Re-Grow Roots

Learning to live harmoniously in Missouri.

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Cleaning Up the Safe and Natural Way

By Leslie Vandever

There’s an old saying: “there are only two things you can count on in this life: death and taxes.” I’d like to add one more: housework. No matter who you are, what you do, or where you live, one of the things that heads the domestic to-do list is housework. Sure, there are people out there who never clean up their living spaces. My opinion? Eww. Just, eww.

So, I presume you’re reading this because you realize that like it or not, you have to clean the house now and then because of, well, sanitation. It’s a big, beautiful old world we live in, but it’s dirty. And germy. Maybe you’re worried about the chemical household cleaners available at your local store and possible allergic reactions. What are they doing to you and your family? And the environment? Finally, you’d just like to save a little money. Who wouldn’t? It turns out that you can make your own household cleaners out of just a few, mostly inexpensive, natural substances—and it’s so easy it’s almost embarrassing.


The Basics for a Clean, Green House

For a household environment that’s not only green, but clean, get these ecologically-friendly substances at your local grocery or hardware store:

  • baking soda (bicarbonate of soda): mild abrasive, natural deodorizer
  • sodium borate (borax): a non-toxic mineral, boosts detergents and household cleaners, disinfects surfaces and removes stains in clothing
  • isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol: disinfects, cleans, evaporates quickly
  • white vinegar: mildly acidic, dissolves dirt, soap scum and hard water deposits from smooth surfaces, natural deodorizer (vinegar smell vanishes when dry)
  • lemon juice: mildly acidic, it cuts grease, kills mold and mildew, deodorizes and smells wonderful
  • ammonia: general-purpose cleaner for glass, porcelain, stainless steel and other surfaces. Great for glass; it dries streak-free. (Never mix ammonia with bleach (or vinegar); the combination produces a toxic, deadly vapor).
  • hydrogen peroxide: bubbling action cleans surfaces and lifts stains
  • castile soap: pure, mild, natural soap
  • washing soda: (carbonate of soda): softens laundry water

Homemade Household Cleaner Recipes

With the above ingredients, you can whisk together several cleaning mixtures that work just as well as the far more expensive, far less green cleaning products found at the grocery store.

For scrubbing hard surfaces: ¾ cup baking soda, ¼ cup borax, a little castile soap. Combine the first two ingredients, then add the liquid soap to make a fine paste. Add a few drops of lemon juice for the scent, if you like.

Toilet cleaner: 1 cup of borax, ¼ cup vinegar or lemon juice. Combine to make a paste, then apply to the inside of the toilet bowl. Scrub and leave for a couple of hours, then flush away.

All-purpose sanitizer: 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar, 3 to 4 cups hot water. Place ingredients in a spray bottle and shake to mix. For extra power, add ¼ teaspoon of liquid castile soap.

Glass and windows: 3 tablespoons of vinegar in 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Windows are really dirty? Try ½ teaspoon of liquid castile soap, 3 tablespoons of vinegar, and 2 cups of water. For streak-free windows every time, use sheets of newspaper instead of paper towels.

Deodorize the garbage disposer: drop a slice of lemon, with the rind, into the disposer and grind it up.

See how easy those are to make? A quick Internet search is all you need to find many, many more. Just search for “homemade household cleaners.” To learn more about a variety of health topics for you and your family click here.

Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience. Although her half-Finnish, ultra-neat-nik mother strove to teach her proper housekeeping skills as she grew up, they didn’t take until Leslie’s own daughter was born. That was when she developed the “‘eeew test:'” if it’s dirty enough to make you go “eeew” involuntarily, it absolutely must be cleaned. Perhaps sterilized. Leslie lives in the foothills of Northern California.

Check out more great health related articles at


Non-toxic Home Cleaning. (n.d.) Eartheasy. Solutions for Sustainable Living. Retrieved on April

14, 2014 from

Make Your Own Cleaners. (n.d.) Old Farmer’s Almanac. Retrieved on April 14, 2014 from


DIY Crochet Cotton Scrubbie Sponges

Crochet cotton scrubbie sponges are a natural alternative to traditional plastic sponges. The process of making them is easy and so much fun! It gives the creator a deeper understanding and excitement in their cleaning routine, because it’s handmade!

These sponges are very versatile and serve many purposes all over your home! Use them to scrub your dishes, rinse the sponge ,  and then wipe down your kitchen counters and stove top. You can clean the bathroom with them or use them to get ride of scuffs on your walls. They also work great in the shower or bath to scrub your body and I especially love to use them to wash my face. I keep one in the kitchen for cleaning and two in the bathroom.

This tutorial will teach you to make double thick scrubbies with two strands of yarn so they will last a very long time and make it through really tough jobs! I recently lost my kitchen scrubbie that I always use to hand wash the dishes. For two days I couldn’t find it. During those two days I did a few sinks full of dishes with another sponge. I put a few lemon peels down the disposal to cleanse the odor… So two days later my dad found the sponge in our disposal and although it had been used to chop lemon peels, our scrubbie sponge was only slightly frayed, and still one piece!

Without further ado… let’s get on with this super simple DIY!


You will need…

2 rolls of cotton yarn (I use Lily Sugar n’ Cream)

Crochet hook – H8 / 5.0mm (5.5mm or 6.0mm would be fine)


Tapestry needle to weave in the ends


Step 1

Grab the end of both of your strands and loop them together.


Step 2

Chain 4.


Step 3


Slip stitch into the first stitch of your chain to form a little circle.

Step 4


Chain 2. This will be used as your first stitch.

Step 5

Then half double crochet (HDC) into the center hole of the circle you made. HDC a total of 9 times into the same center hole.

Step 6

Slip stitch into the chain you made (the first “stitch”)

Step 7


Chain 2. Do two HDC into each stitch of the previous round. Slip stitch into the chain you made.

Step 8


Chain 2. **One HDC into first stitch. Two HDC into next stitch.** Repeat this until you get to the last stitch. Slip stitch into your chain 2.

Step 9

Cut the strings, tie a knot, and weave in the ends with your tapestry needle.


That’s it! This is my first time writing up a pattern so please let me know if you have any questions!

For those of you who love these but aren’t ready to make them yourself, I offer scrubbies in my etsy shop here.

This post was originally published at ecoetsy, a wonderful community of eco-minded artists who contribute to our eco-friendly blog.

Linked up at: Thank Goodness it’s Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Party Wave Wednesday, Tasty Traditions, Small Footprint Fridays, Fight Back Friday,


DIY Soap Scum Remover – natural soft scrub alternative


I was recently hired by someone to clean their home naturally, and I had the pleasure of cleaning one VERY yucky tub & shower! I can’t even tell you how a shower would have so much black and brown grime growing in it.. but I CAN tell you that this cleaning formula worked MAGIC in that bathroom!! It’s stronger than soft scrub, and made using only TWO ingredients that are so natural you could eat them. But I don’t recommend it…

This is my go-to formula for soap scum, mold, limescale, toilet bowls, and many other REALLY tough jobs in the kitchen and bathroom.


Supplies :

  • baking soda
  • castile soap – I use Dr. Bronners and I LOVE the lavender scent, but any castile soap will work. :)
  • bowl & sponge

Directions :

  1. In a small mixing bowl pour in about 2 tablespoons of baking soda, give or take.
  2. Next, mix in enough castile soap to form a paste. This is not a science so just make it thick like the consistency of luscious icing.
  3. If it’s too thick, add more soap. Too runny? Add more baking soda.
  4. When you have it a nice consistency, simply scoop a dollop of it with your sponge and start scrubbing!
cotton scrubbie sponges, made with <3

cotton scrubbie sponges, made with ❤

To scrub this shower, I used a homemade cotton scrubbie sponge and it worked fabulously. Of course, it does take a little elbow grease so you get a free workout and in the end you will rejoice in the success of a fantastically clean shower!!

ImageThis article was originally featured at, a community of eco-friendly artists and homesteaders who inspire and motivate the masses with their totally useful blog posts & handmade crafts!

I linked up to Creative HomeAcre Hop & Party Wave Wednesday @, Your Green Resource, Natural Living Link-Up, Thank Your Body Thursday


Creating a Perfect Work and Living Space

My partner and I took a bus from our home in the Ozarks of Missouri up north to Des Moines, Iowa where we picked up our new house on wheels! After driving it back to Branson, we got a good rest and the next morning packed up everything we needed to drive south to Texas for the holiday.


We have been living, working, eating, and playing in it for 4 days now and already have learned so much. It is fascinating to me to get something brand new, a totally new house (to us), and make it functional for me. I feel like I’m evolving into a greater being. There is already so much that I know, what works for me, and now I’m making this RV functional.. also inspiring, motivating, loving, and nourishing. These are feelings that make my life rewarding.

What do those words mean to you?
I’ll call them the “5 properties of great space”
// functional… How can I achieve what I need to get done in a simple way?
// inspiring… Does my space speak to me?
// motivating… Do I WANT to get work done?
// loving… Do I feel great about myself and do others come into the space and feel relaxed and at home?
// nourishing… Are my senses feeling right? Do I feel healthy, rested, peaceful, yet excited about life?


What we have done so far –
1. organize – I put everything away in a designated spot into cabinets so nothing is laying out. We drive a lot, so we can’t have stuff flying around our house when we’re on the road.
2. vacuumed – Carlos borrowed one from a friend and it had a very chemical, artificially scented odor coming out of it, so I sprinkled baking soda on the floor to diminish the smell.
3. cleaned the counters – I squirted and rubbed fresh squeezed lemon juice onto the counter, then sprinkled baking soda around. With one of my crochet rags, I wiped them off really well. After that I dropped a few drops of Sandalwood essential oil onto the counters and rubbed them down really well with the rag. This was my favorite part because it made the place smell so wonderful and serene. It also kills bacteria and microbes. Many essential oils have those properties. Baking soda and lemon juice are also anti-microbial.
4. simplified – We got rid of things we don’t need. We only want to have things that we will use and figure out what works best for what. So we through away cleaning agents, took out extra wood, etc.
5. creation!!! – we are constantly having ideas “5 properties of great space”… and growing with our space. I want new curtains, so I’m thinking we can set up branch curtain rods. I want to use the bathroom, but I don’t like plumbing so I’m thinking about having a composting toilet in our RV bathroom. We want to get a solar panel for the roof… It will all happen!

Life is an amazingly fun project!
Peace and prosperity,