Zero Waste Cleaning Supplies + Recipes
The sun finally came out over the weekend, and it made all of us so happy! I have lots to share with you this upcoming Friday in a new Homestead Update, but for now I will tell you that we have made our sunporch into a temporary greenhouse. We enclosed the entire thing with plastic, which will eventually become glass windows much like at the Little Homestead, and house our indoor plants. On Sunday we were able to get the inside well over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and it felt like summer had arrived! I was left feeling inspired and rejuvenated. It's amazing how much the weather can affect not only your mood but your entire thought process. Nothing I was doing felt right or good, like I was constantly just putting myself down. The visit from the sun this week is already pushing those negative thoughts away. It's also making me want to get started spring cleaning! I suppose now is a good time to start thinking about that since I will be spending many of those precious cleaning hours outdoors... I cannot believe how soon that will be!
Since becoming a waste free household, we've had to rethink a lot of the products and tools that we use to clean with. While we do still bring plastic into our home (as cool as I think it would be to create a 100% plastic free home, we are far from there!), I am trying to be better about using cleaning tools that are natural and compostable like wood brushes with hair bristles. Plus they are really beautiful! I want to share with you some of my favorite waste free cleaning tools along with a few simple recipes that you can make with a handful of natural ingredients and/or essential oils!
Waste Free Cleaning Supplies
Do cleaning supplies matter? It's something that I constantly ask myself, not because of the fact that a plastic tool is cheaper to purchase, but because there are a lot of trends going about the internet with these wooden brushes. As much as I love them for their aesthetic appeal, it can be easy to get sucked into the consumerism of all of these pretty products. In the long run, even with the trendiness, they really do matter. While a plastic broom or dish brush is much cheaper and more easily purchased at the general store, they'll never break down once their use has run out. A wood brush made with natural bristles, either from animal hair or plant fibers, can be composted. The wood and fiber will break down and become one with the earth again. For that, I am happy to use them!
- Brushes and Brooms. Now that we have wood floors again, we use a broom and hand brush quite often! Cleaning in the floor is one of my favorite things to do, which sounds silly, but I think it's because I am so grateful for those hardwoods! I use brushes every single day. Dish brushes (I love a handled round brush, pot brush, and bottle brush). If you like my broom, I bought this one, and use our broom and dustpan quite often. It's so nice and was worth every penny! You may also like using a vegetable brush if you are a gardener or having a boot brush for muddy days. We have been having quite a few of those lately!
- Towels. I have been trying to be better about using less paper towels. It's such a difficult habit for me to break! We do use our own flour sack towels for just about everything around the house such as dish washing, window cleaning, floor cleaning, and everywhere in between. They are incredibly absorbent and last a really long time - I don't say that because I sell them, I do actually love them! We also use hand knit dish cloths more often than store bought ones. For whatever they just clean better, you know? Maybe it's the sentiment. If you knit or know someone who does, have them knit you up some dish cloths. They literally take a day to make!
- Amber Spray Bottles. You'll need these to store your cleaner recipes if they contain and oils. The amber glass helps to diffuse the sun and keep the oils from losing their potency.
- Essential Oils. You don't have to use essentials oils to clean, but they can help and have added health benefits. Try using lemon, wild orange, melaleuca, grapefruit, peppermint, eucalyptus, or On Guard).
- Beeswax. I love using beeswax around the house! It makes a great ingredient for wood butter and purifying candles. Did you know that beeswax actually cleans the air in your home? Pretty amazing!
- Distilled White Vinegar. We really don't use much of anything else to clean with! Distilled white vinegar can clean windows, floors, and bathrooms, remove stains, remove odor from garbage cans and pet accidents in the carpet, and kill bacteria. It makes the perfect magic solution. It can be a bit too harsh for some surfaces - if you want to play it safe, you can use apple cider vinegar instead! Just make sure you use the raw variety with the "mother" in it.
- Baking Soda. This little basic salt (see what I did there?) is perfect for absorbing odors in the refrigerator or litter box, cleaning your clothes, react with vinegar in your shower or bathtub to make a good scrub, and can even be a great way to wash off dirt coated veggies!
- Castile Soap. Combine this with essential oils to clean your kitchen sink and dishes, wash your laundry, remove grease spots from walls, mop the floor, shampoo your carpets, and scrub the toilet!
- Coconut Oil. Have a squeaky door hinge? Grab the coconut oil! I use this all of the time to butter up our wood tools, spoons, and and countertops. It's great for removing crayon marks on the walls and scuff marks from the floor. This is a nifty little tool for hiding hardwood scratches, too, which happens pretty often in our house!
- Clean and Care For Your Cast Iron Skillet. You can easily do this with some coconut/olive oil and sea salt! Learn how to through our tutorial here on the blog.
- Care For Your Wooden Tools. Want to extend the life of your favorite wooden spoons, spatulas, brushes, furniture, and butcher blocks? Try making some wood butter, which can be used on any wood surface in the house. It's incredibly easy and takes less than 10 minutes to throw together.
- Wash your countertops, sink, oven, or anywhere! We love using this all purpose cleaner all around the house. The secret? It's just white vinegar and lemon essential oil! I use it to disinfect my butcher block.
- Wash your dishes. I need to share this recipe in a blog post on its own, but you can easily make your own liquid dish soap at home! Mix together 1.5 cups hot water, 1/2 cup liquid Castile soap, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 tablespoon washing soda, and 5-10 drops lemon essential oil. Why do you need to make a recipe for Castile soap? It can leave steaks on dishes all by itself!
- Scrub that soap scum away! Mix together Castile soap and baking soda to make a thick paste. Take that to your shower, tub, or sink and get to scrubbing. Want to pack even more disinfecting power? Pour some vinegar over the solution and watch it foam!
- Remove grout stains. If you like to have pearly white grout, try using baking soda and spray with hydrogen peroxide and scrub with a toothbrush.
- Make your own Comet! I love giving the bathtub a really good scrub, and we used Comet for years growing up. Probably not the best choice! You can make your own by combing baking soda, sea salt, washing soda, and essential oils (for scent). If you wet the tub first with water or vinegar, it can help get the powder to stick to the tub. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, scrub, and wash away.
- Wash the toilet. This is pretty easy to do! Just sprinkle baking soda around the bowl and pour a cup of vinegar into the water. With a toilet brush, scrub the inside of the bowl. You can use our all purpose spray cleaner for the seat and underneath where most urine lingers.
- Clean the floors. If you have wood floors, you can combine Castile soap, warm water, and essential oils to make a quick floor cleaner.
- Purify your linens. One of my favorite ways to keep our sheets fresh between washes is to give them a quick spritz with our linen spray. I use doTerra's On Guard oil in it to purify and kill off any bugs. It's really easy to make!
- Keep the air fresh, clean, and safe. Did you know that paraffin contains over 7 different documented toxins, two of which are carcinogenic? Try making a purifying candle instead with beeswax or you can make your own essential oils scented soy candles!
- Keep your clothes clean. You can make your own powdered laundry detergent right at home, and it only takes four ingredients! How amazing is that? If you'd rather use liquid, simply mix together 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup Castile soap, essential oil, and 4 quarts of distilled warm water. If you forgot to put your washed clothes in the dryer overnight (happens to the best of us!) drop around 5-10 drops of lemon essential oil on the clothes and put through a rinse cycle. They'll smell wonderful!
- Dry with the environment in mind. Want to save some money and the planet? Learn all about hang drying! It is so fun, easy, and has even been scientifically proven to cure depression. Isn't that amazing? I love having a line outside to dry and a drying rack indoors on rainy days. Not a fan of hang drying? Definitely look into using wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets! They are sustainable, remove wrinkles, and dry your clothes much faster. If you love the scent of dryer sheets, try dropping some essential oil onto your wool dryer balls.
There you have it! All clean. Do you have a favorite natural home cleaning recipe? I would love to hear some of the tricks that you try!