I am very excited to share with you my favorite homemade cleaner of all, the multi-surface, all purpose cleaner. This is the cleaner that I reach for 99% of the time, no matter what it is. I have used this to clean up marker, crayon, Play-Doh, forgotten oatmeal, grease, spilled coffee and even, yes, puppy messes. I have used this on many different surfaces such as the kitchen counters, the walls, the couch, the carpet, the tub, the bathroom sink and I have even used it to pre-treat really dirty pots and pans. The most amazing part about this cleaner is that it works better than any store bought cleaner, it costs significantly less and it’s non-toxic.
Multi Surface, All Purpose Cleanser
1. 3 Tbsp vinegar
2. 1/2 tsp washing soda
3. 1/2 tsp castile soap or Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds
4. 2 c hot water
5. 20 – 40 drops of the essential oil of your choice (optional)
Mix ingredients together in a spray bottle
Cover opening and shake before replacing the sprayer
Shake gently before each use
For really tough, stuck on messes, let the cleaner sit on the mess for 5 – 10 minutes
Always test your surface first!
If you have eczema like I do, make sure you test these cleaners before you go without gloves. Everyone with eczema has a different level of sensitivity and different things they’re sensitive to.
This recipe is so versatile. My favorite adaptation of this recipe is to replace the castille soap with Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds and put in equal parts lavender oil and sweet orange oil (20 drops of each). The smell is amazing and the lavender oil adds an anti bacterial element while the sweet orange oil adds a boost to the cleaning power of the already powerful cleaner. I use Aura Cacia essential oils because they are conveniently available at my local Meijer and within each box there is a $1 coupon from Aura Cacia. This recipe can also be left unscented by using Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild castille soap.
I suffer from severe eczema and have always had to use rubber gloves when cleaning – anything. Since I have switched to this cleaner, as well as to the other cleaners in this series, it is no longer necessary for me to use gloves unless I’m using really hot water.
I used to hate cleaning the bathroom because the fumes from the cleaners always gave me a headache. Between the bleach, toilet cleaner, tile scrubber and etc., I had to clean the bathroom with a window open (even in the middle of winter) and take several breaks. It used to take me forever. I also had to wear two sets of rubber gloves to keep my hands from breaking out in eczema instantly. Changing the cleaners I use in this room of the house was one of my favorite tasks. Since I started using the bathroom cleaner recipe below, I’ve found that cleaning the bathroom doesn’t take as long, I don’t have to have the window open in the dead of winter and no more headaches! Now, I don’t wear even one pair of gloves.
In a squirt bottle mix together the following ingredients:
1. 2/3c baking soda
2. 1/2c castile soap
3. 2tbsps vinegar
4. 1/2c water
5. 3 – 5 drops of tea tree oil
Shake before each application
Always test your surfaces first before using this cleanser
If you have eczema like I do, make sure you test these cleaners before you toss your gloves! Everyone with eczema has a different level of sensitivity and different things they’re sensitive to.
Daily Pea has also shared a recipe that I’m anxious to try and I wanted to share with you. I like this recipe because it’s simpler in its ingredients making it a little more economical.
1. 1 cup baking soda
2. 4 tablespoons water
3. 2 tablespoons liquid castile soap
Add baking soda to a glass container with a lid.
Add castile soap and water, stirring until it’s toothpaste consistency.
For the full entry please visit the Daily Pea Blog.
The next cleaner in our series is a very simple window cleaner and it comes straight from Daily Pea! This recipe is similar to the one I use which is just equal parts vinegar and water but I like this one much better. The difference lies in the 1 tbsp of lemon juice. I tried this today and I’m really happy with it. It still has the same great cleaning power as the original recipe but there seemed to be a little more sparkle in my stainless steel faucets after I cleaned the kitchen this afternoon! I also found it easier to use. What I mean is, I’ve noticed with vinegar and water that, in the past, I’ve had to work pretty hard to get all the streaks off the mirror or window. I didn’t experience this with the addition of the lemon.
I also used the window cleaner on my kids’ chalk boards and white boards. It cleans both surfaces beautifully and dries quickly. I’m also confident in letting my independent three year old clean off her easel by herself since the window cleaner is non toxic and safe for her to use on her own.
Please go visit Daily Pea by clicking the link below and pick up the full recipe. While you’re there, check out her recipe for pizza night!
Removing toxins from the home can be a daunting task. When I first began the process, I insisted that I would go cold turkey, throw everything out – food, cleaning products, personal care and beauty. I very quickly became overwhelmed. I had already been using products from a company that I thought was selling me safe cleaning and personal care products so I thought my main focus would simply be on our food. Unfortunately, the cleaning and personal care products I was using didn’t turn out to be much safer than regular commercial cleaning products. The process became much more difficult than simply throwing everything out and starting over. Clearly, I was going to have to take a different approach. Instead of overhauling the whole house at one time, I was going to have to take it piece by piece. I began searching the Internet for recipes for homemade cleaners. There is no lack of information on the topic of homemade cleaning recipes, in fact there are so many a person could get really frustrated sorting through all of them. My Pinterest boards are full of recipes! Over time, I’ve tried several and have settled on a few favorites. Since I have three children and several different kinds of pets, I can assure you that these cleaners have been put through the paces. In truth, I’m happier with the performance of my favorite homemade cleaners than any commercial cleaners I have ever used. The bonus is that these cleaners cost a fraction of the cleaners available to us at our local grocery stores.
Every change is worthwhile. Every change makes a difference. If you can’t overhaul your house in one wave of your wand, start with one change at a time like I did and grow from there. This entry is the first in a series sharing the changes that I and my family made.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Tea Tree Disinfectant:
1. 3c Water
2. 1/4c hydrogen peroxide
3. 2 Tbsps fresh squeezed lemon juice
4. 10 drops of tea tree oil
Mix ingredients into a spray bottle. Shake gently before each use.
The following recipe comes from one of my favorite blogs and Web sites, Daily Pea. I’m currently using this one as well! One cannot have too many disinfectant recipes during flu season!
1. 2 cups distilled white vinegar (disinfectant)
2. 2 cups water
3. 3 drops tea tree oil (disinfectant)
4. 3 drops thyme oil (disinfectant)
Mix all ingredients together in a bucket with a spout.
Pour into a 32 oz. spray bottle.
Shake gently before each use.
If you want to check your current household cleaners before you start making changes, please visit the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Health Cleaning. This guide lists more than 2000 household products and grades them A-F based on their level of safety.
It is my belief that the over abundance of chemicals in our foods, personal care, cleaning supplies and beauty products create the environmental factors which increase the risks for Autism Spectrum Disorders. While these environmental factors are only one piece of a very large puzzle, in February 2012 my husband and I made the choice to remove as many toxins from our home as possible as part of our boys’ treatment. We have had much success living a cleaner lifestyle. We have seen improvement in the boys as well as in other areas of our lives. My husband and I have both lost weight and, for the first time since I was 15 years old, I have control over my severe eczema.
The article below is an older article but it’s one of my favorites and still very relevant.
Two Nasty Chemicals to Purge from Your Bathroom: Triclosan & Phthalates | Healthy Child Healthy World
I was never one to jump on the anti-bacterial band wagon, even after I had kids. It didn’t make sense to me. When it seemed like just about everything was anti-bacterial (even body lotion) I knew it would be a matter of time before a study came out telling us that too much use of anti-bacterial products was not good for us. It turns out that I was right. I encourage you to take a look at the article below highlighting triclosan and phthalates. Having three children, I do like hand sanitizers for my purse. If you use hand sanitizers, check the ingredients for triclosan. Many health food stores offer safer versions of hand sanitizer including Dr. Bronner.
Below is a statement released by the Autism Society on December 18, 2012. This statement can be found on the Autism Society’s Web site: http://www.autism-society.org/news/press-releases/autism-society-statement-on.html
Autism Society: No Link Between Autism and Planned Violence
December 18, 2012
By Autism Society
The Autism Society continues to mourn the lives lost on Friday in Newtown, Conn. We join the nation as we keep our collective attention focused on those directly impacted by this tragedy.
In the nation’s rush to understand the reasoning for such an awful occurrence, the conversation evolved to include the alleged shooter’s possible autism diagnosis. The Autism Society feels it is imperative to remove autism from this tragic story. Race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation are seldom, if ever, linked to the actions of an individual in a causal relationship. It is imperative that developmental disorders and disabilities be treated in the same vain.
Further, the Autism Society is committed to informing, educating and securing appropriate services by providing reliable and unbiased information. To that end, we are compelled to dispel any myths about individuals with autism:
No evidence exists to link autism and premeditated violence. Suggesting otherwise is wrong and harmful to the more than 1.5 million individuals living with autism in the United States.1
Individuals with autism and those with other disabilities are more likely to be victims of violence than the perpetrators.2
Many of individuals with Asperger’s syndrome who have committed crimes had co-existing psychiatric disorders.3
Individuals with autism who act aggressively typically do so because they are reacting to a situation.
Please do not judge any individual with autism based on the discourse surrounding Friday’s tragic event. Instead, please strive to educate and inform your communities. Help the Autism Society ensure that individuals with autism are not marginalized due to a misunderstanding of a complicated disorder.
1. Gunasekaran, S., & Chaplin, E. (2012). Autism spectrum disorders and offending. Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 6, 308-313.
2. Hughes, K., Bellis, M. A., Jones, L., Wood, S., Bates, G., Eckley, L., … & Officer, A. (2012). Prevalence and risk of violence against adults with disabilities: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. The Lancet. 379, 1621-1629.
3. Newman SS, Ghaziuddin M: Violent crime in Asperger syndrome: the role of psychiatric comorbidity. J Autism Dev Disord 39:1949-52, 2008.