Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Natural and Frugal Bathroom Cleaning

Contributed by Lorissa of Beautiful Somehow

Clorox Wipes, Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles, Tilex, Pine Sol, Lysol, and Clorox Toilet Bowl cleaner. This is just a small list of all the cleaners we are made to believe we need in order to have a clean and sanitary bathroom. If you don't use every cleaner above then you have a nasty and germ filled bathroom. This is what I believed. I loved using Clorox wipes and Lysol. It killed the germs. Clorox Toilet Bowl cleaner and scrubbing bubbles were toilet necessities! Windex...well that is a no get a streak free shine! Mop the floor with Pine Sol and spray the room with febreeze. Squeaky clean and smell good bathroom!

While all of those cleaners do kill germs, they also contain a ton of chemicals. We all know this, yet we still love to use them. I know I did. I just figured all of the talk about chemicals in our cleaners was just a bunch of hype. It doesn't really affect my health that much. Right?

But...did you know that...

The American Lung Association warns that "Some products release dangerous chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Other harmful ingredients include ammonia and bleach. Even natural fragrances such as citrus can react to produce dangerous pollutants indoors. VOCs and other chemicals released when using cleaning supplies contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions and headaches ".

The Organic Consumers Association says "Cleaning ingredients vary in the type of health hazard they pose. Some cause acute, or immediate, hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns, while others are associated with chronic, or long-term, effects such as cancer."

 If you have little ones at home this can be concerning. Think about if one of your little one's get a hold of that bottle of cleaner. That thought alone was enough to make me throw them out. 

Money was another big reason I decided to switch. Buying all of those cleaners, to achieve my sanitary bathroom, was costing a lot! 

Here is what they usually cost...
Clorox Wipes 150 ct. - $7.74
Windex- $2.87
Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner- $3.76
Pine Sol- $2.97
Scrubbing Bubbles- $2.47
Tilex- $3.78
Febreeze- $4.97

For a grand total of $28.49! That much to clean a bathroom?! Oh..and don't forget the cost for paper towels to wipe it all down. Even if you do decide to go with the cleaners that are "green" you are going to be paying just as much, if not more!

Okay enough of the why  you should ditch those expensive, chemical laden cleaners. What do you do instead? I still want a clean, sanitary, and pleasant smelling bathroom!

Remember the kitchen and floor cleaner I told you about? Grab that, some baking soda, and either your un-paper towels or even better a mircofiber cloth.

To start out, I usually spray down the whole toilet (inside included) with my lemon vinegar solution and sprinkle baking soda on the inside of the toilet. Let that set while you clean the rest.

I mentioned in my first post on getting started with natural cleaners that I eventually wanted to make my own "Windex". I finally figured out the perfect recipe! It is a little complicated to make and contains a lot of ingredients. Ready....grab your lemon vinegar solution and spray it on your mirror. Wipe with a clean microfiber cloth. That is it. Complicated right. ;-)  It is amazing all the things water and vinegar can do!  (Vinegar actually shares 1001 ways to use vinegar!)

I do suggest using a microfiber cloth to clean you mirror. It removes lint and works wonderfully. You can buy a pack of 3 at the Dollar Tree! When you first spray this on your mirror and start wiping, don't panic, it may look like it is starting to streak. Be patient, let it dry all the way, and you will have a clean and streak free mirror!

Then I spray down my sink, counter tops and faucet and wipe clean with the same microfiber cloth. Wipe the toilet clean, scrub the toilet with a brush, spray and wipe down the shower with the water and vinegar solution. Finish with spraying the floor and mopping it clean.

You now have a sparkly cleanfresh smelling, and sanitary bathroom using only two cleaners! Amazing! I love to clean my bathroom this way. It smells wonderful, looks great, and I don't have to worry about harmful chemicals!

What does it cost to clean this way? Literally pennies!

Have you already made the switch to more natural cleaners? Any recipes you love to use in your bathroom?

Monday, June 18, 2012

DIY Chemical-Free Homemade Bug Spray

Contributed by Anna of Not Knowing Where

Our garden has been growing at an incredible rate, thanks to the attentions of my husband, and his right-hand toddler man. Here in North Carolina, the mosquitoes are terrible, especially in the garden in the afternoon/evening. I wanted to make some bug spray for my men to use to rescue them from biting insects, and spiders.

I discovered that making your own bug spray is literally as easy as making a cup of tea. The ingredients are incredibly affordable and have a long shelf life before being mixed together.

I went to my favorite natural health store in town to get the essential oils that are most effective. I've found my local natural health store to be an incredible resource - both for ingredients and for advice. These people really love what they sell, and have much more experience than me. The chain stores (of which we have two) will try to point you to the $20 bottle of all natural, herbal, yada, yada, that they have pre-mixed on their shelf. But this little unimposing store was immediately on board with my DIY desire, and helped me pick out the most effective essential oils.

I decided on citronella ($3.50) and lemongrass ($6.00) for the essential oils. Growing in my garden, I have spearmint and lavender. However if I didn't have these plants I could have puchased them dried at a very low cost.

Here is list of ingredients I used:
  • Water
  • Dried lavender flowers
  • Dried spearmint leaves
  • Citronella essential oil
  • Lemongrass essential oil
  • Rubbing alcohol or Witchhazel
At home, I boiled 8 oz (1 cup) of water. I poured the boiling water over 2 tablespoons each of dried spearmint and lavender. I used a mug just like I was making a cup of tea, and covered the mixture to steep. After it cooled to room temperature, I strained out the herbs. To my herbal "tea", I added 14 drops of citronella and 7 drops of lemongrass.

Finally, I poured the whole thing into a spray bottle. For ease of evaporation, I decided to add some rubbing alcohol. Witchhazel is another (but more expensive) option if you want the spray to more quickly evaporate on the skin. I added enough rubbing alcohol to produce 10 oz total of bug spray. This is a minimal amount. Some people double the amount of liquid by adding much more alcohol or witchhazel.

It cost me less than $10, and will make enough bug spray to last many, many, months of summers. No harsh chemicals, inexpensive, and effective!