Roundup of earth and wallet friendly cleaning supplies

This week, for a project I’m doing, I have to do a lot of cleaning. Since I need to actually make a few more supplies to finish the job, this week’s post on Sustainability is full of recipes for making simple, effective, inexpensive and earth friendly cleaners.

For starters, the laundry recipes both came from the modcottage blog, and just like she claims, they were super-easy to whip up!

laundry detergent and rinse

For the detergent:

1. 1 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated. We found the smaller grating holes made it easier to mix up. We also discovered that two of our bars were hard, while the rest were more soft. You might want to peek inside the soap wrapper before you buy.
2. 1 c Borax
3. 1 c Washing Soda
4. 1/4 c OxyClean (not necessary, but we add it)
Mix it all together into a bumpy, granular mix. Don’t worry about stuff getting correctly dispersed, it does, even if it doesn’t quite look like it.

Use 1T for a light load
Use 2T for a large or dirty load (It’s true! Only 2 Tablespoons per load!)

And the rinse:

1. 1 gal white vinegar
2. 25-30 drops essential oil in whatever scent you want your clothes to smell like.

Use 1/4 c in the rinse cycle. The vinegar clears the last bit of soap remaining on all your clothes and reduces static. (and doesn’t leave a smell behind, promise!)

For times when you can’t put your laundry on the line, you might want some dryer balls to replace petroleum laden-dryer sheets to help keep your towels fluffy.

felted dryer balls
Photo tutorial HERE.

The next products we tackled were window cleaner, and a general purpose spray cleaner/disinfectant.
We got these recipes from the women and environment blog

window cleaner

WINDOW CLEANER
1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent, we use Dr Bronner’s
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water
Spray bottle

Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past. Remember, one of the best things to use for a “rag” when cleaning windows is old newspapers. Streak-free!!

ALL-PURPOSE SPRAY CLEANER
1/2 teaspoon washing soda
A dab of liquid soap (we use Dr Bronners!)
2 cups hot tap water

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

The last thing we made was a soft scouring powder. You can mix this up as you go, but we chose to add the vegetable glycerine so we could make big batches to store. It keeps for about 2 years in the fridge.

soft scrubber

CREAMY SOFT SCRUBBER
suggested uses: Use this creamy soft scrub on kitchen counters, stoves, bathroom sinks, etc.

2 cups baking soda
½ cup liquid castile soap (again, Dr Bronner’s)
4 teaspoons vegetable glycerin (acts as a preservative)
5 drops antibacterial essential oil such as lavender, tea tree, rosemary or any scent you prefer.

DISHWASHER SOAP
via Apartment Therapy
Here’s the condensed instructions of the formula created by Lynn Siprelle of The New Homemaker:

Mix the following ingredients in a plastic container with an airtight lid. You’re going to shake up an assortment of powdery ingredients, and you don’t want to find yourself recreating a disaster from I Love Lucy:

  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup citric acid (Unsweetened Lemonade-Flavored Kool-Aid can be used also, but be sure to avoid any other flavours due to their food dye content)
  • 30 drops a citrus essential oil of your choice


Shake it, but don’t break it. Now you’ve got a mixture you can dole out into your dishwasher, one tablespoon per cleaning agent receptacle in your dishwasher. We personally don’t have a dishwashing machine (though we’d most certainly welcome one the next time we move), but we like Siprelle’s advice to use this powdery cleaning mix in a shaker canister (she recommends a popcorn salt shaker, but we’re thinking more like pizza parlour shaker for our kitchen sink stains).

Got any recipes you love? tips, tricks, cleaning secrets you’d like to share? Comment!

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