Jun 06.7

Green Cleaning: Simple DIY Cleaners for Home

LUSH Life >> Green

“My idea of super woman is someone who scrubs her own floors.” - Bette Midler

Ok, sure--cleaning up around the house is a lot less fun than making a mess in the first place. But one way to increase the fun factor while tidying is to brew up your own small batches of cleaning solutions, using natural ingredients from your kitchen. When you make them yourself, you can save some money, as well as spare your inner environment from added potentially harmful chemicals. While the cleaning aisle at the store has gotten much greener in recent years, these recipes are still a fun way to channel a little retro wisdom in a good, old fashioned, can-do project.

Re-purposed LUSH bottles can be put to work in your homestead as containers for these simple, non-toxic household cleaner recipes. Some of the most basic of kitchen ingredients make remarkable multi-taskers in the recipes included here.

Baking Soda: Cleanses and deodorizes. It is a very mild abrasive, so it will polish up surfaces nicely. Also, used extensively at LUSH, especially in our Deodorants!

White vinegar: This is the grease-cutting muscle in these formulas, making it excellent on glass surfaces especially. Vinegar is a natural antiseptic, as well.

Lemon Juice: Lemons’ antibacterial juice also cleans well, and adds gloss to surfaces (which is exactly why we use it in LUSH Hair Care, too!)

Olive Oil: Similar to the strength it adds to hair, olive oil deeply conditions wood to enhance the natural gleam and protect it from dryness.

Essential Oils: Use these as optional add-ins. These can add to the antiseptic qualities of your mixes, as well as brighten up the scent, and might leave you feeling a bit happier, as well. Traditional “clean” smelling choices are from the mint family, or eucalyptus, tea tree and lavender. These all have antiseptic powers as well as pack a perfumed punch to your mix.

Other must-haves for me when I’m cleaning are an apron with a pocket, rubber gloves in a fun design, happy music, and the promise of a good cocktail when it’s all over! Here’s three easy ways to get cleaning:

Glass and Surfaces Cleaner:

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oils

Use a funnel or carefully pour all contents into a clean, empty spray bottle. Spritz onto surfaces directly, and wipe with a soft cloth. For shiny windows with less streaks, use pages from an old LUSH Times or newspaper. The recipe fills a 100ml LUSH Toner bottle, but can be very easily increased. If you have a tough job ahead of you, use more vinegar and less water.

Essential oils are optional, but are helpful if you want to fragrance the mix beyond vinegar. I like using oils that brighten my mood, not just my counter, so I add sweet orange oil for a blast of sunshine.

Tub and Surface Scrub:

  • 1/3 cup of baking soda
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • Juice from one ripe lemon, about a 1/3 cup
  • A bowl and whisk to mix contents

The ingredients have a fun reaction upon contact, just a forewarning! Use a whisk to mix them all thoroughly.  Dab a cleansing cloth into the mix and get scrubbing. Or, pour the mix into a toilet or tub, let it sit for a few minutes, then whiz your scrub brush around and enjoy the sparkling clean. Add in course sea salt if you feel the mix needs more grit for an extra-stubborn spot.

DIY Wood Cleaner:

  • Juice from one ripe lemon, about a 1/3 cup
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Optional addition: 3-6 drops of an essential oil like orange or lavender

Carefully add the ingredients into a clean, empty LUSH bottle or other container, and re-apply the top. If you have a funnel, it can help here. Gently shake bottle to mix the ingredients, like a salad dressing. Apply a bit to the soft cloth, and get polishing. This makes one cup, which is enough for use on at least 4 pieces of furniture, usually. Make fresh batches each time, but keep the empty bottle clean and labeled for use next time among other cleaning supplies. I use this on painted wood, as well, and it makes it gleam. If you are unsure, try a small test patch on a discreet area before using on all over.

Would you like to see the Wood Cleaner in action? I thought you would:

BEFORE: Dust collected in the name of research       AFTER: Ta Da! Super gloss in no time flat.

Now, I can’t claim to always be a Happy Hippy whipping up a fresh batch every time my toddler spills spaghetti sauce. (Even though Happy Hippy does makes an excellent dishwashing soap in a pinch, and I’ve mopped my floor with it, too). For the all-too-often spills in my house, thank goodness for the many options made by the People Against Dirty at Method. I love their gentle, biodegradable solutions for the grab-and-go clean up I am constantly doing.However, making my own mixes, especially on designated Spring Cleaning days, or whenever the extra 2 minutes finds me, is a favorite way to connect with my inner Depression-era grandmother, and that leaves both me and my home very happy, indeed.