Our family is growing in many ways... Growing in numbers, knowledge, parenting skills, growing in love, in our faith, growing our culinary skills (if you can call it that), growing without gluten (some of us), growing green...........

Green Cleaning

We've switched to green cleaning in our home, and it is sooooo very easy. And all of our cleaners work just as well (if not better!) than their conventional counterparts...but without all those nasty chemicals that you don't want to be breathing in, rinsing down the drain, or worrying about your children getting into. Making your own green cleaners is very easy, very cheap, much safer than conventional cleaners, and you don't have to worry about running out and then finding time to make it to the store for more. You just toss the ingredients together to make more! It literally will take a minute or two to make up a new cleaner.

There is some upfront cost with the ingredients, but once you get started, you'll realize it is well worth it because those ingredients will last you a LONG, long time, making it very cost-effective in a short time.

Here are some of our favorite green cleaners! Please try them out in your own home and let us know how you like them!

* Indicates we use the cleaner regularly.

All-Purpose Cleaner*
Mix 2T vinegar with 1-2t borax until dissolved. 
Fill bottle with hot water. (This aids in dissolving borax; I usually will add some that's almost boiling at first to get it good and dissolved and then follow up with hot/warm tap water.)
Add 1/4 cup liquid soap (such as castile soap) or 1/8 cup liquid detergent (such as Ivory). 
To scent, add 10-15 drops essential oil.
Follow in order to prevent clumping or sudsing. 

Baking Soda Shaker*
Use a plastic or stainless-steel shaker (e.g. sugar or Parmesan cheese shaker works well.)
Fill ½ way with baking soda, add 15-20 drops essential oil and stir to mix in oils and get clumps out. 
Fill with baking soda, and stir again. 
Shake lightly on counters, sink, tub, toilet and rub or scrub to clean. 
Rinse well. If you use too much, you will be left with a lot of residue. 
Sometimes it’s good to follow with Vinegar Rinse to remove any possible reside from baking soda. 
Also great to clean stainless steel. 
My by-the-sink baking soda shaker.
I also love to keep a shaker with only baking soda (no essential oils) next to the sink. Whenever there is a really dirty dish, a dirty crockpot (this makes cleaning a crockpot EASY, esp if you let it sit overnight), or someone brings home a thermos that had lunch in it, I shake some baking soda into it, fill with water, and let sit for a while or overnight before washing. Things come clean much easier after a good soak with baking soda!

Inside the shaker. One of the most-used items in my kitchen!
Soft Scrubber*
1/2 c baking soda 
Liquid soap or detergent
5-10 drops antibacterial essential oil (e.g. lavender, tea tree oil), optional.
Add liquid to soda until mixture reaches consistency of frosting. Simply mix up on surface cleaning, such as bathtub. Use and discard.

To keep for a couple of weeks:
Use squirt bottle. Add ½ c baking soda, 1/8-1/4 cup castile soap (to get desired consistency), and add 1tsp vegetable glycerin. Veg glycerin helps prevent mixture from drying out for a week or two. 

My favorite liquid soap by far. You can do so much with these cleaners, and they are very concentrated and will last a long time! We even use them in all bathrooms for hand soap, as well as body wash! Our favorites: Citrus Orange and Unscented Baby Mild.

All-Purpose Cleaner #2*
For 16oz bottle, fill with hot water and add 1-2oz castile soap. 
Add 5-10 drops favorite essential oils. 
If you use a scented castile soap, no need to bother with the essential oils. 
Good to use w/ marble/granite surfaces b/c has no vinegar. (Vinegar will break down the finish on marble/granite surfaces.)

Vinegar Rinse*
Fill spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water. 
Add 15-20 drops Tea Tree Oil as disinfectant, if desired. Or add other essential oil. 
Good to use after baking soda to remove residue. Use as after-shower spray to prevent mold/mildew. Use as a window cleaner. 
Great as a floor cleaner (including wood floors). 

All you need for the Vinegar Rinse - vinegar and water! EASY!

Window Cleaner*
Fill spray bottle with club soda. 
Use lint-free cloth to wipe until dry.
Great for windows, glass, chrome bathroom fixtures (also add couple drops of oil to fixtures to shine and prevent water spots from collecting on fixtures!), and as quick everyday stain remover in a pinch.
Can also use to clean plants (if no essential oils added).

Drain Declogger*
Pour 1 cup baking soda down drain. If needed, you can mix baking soda with enough water to make it pourable. 
Follow with 1 cup vinegar (you can add a few drops food coloring to make it cool for kids, but skip next step and do not cover). 
Cover drain with cloth, if desired.
Once bubbling and frothing cease (or wait up to ten minutes), pour in pot/kettle of boiling water.
Best if used every couple weeks for prevention. 

Baking soda & Vinegar. Two of my best friends when it comes to cleaning! These things just about do it all!

Oven Cleaner*
Spray water on surface in oven (remove racks, etc, first). Sprinkle baking soda on surface. Spray with water again. 
Let sit for few hours or overnight. Wipe clean!
To ensure all baking soda residue is removed, follow with a vinegar rinse and wipe clean. 

Furniture Polish*
Good for general, weekly polishing or for finished woods.
In 16oz bottle, add 2tsp olive oil, 20 drops or more of pure essential lemon oil, 1/4 cup white vinegar.
Fill rest with water (purified is best).
Shake well before each use, as vinegar and oil will separate. Spray directly onto rag or on furniture. 

Wood Furniture Polish*
In small squirt bottle, add 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and 50 drops or 1/4 tsp lemon oil. If no lemon oil, you can use 1/2 tsp or so of vanilla extract.
Lemon and vanilla are optional and mostly for scent.
This is a good polish for unfinished or lightly finished woods. 

Weed Killer*
Boil ½ gallon water. Combine 2/3 cup white vinegar, ¼ cup salt. Place ingredients into boiling water.
Pour directly on weeds while still hot.
Best used for weeds growing on porch/patio crevices and in cracks on sidewalks, as it will kill other plants which it comes into contact. 

Stain Remover (clothing)* 
Put wet clothes out in direct sunlight to dry! 
(Might take multiple times for already set-in, difficult stains. Do not dry in dryer – will set stains.) 

Garbage Disposal Cleaner* 
Citrus peels and ice. 
Drop down the disposal and run. The ice helps cool and remove grease; citrus peels scent and have a natural acid cleaning power.
I put citrus peels in a bag in the freezer as we peel fruits, so we always have some on hand. Plus, this way, you can just toss the frozen peels in and skip the ice! 

Microwave Cleaner* 
Place citrus peels in bowl of water, heat for a few minutes to get the water boiling. 
The steam will loosen any residue/food in the microwave. 
Simply wipe clean! 

Carpet Deodorizer 
Sprinkle baking soda on carpet. Let sit for 15 minutes; vacuum. 

Air Purifying Spritz 
In spray bottle, add 1tsp baking soda, 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice, and 2 cups hot water.
Add 2Tbsp baking soda and 2 cups hot water.
Spritz in air to kill odors. 

Air Freshening Spray 
In spray bottle, add 10 drops favorite essential oil and 7 Tbsp water.
Shake well and spray.
Calming – Lavender
Freshness – Orange and bergamot
Kitchen & bathroom – Lemon and pine 


Borax is toxic if ingested; keep out of reach of children. Tea Tree Oil and some other essential oils are also toxic if ingested. Check before adding to a cleaner a young child might be able to reach or use.

Tea Tree Oil is a good disinfecting oil. It's a good one to add to cleaners that will be used in the shower or with toilets.

Essential Oils
You can always leave out the essential oils! They are not necessary (though some do help with disinfecting or deodorizing). If your young children will be helping, feel free to leave the oils out, as some are toxic. I've handed Aiden his own little baking soda shaker with nothing but baking soda in it. When he put it up to his mouth (he was maybe 2 at the time, so things still went to the mouth often), it was no big deal!

For those with granite/marble/other natural stone surfaces, baking soda is safe to use. Vinegar, however, will break down the finish. Use cleaners that do not include vinegar! There are several all-purpose or surface cleaners mentioned above.

While he's joking ("I'm going to drink it!"), most young kids that happen upon cleaners will likely put them to their mouths. One more reason to use green cleaners!! This is just baking soda in the container. If he were to ingest some, no harm done. Yet it still cleans wonderfully.

And this is the other thing that will happen when young kids get ahold of your cleaners... Haha! Again, no harm done. It's not going to hurt him, and I can just wipe it up afterward (and have a cleaner floor!)

Feel free to share any favorite cleaning recipes you have that are not listed!