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

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DIY Natural Cleaner Recipes

After cleaning my home for the past 5 years or more with only natural cleaners that I make in my kitchen, I have compiled a long list of wonderful cleaning supplies. Today I’m going to share the simple recipes that I use in my own home so you can make them too! They are completely natural and non-toxic, safe for your family!

Soap Scum Remover / Soft Scrub


Supplies :

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

Directions :

Simply mix the baking soad and liquid castile soap in a missing bowl to form a nice paste. Take your sponge and watch the magic happen as you scrub away the soap scum, mildew, grime, and limescale.

All – Purpose Cleaner

Supplies :

  • plastic spray bottle
  • vinegar
  • water
  • essential oil

Directions :

Pour 1 cup of vinegar into your spray bottle and fill with water. Add as much essential oil as you prefer in a scent that you enjoy. I like to use a anti-microbial, anti-bacterial essential oil like lemon or peppermint.

Oven Cleaner


Supplies :

  • baking soda
  • water
  • spray bottle

Directions :

Fill the spray bottle with just water. Spray down your entire oven so that it’s moist. Get the walls, racks, and bottom to cover all the stuck on grime. Once it’s sufficiently moist, lather the baking soda onto all dirty, wet surfaces to about ¼” thickness. Make sure it’s wet and pasty. Then you let it sit with the oven off for a few hours. Come back and simply wipe it off. All the grime should come right off.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Supplies :

  • baking soda
  • liquid castile soap
  • toilet brush

Directions :

Drain the water out of the toilet bowl so you can clean the bowl easily. Make a paste with the baking soda and castile soap. With a toilet brush, lather and scrub your toilet bowl with the paste.

Laundry / Dishwashing Detergent


Supplies :

  • 4 cups borax
  • 4 cups washing soda
  • Essential oil
  • Vinegar

Directions :

Mix together the borax and washing soda in a container and label it. For each load of laundry, I use about ¼ cup of this mixture and add 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar and about 5 drops of essential oil. I like to use lavender or sandalwood for a calming effect.

Bleach Alternative / Stain Remover

Before washing, apply hydrogen peroxide directly to any large stains. I have use this on colors too and it has not actually bleached them white, but it does remove blood, wine, and every stain I have tried to remove.

This was originally posted on Eco Etsy. Also linked up at Party Wave Wednesday


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