Why home made cleaners? I don't like dubious chemicals in my house, I do like to keep things simple and easy, and I don't like spending lots of money on fancy, overpriced, smelly, overpackaged cleaners when something simple, home made and cheap will do the job just as well.
I will continue to add new cleaners here as I begin to use them - my plan is that as I run out of current product, I will experiment to find the most useful home made version.
So far, the ingredients that I have used to make my basic cleaners are:
Castile Soap (a liquid soap made from olive oil)
Bicarbonate of Soda, or Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate, an alkaline salt)
Citric Acid (an edible, weak acid which binds to metals, making it excellent for removing limescale and rust, and softening water)
Washing soda (sodium carbonate - a weak plant-based alkali. Also good for descaling, water softening, removing grease, oil and wine stains)
Cream of Tartar (potassium bitartrate - a byproduct of winemaking. A thickener, which can also be mixed with an acid such as lemon juice to make a good tile and porcelain cleaner. Excellent for removing tea stains from the tea cups!)
Oil of Cloves (true essential oil. Excellent for killing mould)
Eucalyptus Oil (antibacterial and antiseptic)
OK, so I am not a chemist, but I research as much as I can. If there are any chemists out there who have something to add, or who would like to shoot any of my conclusions down in flames, or especially if you find any dodgy ingredients in any of the cleaners I use, please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you:)
Bathroom Paste Cleanser
Bathroom Cleaning Paste
1 cup bicarb soda or baking soda
1Tbsp cream of tartar
10 mls (2 tsp) liquid castile soap
40-50 mls water
10 drops clove oil.
In a bowl, mix the baking soda with the cream of tartar. In a jug mix the soap and water. Pour the liquid into the powders. Mix with a fork and add clove oil.
Note: I store this in old salsa jars, but I leave the lid off for 24hrs because the mixture fizzes and rises before it settles into a nice paste. Since I have started using this in the bathroom, I have had no new mould infestations - the clove oil is brilliant (and it smells so clean). I often leave this paste on the bathroom tile grout for 15 minutes to half an hour to maximise the super whitening powers of the bicarb soda.
Updated to add: Sarah from Everyday Life on a Shoestring successfully used this recipe as a pre-wash stain remover for the dreaded ring-around-the-collar on her family's shirts. So clever!
Pump Dispenser Soap
This is a great hypoallergenic, very cheap soap for bathroom sinks and the shower. Fill your pump-soap dispenser (I use an old face wash container) with a fifth castile soap, then top up with water. Done. If you don't have any super sensitive skin in the house, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil.
I keep a shaker of bicarb soda (baking soda) under the kitchen sink to shake onto a burnt saucepan. Always use cold water for scrubbing with bicarb soda, as a hot water solution will corrode the steel.
But before the burnt saucepan even gets to the sink, try this. Reheat the saucepan on the stove, then when it is good and hot, pour a glass of cold water onto the burnt surface. Be very careful as this will create lots of steam which can scald you. Use a non-metal scraper to scrape the burnt bits off. I use a wooden spatula. Anything that is left should be easily removed with the bicarb soda and a scourer.
1/4 cup of citric acid
1/2 cup hot water
2tsp eucalyptus oil
500ml eco dishwashing detergent
Dissolve the citric acid in the hot water in a measuring jug. Add the eucalyptus oil and the dishwashing detergent (to give it that nice gloopy consistency). Do not use castile soap with this, as the citric acid will cause the soap to separate and go lumpy.