Cleaning Recipes, Tips & Tricks

Homemade Glass Cleaner


Goodbye commercial glass cleaner! Who wants to pay more when you can make it yourself? Besides being cheaper it is much better to know exactly what you are using in your home. The kind sold in stores contains 2-Butoxyethanol, which can cause adrenal tumors in animals (not good if you own pets!). Moderate exposure in humans can cause irritation of the mucus membranes and heavy exposure can cause more serious side effects like hypotensionmetabolic acidosishemolysis, pulmonary edema and even coma. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be breathing that in or touching it, and certainly do not want it around my child. Luckily there is a solution and it is super easy!

Homemade Glass Cleaner:

  • Empty Gallon Container (I used a spring water jug)
  • 1/2 cup Ammonia (I used lemon because that is all I have)
  • 16 oz. Rubbing Alcohol (I used 1 and 1/2 cups of the regular kind and 1/2 cup of the mint kind because I ran out of the regular)
  • 1 tsp Dawn Dish Soap (I used the blue Dawn)

First fill your container halfway with water, add the remaining ingredients in the order listed, then fill the rest of the way with water. Give it a gentle shake and you have a gallon of glass cleaner! Pour some into a spray bottle and be amazed at how awesome it is!

I cannot take credit for this recipe, when doing a search for “How to make homemade glass cleaner” This was one of the top results. If this is not quite what you are searching for then check out Crunchy Betty’s Battle of the Homemade Glass Cleaners. I prefer this one because it cleans easier but the others are good if you don’t want to use some of these ingredients.

Here is a little secret to get streak free, fuzz free windows and mirrors…. clean them with NEWSPAPER! It works like a charm 🙂 I have been doing it for years!

Now get to work, those windows and mirrors aren’t going to clean themselves! 😀 Cleaning is a lot more fun when you make your own cleaners!

❤ Ashley

P.S.- You can use this on other hard non-porous surfaces as well. It is great for the outside of the toilet and bathroom counter tops!

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Cleaning Recipes

Homemade Soap Scum Remover (that really works!)


This is another wonderful, EASY homemade cleaner recipe that will save you money. You might even have the ingredients on hand already…. dawn and vinegar! I know this recipe is going around on Pinterest, that is how I found it, but I still feel the need to share and give you my two cents 🙂

My husband loves to use bar soap in the shower, which leaves me with a problem… soap scum! I have literally begged him to switch to something else and even took his favorite soap and made it into a body wash (hoping it would rinse easier) but I just couldn’t get him to part with his bar. Before I “woke up” to the dangers of many cleaners I tried just about everything they sell for soap scum and I still had to scrub like crazy. This was also a problem for me because sometimes my back acts up and that definitely doesn’t help.

So I decided to give this a try after seeing it spread on Pinterest like wildfire. My only regret is not trying it sooner! It works amazingly well, I have literally never had an easier time getting the tub clean. I sprayed it on the dry tub, let it sit for about an hour, wet down my scrub brush and started scrubbing. I figured I was going to have to scrub the entire tub pretty hard but I was surprised to see how easily it was coming clean. There were still a few spots that I had to use more elbow grease, like the area where the bar of soap actually sits for example… but still I was very impressed. The walls were sparkling when I was done rinsing…I almost did a happy dance 🙂

You can also use this for cleaning sinks and even your toilet… yes your toilet! You may want to test it in your toilet using only a small amount first but I have had no problems. At first I thought it might be TOO sudsy but it worked great. I bet this would be fantastic for cleaning outdoor toys and furniture although I have no tried it myself yet. I also plan on using it to clean my bird’s cage. For a little extra scrubbing action if you have a really heavy duty mess you could add some baking soda.

Just a little warning, as with any cleaning product you will want good ventilation… crack the window or turn on the vent fan. The smell is a little strong but at least it is not toxic!

You can find the recipe here: Tub and Shower Magic or continue reading below:

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces white vinegar
  • 12 ounces liquid blue Dawn detergent

Directions:

1. Heat vinegar in microwave until hot and pour into squirt bottle.

2. Add the Dawn soap. Put the lid on and gently shake to incorporate.

3. You now have a powerful cleaning product that will melt soap scum and tub and shower buildup, clean sinks, appliances and just about anything. Just spray it on, scrub, rinse and be amazed. For tough soap scum build-up, spray the mixture on and allow it to sit as long as overnight. Then, scrub and rinse.

I hope you love this stuff as much as I do!

❤ Ashley

Beauty/Body Recipes, Cleaning Recipes, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized

Homemade Liquid Castile Soap



I love Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap, the only problem is that when you use as much castile soap as I do the price can add up. I heard of Kirk’s castle bar soap so I bought it to use in the shower. I really loved it and it is super cheap compared to other soaps. It’s all natural and made with coconut oil, but it does not smell like coconut.  I found it in the regular soap aisle at Wal-Mart, you can also order it here: Kirk’s Castile Soap

I have made liquid hand soap out of other bars of soap before, so I figured I could make this into liquid castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s. 

I ended up with a nice liquid soap, but very thin. I was actually a little disappointed and thought that I had watered it down too much, until I used it. It was still very sudsy and effective! You could use less water if you wanted it thicker but for me this works just fine. Here are some of the ways that we use it around our house:

Face/body wash in the shower (add baking soda for a great exfoliating wash)

Hand soap (in a regular pump bottle or about 1/4 soap to 3/4 water in a foaming dispenser)

In place of Dr. Bronner’s in my homemade shampoo (I double the amount for this)

To clean fruits and veggies from the store (to remove germs and pesticide residue if you buy conventionally grown produce)

In place of Dr. Bronner’s for cleaning (Diluted with hot water for mopping the floor, cleaning the walls, cabinets, etc.)

Bathing pets

Pest control in the garden (Drop bugs into a bucket of hot soapy water)


Homemade Liquid Castile Soap:

1. Grate 1 bar of Kirk’s castile bar soap into large pot or container.

2. Add 10 cups hot water, stir until soap dissolves.

3. Store covered. (I use empty gallon-size water jugs and shake gently before use)

Update – This liquid soap seems to thicken or gel up when cold, store in a warm area of your house and it should remain liquid. 

I really love this stuff and you can’t beat the price. Little changes like this can make a big difference in your budget and eliminating toxic chemicals from your life. It takes hardly any time at all to make, it is cheap, all natural and works wonderfully. If you can think of any other uses for this please feel free to share in the comments. Enjoy!

❤ Ashley

 

 

Cleaning Recipes

Homemade All-Natural Cinnamon Scented Cleaner


I have tried a few a lot of recipes for homemade all-purpose cleaners. I keep going back to this one because its super easy, works great and smells great too. My favorite part? No chemicals! It only has three ingredients so it is not hard to remember how to make it when you run out. Don’t worry if you are not a fan of cinnamon, you can use other scents as well 🙂 You will need:

  • Large clean spray bottle
  • Measuring cup
  • 12 oz. White vinegar
  • 12 oz. Water
  • 20-40 drops Cassia essential oil (depending on how strong you want it to smell)

A quick word about my measuring cup in the picture above. I highly recommend this for anyone who loves to cook. It is a flexible silicone measuring cup, I have had it for almost 2 years and I love it. (Here is the link to the site if you want more info about it: Flex-It Silicone Measuring Cup) Ok back to the recipe!! Add the water, vinegar and essential oil to the large spray bottle and shake, that is it! (Give a quick shake before each use as well)

Just a few warnings:

  • Avoid eye contact, the cassia oil will burn!
  • Do not use cassia essential oil if pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not use this cleaner (vinegar) on granite counter tops
  • You may develop the sudden urge to bake cinnamon rolls

Now some of you who are new to this homemade stuff may wonder if this will really clean/sanitize your surfaces. Well the answer is yes! Vinegar and cassia essential oil are both anti-microbial 🙂 The other benefit to using essential oils in your homemade cleaning products is that you are getting aroma-therapy while you are cleaning! Cassia oil is very refreshing, uplifting and comforting. If you would like more information on cassia oil and its uses you can find some great info here and here. Some other great essential oils you could use in this recipe (that are also anti-microbial) would be lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon and oregano.

Happy cleaning!

❤ Ashley

Cleaning Recipes

“Grandma Approved” Homemade Dishwasher Detergent


My grandma and I tried this recipe while I was visiting her in Texas last month. Ever since they took phosphate out of commercial detergents she has had a major problem with her dishes looking cloudy. Even her plastic bowls looked like they were starting to get a white residue on them. She actually went out and got a new dishwasher at first thinking that was the problem. She tried every major brand of detergent and nothing was working. I remembered seeing this recipe from Simply Designing on Pinterest so we decided to give it a shot.

Well the results were amazing! It took a few runs but we did start to see a major difference, the cloudiness was going away! She kept thanking me over and over again for showing her that recipe. I told her I would probably do a blog post about it and she said to mention that it is “Grandma Approved” hehe. Well I have noticed that our dishes are starting to look cloudy as well, this is one of our drinking glasses:

It is clean, but notice the cloudiness coming on? Well we can’t have that, time to make my own batch! 🙂 Its so simple to make and only takes a few minutes. You will only need 4 ingredients, and if you make your own laundry detergent you probably already have 2 of them! This is what you will need:

  • 2 cups Borax
  • 2 cups Washing Soda
  • 2 cups Lemi shine
  • 1 cup Kosher Salt

You literally dump everything together, stir and you’re done. I found the Lemi Shine in Wal-Mart right with all of the regular dishwasher detergents. One container is about 1 1/2 cups I would say… so that is all I used and it still works great. If you don’t have Kosher salt on hand, sea salt would work fine as well. After you mix your ingredients together, you will want to leave it sitting out on the counter uncovered for a few days. Every so often through out the day just give it a stir to keep from clumping. You will still get little clumps but that is perfectly fine, you just don’t want a solid lump that is hard to break up. After that just store in an airtight container. The recipe says to use 1 TBSP per load, my Grandma and I didn’t measure we just put a good size scoop into the pre-wash and main-wash compartments.

PLEASE do not buy those chemical filled rinse aids either, all you need is white vinegar…. yup that is it! Vinegar is awesome stuff I tell ya, I buy it by the gallon lol.

I do not have an after picture yet, but trust me it works or I wouldn’t be posting about it 🙂

❤ Ashley

 

Cleaning Recipes, Uncategorized

Homemade Air Freshener


This was my first time making this, and I am shocked at how simple it is. These would make an excellent gift and there are so many options as far as what fragrance you want. You get to pick how strong the scent is, and there are no nasty chemicals. You can leave it clear, or choose a color to match your decor. If you leave it clear, or don’t go overboard on food coloring (like I did) you can also add in things like decorative rocks, shells, etc. These are supposed to dry out over the course of a month or so, just like the ones from the store. You can use either fragrance oils, pure essential oils, or a combination of both. You can use small glasses/jars and can make each one a different color or scent if you would like. I opted for one, bigger air freshener by using an old Claussen pickle jar and used lavender for the scent. I really love finding recipes like this that have so many possibilities. So lets get started, you will need:

  • several small jars/glasses (or one large one)
  • 4 packets unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • fragrance oil and/or essential oil
  • food coloring

  1. Boil 1 cup of water, whisk in gelatin until dissolved. (It is very important to whisk constantly and pour in a little at a time to avoid lumps. It helps to have your packets of gelatin opened and ready to go)
  2. Add salt, whisk until dissolved
  3. Add in other cup of cold water

Add just a couple of drops of food coloring (or not if you want it clear) to your container(s). Then your oil(s). Start with about 30 drops and add more if you think you need to. I did about 45 drops in mine. Mostly the fragrance oil, I think I did about 10 drops of essential oil. Next time I will probably add more seeing as how I did it all in one jar instead of say 3 smaller jars. Then pour your gelatin mixture into the container(s) and stir with something disposable like a popsicle stick. Then just let it sit overnight, It will gel up and turn more clear. As you can see in the picture above mine looked somewhat cloudy at first. I will take a picture tomorrow after it gels completely and add that as well. So far it is setting up nicely and smells fantastic 🙂

Enjoy!

❤ Ashley

 

(Edit~ Added on 01/16/2012)

My air freshener is set up and smells lovely. Here is what it looks like:

It is still really dark. I know I used wayyyy too much food coloring, hehe. I set the jar on its side to show how thick the gel is, it doesn’t budge!

 

Cleaning Recipes

Homemade Fabric Softener (Fast and Easy!)


Before I found this recipe I was using plain vinegar as my fabric softener. Although it worked great, I couldn’t wait to try this. I absolutely love it! It works just as well as store bought and its WAY cheaper! You will need:

  • 2 cups cheap conditioner (like Suave or V05)
  • 3 cups plain white vinegar
  • 6 cups hot water

Mix your conditioner with the hot water, then add in the vinegar and mix well. Ta-da! You just saved yourself several dollars and it only took about a minute! Also, just like the laundry detergent you are not subjecting your family to unnecessary chemicals. The regular size bottle of conditioner was just about 2 cups so it worked out perfectly. Just give your fabric softener a gentle shake before each use. If you try it, please let me know what you think! 🙂

❤ Ashley

Cleaning Recipes

Homemade Laundry Detergent


I started making my own laundry detergent a few months ago and I will NEVER go back to buying it in the store. It is so simple to make, does not take long at all, and saves you a ton of money. Not to mention you know exactly what is in it, so you are exposing yourself and your family to less (unnecessary) chemicals. I wish I knew about this years ago! I have tried a few different recipes for it, and today I am sharing my favorite one with you. It happens to be the same recipe that the Duggar family uses, imagine how much money they would have to spend on regular detergent with such a large family! I do it a little differently than they do but the measurements are the same. For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 bar Fels-Naptha soap
  • 1 cup Super Washing Soda (not baking soda)
  • 1/2 cup Borax

I found all of these items in the laundry detergent aisle at Walmart. I do not remember the exact price of each item but it was around $10.00 for all of it (less expensive than only one bottle of most commercial laundry detergents and will last you much much longer). If you can’t find Fels-Naptha or if you have sensitive skin you have many other options. You could also use Zote, Pure&Natural, Dr. Bronners, Ivory, etc. (If using Zote you only need half of a bar) You will also need:

  • Hand grater
  • Measuring cups
  • Medium size pot
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Long spoon for stirring

Step one: Grate your soap. I know it seems like a pain but really it only takes a minute. It is not hard to clean the grater afterwards either, it rinses easily. Just be careful when you get down to the end, you don’t want to grate any of your skin off! lol

Step two: Add grated soap to pot with 4 cups of hot tap water. Stir over medium heat until the soap has melted. (Some recipes will tell you to bring it to a boil, I do not do this in fear of ruining the batch. Someone once told me theirs crystalized after boiling it) After your soap has melted you will have what looks like a bright yellow soap soup!

Take your soap soup off of the heat, and stir in your super washing soda and borax until dissolved. This will thicken your soap soup quite a bit. Fill your 5 gallon bucket half full with hot tap water, add in your soap soup, then fill your bucket the rest of the way with hot tap water. Make sure you give it a good stir, then cover it and let it sit for 24 hours. Thats it! How easy is that?!

After 24 hours when you go back to your detergent it will be like a gel. Give it a nice good stir and you are good to go! It will be lumpy, that is perfectly normal (I freaked the first time I made it because I did not know this, lol). This is a picture of what was remaining from my last batch to give you an idea:

Now you can either keep your bucket next to your washer, or fill up an empty container (I used an empty Simply Lemonade container in the top picture) and store the bucket somewhere else out of the way. Use 1/2 cup per load of laundry.

Now many of you may be wondering if this “is safe for a HE washer”, and the answer is yes. We have a HE washer and it works perfectly. This is actually good for HE washers because its low suds. Suds do not equal clean! We recently had someone come to look at the washer for an issue with the pause button, and he said it looked great other than that. So there ya go, proof its safe!

Another thing that many of you may be wondering is “does it work, and do the clothes smell good”. Well I can tell you that it works very well, I actually think it works better than store bought detergent (and I have tried many brands). As far as how the clothes smell, they do not smell like anything when they are done, just clean. But I have a solution for this if you do still want your clothes to smell good. Here is it:

This bottle of Purex Crystals was about 5 dollars at my local Walmart. I just recently discovered these and I am so glad I did. Even though I would never go back to store bought detergent I did kind of miss the good smells. I only use half of a cap full of these per load and my clothes smell fantastic! This bottle will last me a while i’m sure, and I am okay with spending the extra 5 dollars because I am saving so much by making the detergent myself. This is also safe for HE washers! You could use Downy Unstoppables if you so choose, but this is cheaper and does the same thing. (Edit: These must be getting pretty popular because sometimes I have a hard time finding them. I purchased the blue Downy Unstoppables and they made my clothes smell AWFUL. I think I will stick with the cheaper but better IMHO Purex crystals and just go without if they don’t have them in stock at the store) I have also melted about 1/2 of a bottle of these into my detergent with the soap. It takes a while to melt the crystals and the detergent does not gel up as thick but it still works great.

I do not buy fabric softener anymore either. You can use plain white vinegar and it works wonders (the clothes do not smell like vinegar once dry). I also have a cheap and easy recipe for homemade fabric softener that you can find here.

So there you have it, homemade laundry detergent. There are many recipes out there so if this one doesn’t float your boat it shouldn’t be too hard to find one that does. If you have any questions I will do my best to answer them. I hope you will try this (you won’t be sorry!) and let me know what you think!

❤ Ashley

Homemade Laundry Detergent:

4 cups hot tap water

1 Fels-Naptha soap bar, grated

1 cup Washing Soda

1/2 cup Borax

Add grated soap to pot with water. Stir over medium heat until melted. Remove from heat and stir in washing soda and borax until dissolved.

Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap mixture, then fill the rest of the way with hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken. Stir.

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