Better living through nature
Making your own household cleaners is a small investment upfront but, in the long run, is a cheaper and healthier alternative.
Homemade cleaners are toxin free and easy to make. If you want to know exactly what your cleaning products are made of, making your own is the best option. Homemade cleaning products will make your house smell fresh and keep it chemical free—without stretching your budget.
The recipes for homemade cleaners call for a list of basic ingredients that you probably already have on hand. If not, they can easily be purchased for cheaper in bulk. For example, baking soda, white vinegar, borax and liquid vegetable-based soap are needed to make the majority of these recipes. These supplies will last a long time, so instead of continually restocking these supplies and making several trips to the grocery store, purchase your most used products in bulk.
The most expensive of the ingredients you might need are essential oils. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), ginger (Zingiber officinale) and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) will add wonderful scents to your cleaners; tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) will add antiseptic and antibacterial qualities to all of your homemade products. For other miscellaneous equipment, you may need spray bottles, sponges and a few labels to identify your cleaner. Some of these products, such as the spray bottles, can be reused and recycled.
Photo by astro twilight/courtesy Flickr
Many homemade recipes for natural cleaning products require a small amount of the more expensive ingredients. With that in mind, a 0.33-ounce bottle of essential oil should last you a while. Remember that essential oils are not required for all homemade natural cleaning product recipes. I made a bleach brightener and the only ingredient I had to purchase was hydrogen peroxide. The other ingredients I used were water and lemon juice (look for the results of my homemade cleaner in an upcoming blog).
In the end, you will end up saving money if you make your own cleaners—most of the ingredients are already under your kitchen sink and if not, they're cheap. Here is a brief cost comparison of the basic ingredients you will need to make homemade cleaners versus the cost of brand-name products.
Ingredients for Homemade Cleaners
• Baking soda: Arm and Hammer baking soda is $3.77-$4.00 for 4 pounds.
• Vinegar: Heinz Distilled White Vinegar is $2.19 for 32 ounces.
• Borax: 20 Mule-Team Borax is $4.79 for 76 ounces.
• Vegetable-based soap: Tea Tree Therapy Vegetable Based Soap is $2.31 for 3.5 ounce bars.
• Essential oils: $4.00-$10.00 for 0.33 ounces.
Common Brand-Name Products
• General purpose cleaner: Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner is $4.49 for 16 ounces.
• Glass cleaners: Windex Antibacterial Glass and Surface Cleaner is $5.99 for 32 ounces.
• Soap: Dial Antibacterial Liquid Soap is $17.58 for 1 gallon.
• Bleach: Clorox Laundry Detergent Bleach is $3.99 for 96 ounces.
Have you ever channeled your inner environmentalist and made a homemade cleaner? If so, please share your experiences by leaving me a comment.
For more information on cleaning your home naturally, visit our blog series Naturally Clean.