Make Your Own Disinfecting All-Purpose Cleaner
This Formula is Ridiculously Cheap & Easy
One of the easiest ways to green up your life and save a little green (money, that is), is to make your own household cleaners, like this homemade DIY disinfecting cleaner. I’ve come to love trying out new recipes for home cleaning products and I’ll be posting some of my favorites here over the next few months.
What you’ll need to make Super Quick 1-Minute Disinfecting Cleaner:
- an empty spray bottle (can be new or repurposed)
- a funnel (or piece of paper folded into a funnel)
- tea tree oil
- warm water
- vinegar (optional)
- Put 10-20 drops of tea tree oil in bottom of empty spray bottle for every 16 oz of liquid that your spray bottle holds (Note: using 20 drops will result in a stronger, although not unpleasant, smell.)
- Using the funnel, add 2 tbsp vinegar for every 16 ounces. You can omit this step if desired. (The smell of vinegar will go away shortly after using solution when the spray dries.)
- Fill bottle with water and put spray lid on. Gently swirl to mix solution.
- To use, spray surface you want to clean liberally and let sit for about a minute if surface is gunked up (for example if you’re cleaning your stove after cooking and a pot boiled over and dried or if you have batter stuck on your counter from baking).
I haven’t figured out the exact cost of this recipe, because I’ve never thought to count how many drops of tea tree oil come in one bottle, but it’s crazy cheap (a few cents-ish). A bottle of tea tree oil lasts me over a year at $5-6 dollars a bottle. If you repurpose an old squirt bottle from something else, then you’ve got really cheap, 1-minute disinfecting cleanser.
My favorite bottles to repurpose my homemade cleaning solutions from are old “BabyGanics” bottles (shown in picture), like “BabyGanics, Stain Stain Go Away” (which works fabulously, by the way). I haven’t gotten around to making my own laundry stain remover yet, but I’ll keep you posted when I do.
This homemade disinfecting cleaner is not as concentrated as store bought cleaners. Expect a solution that is very watery. You will have to spray surfaces more liberally to use.
If you want to get really creative with your homemade cleaners, you can make your own labels. For now, I’m not that fancy, so I just use a marker to label mine as you can see in the picture.
Note: Although this solution is natural, be sure you keep it out of reach of kids. Essential oils, while beneficial in moderation can be harmful in concentrated amounts, so be sure to keep essential oils far out of reach of kids and always use essential oils carefully.
Greening up your life isn’t something most people do overnight. If you’re just putting your toes in the water, take it a step at a time. Even baby steps are a step in the right direction and will make a difference for your family and the environment. Here are some easy green kitchen ideas to help you green up your house today.
- Start using cloth napkinsfor meals. You can find them online or you can easily
Make your drink more fun, fancier and greener…all with 1 straw!
make your own out of scraps of cute fabric.
- Use stainless steel mixing bowls instead of plastic. They will last forever and you won’t have to worry about yucky chemicals leaching into your food.
- Install a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system to purify your tap water into healthy water. A good water filtration system will remove heavy metals like lead and mercury as well as herbicides, pesticides and industrial solvents (yikes) that make their way into your drinking water supply. This is the most expensive thing to do, but is so worth it. My husband was a little doubtful when we installed ours and was skeptical that it was significantly better than our Brita filter (it is). We installed it ourselves…very easy…and a year later, he doesn’t know how we’ve lived without one for so long! We have the Aquasana one pictured above.
This is the water filter we have and we love it!
- Use glass containers for storing leftovers. You can get some great ones online that nest for space saving and you can also repurpose your recycling, such as old glass spaghetti sauce, peanut butter and jelly jars. One of the benefits is that glass containers will go straight from the fridge to the microwave as opposed to plastic bowls, which are not microwave safe. So you’ll save yourself the time of having to dump your food into a microwave safe dish by having glass storage containers. They also don’t stain, need to be throw away from overuse, or start flaking off on you.
- For an accent of class and a fun accessory, get some stainless steel straws. Yes, they sound odd at first, but once you try them, you’ll want to drink out of these fun and trendy straws all the time. Every time someone uses them at our house, they want some!
- Put your old plastic pitcher to the curb and repurpose it for watering plants outside and use a glass one for serving beverages to family and friends.
- Have you ever thought about how a coffee maker works? Hot water filtering through plastic components do not make a great combo. Full-bodied, earthy undertones with a hint of berries and chemicals? Not how I want to describe my lovely morning coffee. Use a BPA-free coffee maker, or better yet a french press, to enjoy coffee sans nasty BPA. I for one would like my coffee free of BPA, thank you.
- Use non-toxic cleaners, like Seventh Gen, Mrs. Meyers, BabyGanics or make your own. (I’ll be posting recipes for making your own soon.)
- Store sandwiches and lunch items in reusable sandwich bags, like Lunchskins, PlanetWise or SugarBooger.
- Replace plastic hot beverage containers for coffee and tea with stainless steel. (This is also a terrific gift idea for others that almost everyone will appreciate.) You can find some great ones with BPA free lids by Contigo (found at most major retailers).
Recycle or repurpose your old stuff rather than just tossing it in the trash. Donate to a charity, sell on Craigslist or eBay or give it away to someone in need who can’t afford to buy their own.
While most of these ideas do involve replacing something you probably currently own, you can find a lot of these items at garage sales or on Craigslist. You can also subscribe to your local Freecycle.org and list things you’re looking for and you may just get lucky and get some of these for free. (Just remember not to be too picky if you follow this route.) Don’t forget that most of these also make great items to put on your Christmas or birthday list.
Remember that going green doesn’t have to break the bank and it doesn’t happen over night. Do a little at a time and you’ll be amazed at how quickly the changes add up!