Do your part to save the environment: Start cleaning green

All-natural DIY Cleaning Products: 

Why so many people today are making their own cleaning products 

Making your own cleaning solution is a great way to cut down on extra costs. When I first lost my job I had to go this route and it actually wasn't that bad. As a result I became more aware of my impact on the environment and continue to use many of the same less expensive cleaning alternatives.
Another reason to make your own cleaners is if you are pregnant - many of the products on the shelves are not safe for you and baby or have just not been tested as to their effects on your baby - so better safe than sorry.
"Experts recommend erring on the side of safety by reducing your family’s “toxic burden” wherever possible."

Check out a study that was done in 2008 that was conducted on cleaning products and their effects on pregnant women. Use Of Cleaning Products During Pregnancy Increases Risk Of Asthma In Young Children to learn more about the actual risks.

If you do choose to use regular cleaning products PLEASE stay away from anything labeled with the words  “toxic,” “danger,” “poison,” or “corrosive”. These are common on cleaners for the oven, drain, rug, and toilet-bowl cleaners.

These days many people are using all natural cleaners. Sometimes these products end up most costly than their toxic counterparts, but luckily many can be made for 1/2 the cost of regular cleaning products and are just as effective. 
Below you will find some of my own "concoctions", as well as a few others I have found around the internet. Feel free to comment and share some of your own!
DIY cleaners - recycle your old cleaning bottles
My county does not pick up recycling with the trash so I am left hoarding plastic bottles and cans until I find a ride to the local drop off center. So it is normal for me to have a few extra plastic spray bottles laying around. If you can, reuse an old bottle when you mix up your products - but if you must you can buy one at any local dollar store.

All-purpose cleaner with white vinegar

White vinegar is the staple in most all-natural products when in doubt. It will clean everything and is a great alternative to bleach. I had a boyfriend who had an allergic reaction to the fumes from bleach, so I used to clean the bathroom top to bottom with white vinegar. And it's very inexpensive. 
You can get a large amount of it for just a couple dollars depending on the brand. And since you will be diluting it to make cleaner it will end up lasting you a while. 
If you have an average of 10 different cleaning products in your home - that's approximately $40 worth of cleaners. A good size bottle of white vinegar costs under $3 and works just as well!

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Shake gently to mix liquids together. That's it.
Use your homemade, natural cleaner in your bathroom, on tile, floors, mirrors, sinks, hard surfaces, even upholstery and carpet (check for color fastness first). It is great for eliminating odors too - which seemed strange to me at first since of the distinct smell it has itself - but this fades. Use your cleaner the next time your pet has an accident, it is supposed to help in controlling pet accidents from occuring in the same spot (I have yet to test this theory).
It has an unlimited amount of uses around the house! Use it as a stain remover, mildew eliminator, soap scum dissolver, chrome polisher, lime descaler, fabric softener, room deodorizer and as an unclogging agent.
Vinegar's acetic properties make it 'The Perfect Household Cleaner'™ for the following types of cleaning tasks:
  • Steam-cleaning microwave ovens.
  • Cleaning soiled surfaces of counters, ceramic tiles, appliances -inside and out, painted walls and floors.
  • Cleaning and shining mirrors, glass, stainless steel and chrome.
  • Removing stains from clothing and carpets.
  • Removing mold and mildew from humidifiers.
  • Removing soap scum from shower tiles, stalls and curtains and from dishwashers and washing machines.
  • Descaling mineral and lime buildup from kettles, coffee makers, shower heads and irons.
  • Opening and deodorizing drains. 
  • Removing unpleasant odours.
  • Removing stains from clothes, shoes, boots and carpets.
Another more uncommon use is to use white vinegar as fabric softner in your next wash. It leaves clothes soft, and they won't smell like vinegar. 
Vinegar is a natural organic bi-product of fruits, vegetables and grains. The main ingrediant in white vinegar is acetic acid which is relatively safe. 
Consumers who used white vinegar in their home for cleaning in an in-home usage test in 2003 report the following advantages and benefits of white vinegar:
  • Surprisingly effective, when compared to other cleaners.
  • An 'all-in-one cleaner,' so there is no need to buy an arsenal of cleaners for different purposes.
  • Non-toxic, so there is no fear of breathing harmful chemicals while cleaning.
  • Gentle on hands, so there is no need to wear rubber gloves.
  • Cleans streak free, so there is no need to rinse after cleaning.
  • Safe around young children, so there is no fear of a child being poisoned.
  • Environmentally friendly, so there are no harmful chemicals going down the drain.
  • Economical, much less expensive than other cleaners.
If you need to scrub as well as clean, such as when cleaning tile in the bathtub, bakling soda can be used with vinegar to create a compound similar to AJAX but 100% safe and non-toxic.
I was cleaning a house not too long ago and the owners bought me cleaning products to use. I did not know you could get a chemical burn from AJAX, but it will be the last time I ever touch the stuff. 

Baking Soda Scrub

The directions are simple. On a damp or wet surface sprinkle baking soda. Scrub surface with a rag or brush that has been soaked in white vinegar. Works like magic on hard water build-up.

After all the cleaning don't forget to reward yourself with some downtime. Try this relaxing all-natural bathsoak after a hard day of cleaning!

Hydrogen Peroxide Laundry Care

Use hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach as an all-natural way to wash your clothes. Soak clothes in one part hydrogen peroxide to eight parts water to remove stains and make whites whiter.

I do not recommend the following for use in your washing machine. However if you ever need to wash clothes and do not have a working washing machine (or no electricity) this method gets clothes super clean.
Fill your bathtub with lukewarm water and Ivory soap flakes. Cleaning your laundry with Ivory soap gets them just as clean as regular laundry soap and is alot less expensive too. Other brands of bar soaps do not work as well from my experience.

Homemade Air and Fabric Refresher

This one isn't 100% all-natural, but is a cheap alternative to using Febreeze or a similar product. It is also great to spray on the couches and rugs/carpets fifteen minutes prior to vacuuming as it will help with the general cleaning process.

All you need is an empty spray bottle, your favorite scented laundry soap, and water. Just fill up your spray bottle 1/4 way with laundry soap and the rest with water. Put your cap on, shake, and spray. I'd use caution using this one while pregnant, as I am unsure if laundry soap contains chemicals that would be harmful to your baby.

A good alternative to de-ordorize carpets prior to cleaning is to sprinkle baking soda on them. I've also heard mixing cinnamon in with the baking soda helps with stains, but I saw no real difference when I tried it. Salt is also an option if you have pets, as the salt helps with flea control.

Some other cleaning tips

Wear Gloves! You absorb chemicals and toxins not just by breathing. Skin, your body's largest organ, absorbs them, too. So don't forget to don a pair of protective glove before cleaning.

Reward yourself for a job well done
Soothing Bath Soak

For a relaxing ending to a long day, add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your bath to neutralize acids on the skin and help wash away oil and perspiration. Your skin will feel silky smooth!

(Source: http://www.ahappyhippymom.com)

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