be recycled) away!”
Good thinking, Alex. I also will be phasing out my old products and gradually replacing them with my homemade greener cleaners. Going green shouldn’t cost you a lot of money, and it certainly shouldn’t be wasteful. Also, I bought several products that can be used for the same things, so I can test out which one works the best for the price. I will compare each one for your benefit, so you won’t have to make such an investment. (Shucks, you can thank me later.)