Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Green Cleaning Part 3~ Drop Your Pants Here (Or: Freshening Up The Laundry and The Air)

Ah laundry...  It kinda never ends, does it?  I don't think there is ever a moment in our house when the laundry room (or hampers, or bathroom floors) are completely vacant of laundry.  In fact, I'm blogging about laundry right now to avoid actually doing laundry!  How's that for irony?

Here's a small portion of what awaits me... In all it's glory!
It is currently Spring Break in my neck of the woods and nothing would give me more pleasure than getting "caught up" with the laundry.  Now you and I both know that "caught up" really means emptying every laundry basket in the house only to find it reappear, like manna, from the sky.  But at least, lets lessen the load! =)

All that being said, in this third part of the  Green Cleaning series, I wanted to give you a few recipes for making your own laundry detergents as well as some natural pthalate free air fresheners (for those days when, perhaps, you aren't able to keep up with the laundry)!

There are probably a bazillion different recipes to be found on Pinterest, but I will share with you the ones I have enjoyed using:

Again, realllly wish you could smell this! Mmmmmm...

8 cups of baking soda
6 cups of 20 Mule Team Borax
4 cups of grated castile soap (You know how much I love Dr. Bronner's!  I highly recommend using lavender and/or lemongrass... You can mix and match since it will probably take 2-3 bars of soap)
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Essential Oil (Lemon, Lavender, Tea Tree Oil are all great for laundry purposes)
Combine all dry ingredients and place in labeled jars.  You only need a small scoop, about 1/8 of a cup, per load.
This recipe is so economical and lasts approximately 6 months for my family of four.


Just "scoop and plop"!

This is a recipe I got from Vintage Remedies that I have also enjoyed using.  It is not, however, a detergent you can put in a dispenser.  It would need to go directly into the washing machine.
1/2 cup of liquid castile soap (again, lavender, lemony or even rosemary scents are what I like for this purpose.)
3 1/2 cups of baking soda
1/2 cup washing soda* (found in the laundry aisle of most stores.  I get mine at Fred Meyer's)
2 cups of warm distilled water
30 drops of lemon oil
20 drops of lavender oil
Store in air tight glass container and use 2-3 Tablespoons per load
Smells good, huh?
*If you have hard water, you may want to use Borax in place of the washing soda.

Stain Removal:
2 Tablespoons cream of Tarter
4 drops of peppermint oil
1 teaspoon of water
Store in air tight container

Combine and rub onto stain.  Use normal stain removal process.

Ahhhh... Nothing like fresh laundry!

Mission Accomplished!

Not into making your own detergent?  Here are some great places to get some:
Black Kettle Soap Company (She carries detergent, stain sticks, wool dryer balls...I have used her products and loved every one of them!)
UrthTones (Puts great care and quality into her work)
And I myself, at Phytotherapy, make Cutie Patootie~Baby Laundry Soap (Coming to my shop soon.)
Other great commercial brands include:
Seventh GenerationMethodMrs. Meyers, and Ecover

Now to freshen the air... You may have seen a previous post on this topic, but I'ma gonna give you this super easy recipe that you can taylor to your own preference:

In a spray bottle you will want to combine
1 cup of water,
1/2 cup of vodka,
25-35 drops of your favorite essential oils.
Great combos for spring might be lavender/lime, sweet orange/clove, sweet orange/ylang ylang, lemongrass/sage
Whatever floats your boat!  Just remember to Label everything!!

So, now your house is clean, your laundry done, and your home smells incredible! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some laundry to do! =)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Green Cleaning Part 2~ Living Spaces and Bedrooms

I don't know about you, but due to the nature (figuratively and literally) of where I live, the long winter creates a lot of mud and wet which then gets tracked into the house...  And I do not come from the land of hardwood floors.  Alas, I come from carpet and vinyl.  So here's the scoop:

The first thing I did was go out and buy a "Welcome" mat.  You know the kind.  The one with bristles so course you could probably file your way out of jail with it.

Got my heavy duty mat at Target for about $13 

If you are feeling especially ornery, you could get one like the one at my back door... I should have swept it off before showing it to you... My bad.

This is the first step in the combat against tracking stuff in the house.  The bristles on these heavy duty mats remove a lot of what's on your shoes.  Anything "wimpier" than this won't get the job done.

Now, normal people might say "Now, lets take our shoes off!"  Sorry, toots.  My family (try as I might) cannot seem to adhere to this rule.  Don't know why, they just don't.  So the next step, should anything get tracked on the carpet is to bust out with the carpet stain remover:
What you'll need~
1/2 cup vegetable soap (again, I love Dr. Bronner's Peppermint)
1 1/2 T glycerin
1/2 cup of water

1 1/2 teaspoons of citrus essential oil to cut the grease (lemon and orange work great)  
Whip it.  Whip it real good.  Either in your blender or with a mixer until you get a good stiff foam.  Rub the foam into your stains and wipe with a damp cloth (like the t-shirt cloths mentioned in part 1).  

If it's a pet or child stain, you'll want to sprinkle baking soda (see recipe below for even better results) over the area first to soak up the "stank", if you will, vacuum that up and then proceed with the above recipe.

Carpet Freshener~
I love this because you can experiment and change it to fit whatever mood you are in.  So easy.  Ready?
1 cup of baking soda
25-30 drops of your favorite essential oil

Combine, sprinkle on carpet and leave for about 15 minutes.  Vacuum it up and voila!  
Great combos you could try but are certainly not limited to:
Rosemary n Mint
Lemongrass n Sage
Lavender n Sweet Orange
Sweet Orange n Clove
Peppermint n Eucalyptus
Spearmint n Lemon
Sweet Orange n Ylang Ylang
Somebody stop me!

In a spray bottle, combine the following:
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1/3 cup of vinegar
2 cups of water
25 drops of citrus essential oil (lemon is best)
Shake well before using

Knobs n Switches~
I am not about to tell you to run around the house with a bunch of disinfecting wipes to eradicate every form of bacteria in the house.  However, it would be perfectly logical to watch the germs!  This is a quickie little spray I make and use for door knobs, light switches, remotes, etc...  Particularly if someone in the house is sick.  
In a tiny travel sized spray bottle combine vinegar (about 1 cup) and 15-20 drops of lavender
That's it!  Shake it up and use it.
Lavender has amazing antimicrobial, antifungal, and disinfecting properties, all without compromising the integrity of our health.  Not to mention relaxing effects to boot!
Remember, this is not a hospital.  We are not trying to rid the building of Staph infection... It's our home, and we are simply not interested in colds and flus.

So, we've hit kitchen, bathroom and living areas...  Smells good right?  Just wait for part 3!  Good stuff to come!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Green Cleaning Part 1~ Kitchens and Bathrooms

Oh man... This past month went nothing like I had planned.  And therefore I am looooong overdue for a blog.  So overdue, in fact, that before I got around to blogging part 2 and 3 of the Winter Wellness series, March showed up... You know, the month Spring happens in?  That being said, I've decided to bag the last series in exchange for a series on~ You guessed it~ SPRING CLEANING!
(If you are absolutely heart broken about missing out on the last 2 parts of the Winter Wellness Series, please leave a comment!  I certainly don't want to let anyone down!)
Whether spring cleaning leaves you with feelings of great fear and over active sweat glands, or causes you to be giddy with glee, there is certainly something to be said about the feeling you have when it's all done!

My favorite thing about cleaning the house with natural cleaners is the smell!  I love that I can choose whatever scent I want to use when making my cleaners and that breathing them in won't kill off my brain cells or cause some sort of asthma attack...  No chemicals, just clean house!

Scrubbin' Stuff~ Sinks and Tubs
This is one of my all time favorites...  This is a scrub for sinks and tubs and the like and it smell so good!

To start you will need to have these things on hand: 

baking soda, vegetable soap (I used Dr. Bronner's Peppermint), vinegar, water and essential oil of your choice.  (I used essential oil of sweet orange.)

1 cup of baking soda

1/4 cup of vegetable soap

1 Tablespoon each of vinegar and water
20 drops of favorite essential oil

Stir it up!

I wish this was smell-o-vision right now.  You are totally missing out!  This smells soooooo goooood!

Put it in a container with a lid and make sure, make sure, make sure that you ALWAYS label your stuff!
 Scoop a bit into sink or tub and scrub in a circular motion with your favorite scrub brush.  Rinse with water.  Step back and enjoy the sparkle and shine while you breathe in a bit of aromatherapy!  

All Purpose~
For a great all purpose spray, combine the following ingredients into a clean spray bottle:
1 Tablespoon of Borax
1/4 cup of vinegar
1/4 cup hot water
a dash of dish soap
Can add  about 15 drops of essential oil... I recommend lavender, tea tree oil, and/or perhaps a citrus like lemon or sweet orange

Glass Cleaner~
1 Cup of Vinegar
1/2 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of vegetable soap
25-35 drops of peppermint essential oil
Spray this on, squeegie it off, and enjoy the view!

Go Paper Towel-less!~
Now, I've been cutting up old t-shirts into scraps and using them in place of paper towels for a while.  Guess what?  I don't even miss paper towels one bit!  I thought I might when I decided to give them up, but I don't.  However, I came across a better version of the "t-shirt paper towel" on Pinterest!  Check it out here.
Here's another great pin here and here.

(Also, if you would like to follow me on Pinterest, you can go here.)

And of course loud, fun music to keep the energy and momentum... Happy cleaning!