I'm back today with more fantastic natural and low-cost cleaning recipes, including my favourite - washing powder. I talked last week about why I've decided to use natural, homemade cleaners in my home. I've wanted to go all-green for a while now, but always thought it would be such a time-consuming process. But in reality, once you have all the necessary products, the mixtures are relatively quick and easy to make. I believe that spending a bit of time and effort early on not only saves you money, but is good for the environment and ultimately better for your health, as you're not ingesting any nasty chemicals.
Here are the cleaning supplies I showed you last week that I use to make up different cleaning products. Although I talked about where to buy them from, I neglected to mention that sometimes these products are on the very top or very bottom shelves in the supermarket cleaning sections, so you may have to do a little bit of searching!
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The washing powder is a simple mixture of 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup borax, 1 cup grated soap and 2 tbsp bicarb. No chemicals or fragrances are added, which is what many conventional washing powders are loaded with.
The first time I made this mixture, I grated the soap on the larger grater holes (see below). Hilariously, my hubby walked past and grabbed a handful to eat off the board because he thought it was cheese! I couldn't stop laughing, especially because the smell of soap was so strong!
This time, I grated on the smaller holes because I found that the larger bits of soap weren't fully breaking down in the washing machine. So far, so good. You could also mix this in the food processor, which saves the arm workout.
Give the mixture a really good mix for a few minutes, so it goes from this...
I use 1-2 tablespoons of the washing powder (depending on the size of the load), and put it directly in the drum. I also pour white vinegar into the rinse dispenser, which leaves everything fresh and soft. Sometimes I'll add a few more tablespoons of bicarb soda to the wash if it's a very large load, or if I'm washing towels to get rid of soap residue. After 3 months of use, I'm really happy with this homemade washing powder, and find it cleans clothes just as well, if not better, than an ordinary washing powder.
The other product I've made recently was a pre-wash spray. The recipe is from Shannon Lush from the Australian Women's Weekly Handy Home Hints, an awesome issue filled with great tips and tricks. You'll need 2 tbsp methylated spirits, 2 tsp lavender oil, 1 tsp tea tree oil, 2 tsp glycerine and 1 tsp dishwashing liquid. I didn't have lavender oil on hand, so used eucalyptus instead, as it's still safe to use for treating spots and stains.
I put the mixture in an old spray bottle, but am on the hunt for a nicer-looking one so I can have it on display on the laundry-supplies tray. My daughter is at the stage where her clothes are always covered in food despite wearing a bib - how does that happen?! - so I give most of her tops a spray with this before loading them into the washing machine. It only needs a light mist as the mixture is quite strong.
I am going to continue researching and making natural cleaning products and will share any recipes I find as I go. Next on my list are floor cleaner, carpet cleaner and wood polish!