Good Matters™ Blog

Posted on December 1st, 2011

DIY: Homemade Cleaning Products

Posted by Jess, Health and Specialty Inside Sales

Hi, I’m Jess and I’ve worked at Toms of Maine for over 10 years! In my sales role working with health food stores, I hear a lot about consumers who are looking for alternatives to traditional products on the market.

Historically I have used traditional cleaning solutions for my daily and weekly housework needs. Recently, Grace, my daughter began to complain about the strong scents in many of these products. I began to research alternative cleaning solutions. I began with my mother who has used many homemade cleaning products for years. Who knew vinegar can be used to clean almost anything! We both use micro-fiber cloths — they are designed to penetrate and trap dirt and a good quality cloth can last for years. (Don’t use any fabric softener when washing them — it acts like a wax and clogs up the micro spaces designed for dirt.)

White vinegar is the superhero — cutting grease, removing mildew, odors wax build-up and even some stains. Borax cleans, deodorizes, softens water and disinfects. Lemon is a strong acid and can be effective against household bacteria as well as adding a natural scent! Baking soda is another powerful cleaner — helping with odor control and scouring needs for challenging marks on surfaces.

For general cleaning — my mother uses a mixture of borax, vinegar and water. This can be premade and stored in a spray bottle or used hot in a bucket with a rag. (Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water) You can also substitute baking soda for the borax, and lemon juice can be added for a natural scent! For mold on bathroom tile — my mother mixes one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water in a spray bottle. (Mold can be a health concern — hence the use of hydrogen peroxide. White vinegar or lemon juice full strength may work as well. We all use personal choices regarding what we are comfortable using in our homes.) Mirrors and windows can be cleaned with 3 cups of water and 1/4c of white vinegar. I add some isopropyl alcohol and use a microfiber cloth to limit window streaking.

When trying any new cleaner — even a natural one — please use care. Remember that while the ingredients in my mother’s cleaner are environmentally-friendly, the mixture is still not safe for ingestion. Please adhere to any warning labels on your chosen ingredients and use caution when cleaning around small children. Also read care directions for the surfaces in your home and try first on a small hidden area. (It is better to be safe than sorry!)

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