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[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 115 – Making Herbal Cleaners with Kids

As a mom who cares about the health of your child, you probably spend a lot of time making sure your home environment is as healthy as possible.

You choose foods with the best ingredients you can find, skincare products that don’t contain any harsh chemicals, and laundry products that don’t add harsh chemicals to your family’s clothing.

So, it’s only natural that you want all your cleaning products to be chemical-free as well.

Today I’m going to share a few of my favorite cleaning product recipes for you to try.

These recipes are easy to make and safe to use, making them a great project to create with kids.

Why Make Your Own Cleaning Products?

There are many reasons to make your own cleaning products. Price, effectiveness, and the ability to avoid harmful chemicals are my main reasons for doing it.

Years ago, when my children were small, it could be hard to find natural cleaning products. And today, even though they are available commercially, they often do still contain some questionable ingredients or are priced at a ridiculous rate.

Have you ever purchased an expensive natural cleaning product, excited to find something that didn’t contain a list of science lab ingredients only to take it home and discover that it doesn’t work?

That has happened to me more than once.

Luckily, it’s really easy to make your own natural cleaning products at home with just a few simple ingredients that can often be found at your local grocery store.

Today I’m going to share some of my favorite cleaning products that are easy to make, cost effective, and will help you sleep soundly at night knowing you’re not exposing your family to harmful chemicals.

These recipes and more can be found in my new book The Homesteader’s Guide to Growing Herbs, which was published on Tuesday.

What Kinds of Ingredients Do You Need to Make Your Own Products?

Most recipes contain basic ingredients such as water, borax, washing soda, vinegar, arrowroot powder, and baking soda, plus a few herbs to infuse. Essential oils are optional and can be added for their disinfectant properties or to scent the product.

Let’s take a look at some of the basic ingredients and what they do:

Arrowroot powder – Often added to glass cleaners to prevent streaking, arrowroot powder or corn starch are essential for getting a great streak-free cleaner.

Baking soda – Baking soda is absorbent, deodorizing, dissolves grease and dirt, and is mildly abrasive, making it a great option to absorb odors and spills, scour surfaces, and help to break down stains.

Borax – This powder is a strong deodorizer, great for using to kill mildew and mold odors, and when combined with water, chemically converts to hydrogen peroxide, which can be used to help whiten and brighten dingy surfaces and fabrics. It’s often found in natural laundry detergent recipes, surface cleaners, and rug fresheners.

Castile soap – Sometimes the addition of a saponifying, or sudsing, ingredient are necessary to clean. Castile soap is an all natural soap made from olive oil and is a great addition when a soap is required.

Vinegar – As an acid, vinegar is great for removing acidic based stains, countertop build-up (beware when using on natural stone as it can scratch it), soap scum, glue labels on jars, and hard water deposits. It’s generally found in all purpose cleaners and glass cleaner.

Washing soda – Chemically known as sodium carbonate, which is different than baking soda, washing soda is often used in laundry detergent to remove stains. Washing soda also helps to remove grease, coffee and tea stains, soap scum, and build-up on countertop surfaces.

Now that you’re familiar with many of the ingredients used to make natural products, how about some recipes?

All-purpose Kitchen and Bathroom Surface Cleaner

Yield: 16 ounces

This cleaner works great for cleaning countertops, refrigerators, and bathroom fixtures. Make up two bottles so you can store one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom.

2 cups boiling water

2 tablespoons dried lavender

2 tablespoons dried rose petals

1 tablespoon dried chamomile

1 teaspoon lavender liquid castile soap

1 teaspoon borax

½ teaspoon washing soda

  1. 1.Steep the herbs in the water for 15-20 minutes then strain.
  2. 2.Reheat the water so that it is hot enough to dissolve the washing soda and borax, stirring to combine.
  3. 3.Stir in the liquid castile soap.
  4. 4.Pour the mixture into a 16 oz. glass bottle with a spray top lid.
  5. 5.Tighten the lid on the bottle and label with the name of the formula and the usage information.

To use: Spray on the surface you are cleaning then wipe off with a sponge or cloth.

Variations: My favorite castile soap is Dr. Bronner’s. If you use this soap, you can choose from a variety of scents including lavender, rose, and peppermint to add an extra scent to your cleaner.

Store in a cool location.

Furniture Polish

Yield: 8 ounces

If you’re like me, you have a weakness for beautiful wooden furniture. This natural polish helps to keep wooden furniture looking beautiful.

½ cup basil infused olive oil

¼ cup lemon peel infused white vinegar

¼ cup lemon juice

  1. 1.Combine the ingredients into a 1 cup glass measuring cup and stir to combine.
  2. 2.Pour the mixture into an 8 oz. glass bottle with a spray top lid.
  3. 3.Tighten the lid on the bottle and label with the name of the formula and the usage information.

To use: Spray onto your furniture and wipe off with a soft cloth.

Variations: If you have dark wood furniture, substitute the basil infused oil with walnut hull infused oil.

Store in the refrigerator and use within 6 months.

Glass Cleaner

Yield: 16 ounces

Keep your windows and mirrors sparkling with this natural glass cleaner!

¼ cup basil tincture

¼ cup lavender infused white vinegar

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

1 ½ cups hot water

  1. 1.Combine the ingredients into a 4 cup glass measuring cup and stir to combine.
  2. 2.Pour the mixture into a 16 oz. glass bottle with a spray top lid.
  3. 3.Tighten the lid on the bottle and label with the name of the formula and the usage information.

To use: Spray onto a glass surface and use a cheesecloth to wipe dry. To reduce streaking, use a sheet of newspaper for a final wipe.

Variations: Try different tinctures in this recipe such as rose, peppermint, or sage.

Store in a cool location.

Rug Freshener

Yield: 2 ½ cups

This rug freshener helps to eliminate odors and also helps to keep them free of fleas. Use caution when mixing the diatomaceous earth and do not breathe it in as it can be harsh on the lungs.

1 cup borax

1 cup baking soda

½ cup diatomaceous earth

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon dried lavender

1 teaspoon dried thyme

  1. 1.Combine the powders together and stir until well mixed.
  2. 2.Pour into a jar with a shaker top (an empty cheese bottle or a mason jar with holes punched into the lid both work well) that is labeled with the ingredients and instructions for use.

To use: Sprinkle powder heavily over your carpet or rug and let sit for 10 minutes. Vacuum thoroughly.

Variations: Switch up the dried herbs with any herb scents you prefer. This recipe can be made in larger quantities if you have many rugs and carpets to vacuum.

Store in a cool, dry location.

How to Get More Household Recipes

Like these recipes? They are from my new book, The Homesteader’s Guide to Growing Herbs, which is available now on Amazon*!

I’ve included several more household cleaning recipes, as well as a myriad of other recipes for around the home and homestead.

Do you make your own household cleaners? What are your favorite cleaners to make?

 

 

*This is my Amazon affiliate link. If you purchase through this link, I receive a small percentage at no extra cost for you.


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