Homemade Cleaners (Ulysses Press, 2014), by Mandy O’Brien and Dionna Ford offers a safer solution to commercial cleaners with toxic chemicals with tips, tricks and formulas to make your home sparkling and germ-free. Using ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and even vodka, O’Brien and Ford tackle everything from countertop cleaners to air-purifying plants, enabling you to avoid using products that can cause skin irritation, asthma and other harmful side effects. The following excerpt from the chapter “Simple Cleaning” gives you instructions for making homemade cleaning wipes.
Purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Homemade Cleaners.
What Is Clean?
Cleanliness refers to hygiene, a societal concern of long standing. Humans are not the only ones to be concerned about hygiene; many species exhibit activities whose sole purpose is to aid in the health of the individual and community. We haven’t always understood hygiene, though, and throughout human history, we have struggled with the concept of and practices associated with keeping clean. The lack of sanitation in many early civilizations led to serious health concerns.
Thankfully, our knowledge of sanitation and hygiene has grown, and we now know what is needed to keep ourselves and our families healthy. As one author points out, “improvements in hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection are major contributors to the increase in life expectancy in developed countries in the twentieth century.”
So can you really get your home clean with just soap and water? You can clean almost everything in your house with soap and water, which is just about all anyone ever used until the twentieth century, when detergents were invented. You don’t need super-powered cleaners to wash away normal dirt and grime. Soap and water will wash away many of the bacteria that find their way into our homes. When you do need a little extra bacteria-killing power, there are easy, natural ways to get it that will keep you healthy.
Test an inconspicuous area of any surface you are cleaning when using a new recipe (especially on carpet or wood). But in general, the simple base recipes will be the ones you reach for time and again when you are cleaning your house.
Homemade Cleaning Wipes
Ready-to-grab cleaning wipes can make cleaning easy, but you don’t need to reach for wipes with toxic chemicals. Make your own cleaning wipes at home.
• 1 cup water
• 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
• 2 tablespoons castile soap
• 20 drops of any of the following essential oils (mix and match!): thyme, tea tree, lemon, lavender, or rosemary
1. Mix together and put in airtight container (a canning jar works well) with cotton wipes.
2. Store in a cool, dark area. Shake well before using.
Safely keep your house clean and sanitary: Read Make Your Own Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner and Instructions for a Homemade Toilet Cleaner to keep your toilet clean and Liven Up Your Laundry with Homemade Dryer Sheets to make dryer sheets.
Reprinted with permission from Homemade Cleaners: Quick-and-Easy, Toxic-Free Recipes to Replace Your Kitchen Cleaner, Bathroom Disinfectant, Laundry Detergent, Bleach, Bug Killer, Air Freshener and More … by Mandy O’Brien and Dionna Ford, and published by Ulysses Press, 2014. Buy this book from our store: Homemade Cleaners.