Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

Even as a child, I have always had this strong pull to save the earth. As I grew up and learned more and more about the lifestyle I wanted to live and teach my children; the green movement came out like a bang. Now it’s all about lessening your footprint, global warming is no joke. The Poles are melting faster than ever, as our ocean levels grow; our freshwater supply is shrinking.

I decided the only way to help was to go green; all natural, chemical free. Call it what you will, I wanted to do my part to keep my family healthy and help mother earth as much as possible.

We started by using store bought green cleaning supplies, the cheap ones are still full of junk and the actual chemical-free, all-natural kind are super costly. I needed to cut my budget and still stay true to cleaning as “green” as possible. I started to researched how to make my own cleaning supplies, first was all purpose cleaner, than laundry soap, body products and so on. I will not lie; I do not use only 100% homemade cleaning supplies, YET! I cannot seem to prefect dishwasher tablets/detergent, and with a family of 6 the dishwasher is a lifesaver. (Maybe I should start making the kids hand wash dishes, ha!) I figured I would share my first and most important recipe to me with you.

All purpose cleaner. We call it Green Cleaner because the first batch I added food color to make it green. But food coloring is also not good for you, so I decided to stop coloring it. I based my recipe off of this article Homemade Cleaning Products: All-Purpose Cleaner, this recipe was to make a small amount at a time, I don’t know about you but I don’t have time to make cleaner every few days. I wanted to make at least a month’s worth at a time, so I had to reconfigure the amounts, I played around with them a few times, using my knowledge of essential oils and the other ingredients. I finally started to notice we were getting sick less and less. My body felt better overall, I didn’t have to scrub as hard to clean stains off the counters, stove or tub or worry that my son sprayed his sisters in the face. I got it, I thought!Untitled

Not only did it do what I wanted it to, the gallon juice jug I reused to make it in, was lasting us 4-6 months to get through. Not only was it lasting longer than store bought cleaners, it also cost me less than $2.00 to make. I call that a win-win! Wouldn’t you?

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All Purpose Cleaner Concentrate

  • ¼ cup washing soda

  • ¼ cup baking soda

  • ½ cup borax

  • Appox. 64 oz hot water

  • 1 cup liquid castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s magic soap)

  • 24-36 oz white vinegar

  • 50-60 drops of lavender Essential oil

  • 30-40 drops of tea tree Essential oil

  • 50- 60 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil

  • 50-60 drops of lemon Essential oil

Make sure you add the vinegar to dry products before you add anything else. Shake well, once the reaction stops foaming add half the water, then add the castile soap. Shake well. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with hot water. Now add the oils. Shake well.

Makes a gallon.

SHAKE WELL BEFORE EACH USE.

To fill a spray bottle with all purpose cleaner add half water half cleaner. Shake well.

The all purpose cleaner can be use in mop bucket for floors, just add a few ounces of cleaner then fill the bucket up.

Hints:

  • When using in a spray bottle add water before cleaner. The cleaner foams up less.

  • Essential oils are optional, but are not used only for their scent they have lots of properties to keep bacteria and other “germs” away. I wouldn’t use the cleaner without them.

  • Sometimes adding half the water before vinegar helps with foaming but can cause dry ingredients to clump.

  • Try to find reused or recycled bottles to help keep your cost down.

Do you have any homemade cleaner success stories?

I Hacked Burt’s Bees Hand Salve…

Please read this disclaimer.

My husband loves Burt’s Bees Hand Salve. Living in El Paso he has always used some sort of hand salve or lotion after washing his hands and showering. We have been dabbling with all natural cleaners and body products for about 5 years now. I make whipped body butters, but he doesn’t really like them. When I finally said no more “poo” lotions he started using Burt’s Bees Hand Salve. It was the easiest to find, since you can find it everywhere, and it is a texture he likes a lot. Burt’s Bees is kind of expensive though, running about $7 for a 3oz tin.

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Since his tour in Afghanistan he developed a red itchy skin issue on his arm, we think it is Eczema or Psoriasis. The “rash” only flares up every few weeks and slowly goes away. The hand salve keeps the rash from cracking and itching.

This weekend he ran out, just as his rash was reappearing. So, I suggested that we try to make him some. I already had most of what I imagined to be in a hand salve without reading the label or checking out Pintrest for recipes. Plus that would be much more cost effective. (We have this saying in our home “bet.ya.won’t”) So since he suggested I wouldn’t. I did.

As I looked up recipes on Pintrest I searched and searched but could only find ONE recipe for DIY Burt’s Bees hand salve. There were tons of DIY Chap Stick recipes but only one hand salve. I decided I would have to create my own, I researched which butters and essential oils are good for eczema and dry skin. I decided I would use all three of the butters I had on hand (Mango, Shea and Coco) since I used butters in my salve, the consistency is a bit stiffer than Burt’s bees salve, but is just as effective. My salve Cost me about $1.50 to $2.50 to make and this recipe filled two tins I had cleaned out to reuse, one was a 3oz Burt’s Bees tin and the other was a larger tin, my husband’s pipe tobacco came in. This means I saved more than $10 by making my own. Okay, let’s get to it.

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You will need containers to store your salve in, a double boiler and the following ingredients.

½ cup of Bees wax
1/8 cup Mango butter
1/8 cup  Coco butter
1/4 cup Shea butter
4 tbsp Coconut oil
30-40 drops of Jojoba oil
½ tbsp Sweet Almond oil
2 tbsp Grape Seed oil
60 drops of Tea Tree oil

Start your water boiling in the double boiler on a medium heat. Place the bees wax and butters in the top part of your boiler, allow them to melt down. Once they are liquid add coconut oil, stirring until melted into the mixture. Now you can add all the other oils. Once your mixture is all melted you can turn the heat off and pour the mixture into your containers to cool. It does not take very long for the mixture to start hardening. If the mixture hardens before you have time to fill the containers, just melt it down again.

You could add other essential oils for a different scented salve, if you would like. I would suggest the following because they are good for your skin, but any pure essential oils would work.

Lavender
Lemon
Rosemary
orange
Chamomile

Tips:

If you do not have a double boiler, you can use a rice cooker, slow cooker, or larger pot of water with smaller pot or metal bowl. (Just be careful to not burn the mixture)

If you do not have the butters you could substitute them for coconut oil. This will change the consistency of the salve.

The more oils you add the softer the consistency will be.

Try to find reusable or recycled containers to help keep your cost down.

My favorite websites to buy supplies at are: Bulk Apothecary and Essential Wholesale & Labs.

If you don’t want to make it  yourself check out JEM’s Eclectic Home on Etsy.

If you like this post Check out I Hacked Vicks VapoRub…

Please read this disclaimer.

Gardening: With Less Space

I love the idea of gardening; I grew up with flower beds and gardens all my life. My parents still garden. Since we joined the army we have moved around a lot and we rent, so there are not always spaces that we can dig up and plant a garden. We live in military housing right now; which means we cannot dig up the yard. There are rocks around our bit of grass so I wouldn’t want to dig too much anyway. So I have had to get pretty creative over the last 10 years. Containers and raised beds were my only option most of the time. I do not have tools to build raised garden beds and buying the pre-made raised beds and pots can be pretty costly, so I decided to use recycled containers and flower pots.IMAG2497

I took our old plastic kiddy pool and drilled a few holes in the bottom of it for drainage (well my husband did and he drilled more than a few). The base layer is of loose rock. Next I filled the pool with dirt and viola you’ve got yourself a small garden. Here are some other ideas.

There is an art to container gardening, though. These amounts of water, space and dirt are important.IMAG2508

Dirt:

You want to make sure you fill your pot up with dirt. This will give your plant the space its’ roots will need to grow deep and wide, which in turn makes your plants taller and stronger, so it can produce bigger fruits. Having enough dirt also helps provide the nurturance the plant needs to grow. I am not saying pack the dirt in and stomp it down, then your plants will have a hard time breaking through it, you just need to fill the pot to the rim.

Space:

I don’t mean space, as in you need a large area for planting. That is the great thing about container gardening. You can do it on your patio, or that super sunny area of your yard that seems to only grow weeds. When I say space I mean the amount of room your plant has to grow. I talked about this a little about this when filling up your pots with dirt. The deeper the soil the deeper the plant’s roots can grow. For plants that you want longer or larger produce from you might only have one or two plants per container. For tomatoes and peppers you’ll want very few plants in large pots. For carrots you want a container that is deep.

Save your small containers for flowers and herbs.

 This also means make sure the plants are compatible with each other. Tomatoes and cauliflower do not get along. This will make your cauliflower not produce, which is very saddening when they grow and grow without producing any cauliflower. Check out this  for compatibility of plants.IMAG1423

Watering:

 When container gardening you have to make sure they get watered enough and have adequate drainage. Too much water sitting at the bottom of your pots will produce fungi and molds. It also brings unwanted bugs. On the other hand containers soil will dry out faster. They are more exposed to the climate around it. It does not rain much here, which is why I have a reminder set on my phone to help remind me to water them every day at the same time. Experimenting with your area’s climate is important. If you have a more windy and dry area, water more. If you live in a more humid area you’ll want to water less.

This is what I have learned over the last few container gardening seasons. It is definitely a trial and era process. Do you have any gardening tips? What kind of containers will you try?

Happy Planting,

Jem

 

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