DIY Cleaning Supplies
About six years ago I happened upon a DIY counter spray on Pinterest that sparked my curiosity. The idea of creating my own cleaning products tailored to my specific needs and scent preferences that would also be non toxic and kid/environment safe seemed kinda awesome. But would they really work? Would they take too much time to make? Would they last me long enough or would I be making new batches every week?
Well, after that first batch of counter spray I became a DIY cleaning product believer and have never looked back. I even went as far as to make my own liquid and powdered laundry detergents, dishwasher detergent and even explored DIY body products making my own deodorant and body cream. I’ve since given up the homemade deodorant and body cream but I’ve continued to make my counter spray, glass cleaner and laundry detergent with great success! So if I’ve sparked your curiosity and you wanna try your hand at making your own cleaning products here my favorite recipes and scent combinations! Hopefully they’ll work just as great for you and give you the same peace of mind they did me!
I keep a basket of essential oils on hand so I can get creative with my blends. Though I love all the Dr Bronner Castile soap scents, in recent months I’ve started sticking with his unscented option which keeps my essential oils the star of the scent show! Oh, and I realize I’m coming off a bit like Wonder Woman in these pics. Wearing my baby while making my own cleaning products. The truth is, Joshua Jr. quickly became disenchanted with being in his front carrier and started pinching, clawing and crying while I was trying to measure out my ingredients. That’s the picture you don’t see!
For the winter months I love to use clove and orange oil in my counter spray. It reminds me of the many Christmas seasons that my mother had my sister and I stick whole cloves into clementines (took hours people, though my mother would deny that!) She would then pile them into a festive bowl and put it on the dining room table for the holidays. The clove oil has a strong scent that lingers after cleanup for a good while which I love! For Spring I usually switch to geranium oil and for summer I love the combination of citrus scents like lemon, orange or grapefruit. I also use eucalyptus oil quite a bit in my cleaning supplies for it’s wonderful anti-microbial properties and again it’s got a strong scent to it that lingers once the cleaning is done.
Live Simply is my favorite blog for information and recipes for homemade cleaning supplies. She has two versions of counter spray but my favorite is the Castile soap version. I only use 2 tbsp of the soap so that my counters don’t end up left with a streaky residue. Her fantastic glass cleaner recipe also works great on all the stainless steel in my kitchen (note to self, do not pick stainless steel pulls for drawers if planning to have children. You will be constantly wiping tiny sticky finger prints off of them!)
I make a batch of each for spray bottles and for wipes. For the wipes I just pour the cleaner over a stack of inexpensive bar cloths I’ve put in an OXO container and pull one out to wipe down all the counters after dinner is cleaned up and put away each night. I rinse the cloth out with hot water and then drape it over the sink for future use. It retains some of the cleaner albeit a diluted version of it but it’s perfect for light clean ups the next morning. Once it’s out of juice I toss it into a pretty basket I keep under my island to be washed the end of the week.
As for laundry detergent. I’ve forgone the complicated recipes that made me feel like I was in chemistry class and have discovered that 1/4 cup of Castile soap in the detergent compartment for large loads and 1/8th cup for smaller loads along with white vinegar in both the softener and bleach compartments, beautifully cleans my delicates and lightly soiled items. I use this combo for wools as well, but be absolutely sure yours are washable before trying! I’ve had a couple of felting mishaps with handmade items that makes me want to cry just thinking about it! Also for awhile I was overusing the Castile soap and my bathroom towels ended up being left with a greasy like film that made them take far too long to dry after a shower and not nearly as absorbent as they should be. I had to do a baking soda and vinegar cycle twice to get the film off, so be careful how much of the Castile you use!
For more heavily soiled items like gym cloths or jeans that you’ve worn one day too many I add 1/2 cup of borax to the tub before I throw the clothes in. For the kids clothes I throw in an OxiClean laundry pod. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find an easy and natural homemade option for their kind of stains! I often add lavender, tea tree, or lemon essential oil to the load by dropping it directly into the vinegar in the bleach and softener compartment. About 20 drops will lightly scent the clothes.
My Favorite Scent Combos
I like a strong scent, but if you prefer yours lighter use less drops.
- Clove + Orange : 20 drops each
- Bergamot + Grapefruit : 20 drops grapefruit, 10 drops bergamot
- Eucalyptus + Grapefruit: 10 drops eucalyptus, 20 drops grapefruit
- Lavender + Rosemary : 20 drops lavender, 10 drops rosemary
- Lemon + Geranium : 20 drops of one, 10 of the other. You decide which you want to be more prevalent.
P.S. If you don’t feel like counting each drop as it falls, 20 drops is about 1 tsp.
Happy cleaning! Well…that’s kinda an oxymoron but you know what I mean. XOXO, KT