Homemade Cleaners

Now that I have some cold process soap making under my belt, I decided to venture a little farther afield and experiment with some home made cleaning products. I went to the supermarket and loaded my cart with Fels-Naptha soap, a box of borax, a box of washing soda, some kosher salt, and a jug of white vinegar. Then I went to the neighboring GNC and bought two tiny bottles of essential oil – one tea tree, one lemon. This is what I did with them.

1 bar soap (I used Fels-Naptha, but you could try Ivory or Dr. Bronner’s)
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
20 drops tea tree oil (optional, but it smells good and has disinfectant properties)
First, grate the soap using a hand grater.

Then pour the shavings into a food processor and pulverize until fine.

Finally, stir in the borax and washing soda and 20 drops essential oil. Stir until well combined, about 5 minutes. Store in an airtight container. I used an empty coffee canister.

Use 2 tablespoons per load of laundry. For best results, allow to dissolve in water before adding clothes and add 1/2 cup white vinegar to rinse cycle. I ran a load of towels this afternoon and they came out clean, soft and sweet smelling!

2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup white vinegar 
20 drops of lemon essential oil 
Combine all ingredients until well mixed, then press into two ice cube trays. If you pack thoroughly, all the mixture should fit in the two trays. Leave in a dry, sunny spot until thoroughly hard, about 24 hours.

Unmold and store in an airtight container.

Use one tab per load of dishes. For best results, add 3 drops (no more unless you want a kitchen full of suds!) of dishwashing liquid – I use Dawn – and splash 1/2 cup white vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher. I tested test these tabs tonight; this load of dishes included several plastic containers that had previously held colored frosting made from Crisco, powdered sugar and food coloring

as well as dinner plates that were caked with the remnants of a lasagna dinner. As you can see everything came out clean and sparkly.

I am hooked! So far, my experience has taught me that homemade cleaning products are simple and inexpensive to make, plus they are much easier on the environment than their commercial counterparts. Let me know if you decide to give either of these a try!