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Homemade Reusable Disinfecting Wipes – All Natural

Homemade, All-Natural Disinfecting Wipes Tutorial

Making your own reusable disinfecting wipes is so easy, you’ll probably be hitting yourself for not trying it sooner, especially with my no-sew tutorial! Not only are they all-natural, they are also super cheap to make and are green since you can resuse them, reducing trash not only from the wipes themselves, but the container and packaging they come in from the store.

Homemade, All-Natural Disinfecting Wipes Tutorial

I stopped buying disposable disinfecting wipes once I jumped on the green train and realized just how much paper I was throwing away. Then, I learned later on just how harmful they are to my health. Take this popular brand of disinfecting wipes – according to the Environmental Working Group, it gets a grade of D for asthma and respiratory problems. That doesn’t even compare to the toxicity in the wipes with bleach, like this one. It totally fails the toxicity test and gets a big fat F for moderate concern for cancer, high concern for developmental and reproductive toxicity, some concern for skin allergies and irritation, and high concern for asthma and respiratory problems. Sounds like a good thing to avoid to me!

However, I must say that I’ve really missed the convenience of disinfecting wipes as I used to use them all the time to clean up boy pee off the toilet, floor, baby potty…you get the idea! So, I had to make my own that are non-toxic and reusable, and I found a great solution!

So, let’s get started! You’ll need:

  • 2 cups white, distilled vinegar or citrus-infused vinegar (see my tutorial)
  • 30 to 50 drops of a disinfecting essential oil or a blend of oils such as: Tea Tree, Lavender, or Lemon. Or try a blended oil to make it easy – Thieves (Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Rosemary, Lemon, and Eucalyptus), or Purification (Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree (Melaleuca, Myrtle, Citronella, and Lavandin) (where to buy high quality essential oils)
  • Cloth rags cut to be as wide as an old baby wipes container
  • Empty baby wipes container

Upcycle Old T-Shirts to Use as Disinfecting Wipes

Upcycle Dingy Tees Into Rags

I had quite a few T-shirts that were covered in stains, so I used these as rags. This made my project almost free, and so totally green! Jersey cotton, like the material used to make T-shirts, is the best fabric to use as it is absorbant (fleece is not, for instance) and doesn’t unravel. So there’s no sewing involved! I cut them to be the width of my baby wipes container, which is 8 inches wide, and then made then 10 inches tall.

How to Make the Solution

Make The Wipe Solution

I like to use a brownie pan in which to make my wipes (I do it the same way to make my cloth baby wipes). Here’s how I did it:

  • Pour about 2 cups of white vinegar into the pan
  • Drop in the essential oils (tea tree is the most important one since it is a powerful natural bacteria-fighting machine)
  • Take each rag, one by one, and soak it in the solution.
  • Squeeze out the excess and fold it into the wipes container.

How to Fold In the Wipes

I was able to get the wipes to come out of the container just like the store-bought ones do by folding the top layer of the wipe only 3/4 of the way to the long side of the container. Then, take the next wipe and place it underneath that top layer of the previous wipe and continue folding it on top, then repeat. The top wipe pulls out the wipe beneath it if you follow this method, making these wipes even easier to use!

For more ideas on how to go paper-free, see my no-sew tutorials on ditching the paper towels, switching to cloth baby wipes, making your own cloth napkins, cloth diapering guide, and for the very brave, ditching toilet paper for cloth!

How to Purchase High Quality Essential Oils through My Merry Messy Life

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Homemade Deodorizing Spray – Non-Toxic and Green

Homemade Deodorizing Spray - Chemical-Free, Safe and Very Effective!

This is one deodorizing spray that smells divine – and it’s cheap and easy to make with no harsh or toxic chemicals. It’s safe for those with asthma and allergies, too! I’ve also included a free printable to tack onto your bottle so you never have to look up the recipe again.

Homemade Deodorizing Spray - Chemical-Free, Safe and Very Effective!

Ever thought about what’s in your fabric freshener and room deodorizing spray? Well, according to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) guide, one of the most popular brands on the market (Febreze) is highly toxic and gets a failing F grade. Yikes. Read the report here. Why is it so toxic? Quite a few of the ingredients are highly toxic to aquatic life (which will harm our lakes and streams if poured down the drain and get into the groundwater during the manufacturing process),  it contains endocrine disrupting compounds and irritates those with asthma and allergies. All that mess for a product that isn’t even essential – so ironic that the thing we spray into our air to supposedly improve our air quality is actually filling it with junk!

Just a Few Simple Ingredients

Thankfully, it’s super easy to make your own at home using just vinegar, vodka (optional), water and essential oils! You might be wondering why I chose to use vinegar, as most can agree it’s not terribly fun smelling. It’s actually the secret weapon in this spray as it does a great job at deodorizing and removing the smells. The vinegar smell dissipates very quickly and what’s left behind is the trail of essential oils you choose to put in it.

DIY Deodorizing Spray Essential OilsEssential Oils

If you’re a newb to essential oils, you may want to check out my Essential Oils 101 post to learn all about them. The thing I love about them is that they disinfect and deodorize, while at the same time improve our moods, concentration, and bring mental clarity. Febreeze will likely give you a headache and leave a toxic trail behind to cause confusion, sluggishness, and harm the lungs! Here are the ones I suggest because they really cut through bacteria and bad smells:

  • Purification (a blend of Lemongrass, Rosemary, Melaleuca, Myrtle, Citronella and Lavandin)
  • Lavender
  • Thieves
  • Lemon
  • Clary Sage
  • Peppermint

If you want a combo to smell nice and happy, then I suggest (use one of the following, or blend a single oil with a blended oil):

  • Stress Away (a blend of Copaiba, Lime, Cedarwood, Vanilla, Ocotea, Lavender)
  • Joy (a blend of Bergamot, Lemon, Palmarosa, Ylang Ylang, Rose, Geranium, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Coriander, Tangerine)
  • Valor (Spruce, Blue Tansy, Frankincense, Rosewood)
  • Vanilla
  • Orange
  • Cinnamon Bark

(Click here to buy high quality essential oils)

When was the last time your deodorizing spray read that not only is it 100% natural, safe and non-toxic, but can actually help with mental clarity, is an antidepressant and aphrodisiac and helps alleviate stress and mental fatigue?! Essential oils are powerful.

And, if this oil blend isn’t strong enough for you, simply add more than I suggest.

Download the free printable label here!

The Recipe

Yield: 4 ounces

  • Glass spray bottle (not plastic, it will get destroyed by the oils) (where to buy)
  • 2 tbsp. white distilled vinegar (where to buy)
  • 2 tbsp. vodka (helps the oils to be dispersed throughout the solution – shake before using if you don’t have vodka)
  • 30 drops of any of the suggested oils above (my favorite is a combo of 15 drops Purification and 15 drops Lavender)
  • Fill to the top with water or vodka

Mix all in the bottle. Shake before each use. Store in a cool, dry place like a cabinet.

How to Purchase High Quality Essential Oils through My Merry Messy Life

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Natural Laundry Fragrance and Softener

Natural Ideas for Laundry Detergent and Softener - No toxins!

A natural and green method to replace dryer sheets, fabric softener AND add some heavenly fragrance to your freshly washed clothes. And it’s so terribly easy!

Natural Ideas for Laundry Detergent and Softener - No toxins!

Once I made the switch from commercial laundry detergent to making my own green, natural detergent for a fraction of the cost, I have really missed the lovely fragrance that came with commercial detergents. There is something truly comforting when taking scented clothes out of the dryer – I think it makes us think they are more clean. Even though I add lavender essential oil (where to buy high quality essential oils) to my laundry detergent , the clothes currently come out devoid of scent, smelling more like a hot dryer drum. Not unpleasant, but I’d rather have a pleasant smell since I’m facing a huge load of clothes to fold and put away.

So, how do you add fragrance without the chemicals to keep it natural and green? I now employ an extremely easy and very effective way to add some fragrance – it’s 100% natural, non-toxic and oh so heavenly!

Fabric Softener

  • Wool Dryer Balls (Buy them on Amazon here or make them yourself with my tutorial)
  • AND/OR add white vinegar to the fabric softener compartment of your washing machine (don’t worry, your clothes won’t smell like vinegar once dry!)
  • I usually use both and find the combo is pretty effective.
  • Your favorite essential oils if you’d like a scent – my favs are Purification, Citrus Fresh, Lavender, Lemon and Thieves for laundry (where to buy high quality essential oils)


Natural Laundry Fragrance

  • You need wool dryer balls or 2 rags or wash cloths
  • A glass spray bottle (like this pretty glass one) and water
  • Your favorite essential oils – my favs are Purification, Citrus Fresh, Lavender, Lemon and Thieves for laundry (where to buy high quality essential oils)

Sprinkle the Oil Directly Out of the Bottle

I’ve done this two different ways. One, is to take the wool dryer balls or wash cloths and sprinkle the oil directly out of the bottle, like in the picture. The pros are that it’s really easy and leaves the strongest scent. Only con is that it uses more of the oil at a time, thus, more money.

Natural Laundry Scent using Diluted Lavender

Dilute the Oil and Spray It On

Another method, which makes the essential oil last longer but the scent isn’t as strong, is to dilute the oil in water and spray it on the dryer balls or wash cloths using a spray bottle. It’s also easy to do. I fill up the bottle with water about 3/4 full, then add the oil until it smells strong enough for me. I think this might be different for everyone, so I didn’t want to write a “recipe” for it.

I’m crazy about the lavender fragrance – while my clothes are drying, the whole house fills with the heavenly scent and is really calming and soothing. Then, I get to smell it all day long on mine and my kids’ clothes! Now I feel complete – I wash my clothes without chemicals and they come out smelling fresh and wonderful. It almost makes the laundry chore bearable, almost.

How to Purchase High Quality Essential Oils through My Merry Messy Life

 

See my other laundry posts!

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Homemade Drain Cleaner – Green and Non-Toxic

DIY Homemade Drain Cleaner

You can make your own drain cleaner using ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, with no worries about the toxic and even fatal chemicals found in drain cleaners. You just need vinegar, baking soda, and citrus fruit peels.

DIY Homemade Drain Cleaner

Drain cleaners are one of the most toxic chemicals there are, in fact, they are on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Hall of Shame because they  can cause blindness, burns, and be fatal if swallowed. I got rid of our drain cleaner about a year ago so the children could never get a hold of it – way too risky for me. I used to work in Internal Communications for a large company and a lady in our office nearly died after accidentally drinking Drano that a janitor had left at the soda machine. She mistook the janitor’s cup for her’s, and had such severe burns in her esophagus that it required many surgeries and several months in the hospital before she could even function normally. YIKES!

Garbage Disposal and Drain Cleaning – Baking Soda and Vinegar

A few weeks ago, I cooked a yummy dinner with fresh shrimp, and loaded up the garbage disposal with stinky shrimp shells. They did get all chopped up, but there was a nasty stank smell, like rotten shrimp, coming out of the pipes. Every morning we’d wake up and think there was a dead mouse somewhere, until we finally figured out it was probably the lovely shrimp shells stuck in the pipes. So, I tried the tip I learned about in the book, “Clean House, Clean Planet” for cleaning pipes – baking soda and vinegar. And as much of a believer as I am in the effectiveness of green, homemade alternatives, I was not expecting it to work – but it did!

I literally dumped about a handful of baking soda into the disposal, then poured in about as much vinegar. I didn’t measure either of them, but if you’re the type who needs a measurement, I’d do a cup of each. You’ll feel like you’re back at your third-grade science fair as it sizzles and bubbles up like a volcano, but it won’t harm anything. Then, I ran the disposal and washed it all down with hot water, and the stanky stank is gone!

Also Works With Front Loading Washers

This tried and true formula also works when the washer drum stinks sump-em (that’s Southern for something) awful and it looks like it’s trying to run away during the spin cycle. When I used to use bleach (have sworn that off forever now), I would run the cleaning cycle with bleach every month like the washer manual suggests, and I didn’t have any problems. Once I started using my own homemade laundry detergent, the stink got progressively worse, in part due to the fact that the door is supposed to be left open and the rubber drum wiped clean after every wash.

Then, I learned at Country Mama Cooks that HE washers get off-balance when the pipes get clogged up and it also causes the smell. The crooked wheels in my head started turning and it was then I realized there was no stink when I used to do the cleaning cycle with bleach every month. So, I decided to try my homemade drain cleaner in the washer instead – I dumped a cup of baking soda, a cup of vinegar, and a cup of hydrogen peroxide (read about all it’s magic here) straight onto the bottom of the drum and ran the cleaning cycle.

The smell was considerably less, especially after I also scrubbed the rubber seal around the perimeter of the drum where the door closes. Then, after another round, the smell was gone! Now I will use this method on a regular basis to keep the mildew at bay. I love using cheap things straight from the pantry to clean and get results!

Also Works for Clogged Pipes

I have used just baking soda, vinegar and boiling water to literally unclog pipes – it really works! We had a clogged sink in the bathroom and I poured in the baking soda, then some vinegar, watched the fizzing (which is really fun!) and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then, I poured a tea kettle of boiling water down the drain to rinse it all out and the clog was gone!

Garbage Disposal Cleaning – Dried or Pickled Citrus Peels

After writing about Citrus-Infused Vinegar for green cleaning, my mom and I have been using not just the pickled citrus peels (they sit in vinegar for a week to two weeks and really soften up) in the garbage disposal, but dried citrus peels as well. My mom found if left out, the peels dry in just a few days and become brittle, so they are then safe to put in the garbage disposal. Once you add the peels to the disposal, run it for a minute or so while running hot water down the drain and it will clear up stinkies as well!

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Tips for Green Carpet Cleaning and Maintenance

TIps for Green Carpet Cleaning and Maintenance

Keeping your carpet clean and fresh doesn’t have to be toxic – here are some green, natural and safe recipes and ways to keep your floors clean and allergen-free.TIps for Green Carpet Cleaning and MaintenanceIn our very first house we had mostly hardwoods, which I both loved and disliked. I loved it because cleaning up spills and potty training is WAY easier, but my feet were always cold and I longed for soft, squishy carpet. Now we’re in a house where soft, squishy carpet abounds and it feels like luxury compared to hardwoods! Never thought I’d say that, since hardwoods are definitely the most popular on HGTV, making me believe people everywhere love hardwoods, too.

What’s So Dangerous About Carpet?

According to the EPA, carpets have come a long way in reducing “chemical emissions, energy usage, and water usage associated with manufacturing processes.” However, they are still coated in a hoard of chemicals, but some of the worst are the flame retardants (source). The craziest part is that flame retardants do not stop fires – they just delay them for a few minutes (did you know these awful chemicals are also on our children’s pajamas? ACK!). In new carpets, some of the other chemicals, which are known carcinogens and produce fetal abnormalities in laboratory animals, include toluene, benzene, formaldehyde, ethyl benzene, styrene, and acetone (source). In older carpets, even though the VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) they contain have dissipated over time, they are still covered in toxins brought in off shoes and dust and may contain chemicals that are now banned.

What Can We Do About It?

1. Rip Out the Carpet and Replace It With Green Carpet, Hardwoods or Tile

Obviously, this solution is going to be the most costly. It’s not something my family can do right now. But, if you’ve got the budget, it’s the sustainable wave of the future! The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommends buying carpets that have:

  • Low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • No toxic dyes
  • Recyclable
  • Recycled-content
  • Reduced energy use (from manufacturing)
  • Reduced or improved air emissions (from manufacturing)

Fibers that are safe and eco-friendly include (use for rugs or for broadloom):

  • Wool that has not been treated with unsafe chemicals (see examples here at Home Depot). Wool is naturally flame retardant and repels liquids and is the best, but most costly choice.
  • Hemp is mold and mildew resistant.
  • Check out healthyhome.com for many varieties of carpets that are untreated, green, AND biodegradable!
  • Bamboo flooring is sustainable as bamboo grows very quickly and is abundant.

2. The Cheap, DIY Way – Smart Cleaning to Reduce the Toxins & Maintain Cleanliness

Baking Soda Carpet Freshener and Cleaner
Clean carpets with safe products like my homemade baking soda carpet cleaner and refresher. Click on the picture to get the recipe!

So, if you’re like me, replacing your whole house with hardwood and expensive wool rugs would be totally fabulous, but just isn’t in the family budget yet. In the meantime, here are the cleaning practices we can employ around the house to keep toxins and dust (which carry toxins from the carpet and our shoes) at bay:

  • Leave your shoes at the door and have good doormats at each outside entrance to stop dirt and toxins from ever coming in.
  • Dust often but do it wisely – feather dusters just stir up the dust into the air, so use a wet cloth instead (I sometimes use a little olive oil to dust and an old, wet rag). Dusting is very important when you have babies and toddlers who are always on the floor and will breathe in or ingest any dust and dirt.
  • Vacuum often to get rid of dust and dirt that carry toxins and allergens.
  • Buy the best vacuum you can afford with a HEPA filter. Cheaper vacuums are not sealed well and dust and dirt can escape and blow back into the air. My favorite vacuum (as you can tell from the picture) is an Oreck vacuum (where to buy) – they last FOREVER. My mom has had her Oreck for 15 years, and has had no problems with it! They are so lightweight and powerful.
  • Steam clean your carpets by buying a steam cleaner that doesn’t use chemicals. The steam will kill dust mites and bacteria, and I’ve found, really fluffs up the carpet and makes it look newer. I have a Haan Steam Cleaner (where to buy) with carpet glide attachment and LOVE it. I use it on hardwoods, tile, and carpet. It comes with microfiber pads, so there’s no waste either!
  • Clean stains, spots and smells with a homemade green cleaner – My favorite thing to use on spills is my Baking Soda Carpet Cleaner. The baking soda, combined with tea tree and lavender essential oils (where to buy high quality essential oils) does an amazing job of deodorizing and drying up spills. It’s so green you never have to worry about the fragrance or chemicals if your children and pets are all over it!

3. Hire A Green Carpeting Cleaning Company To Thoroughly Clean Your Carpets

One of the worst things we can do is to have the carpets (which are already laden with toxic chemicals) cleaned with more toxic chemicals! So, hire a green cleaning company once every couple of years who will use safe, organic cleaning products or even just steam clean. Here are some companies across the U.S. to try:

ChemDry has franchises all over the US, read my review of their service here.

Here is how Chem-Dry cleans:

We use an organic method of hot carbonated water extraction to attack dirt, dust, oils and allergens in carpet fibers and on hard surfaces. Our carpets dry more quickly and stay cleaner and healthier for longer than any other cleaning method; we’re proud that the Carpet & Rug Institute has given our process its Seal of Approval.

How to Purchase High Quality Essential Oils through My Merry Messy Life

How to Order High Quality Essential Oils from Young LivingHow to Order High Quality Essential Oils from Young Living

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Homemade Citrus-Infused Vinegar for Green Cleaning

Citrus-Infused Vinegar for Homemade Green Cleaning

Vinegar is one amazing product – I use it all over the house for homemade cleaning products, cooking and even on my hair (apple cider vinegar conditioner)! As much as I love it, the smell does get to me sometimes and I’ve finally gotten around to making my own scented vinegar to take the edge off that strong smell.

Citrus-Infused Vinegar for Homemade Cleaning Products

With orange and clementine season starting here in the US, it’s the perfect time to start making your own orange-infused vinegar! After you eat your orange, save the peel and put it in a jar or other air-tight container and cover the peels with white vinegar. Let it sit for a couple of weeks (don’t need more than two), then strain out the peels and you have orange-scented vinegar! Of course, lemons and limes also work very well for this.

Garbage Disposal Cleaner

After straining the peels from the vinegar, keep those peels. They should be very soft (if not, soak them a few more days). Then, throw them in your garbage disposal and crank it up! The peels, along with the vinegar, make an excellent garbage disposal cleaner because the vinegar kills bacteria-causing odors and the orange peels zap odors.

I love how I can use the entire orange to have a healthy snack, make cleaning products AND clean my garbage disposal. It doesn’t get more eco-friendly than that!

 

Easy Ways to Use Vinegar for Cleaning

Vinegar is an excellent cleaner – it works on mold, mildew and bacteria. It’s also cheap, readily available, green, eco-friendly (doesn’t harm ground water, lakes, streams, aquatic life), and non-toxic. Here are a few quick and easy ways to use it (there are many more, but these are the ones I use all the time).

  • Window Cleaner – Put in a spray bottle and use it straight up on windows and mirrors. I have used this for a long time and it works just as well as Windex without all the nasty chemicals! I also use it on my glasses.
  • Bathroom Cleaner – Check out my recipes for homemade cleaning products using vinegar.
  • Disinfectant – Put in a spray bottle and spray directly on countertops, cutting boards, toilet seats, the shower, toys and more! It naturally kills germs and bacteria and the best part is, unlike Lysol, you don’t have to wipe it clean or worry about those horrible chemicals getting into your food or babies’ mouths!
  • Drain Cleaner – Pour down stinky, clogged drains, along with baking soda, and the two react to naturally clean gunk and stank nastiness out of your pipes!
  • Laundry Detergent Softener – Pour straight into the detergent softener compartment and fill to the line marked. That’s it! It does not leave a vinegar scent on my clothes and does a nice job of softening.

 

This post is being shared at:

Tiny Tip Tuesday at Nature’s Nurture
Super Link Party at Earning My Cape
Clever Chicks Blog Hop

 

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Homemade All-Natural Foaming Hand Soap with Free Printable Label

All Natural Foaming Hand Soap Recipe - Non-Toxic

I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap non-stop since my first gallon arrived from Amazon six months ago (buy it here). If you’ve been following my blog since then, you know how much I LOVE this amazing soap (I wrote a whole post on it). I use it in cleaning products, in the shower, and in my homemade laundry detergent and love how it comes from a company with a conscience (fair trade and community-minded), whose products are organic and eco-friendly. (You’d think I was PAID to write all that, but I’m not! I promise! I just really love it!)

Homemade All-Natural Foaming Hand Soap with Free Printable
This soap is green, non-toxic, chemical-free, organic, gentle AND antibacterial!

So, I’ve been using it as a hand soap for about six months but have kept it in a regular ole’ soap pump bottle, until now. I had never been totally happy with it because of the watery consistency – it squirts all over the countertop and sink and makes a mess. Drives me crazy, especially because in the old house, we had granite countertops in the bathroom and it would leave awful wet spots. I love it as a hand and body soap, though, because it is so much more gentle than soaps with sodium lauryl sulfate in it, which is so harsh on the skin and hair (not to mention other nasty things I dislike about that chemical). Castile Soap is made from olive oil, so it’s very gentle, but still cleans very well. I noticed a huge difference in the amount of dry skin, eczema and irritation on my hands when I switched to Dr. Bronner’s and now have it next to every sink in the house, or I pay the price!

I finally got smart and bought a cheap foaming soap bottle from Target. I brought it home, dumped out the soap (full of sodium lauryl sulfate, even though it is the Method line!), and filled it with my castile soap recipe. It pumps out so perfectly foamy and is no longer watery! No more soap mess to clean up all over the sink. It took me this long to figure out that soap is made foamy by the pump, not the chemicals in the soap! {Anyone else knew that already? If you did, now you can feel smart (smile)}.

Here is the easy recipe and the free printable label so you’ll never have to look this up again! (Make sure to stick it on with packing tape and completely cover it so it doesn’t get wet).

  • Fill a foaming soap pump (like this one) 1/3 full with Castile Soap (I like Dr. Bronner’s in Peppermint, Almond and Lavender for hand soaps)
  • Depending on the size of the bottle (and your smeller), drop 10-30 drops of Thieves, Purification or Tea Tree Essential Oils (they are all powerful antibacterials).
  • Fill the rest with filtered, distilled or regular tap water
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My Favorite Homemade Green Household Cleaners

Making your own green cleaning supplies is surprisingly easy, cheap and totally non-toxic! Here are my favorite cleaners with free printable labels so you can save the trouble of looking up the recipe again!
homemade-green-household-cleaners
Back in March, I posted about the green household cleaners I’ve been making and using around the house, complete with a guide on how to get started making your own at home. Now that I’ve been using them consistently for a few months, I thought I’d pare down the list and share with you my favorites, as well as a free printable for each, which you can print out and use as a label on the bottle! (I find they stay on best with packing tape, covering it completely with it so the label doesn’t get wet.)

All-Purpose Household Cleaner

This bad boy really is ALL purpose. I use it to clean practically every surface in the house except for upholstery, including the bathtub, toilets, counter tops, sink, messes on the floor, car dashboard, and more!

Why I Love It:

  • It takes less than five minutes to make and really works.
  • I love how it leaves my bathroom smelling like a health food store because of the tea tree oil!
  • It’s non-toxic so I can actually clean my bathroom when the kids are awake and I don’t have to freak out if they get some of the cleaner on their hands!
  • It’s green so when it eventually comes out of my septic tank, it doesn’t pollute the ground and make it’s way into streams, harming wildlife.

Recipe (for 32 ounces)

UPDATE – DO NOT MIX VINEGAR AND CASTILE SOAP: Some of my followers have informed me that mixing vinegar and Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap renders the both of the ingredients powerless. I wrote the Dr. Bronner’s company and asked if this was true – here is their response:

It is true, it is not good to mix vinegar and castile soap because it will unsaponify the soap. As Lisa states in her blog, “In great part it’s due to the fact that vinegar is an acid and the castile soap is a base. They will directly react with each other and cancel each other out. So, instead of getting the best of both (the scum cutting ability of the vinegar and the dirt transporting ability of the soap), you’ll be getting the worst of something entirely new. The vinegar “unsaponifies” the soap, by which I mean that the vinegar takes the soap and reduces it back out to its original oils. So you end up with an oily, curdled, whitish mess. And this would be all over whatever it was you were trying to clean – your laundry or counters or dishes or whatever.” https://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=292

My Solution is to make this cleaner is to remove the vinegar. After cleaning, I spray the surface with my disinfecting spray and wipe down or leave to disinfect. Recipe at the bottom of this post.
  • (NOW REMOVED – see above) 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. of baking soda (I buy this 13 lb bag since I use baking soda so much!)
  • 1/4 cup Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (green, fair-trade & organic soap!) (this one in Citrus is perfect for cleaning)
  • 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 20 drops of any of the following essential oils: Lavender, Tea Tree, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Purification (a blended oil of Lemongrass, Rosemary, Melaleuca, Myrtle, Citronella, and Lavandin) or Thieves (a blended oil of  Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Rosemary, Lemon, Eucalyptus) (where to buy high quality essential oils)

Mix the baking soda and some hot water and lightly shake to dissolve the baking soda. Then, add the remaining ingredients and slowly fill the rest of the bottle (slowly because of the soap – it will get bubbly!) with filtered water (especially if you have hard tap water).

Get Your Free Printable Label Here – this is the old label, so it does not reflect the new recipe above!
All-purpose-household-cleaner-printable

Baking Soda Freshener

This is my favorite upholstery and fabric freshener, as well as extra scrubbing power in the bathroom. It’s just baking soda and essential oils – can’t get easier or cheaper than that! And if you’ve been potty training for six long excruciating months like us (not a success story over here!), then you’ll definitely want this around. We couldn’t live without it!

Why I Love It:

  • Easy to make
  • Super duper cheap
  • Smells amazing and really works to remove stank nasty smells from upholstery and carpet
  • Great to use in the bathtub and toilet bowl to remove yucky scum

Recipe

  • Baking Soda (enough to fill whatever container you’re using – for me, it was about 2 cups) (where to buy)
  • 20 to 30 drops of any of the following essential oils: Lavender, Tea Tree, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Purification (a blended oil of Lemongrass, Rosemary, Melaleuca, Myrtle, Citronella, and Lavandin) or Thieves (a blended oil of  Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Rosemary, Lemon, Eucalyptus) (where to buy high quality essential oils)

Save your Parmesan cheese container the next time you empty it on a plate of spaghetti (anyone guilty out there?) because it makes a perfect shaker container for our Baking Soda Freshener. Fill it halfway with baking soda, drop in 10 drops of each oil (unless your container is bigger than my 16 oz. one) and shake. Then, fill the rest up with baking soda and lightly shake again. Done!

Baking Soda Freshener – Free Printable Download

Green Disinfectant


A non-toxic and green disinfectant – who knew it could be done? If you’ve read anything about hand sanitizers and the antibacterial chemicals in soaps and other products like I have, you’re probably searching for a non-toxic alternative. Well, here it is and it’s WAY cheaper than what you’ll buy in the store!

Use this to spray on counter tops (and you don’t have to wipe off!), all over the bathroom, cutting boards and any other non-porous surface that needs some germ smothering. It also works very well on mold and mildew. I sprayed it on some mildewed window casings and the mildew wiped right out. I was amazed!

Why I Love It:

  • Yep, you guessed it, CHEAP!
  • Also easy to make and use
  • Cruelty-free cleaner – and that includes humans!

Recipe

Depending on what you have in your cabinet or want to buy, you can use both hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, or one of each. Both have powerful antibacterial properties that won’t harm ecosystems or your organs.

  • White Distilled Vinegar (where to buy) and/or Peroxide (where to buy)
  • 20 to 30 drops of any of the following essential oils: Lavender, Tea Tree, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Purification (a blended oil of Lemongrass, Rosemary, Melaleuca, Myrtle, Citronella, and Lavandin) or Thieves (a blended oil of  Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Rosemary, Lemon, Eucalyptus) (where to buy high quality essential oils)

Note: Tea Tree has a very strong scent and if I use too much of it in a cleaner, it really irritates my lungs. So, start with less as you can always add more!
*10 drops for an 8 oz. bottle, 15 drops for a 16 oz. bottle, 20 drops for a 20 oz. bottle
In a 16 oz. container, fill it with either vinegar or peroxide or half of both for the most power. Then add your essential oils. Lightly shake and done!
Green Disinfectant – Free Printable Download

Click here to see ALL of my green and natural homemade cleaning recipes!

How to Purchase High Quality Essential Oils through My Merry Messy Life

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Apple Cider Vinegar & All It’s Wonders

The Wonders of Apple Cider Vinegar to Heal The Body and Boost the Immune System

Apple Cider Vinegar is one of nature’s most perfect creations (plus a little involvement from people!). I have been amazed at how many times it has helped me to heal from sicknesses, helped my digestion, even improved my eczema and skin.
The Wonders of Apple Cider Vinegar to Heal The Body and Boost the Immune System
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Well it certainly does, especially in the form of vinegar! I knew when the nice UPS man delivered a heavy box to my front door two years ago containing Bragg’s Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (where to buy) that it was something special, but I didn’t know quite how it much it was going to help my family. It is quite a bit more expensive to get the raw, undistilled, organic kind, containing brown cob-web like substances, or the “mother” as it’s called, but it’s worth it. I’ve been using it for everything from a conditioner on my hair, to help with eczema and to kick colds before they even start.

I have now been using ACV for two years and am excited to share with you all of its wonders!

So, what exactly is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)?

According to WebMD, vinegar is the “product of fermentation…in which sugars in a food are broken down into bacteria and yeast” and ACV comes from pulverized apples.

The Health Benefits of ACV (proven in medical research)

You can find claims all over the internet of people saying ACV can kill head lice, remove warts, cure cancer, lower cholesterol, increase energy and lots lots more. According to WebMD, it does have several benefits that are proven by scientific evidence and they are:

  • Diabetes – ACV helps to lower glucose levels (2 tbs. a day)
  • High Cholesterol – in a study done with rats, it did lower cholesterol. This has not been proven in people yet.
  • Blood Pressure – in another study done with rats, it lowered blood pressure. Other studies found that people who ate consumed salad dressing containing ACV five times a week or more had lower risk of heart disease.
  • Cancer – some lab studies have shown that ACV can slow the growth of cancer cells.
  • Weight Loss – apparently, ACV has been used as a weight loss agent for thousands of years! Recent studies help prove this theory, but aren’t conclusive.

All About Apple Cider Vinegar

The Health Benefits (not proven in medical research, but claimed by many)

I used to put little stock in natural remedies, thinking medical science was way more advanced than the old-fashioned stuff. Good old-fashioned remedies that have been used for thousands of years should also be respected and considered. So, here are some claims of others – click here to see a complete list. (These are just a few of the claims – the list on the site is really long!)

  • Can reduce acne and dry out blemishes
  • Helps to lessen arthritis
  • Relief from mild asthma
  • Cure athlete’s foot
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Helps fight osteoporosis
  • Heal sunburns & other skin burns more quickly
  • Help prevent cancer with powerful antioxidants
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Shorten cold duration by making the balancing the body’s acid levels
  • Reduce constipation
  • Heal diaper rash
  • Cure dandruff
  • Control blood glucose levels and help with diabetes
  • Heal ear infections
  • Help heal eczema
  • Flush out gallstones
  • Get rid of a headache
  • Aid in weight loss
  • Relieve itching & swelling due to poison ivy and poison oak
  • Relieve occasional heartburn

Apple Cider Vinegar - Closeup of the Label

How to Use ACV

ACV is highly acidic (containing acetic acid), so it must be used with caution, even though it is highly beneficial for us. My mom recently told me that she read ACV is a natural way to treat constipation, so she tried it straight up, just drinking it out of a teaspoon. She told me she was immediately coughing and had trouble breathing from the acidic gases! It really irritated her mouth and throat as well, so she learned that it MUST be diluted with water before ingesting.

To use it, dilute 2-3 teaspoons to a tablespoon of ACV in 8 ounces of water and drink, and rinse your mouth out afterwards to protect your teeth from enamel erosion from the vinegar. For a long time, I had to add honey to mine to make it palatable, but for the past 6 months or so, I’ve been able to drink it without sweetener because I’m so used to the taste. The Bragg’s ACV bottle suggests adding sugar, honey or molasses to make it tasty and to drink it up to three times a day to increase energy, alertness and treat ailments.

More info on ACV: https://bragg.com/books/acv_excerpt.html – The Bragg website is FULL of information on health and how ACV can help.

Here’s How I Use It

Hair Conditioner

In my no-poo post, I explain how I use diluted apple cider vinegar as a very effective conditioner for my hair. I’ve been doing this for well over a year with great results! I also use baking soda as my shampoo (the no poo method), which is explained in detail in the same post.

Skin Itch Relief

I also use it on the whole family when we get bug bites and poison ivy, and wrote about it here. I’ve found it’s really effective on mosquito bites, but it can sting a little.

Daily Health Tonic

Since I switched our family over to real food, I have been doing things daily to detox, as it has helped my eczema immensely. ACV is one of those things – every night I drink 1 tablespoon of it diluted in water.

Drink at the First Sign of Any Sickness – Colds, Viruses, Even Bladder Infections

As soon as I feel a cold coming on (which isn’t often now that I’m loaded up on probiotics, cod liver fish oil, vitamin D and eat real food!), I drink the tonic I mentioned above 2 or 3 times that day and the next, and it knocks it out EVERY time. I’m not exaggerating, EVERY TIME! It’s amazing, ya’ll!

A few months ago I could tell I was getting a bladder infection. I was feeling achy, tired, having cramps, and my urine was dark red (sorry for the TMI!). I drank 2 tonic drinks before bedtime and when I woke up the next morning, my urine was normal! Then, later that morning, it started changing color again, so I did the same tonic again. It cleared up and stayed clear after that. Wowee. I felt another one coming on a few weeks later and did the the same regimen and knock it out again. Bam. Like Super Woman.

To Help With Eczema

My nightly tonic helps with my eczema (read here about all the other things I do to cope with eczema). I will get an outbreak on my hands (it used to break out all over my body before I switch to the GAPS/Paleo diet) when I’ve eaten grains, dairy or sugar (either because I’ve cheated or accidentally gotten it). So, then I bump it up and take several drinks that day and it really helps to calm it down, along with oil pulling.

I Also Give It to My Kids!

Yes, my kids will drink it! I dilute it in apple juice and they don’t even notice! I give it to them when they have colds or any kind of sickness coming on. It doesn’t knock their sickness out quite as fast as it does mine – I’m guessing because their immune systems aren’t as strong, but I really don’t know. However, they still get better more quickly than doing nothing (which is all the pediatrician will advise you to do!).

To Soak My Grains

This is a foreign concept to most of us, but I soak my grains to break down the hard to digest enzymes and phytic acid. It makes them much easier to digest – it’s how our ancestors prepared grains before the mass industrialization of food in the 1950’s and I think they were very wise to do so. Read all about that here.

 

See all of my natural home remedies and recipes here!

Top image courtesy of Naito8 of Free Digital Downloads.

Another way I keep my family healthy is with an all real food diet, and essential oils. We haven’t had to go to the doctor since incorporating all of these methods!

How to Purchase High Quality Essential Oils through My Merry Messy Life

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Hydrogen Peroxide – An Amazing Green Bleach Alternative

A Green Bleach Alternative for Laundry and Around the Home

So, my wash cloths are getting really stinky, and washing them isn’t helping because that nasty mildew has set in. In my past life, I would throw them in the washer with some bleach and knock the mildew and smell right out. But my more informed, greener self can’t do that anymore and so I searched the web to find a green alternative. What did I stumble upon? Hydrogen Peroxide! A little bottle of it packs quite a punch – not only is it green, but has a myriad of uses for cleaning the home (not to mention all the medical uses)!

Is it Really Safe for the Environment?

Yes! According to GreenOpedia and Wikipedia, Hydrogen Peroxide’s molecules are made of two hydrogen and two oxygen atoms (H2O2) that decompose after use back into oxygen and water, so it’s completely green. It’s a safe and effective bleach alternative, and is colorless and odorless to boot.

Recommended Uses

I found people all over the web who suggest using Hydrogen Peroxide for everything from a mouthwash and teeth whitener, to helping cure cancer and disinfect your bathrooms and kitchens. Can’t believe everything you read or see, right? So, I did a little more digging.

According to educate-yourself.org, there are 7 grades of Hydrogen Peroxide, from 3% up to 90%. The only grade that is safe to be ingested is 35% food grade. The 3% one you find in drug stores as a disinfectant also contains stabilizers which are dangerous to ingest, but according to the bottle, it can be used as a mouthwash when mixed with equal amounts of water.

Laundry – As a Bleach Alternative & Stain Remover

I’ve been using it in my laundry, especially for things like sheets, towels and cloth diapers that need disinfecting or mildew removal. I have even used it on my kids’ soiled underwear and pants (covered in diarrhea, sorry to be gross!) and the clothes come out clean, no stains and no smell at all. It has also done a nice job in removing the smell in my washer drum that even a cycle of bleach didn’t get rid of! Needless to say, it’s my new favorite thing to use for laundry. To use, just put it in the bleach compartment of your washer. 

You can also use it as a pre-stain treater, by applying directly on the stain before washing. It is powerful, so be careful on using it with darker fabrics as it may remove the color. In my favorite natural cleaning book, Clean House, Clean Planet, author Karen Logan writes that Hydrogen Peroxide only fades stains by about 40% per treatment. So, if it doesn’t do the job the first time, reapply and let dry again. Continue until the stain is gone.

Another natural and free alternative, is the old fashioned way of hanging the items outside in the sun to dry. Another tip from Karen Logan is to squirt lemon juice on a stain and then hang it out in the sun.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Sunshine as Green Bleach Alternatives

Other uses I read about included folks using it directly on laundry and carpet stains, then others saying it works like bleach and will remove color from fabrics and carpet. So, I recommend using caution when it comes to fabrics and start off using it like you would bleach – on whites and light colored upholstery and fabric. I personally have not seen it bleach any of my fabrics, so in my experience, it is safer than bleach to use on stains.

Household Cleaner & Disinfectant

This is an effective disinfectant around the house – and you can use it straight out of the bottle if you get the 3% diluted form from the drugstore. It also has anti-fungal properties and will help get rid of mold and mildew.

Mix it with some baking soda to add scrubbing power in the bathtub. You can spray it directly on countertops and cutting boards to disinfect

Mouthwash, Teeth Whitener & Toothpaste

It can be used as a mouthwash and teeth whitener when mixed with equal parts of water and as toothpaste – 2 parts baking soda to 1 part Hydrogen Peroxide – or just straight by itself. I have tried it several times by itself and it isn’t terribly pleasant, so I’m working on a recipe for mouthwash using other ingredients to make it more tolerable! Try to swallow as little as possible, just like commercial mouthwash. But it is a very effective mouthwash! My mother-in-law uses it every day and has for most of her life.

See more ideas of how to use it on using-hydrogen-peroxide.com.

This amazing green bleach is being shared at these websites.