Some people judge the effectiveness of their cleaning products by the way the room smells when they’re finished. Are you one of them?
A chemical smell does not mean a clean room. It means unhealthy indoor air—especially if the chemical is chlorine bleach.
That’s one reason more and more people are starting to make their own cleaners from non-toxic ingredients. Here are some more: DIY home cleaners cost less, they work just as well as expensive commercial cleaners that are good for only one cleaning job, they take up less cabinet space, and they generate less trash.
The following video provides an excellent introduction to the ingredients and supplies necessary for making safe, effective, non-toxic cleaners. It shows several useful ingredients besides the ones found in most articles and videos about DIY home cleaners I have seen.
I really like the recommendations for how to keep cloths, measuring cups, etc. separate from the ones you use for cooking and washing dishes. I have to take issue with her quick dismissal of detergents, however.
Soap leaves soap scum. You can clean it from your bathtub and sink easily enough. Cleaning it from your laundry and hair are more complicated. Before detergents became more commonly used than soap, it was necessary to add bluing to the rinse water in order to keep laundry from becoming dingy.
I suppose everyone was used to dingy hair until shampoos became common enough that everyone could see the improvement.
When you need detergent, you can’t make your own. It’s mostly a petroleum distillate, although there seems to be no scientific reason not to start with a different oil. Look for the EPA’s “Design for the Environment” label to make sure that the product uses ingredients that cause the least environmental concern.
For everything else, you can’t beat vinegar, washing soda, salt, and all the other ingredients in the video.
DIY fabric softener
Do you need to use a fabric softener when you use a dryer? Many people who write about DIY home cleaners say, no, you don’t. Indeed, allergies to the chemicals used to make them are ever more common. And then you have all those bits of fabric to discard. Most of it is polyester, which means you can’t compost it.
But I don’t like static cling in the winter time, the very time when air-drying laundry is least satisfactory. I don’t suppose you like your clothes and sheets sticking to you, either. So here’s a simple, elegant method of making your own reusable dryer sheets if you choose to use them at all:
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