Since being diagnosed with Chronic Neurological Lyme disease I’ve developed several allergies and sensitivities that weren’t a problem just 10 short years ago.
Chemicals tend to be one of my biggest problems, and this is something that really bothers me because I’m such a clean freak.
Because of this sensitivity, I started exploring more natural, holistic ways of cleaning my home and body a few years ago.
These cleaners not only work just as well, if not better than their commercial contemporaries, but they are also less expensive, safer for yourself and your environment and have multiple uses in the home, meaning less cleaners to keep on hand.
Combine these with no-toss helpers like rags instead of paper towels, or reclaimed veggie netting as scrubbers instead of steel wool or soaped-scrubbing pads and these are fantastic for saving both your body and your budget.
As we grow and develop the eco-farm portion and farm store on Osiyo, we’ll be offering many of these organic cleaning alternatives for resale, or their components.
ALL PURPOSE CLEANER
This all-purpose cleaner is for exactly what it says. I use it in my kitchen, bathroom, with my furniture and floors. I do not wash my dishes with it however you could as all the ingredients are organic and food safe.
- 1 cup spring water (well water, but tap water isn’t so great as it has chlorine in it and other chemical additives)
- ¼ cup vinegar (white, not ACV)
- ¼ cup soap nut concentrate (See recipe below)
- 4 – 6 drops Tea Tree Oil for antimicrobial, antiseptic and antifungal action
Put all ingredients in a spray bottle and use as needed. No need for refrigeration and the mixture does not separate much, just a gentle shake re-blends.
Use this cleaner anywhere in your home, from counters to food prep surfaces, to floors and even on glass and metals that you don’t want to streak.
ALL-NATURAL LAUNDRY DETERGENT
Soap Nuts to the rescue again! We love these little fruits of the soap nut tree for their versatility AND eco-friendly status. Using soap nuts as laundry detergent will be paramount on the farm as we will be using a gray-water harvesting system for help in the gardens and greenhouses.
- Muslin drawstring bag, or recycle an old pair of stockings or thin footed tights by using the foot portion cut away from the leg
- 7 – 10 soap nuts
Tie the soap nuts into the muslin bag or the recycled hose or tights and drop them into the wash. These are best when used in hot or warm water. See the cold water recipe, SOAPNUT CONCENTRATE below.
These nuts can be used for approximately 4 – 7 loads depending on load size before they start to lose their potency in the wash. BUT, DO NOT throw them out because the nuts can then be boiled and ground into another cleaning product.
This is the core of a lot of our cleaning products. This concentrate can be used alone as a dish detergent, shampoo and cold water or liquid laundry detergent. It can also be whipped and used as a shower gel, shaving cream and body wash.
To create the concentrate, place about 20 already-used soap nuts into a medium sized stock pot. Add 4 cups of water depending on the number of soap nuts you have. Less water makes for a stronger concentrate.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let cool. Once cool, store it I the containers you intend to use it with and you’re good to go.
ALTERNATIVE NATURAL LAUNDRY DETERGENT
For a natural detergent that whitens a bit better, you can use the soap nut concentrate mixed with 2 – 4 tablespoons of natural borax. There is some debate as to whether or not Borax is toxic. I’m in the “not toxic for cleaners” camp, personally, and feel safe using in on the farm and in gray water systems. However, Wellness Momma wrote an excellent article about the toxicity of Borax. Please read it then you can be your own judge.
NATURAL NO STREAK GLASS CLEANER
- 4 Parts White Vinegar
- 1 tsp Natural Lemon Juice
Place ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Use with an upcycled t-shirt rag or other lint-free cloth the same way you would use commercial cleaners and paper towels. If you still get a printed newspaper they are EXCELLENT for use in this application. Just wad the paper up, then unwad and use as you would a paper towel.
ALL-NATURAL TOILET BOMBS
Since the houses on the land trust will be tied to a conventional septic system, we will be using regular ceramic toilets in our construction. Keeping a toilet clean, sanitized and fresh is very important, and we want to use natural cleaners to do it. We love these bombs because you can drop it in the toilet and forget it. The natural fizzing action helps the bombs scrub the toilet and they can be used daily for an always-fresh bathroom. We got our base recipe from DIY Natural and adjusted both the strength and the scent to suit our own tastes.
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 cup citric acid (find it at your grocers or whole foods store in the canning section)
- 1 cup Natural Borax OR Corn Starch
- 1 Gallon zippered bag OR mixing bowl
- Water in a Spray Bottle
- A mold of your choice. I actually use tiny ice trays that have a silicone base but you can use any mold you choose
- 1 – 2 teaspoons (about 40 drops) food grade essential oil of your favorite clean scent (I use orange oil)
- 10 drops Tea Tree oil (for extra antiseptic qualities)
Put the dry ingredients into your baggie or bowl land mix with your hands until well kneaded. If you are doing this with your hands in a bowl, please wear gloves! Now, start spritzing in the water, a little at a time, and knead well until the moisture is absorbed. Do this about five times, not spritzing too much. Too much moisture makes a bad bomb. (No pun intended.)
Now add in the essential oils and continue kneading until the mixture sticks together in a clump when you squeeze it.
Place the mixture into the molds and let air dry for 5 days. Unmold and place in a storage container in your bathroom and drop one in daily for a nice, clean and sanitized bath.
If you’re looking for more natural cleaning products, be sure to check out the blogs below.
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Next week we’re going to go over some of our all-natural hair and skin care recipes.
See you then!