Thursday, January 21, 2010

We are feelin' better really...

Well this blog is supposed to be about our new adventure into the more natural and frugal lifestyle, and I was really quite happy just chatting about food.
Life had other plans however. The crawling crud has hit our home and a deep cleaning was needed.
So since there is no time like the present, I jumped in with both feet into the all natural cleaning supplies.
Many of the ideas that I refer to in this post came from one of my best friends Kim. She is a pro at all natural and is full of wonderful ideas. The rest have been gleaned from books, magazines and web pages. I take no credit for inventing the wheel here, just want to pass on good information that has been rattling around in my head or that I come across.

First rule of cleaning naturally...this will only work if you do not fall into one or both of the following categories.

You only clean your home on a semi annually basis.
You are a germaphobe.

The last one is a bit tricky as I myself channel Howard Hughes on occasion. I was able to over come my addiction to bleach though and I have to say I feel liberated now. Vinegar really does cut mildew as well as getting out stains on counters.

Cleaning supplies list for all natural homemade cleaners..

Baking Soda
Tea tree oil
Lavender (dried flowers for sachets and oil for cleaning)
Lemon juice
Essential oils

All of this will get you started and really in a pinch you only need the top three.

Baking Soda will be one of your best friends if you chose to join the frugal, all natural group of folks. Baking Soda is a miracle substance that does everything from help you scrub pots and pans, clean out tubs, wash laundry, and kill odors. If you want more applications for it, you can always use it to wash your hair, brush your teeth or even keep yourself smelling fresh in lu of deodorant.

Yesterday, I had a deep need to get the sick out of my home and in the old days, like last month, I would have reached for bleach, disinfectant spray and a common household cleaner that I will not name. (It is named after an evergreen tree though)

After using just two cleaners that I made up that morning the house smelled and felt great.
First thing I made was carpet fresh. It had been awhile since we have been able to open windows and all four of us are really sick so I needed the house to smell good.

I used
1 1/2 cups Baking soda
2 drops of lemon oil
4 drops of rose oil (the rose oil I used was a rose blend essential oil, pure rose oil is really pricey)

Put all ingredients into a can of some kind. I used an old Jameson canister. Shake well. Punch holes in top of can and generously sprinkle on your carpet. Let sit while cleaning the house and then vacuum up.

This amount did our whole house and I still have some left over. The house smelled really wonderful all day long.

The only other cleaner I used was the following

About 3 cups water
2 tablespoons of vinegar
1 teaspoon of tea tree oil

You can just use the water and vinegar but tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant and I wanted to chase these cold germs away.

I used this for the entire bathroom, it was really nice not having three or four bottles. It cleaned the tubs, showers, floors, walls, sinks and toilets. I was amazed at the layers of chemical residue that came off of the surfaces. All this time I thought I was really cleaning my home and I was just adding layer after layer of chemical goo all over everything. The vinegar cuts right through it all and gets down to the surface to make everything really shiny and clean.

Then I brought it into the kitchen and did the same thing in there. I have to say it was a bit strange feeling like the house was clean but not smelling the smell of bleach or pine trees, however it was wonderful to have the house smell and feel so clean with out the presents of chemicals. There was a real freedom in not really worrying when the cats walked across the newly mopped floor. None of the clothing I was wearing yesterday is stained with chemicals.

As an extra precaution I did add tea tree oil to my laundry and I tossed the pillows in the dryer on high for about 30 minutes with some lavender oil. For the rest of my laundry, I have a girl friend that made me some lavender sachets. You basically sew a square pillow about the size of your hand, fill with dried lavender flowers and toss those in your dryers instead of dryer sheets. You clothes smell wonderful afterwards. If you have a problem with static, you can use either tennis balls or homemade wool dryer balls.
You can find easy to follow directions here...

There are several more home cleaning recipes out there and a lot more things that I want to try. I really want to only share the things that I try personally, however so I will share them all as I go.

I would love to hear from anyone that has ideas or recipes to share.


  1. Hey Teresa,
    this really is a good idea. I usually have three or four bottles to clean everything. I think I will try this out especially because I like the smell od tea tree oil...
    But I only have a vinegar essence at home. Can I use this just like you said or do I have to take a little less?
    I usually use it to descale my coffee machine and the electric kettle(?)... And it works wonders!!!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I used your idea of baking soda for carpet fresh yesterday! I just stuck some lavender oil in it and my whole hose does smell wonderful!! :)

  3. So happy that others are finding this information useful. :)
    Franzi, as far as I can tell any vinegar will do the trick. I have used apple cider vinegar when I could not find white. For sure if you are using it to descale it will work with other things as well.
    Jenna, glad you like the baking soda idea, we use it all the time now as well. I like the fact that the baking soda is asorbing the odors instead of just covering them up. :)
    Thanks guys for the support