Saturday, December 29, 2012

All-Purpose Cleaner with Love

I don't even remember when I started using nontoxic cleaners.  I was using them unconsciously as I grew up as my mother used them.  She may have been using them to save money.  After all, she had five kids to raise, and a gallon of vinegar is a lot cheaper than a manufactured product.

When you make your own cleaners, you should always start with a clean container.  If it's a previously used container, make sure you don't have residue from the previous contents still in the container when you put it to reuse.  Clearly mark your container so you don't confuse it with something else.  Just take a sharpie, permanent maker and write on the container.

For my all-purpose disinfecting cleaner, I use a spray bottle that can be purchased in the gardening section of many stores.  The nozzle is adjustable to regulate a misting spray to a straight shot.

I have been cleaning my apartments with a nontoxic, home-made cleaner for many years.  It's very simple and the recipe follows:

All-Purpose Disinfecting Cleaner
1 tablespoon liquid soap
1 cup warm water
2/3 cup white vinegar

In a spray bottle, mix the soap and water first to prevent clumping.  Then add the vinegar and mix gently. 

Why Use a Home-Made Cleaner?

When you make your own cleaner, you really, really know what's in it.  When you buy a cleaner, you can't be sure all of the ingredients are listed.  The U.S.  EPA gives a warning about commercial all-purpose cleaners:

       When using [commercial] all purpose cleaners, follow these safety steps:

  • Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin
  • Be sure that there is good air circulation in the room. Open several windows or keep a fan running.
  • NEVER mix two cleaners of different kinds together, especially if one contains ammonia and the other contains chlorine. This can produce a gas called chloramine, and breathing its fumes could be fatal.
You could buy a commercial cleaner containing bleach to kill germs, but white vinegar also kills germs.  So, why pay more for a cleaner that can harm you?  Just make your own.