Thursday, April 7, 2011
We delivered a workshop on making your own cleaning products this past Tuesday April 5th at St Luke's Roman Catholic Church on Mount Albion road.
40 women from the Women Catholic League learned a little about the history of toxic cleaning products and also got a chance to make their very own all purpose cleaner (see below for receipe).
Many common household cleaners contain alcohol, ammonia, bleach, formaldehyde and lye,
substances that can cause nausea, headaches, dizziness, vomiting, inflammation and burning of
the eyes and throat.
Some of these ingredients have been linked to neurological, liver and kidney damage, asthma and cancer.There are hundreds of homegrown recipes for green cleaning; here are some of the basic
ingredients you can find in your kitchen or bathroom.
Any of these ingredients can be safely mixed together. Experiment and find out what works best
for you. Store mixtures in spray bottles and label them.
White Vinegar: Mix with water and you can clean windows, any glass, countertops and tile.
Distilled white vinegar is an acidic liquid. It contains acetic acid which kills viruses, germs,
bacteria and mold and so it is a natural disinfectant. It also dissolves tough mineral deposits and
stains like those found in sinks, toilets and tubs.
A 50/50 mix of vinegar and water in a repurposed spray bottle is a great way to clean glass,
cutting boards and other surfaces -- but don't use it on marble or other polished stone, as it can
leave an indelible mark. It's also useful as a deodorizing green cleaner for mildewed bathroom
surfaces; the smell of vinegar dissipates quickly, leaving a clean, fresh bathroom behind. And
vinegar diluted with hot water can clean most hardwood floors quickly and easily.
Baking Soda: Mixed with water this becomes an all purpose cleaner. Scour sinks, tubs and even
sprinkle over carpets as a deodorizer.
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is an abrasive cleaner and deodorizer with dozens of
uses. It scours sinks, pots, pans, tile surfaces, stainless steel, fiberglass and more. It may take
more "elbow grease" to scrub with baking soda than with bleach-based commercial scrubs, but
it's a safe green cleaner. Because it's an alkaline, baking soda reacts with acids like lemon juice
or vinegar; use this to your advantage if your drain needs unclogging -- pour some baking soda
down the drain, add a few splashes of vinegar, then cover the drain to let the foaming action push
out the clog. If your carpet needs deodorizing, sprinkle baking soda on it before vacuuming.
Salt: great as an abrasive for cleaning pots and pans.
Lemon Juice: use as bleach in laundry and on kitchen surfaces. Combine with vinegar and water
and you have a nice de-clogger.
Lemon juice and fresh cut lemons are a good way to clean with a strong acid that leaves a fresh
scent behind. Cut a lemon in half and rub it on a barbecue grill, or dip in salt to remove stains
from metal surfaces like copper and brass. Use to clean cutting boards. It also breaks up soap
residue and mineral deposits from hard water. A natural deodorizer and green cleaner, use it
anywhere you need an acid that smells better than vinegar.
Olive oil: Mix with vinegar and use as furniture polish.
Plain olive oil is great for cleaning and polishing wood surfaces, though you can use a cheaper
grade than what's used for cooking. Most green cleaning recipes call for some combination of
olive oil and lemon or vinegar (yes, you're cleaning with salad dressing -- for a floor you could
eat off). The ratio of vinegar, oil and water will vary depending on the type of wood and the
finish you have on top of it. For wood floors, try 1/4 cup of vinegar in 1 gallon of hot water. For
wood furniture, start with 1 cup vinegar with 1 teaspoon oil. For both recipes, "adjust to taste."
Washing Soda Washing soda, or sodium carbonate, is a somewhat caustic green cleaner -- wear
gloves if you're using this to scour out the stains and mildew in your shower, sink or other wet
tiled places. This powerhouse green cleaner can beat up just about any household crud you can
throw at it -- it cuts through grease and oils, it pulverizes waxes like lipstick, and can even strip
the wax off wood surfaces. It also removes stains, disinfects, and boosts the cleaning power of
laundry and dishwashing soaps. Look for it in the detergent aisle of most grocery stores.
Castille Soap: There are times when you just need a foaming cleanser, and all-natural castile
soap, made from vegetables like olives, coconuts, palm, hemp or other plant-based ingredients,
does the trick. Diluted, it's an ideal green cleaner for wood surfaces, and can double as a body
cleanser and shampoo for you and your whole family -- even your pet!
Borax: Another strong alkaline, borax is an all-purpose green cleaner and disinfectant that cuts
through grease, removes rust stains, whitens and deodorizes. It makes detergents more effective
and is a favorite additive to laundry soaps and dishwashing liquid.
Tea tree oil: Some folks swear by tea tree oil -- just a few drops -- as an additive to plain water
to deodorize and wipe out mildew and fungus. Ordinary table salt can help to scour out oven
residue, and remove iron-based stains like red wine, blood and chocolate. Reuse old cotton
clothing as cleaning rags, since few fabrics are more absorptive. You can store these homemade
cleaners in old spray bottles, but make sure they're labeled and carefully stored away from kids
and pets, since even green cleaners aren't safe to ingest.
Baking Soda or Washing Soda?
Baking soda and washing soda are both natural odor removers. Washing soda is basically double
strength baking soda, it has a very high pH, and is in the caustic/alkaline category. You need to
use gloves when using it. Most foul odors occur due to what is a strong acid, or a strong base.
Washing and baking soda, neutralizes the offender, due to its inherent chemical properties. This
is not masking the odor, it is eliminating it.
All Purpose Cleaner
You can use it in the kitchen for your stove top, counters, tile, wall fridge etc.
A good idea is to write the ingredients on the spray bottle first so that you will not need to keep
repeating every time you make the cleaner.
You will need
2 cups hot water from the faucet- then mark it on the bottle with an indelible marker
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
½ teaspoon of borax (similar to baking soda-get from grocery store).
½ teaspoon- Washing soda crystals (used for laundry- arm and hammer)
½ teaspoon of liquid castile soap.
Tea tree oil- 20 drops (anti bacterial, anti viral)
Lid on- shake it up and you are ready to go!
Will keep under you sink for at least 6 months.