May 26, 2010
I've grown increasingly averse to using toxic chemicals and generally try to avoid buying things that use a lot of packaging. After seeing this great post on all-natural cleaners on the Young House Love blog, I decided to start making my own.
Sean took a recent business trip to the States, and brought back some Dr. Bronner's bar soap and liquid castile soap from Trader Joe's. I found some borax powder and washing soda in bulk bins at a great store called Grassroots, and scooped them into some (clean) repurposed yogurt containers. I ended up with about two cups each of the borax and washing soda for under $3. I also scored some regular baking soda at the Dollarama down the street, and got a 4-litre jug of vinegar at the grocery store.
So far, I've made a surface/all-purpose cleaner that works great in the kitchen and bathroom. I used to have to open the windows in the bathroom and would get light-headed when I used a stronger commercial cleaner (that claimed to be earth-friendly). Our whole upstairs would smell toxic for a couple of hours afterward. Now it just smells clean and slightly pepperminty/vinegary for a little while. I put together a laundry detergent as well.
The recipe on the YHL site I linked to above uses Fels Naptha soap, which isn't vegan, but I found this recipe, which recommends using a Dr. Bronner's pepperment bar soap.
It was super easy. I grated half of the bar of soap with a fine microplane grater, added a half cup each of borax and washing soda. Hooray! The laundry I've washed so far is coming out just as clean and fresh-smelling as with the commercial detergent I'd previously been using (if not better), and it's a lot cheaper and more earth-friendly.