Friday, 9 September 2011

Cleaning...

...is one of my least favourite activities. Ok, it is sometimes very satisfying when something is very grubby but it's the never-ending day-to-day stuff that I dislike.

I used to have a very good excuse for avoiding it; each time I donned the rubber gloves & armed myself with the spray cleaner it wouldn't be long before I started wheezing (& no, it was not the sheer volume of physical effort being put into the cleaning!) I'd also get a bit headachy. It began to dawn on me that maybe it was the contents of the spray bottles that were the problem.  

So I began to look for a solution, literally! I consulted some old fashioned books & pondered. I tried a variety of different things but the best for me is one scribbled down on the back of an old envelope whilst watching Kim & Aggie on TV some time ago...

General Cleaning Fluid
Add the following to a spray bottle and shake thoroughly...

500ml water

1 tablespoon of Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda in USA)

½ teaspoon of Washing-up-Liquid (very hard to measure so I guess)

2 tablespoons of Lemon Juice

5-10 drops of Essential Oil for fragrance if wanted (at the moment I am using Lavender and Rosemary but I have added Lemon, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Orange)
I used to add a teaspoon of Borax but you can't buy it anymore.  The Borax substitute seems to be Bicarbonate of Soda...

Shake before using (added sneaky exercise!) 

I label the bottle with the recipe so that it’s really easy to make up a new batch when needed.  

I’ve been doing this for at least 8 years now & it works for me. Here’s what I like about it...

It’s good at getting everyday gunk off surfaces especially sinks, basins & the hob. If I want to clean wood with it I dilute with an additional 500ml of water & wring the cloth out very thoroughly. To wash floors,  I splosh some into a bucket with water (& add extra lemon juice if the floor is as sticky as it was after some of this year’s Elderflower Champagne made a bid for freedom.. .)  I wouldn’t stand up & declare that I could eat my dinner off the surfaces or floor but then who does?  (I prefer a plate!)

I love the fact that this cleaning fluid is really easy to make as most of the ingredients are already lurking in the kitchen anyway. 

It smells much better than the spray cleaners I used to use. (& I'm in total control of the fragrance)

It makes me smug to think how much money I’ve saved over the last 8 years. 

Best of all, no more wheezing or headaches! 

So no more excuses for me...


19 comments:

marigold jam said...

Great idea I must copy down the recipe. I don't use much in the way of cleaners and chemicals either and work on the principle of doing housework and cleaning only when I will actually see a difference. We have never been ill due to not disinfecting or wiping down with antiseptic wipes or what have you so am guessing it is clean enough here!! Or maybe we have just built up an immunity?!

Scented Sweetpeas said...

I turned to natural cleaning products a while back as i feel more comfortable with them. Tea tree is an essential oil that is naturally anti bacterial so you can add that for bathrooms and sinks. Also vinegar is great for getting rid of limescale if you leave it for a while.

silverpebble said...

I can confirm that it smells ace compared to the toxic Cif I STILL use. I am ashamed of my chemicals. I have washed a squirty bottle out and WILL make this.

Thrifty Household said...

Vinegar is great isn't it? I did a big de-scale yesterday with it- kettle & toilet pans. I also wrapped vinegar soaked kitchen roll around the taps & plugholes... My kind of cleaning, leave it for a few hours, return & rinse! Tea Tree, unfortunately makes me think of headlice removal...I occasionally use it in cleaning fluid but I'll always mix it with other, nicer smelling oils like Lemon or Lavender... Funny how we associate smells isn't it?

Toffeeapple said...

I am a great believer in using natural things for cleaning. Vinegar (cider, not malt) is my favourite but I like the sound of your solution and will make that up later. What does everyone use to clean windows and mirrors?

Thrifty Household said...

I do my windows & mirrors with a solution of half water & half vinegar (white vinegar which I buy in 5 litre bottles at the chinese supermarket for about £3) I do get very easily bored with cleaning glass so there always needs to be something very, very interesting on the radio to help me stick at it... Someone suggested to me that when cleaning windows you wipe vertically on one side & horizontally on the other so that you can see which side the smears are. (I don't put this into practice often as Mr TH is a champion cleaner of windows in comparison to me!)

Calico Kate said...

This is a great idea as I too don't like chemicals, usually buy Ecover or supermarkets own brand of 'green' stuff. But I'd rather use this. How long does it last in the bottle?
Thanks for dropping in to say hello.
CKx

Thrifty Household said...

How long does it last in the bottle?- depends how much cleaning I do... (not too sure really, I tend to remake every few months or so)

mise said...

That sounds ever so easy and inexpensive. I'll be giving it a go, and thinking kind thoughts of you as I waft about the clean lavender-scented house.

harmony and rosie said...

I use natural cleaning products too and have made them myself in the past. Sadly I've returned to being lazy recently and been using Ecover or a wonderful one in a pretty bottle at vast expense. But there's no excuse, and I do believe you've inspired me to do it for myself again, especially since I'm having an economy drive at the moment. By the way, I went through a long phase of trying to locate Borax and eventually found it in a hardware shop in Dorset where I spend a fair bit of my time. I'll be there in October if you want me to post some on?!

And welcome to blogland.

Kate

Cheryl said...

Thrifty is good. Household cuteness is even better! Found you through silverpebble whom I found through poshyarns. A meandering way to find such household loveliness!

a simple yarn
www.asimpleyarn.com

susanbergersblog said...

What a lovely idea especially controlling the scent. Most household cleaners smell rather faux and unpleasant in my view.

I too am relatively new to blogging but find it very enjoyable. Welcome.

Pomona said...

I read somewhere that borax is potentially carcinogenic, which is maybe why you can't buy it any more. It is definitely not good to inhale the powder, and so I just stick to vinegar and bicarb, which I think cleans better than some of the Ecover ones!

Pomona x

Annie said...

I've been using Ecover stuff for years but having read this feel really guilty that I've not been mixing my own ... thanks for the recipe :)

Belinda [simple things] said...

Nice one. I am going to give this recipe a try. My health is so much better since I stopped using chemical cleaners - but the key is making ones that work!

I reckon things seem much cleaner when there is lemon and/or tea tree oils involved. Why is that? Is it just the aroma of cleanliness or is it really cleaner? Hmmm.....

French Knots said...

Thanks for the recipe, I've noted it down and am going to make some up. I'm a shamefully lazy cleaner so if it smells lovely it might encourage me to do a bit of cleaning!

Stitchybritt said...

You and I are on a wavelength at the moment! On Sunday I made laundry liquid using this recipe http://whynotsew.blogspot.com/2010/08/how-to-make-homemade-laundry-detergent.html (I also added a few drops of eucalyptus oil to give it a nice smell). I've heard mixed reports about one of the ingredients (Borax) and whether it is 'natural', but the recipe sure is thrifty - $6 for 576 loads of washing!

quinn said...

Hello - visiting for first time, via SilverPebble :)
Like you, I make my own cleaning liquid, and find it very effective and SO much more pleasant to use. My personal preference is for grapefruit or other citrus instead of lavender - very fresh-smelling, and summery even in winter. No trouble finding borax here; "20 Mule Team" brand, and I still remember the tv ads from maybe 40 years ago!

The Coffee Lady said...

You can't get borax? When did that happen? My failsafe has always been 2 tbsp white vinegar, 2 tsps borax, 2 cups of water and a drop of lavender. I bought a big bag of borax a while back - I'm worried now for when it runs out...

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