I am very excited about the discovery of this scrub/air freshener and how I put it to use in my bathroom. I mix baking soda and some delicious and grime fighting antibacterial essential oils and inhale deeply. (I use orange and lemon.) Sitting on the counter of my bathroom, the whole place smells like citrus. And if I feel like cleaning, well there it is looking at me. The best way I’ve found this to work on grime and soap scum is with a vinegar/water rinse or vinegar based cleaner like this tea tree multi-purpose cleaner. Vinegar + Baking soda breaks down to mostly water and the bubbling really helps removes stuck on scum.
For storing, feel free to use any cup or jar, but if you’re feeling really cool, buy a shaker with large holes (i.e. restaurant supply store parmesan cheese shaker.) I just cleaned my sink with this “tub scrub” and found it just as easy to use as scrubbing bubbles. And with my daughter in the room “helping,” I was so very happy it was all so non-toxic. The biggest thing I had to worry about was her making a mess. Anyway, I’ll explain it all better below, please pardon my long ramble! (I blame the small child in my tummy. Almost 39 weeks!)
1/2 c baking soda
20 drops Lemon, tea tree or lavender essential oil. (All have anti-bacterial properties)
Additional essential oil for scent. (I used orange)
Cup, jar or shaker for storing.
Combine baking soda and essentil oils in jar or storage container and stir with a tiny whisk or fork until all is incorporated.
Wipe down entire sink or tub with a damp sponge. Sprinkle scrub over the surface of the tub or sink. Spray it down with vinegar mix or vinegar multi-purpose cleaner. Watch it bubble like your own, very affordable, scrubbing bubbles!
Let it sit for a few moments bubbling before scrubbing the sink/tub gently with the scrubber side of your sponge. Rinse tub or sink with warm water and stand back and observe your very clean, very affordable, very non-toxic bathroom space.
It will stay fragrant for a few weeks at least. Add more oil if desired if it starts to lose its fragrance.
Ah laundry, a chore I don’t honestly mind too much. I find the process straightforward and the end result nice and rewarding. We are not a household who needs our clothes to smell for days and days of detergent. (I’m sure that’s pretty bad for you anyway with all the artificial fragrance pthalates, etc.) so I combined a bunch of sources to find a recipe to make our own. It is low suds so it should work a-ok in HE machines.
The Fels Naphtha has a clean scent and the lemon essential oil adds a fresh scent and anti-bacterial element. I don’t have any oxygen cleaner ie oxyclean in this recipe because I think it dilutes the grime fighting Fels Naphtha and Washing Soda. If you have a crazy stain, pre-treat with oxy-free. It’s pretty amazing stuff for stubborn stains but not needed in day to day laundry. (It’s also almost $8 per container.) As always, feel free to leave the essential oil out or sub it for your favorite.
Note: I will update this post as time goes by if we tweak the recipe at all.
Washing Soda $3.24 for 55oz box
Borax $3.38 for 76 oz box
Fels Naphtha bar $0.97
Lemon essential oil $4 (approx)
For this batch of 64 loads:
$0.95 Washing Soda
$0.97 Fels Naphtha
$0.20 essential oil
Total: $2.52 ($0.04/load)
Our seventh generation laundry soap was over $13 for 66 loads ($0.20/load.) I’ve seen it for $18 per container.
Yield: Approx 64 washes. (4 cups of detergent)
2 c Washing Soda
1 c Borax (20 Mule)
1 Bar Fels Naphtha laundry soap, finely grated.
30-40 drops lemon essential oil
Grate the Fels Naptha on the smaller side of a box grater. You should get small soap curls.
Blend the soap in a blender for 15 seconds, shaking and patting the blender to get a powdery consistency.
Pour the soap powder, borax, washing soda and essential oil into a bowl and whisk to combine. Scoop or funnel into an airtight container. (This happens to fit perfectly in a quart sized mason jar.)
Add one tablespoon for a regular load to water before adding clothes and wash on preferred cycle. Add another tablespoon for really dirty clothes or a very large load.
I am a pretty big fan of citrus. My shower is usually filled with something grapefruit, orange or lemon. This lovely little soap is quite sudsy, cleans well and we really enjoy the fresh smell of orange with just the tiniest hint of lemon. The glycerine will soften hands and make the soap a little thicker, the castile soap adds great grease and grime fighting and if you want a little more moisturizing oomph, add a little almond oil. As always, if you don’t like citrus as much as I do, sub your favorite essential oil combination. We reused an old foaming soap dispenser, but you can always purchase one. I find this version sleek. Etsy also has an adorable mason jar version.
Frugal Note: This soap was a lot less to make than the $4.99 burt bees blood orange foaming soap I had previously. Cost breakdown: $0.50 worth of castile soap, $0.25 of essential oils and maybe $0.10 of vegetable glycerine, totaling less than $1. If you are into this diy soap as much as I am, I’d start buying larger quantities of everything, as they are almost always a much better price per ounce.
1 foaming soap dispenser
1/4 c castile soap
3/4 c filtered water (or as much as needed for your container)
1 tsp vegetable glycerine
15 drops orange essential oil
5 drops lemon essential oil
1 tsp almond oil (optional)
Add 3/4 cup water to the bottle, then add soap, essential oil, optional almond oil and glycerine.
Fill to the top with additional water if any space remains.
Shake to combine and have fun with your soft, clean, good smelling hands.
I love the smell of lemongrass, it smells fresh, citrusy and is reminiscent of the high-end candles I like to smell at various pottery barn type stores. It is actually one of the more affordable essential oils, at less than $5 for a small container. This dishwashing liquid works really well, smells great and costs almost nothing. The washing powder cuts through grease, the liquid castile soap makes a slight lather, the bar soap thickens, and the glycerine makes it a little thicker and softens your hands in the process Lastly, I add a little tea tree oil for its natural anti-bacterial properties.
Note: Do not add vinegar to your dishsoap, as it cancels out the cleaning properties of the castile soap and the soap breaks down.
1 1/2 c boiling water
1 rounded tbsp washing powder
3 tbsp castile bar soap, grated on smallest setting (I used a microplane)
1/4 c liquid castile soap
10-15 drops lemongrass essential oil
5-10 drops tea tree oil
Boil water and add washing powder, stir until all dissolves. Add bar soap shavings and stir to dissolve.
Add essential oils then pour all ingredients into a re-used plastic dishsoap bottle or a glass olive oil bottle (even better!)
I wanted to re-publish this, as the original recipe had two products that I removed, one for cleaning purposes and one for safety. See updates below for details!
I personally very much like the scent of lemon and tea tree oil. They both just smell so fresh and clean. This recipe is crafted from experience and about a million other recipes and warnings (see updates below.) Tea tree oil adds anti-bacterial elements to the mix. Vinegar is just a good cleaner for almost anything and the lemon essential oil works great on grime and smells good too! The cleaner works really well in both bathroom and kitchen.
Update: Lisa at Dr Bronners recommends NOT mixing vinegar and Castile soap, as it cancels out the effect of the soap and leaves streaks. I’ve updated my personal mix and the recipe below.
DIY Lemon Tea Tree Oil All Purpose Cleaner
Makes about 3 1/2 cups
1/4 c white vinegar
3 c warm water
10 drops tea tree oil
5 -10 drops lemon essential oil.
- Combine all ingredients in a glass measuring cup and stir until borax is completely dissolved.
- Carefully pour into your favorite empty bottle or repurposed cleaning bottle and label with a permanent marker. If you later want to remove the marker, simply go over it with a dry erase marker and scrub off with a cloth.
When I was a little kid, maybe 6, I used to mix up “potions” in the bath tub. I would mix a little shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and it would magically transform to a super cleaner/shampoo/conditioner. I was a little endearingly gung ho about cleaning. Fast forward 22 years and I still like making potions, just this time they make a little more sense. When I mixed the ingredients for this cleaner, I actually did make a super cleaner. The alcohol helps minimize the drying time and the vinegar and soap attack the grime living on my floors and the essential oil added anti-bacterial results and left a nice smell. There were no streaks, smudges or other unsightly results. Total cost was $0.00 since I had everything in the house. Score. This is not designed for hardwood floors. I haven’t been able to test any DIY mixtures for that since we have all laminate.
DIY All Natural Floor Cleaners
(A combination of Nature’s Nurture and Mama Tron Recipes)
What you need:
- 1 cup Water
- 1 cup White Vinegar
- 1 cup 70% Isopropyl (Rubbing) Alcohol
- 2-3 drops of liquid dish detergent
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
- 3 drops tea tree oil
- Microfiber mop or towels
1. Pour all ingredients into a measuring cup and stir to combine.
2. Pour the mixture inside a repurposed or new spray bottle, and shake lightly to ensure all dish soap has been distributed.
- Spray the cleaner over the floor, lightly coating it.
- Wait 5 minutes to let the mixture penetrate the grime
- Mop the surface with a damp (but not soaking) microfiber mop or towel.