"For I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in You...You make it Beautiful Somehow"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Natural Cleaning: Getting Started

I feel like I have been on a journey lately. My views on certain things have changed so drastically in the last few months. Since deciding to move to Houston to help plant a multicultural church, I have been searching all over the internet for new ways to start saving money for my family. What started as just a way to save money has slowly evolved into seeking a healthier lifestyle for my family. It all started with trying coupons. I did okay with it initially.  I would grab two copies of the Sunday paper, match up coupons to the sales, and get to cutting. I would go to the store and come back home feeling really good about how much money I had saved. I would get laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, and even some food. Our stock pile was slowly beginning to grow. However,  I quickly started to realize that I was spending an extra $20-$30 a week buying these coupon items to build our stock pile. We simply didn't have the extra money in our budget to do that. I tried to reason that in the long run we would save a lot of money by not having to buy these products at full price. Maybe I wasn't doing it right, or spending enough time working at it, but it just was not working for us. I finally gave up.

I went back to researching other ways to save the money we needed to be saving. I finally stumbled upon a blog one day that opened my eyes to a whole new way of doing things. I saw a post on Like a Mustard Seed blog about making your own laundry soap. Now I had heard before about some one doing this and never had thought very seriously about it. However, after seeing how cheap and easy it would be to make, I started getting excited. While talking with one of my best friends in Ohio, I shared with her my laundry soap find. She told me that her Uncle actually made his own cleaning products. He used one gallon of water and adds in 1/3 cup of white vinegar to clean the floors and surfaces in the day care he cleaned.

Could it be that simple!?!?!

I decided to give this a try first. Here is the final recipe I ended up using:
1 Gallon Water
1/3 Cup Distilled White Vinegar
1 Lemon Rind

Obviously the only thing I changed from my friend's Uncle's recipe was to add lemon peels.  I saved a gallon jug from our milk, used a funnel to add the water and vinegar, and added one whole lemon rind. I poured some of the mixture into a spray bottle and added a few more lemon rinds. The lemon rinds added a fresh lemon smell to mask the vinegar smell.  I sprayed the floor with the mixture and used my mop like normal. So easy and works great! Even after using the more expensive floor cleaners, my floor would still feel slightly sticky. It drove me nuts! Now my floor feels clean, looks clean, and smells clean! 

I have began to use this cleaner on my kitchen counters, kitchen table, the bathroom, and even to wipe down appliances! My favorite thing about this cleaner is that not only is it cheap cheap cheap, but it is also much safer for my family, and so much better for the environment. I am hooked! I will never go back to buying expensive cleaning products again! 

I am continually looking for and finding new recipes for cleaning products.  You can check out my pinterest board Make it Yourself! for a lot of the recipes I am using. I will also share some of my favorites with you in later posts.

I currently am making...
tub and shower cleaner
dishwasher detergent
dryer sheets
Color Safe Bleach Alternative
Citrus Enzyme Cleaner

On my list to make is...
Laundry Detergent (I am waiting to run out of my stockpile first)
"Clorox" Wipes
Hand and Dish Soap

Seeing how much better these cleaning products are for my family has me researching other ways, not only to save my family money, but more importantly, to be healthier. As I mentioned in this post, I am slowly starting to rework my family's diet. We are eating more real food as opposed to processed, boxed food. I am also very interested in making our own body wash, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, and toothpaste. I plan on trying each of these out when we run out of them in our stock pile.

I have even began to think about switching out the medicines in our cabinet with more natural/herbal remedies, as well as growing our own vegetable garden. These two ideas however, are going to take much more research before diving in. 

I am so excited about it all! I will be sharing with you as I try new ideas...whether they are successes or failures!

Have you tried making your own cleaning supplies? Any tried and true recipes that you love?
Please share below, I am always looking for new ideas!

Linking to Raising HomemakersMake Your Move MondayHomestead Barn HopRaising Arrows


  1. I am so excited to try this, I just have a couple questions regarding the lemon rinds: do you keep them in the bottles until the solution is gone? How many rinds do you add in the spray bottles? thank you for this recipe!

    1. I do keep the lemon rinds in the solution till it is completely gone. I add them to both the gallon jug and the spray bottle. It really helps to mask the vinegar smell. I usually use 2 whole lemon rinds. 1 1/2 whole large lemon rinds for the gallon jug, and 1/2 for the spray bottle. They will start to break down over time but it is not a problem. After the whole gallon is done, I switch them out with new lemons.

      Hope you enjoy this cleaner as much as I do!

  2. I have been making my own deoderant. Here is the recipe that I use. http://simplymadehome.blogspot.com/2012/03/one-were-i-admit-i-dont-wear.html

    I also use the oil cleansing method for my face and love that too!
    http://simplymadehome.blogspot.com/2012/03/oil-cleansing-method.html It is awesome!

    Tara @ SimplyMadeHome

    1. Those are actually the next to items on my list to switch to! Thanks for the links Tara!

    2. I have some kitchen/floor cleaner "brewing" now. I have always mopped with vinegar, but my husband would be thrilled if I could do it without the temporary vinegar smell!

    3. Awesome Tara! And I agree...I don't like the vinegar smell either...lemon is soooo much better!

  3. I too make many of my own products. However, you mentioned waiting until you run out of laundry detergent. I actually still have my stockpile and occasionally have to dip into it if for some reason life is hectic and I just haven't gotten around to making detergent. Just a thought...

    1. I actually ended up doing that exact thing :-) Great minds must think alike! I became to excited and impatient to wait on making it and decided to just go for it. I love it!

  4. I was wondersing...can u use orange rind? I prefer it to lemon smell...

    1. I have not tried it personally...but I think it work just the same! The lemons rinds actually do more than just add a scent. Their oil helps to lubricate and acts as an antiseptic. I looked it up and have found other recipes that use Orange oil in place of lemon...so I think it would still be effective.

  5. This is almost exactly how my journey has gone...totally started with coupons too...went crazy with that for a while and then, like you, came across homemade detergent recipe and then suddenly started learning that it is easy to make a lot of things I usually just bought pre-made and then next thing you know there aren't coupons for the stuff I'm using! It's neat how frugal and natural go hand in hand. I didn't set out to live more naturally but just stumbled into by trying to simplify!

  6. This might be a bit off subject, but I hate how coupons are the first thing people think of when trying to save money. They don't save you money in the long run. In fact, I'd argue that you end up paying substantially more in the form of your future bad health because you're so thriftily feeding yourself garbage and slathering toxic substances all over your body and home. I'd rather spend more for healthy food and natural products (which they don't make coupons for) than sacrifice my health or the health of my family. It just baffles me how people can afford tv, cell phones, cars, and any number of other extraneous things but can't seem to be able to afford real food. Instead they rely on manufactured food which costs more and makes them sick, which costs them even more.

  7. It also leaves a pleasant smell. I love fruit based cleaners.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing creative resource for cleaning. It’s really fresh and environmental friendly.
    Hardwood Floor Cleaning Midlothian


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