Here are a few of our favorite recipes. Follow the directions or experiment a little with the ingredients to make your own!
All Purpose Cleaner
- 2 cups white distilled vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 20-30 or more drops of essential oil (optional) – Click here to see our note on essential oils.
Suggested uses: hard surfaces like countertops and kitchen floors, windows and mirrors.
Tip: Warming in microwave until barely hot will boost cleaning power for tough jobs. Only microwave in a glass container.
- 2 cups baking soda
- ½ cup to 2/3 cup liquid castile soap*
- 4 teaspoons vegetable glycerin (acts as a preservative)
- 5 drops essential oil such as lavender, tea tree, rosemary or any scent you prefer (optional)
Mix together and store in a sealed glass jar, shelf life of 2 years. Dry soft scrubs can be made with baking soda or salt (or combination of both) with 10-15 drops essential oil to scent.
Suggested uses: Use this creamy soft scrub on kitchen counters, stoves, bathroom sinks, etc.
Tips: For exceptionally tough jobs spray with vinegar first—full strength or diluted, scented—let sit and follow with scrub.
*Women’s Voices recommends using a liquid castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s that does not contain sodium lauryl (laureth) sulfate (SLS) or Diethanolamine (DEA), which may have harmful side effects.
- 1 cup soap flakes
- 1/2 cup washing soda
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1-2 tbsp. oxygen bleach (optional for extra whitening power)
Soap flakes can be made by grating your favorite pure vegetable soap with a cheese grater. Mix ingredients together and store in a glass container. Use 1 tablespoon per load (2 for heavily soiled laundry), wash in warm or cold water
For soft water: use 1 cup soap flakes, 1/4 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup baking soda. For hard water: use 1 cup soap flakes, 1 cup washing soda, and 1 cup baking soda.
Note: This recipe can be safely used in HE washers..
Tips: Add 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to rinse as a fabric softener. For a whitener, use hydrogen peroxide rather than bleach. Soak your dingy white clothes for 30 minutes in the washer with 1/2 cup 3% peroxide. Launder as usual.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
- 20-30 drops lemon essential oil
Shake well before using (2 teaspoons lemon juice may be substituted for lemon oil but then must be stored in refrigerator).
Dip a clean, dry cloth into the polish and rub wood in the direction of the grain. Use a soft brush to work the polish into corners or tight places.
Tips: To remove water spots rub well with toothpaste. To remove scratches use 1 part lemon juice and 1 part oil, rub with soft cloth.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Sprinkle toilet bowl with baking soda, drizzle with vinegar, let soak for at least 30 minutes and scrub with toilet brush.
Tip: Let ingredients soak for a while to make for easy scrubbing, especially on persistent stains like toilet bowl rings.
- ½ cup baking soda
- ½ cup vinegar
Pour baking soda down the drain and follow with vinegar. Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Flush with boiling water.
Tip: Prevent your shower from clogging by using a drain trap to catch hairs.
WARNING:It should be noted that some people can be highly sensitive to essential oils, leading to symptoms such as headaches, asthma exacerbation or other health effects. If you, your family members, or other guests to your home may be affected by essential oils, simply leave them out of the recipes. This will not impact your cleaner’s effectiveness.
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For more great recipes and suggestions, check out our Green Parent recipes.