Sunday, September 30, 2012

Homemade Cleaners - Starting Small

One of the side-effects of having children is being more aware of the ingredients in everything I bring in the house: snacks, cleaners, take-out, etc. The past 6 years have seen a shift in my shopping, and I have begun making my own version of items (see previous posts about Granola and Gummy Snacks). The other side-effect is noticing the cost of everything.

Now I am experimenting with cleaning products.

I found a great online resource in DIY Natural. It has TONS of ideas for creating homemade, natural products (I am not receiving anything for this endorsement; just sharing something awesome that I found).

For my first two experiments, I picked two items that we use very often in our house: Laundry Detergent and Dishwasher Detergent. These detergents touch every item that comes in contact with our food and every item that comes in contact with our skin. I thought that was a great place to start.

The ingredients for the Laundry Detergent are readily available at the grocery store and super easy to mix. I am on my second batch and I love the results so far. My clothing is clean, and I appreciate there is no additional fragrance from additives in other detergents. I have also been using white vinegar with sweet orange oil as the fabric softener; again, a winner. These work well and are inexpensive.

I had a little more difficulty with one of the ingredients for the Dishwasher Detergent: citric acid. I made the detergent without citric acid and noticed the "clouding" problem mentioned in the comments with the recipe. So I made it my mission to get the missing ingredient. Thanks to a tip on the website, I stopped by the local homebrew shop and found the citric acid without having to order online. One week later and the clouding on the plastic is completely gone and the rest of the dishes are shiny again. Lesson learned: follow the recipe exactly until you understand how each ingredient works... this sounds like cooking and baking. I use white vinegar in the rinse aid compartment.

What homemade items are making your life cleaner and less expensive?