Homemade cleaners

Make Your Own Spider Repellent 6 comments

A few weeks ago, I brought my son’s mattress into my bedroom for a “sleepover”.  As we were curled up in bed reading stories, a SPIDER came crawling onto the bed!!  It was as terrible as you might imagine…screaming, jumping, pounding the spider, LOSING the spider and panicking because, well, DID WE GET IT??

Eventually we found the dead sucker and vacuumed his remains up and tried to get some sleep.


Two days later, I was in bed, waking up from pleasant dreams.  Upon opening my eyes and looking up, I saw DIRECTLY above me, a spider DANGLING ON ITS WEB, coming down!!!  Holy cow, I don’t even remember what happened next, and that is not an exaggeration.  Next thing I remember I was on the ground with the blankets all around me.  I must’ve rolled or army crawled out of bed or something…whatever I did, it was quick!  I managed to kill this one without screaming since I had sleeping kids, although I did wake up one of the kids with an exclamation of “You’ve GOT TO be KIDDING ME” once I was safely out from underneath the evil thing.


Okay, so…I didn’t think I’d EVER be able to sleep again.  It was too darn traumatizing.  I made a mention of it on facebook, and got all sorts of advice for “bug bombs” and spider killers.

As much as I hate spiders, I hate using harsh chemicals in my home even more, so off to the internet I went in search of a natural spider remedy, deterrents preferably.

Before we get to the actual recipe I adapted, allow me to explain my oh-so scary spider picture. :-)  I swear, nearly every website I went to had a huge picture of a scary, terrible, evil looking arachnid staring at me, and I could hardly focus on the tips/tricks/recipes, because I was so horrified by the dang pictures.  So I thought I’d give y’all a graphic that hopefully won’t keep you up at night.  Unless you really HATE bad art….in which case I apologize.


I had heard that spiders avoided peppermint, and after further research, I feel confident that this is the case.  A few articles mention that they also don’t like citrusy things either.

After reading a few recipes, I came up with a combination for myself. It has worked beautifully!!

I gathered my stuff and put it all together.


  • 1 20 oz spray bottle
  • 1 quick squeeze liquid hand dish soap
  • 10 drops sweet orange essential oil
  • 10 drops grapefruit essential oil
  • 15 drops peppermint essential oil
  • water

Fill the spray bottle nearly to the top with water.  Add one quick squeeze of hand dish soap and the essential oils.  Put the lid on and gently swirl the mixture together (I didn’t shake it because I didn’t want it bubbling up).  Lightly spray around areas that you are concerned about:  Windows, doorways, corners, beds (in my case), etc.  I spray once a day.  Not only is it supposed to deter spiders, it smells fantastic.


I’ve also found that this mixture works well as a general cleaner too!


 *Update 07/2014 – I have since gotten more lazy and have used just the peppermint and grapefruit oils in with water and it has worked just as well!  Peppermint by itself works awesome also, but my son hates the smell, so we add the citrus to help.

*Update:  It’s been 18 months, and I have seen only ONE spider in the bedroom where I spray.  (It was after we’d been out of town and so I wasn’t around to use my spray.) Yippee. :-)


Here are some other great natural remedies:

-Tea Tree (Melaleuca) essential oil

– Catnip oil, borax, and other options

Chewing tobacco (I kid you not)

Lavender, lime, or lemon essential oils






Get Pee Stains Out of Your Mattress – Homemade Cleaner 8 comments   Recently updated !

If you’re a mom like me, you’ve likely dealt with your fair share of wetting accidents on the bed.  If you have a pet, you’ve likely dealt with the same darn thing (though hopefully not on the bed!!!).

My youngest does NOT want to be potty trained.  He’s 5 1/2 years old, has autism, and has just not wanted to follow through with potty training.  He’s got a fear of any toilet that isn’t ours at home, and has a panic attack when we try to get him to use public restrooms.  Come to think of it, he does the same thing about half the time at home, but I think it’s more because he’s afraid he’ll miss something at home, than a fear of the toilet itself.  Little stinker (literally)!


Anyway, I’ve cleaned up SO many accidents.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to keep up on the smell.  With each accident, it seems that the smell gets a little worse.  I’ve tried the whole vinegar thing, using baking soda on the mattress, essential oil mixes, and more.  I’ve spent $30 on one single bottle of natural cleaner.  NO LUCK.

So, when I found this recipe on pinterest, I didn’t think it’d work, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to try:

8 ounces/237 ml Hydrogen Peroxide

3 tablespoons/14.29 grams of Baking Soda

1 drop of liquid hand Dishwashing Liquid

Mix all ingredients into the spray bottle and use within 20 minutes.  Do not attempt to store the leftover solution. because it will leak out of the bottle.  The mixture only works if you use it immediately, because the cleaning byproducts are active for only a short time period.  You should see the stain lift and disappear within 5-10 minutes.  Once the mattress dries, if a baking soda film remains, then simply wipe or vacuum it off.

My thoughts on the recipe?  I felt like it worked better than anything else I’ve tried.  My son’s mattress isn’t nearly as smelly, although I would like to do another batch again.  I haven’t tried it on pet stains.  I also tried it on a pillow, but I didn’t feel like that worked, so I decided to suck it up and stick it in the laundry.  I now have a lumpy pillow, ha ha!

This is a recipe I’d recommend.  Seriously, it worked better than the $30 bottle of stuff I bought!

Easy Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner 15 comments   Recently updated !

During the Christmas season we had a lot of oranges given to us as gifts, and we also happened to buy a bunch of them, since that seems to be the time that oranges are so dang cheap!

If you eat a lot of oranges, you can save the peels and make a nice, easy, homemade cleaner for your home.  Eco-friendly and affordable.  (I’ve posted about this before, but wanted to share again.)


Put the peels in a quart-sized canning jar.  Pack them in until the jar is nice and full.  It took me a few days.

Natural Orange-Vinegar Cleaner

Once you’ve got the jar nice and packed full of orange peels, pour some white vinegar over them.  Fill the jar completely.

Once you’ve done that, you’ve just got to wait!  Put a lid on the jar, let it sit for 7-10 days, and then you’ll strain the mixture.  Put the strained liquid in a spray bottle and fill the remaining of it with water.  You’ve got a citrus-scented cleaner that will disinfect, deodorize, and clean!!:-)

Make Your Own: Homeade Liquid Hand Soap


I’ve always preferred liquid to bar soap, but honestly, I’ve always used bar soap because it’s cheaper.  Now that I have kids I’ve  found that they wash their hands much better with the liquid…it’s easier to squirt a little out and wash it off, there isn’t a slippery bar to grasp, and frankly, they’re more likely to get enough soap on their hands when it’s liquid.

My son, in particular, does much better with liquid soap.  It’s what they use at his school, and one of his autistic traits is that he wants things the same.  ALL TH E TIME.  Using bar soap causes more meltdowns than I would have ever thought possible! :-)

So I decided to try and make liquid hand soap from the bar soap I have on hand.

I found this recipe from Savvy Housekeeping.  It was the simplest one I found, and had a lot of positive reviews, so I decided to give it a shot.


My thoughts?  I personally love it.  Initially after making it, the soap had a “snot”-like consistency, and that was gross, but I whipped it around in the blender and that helped.  I’ve also found that the texture has improved as the days have gone by.  My husband and kids have all given their stamp of approval, and so I consider it a HUGE victory, and something I’ll continue to make.  I love the simple fragrance to it,  I love how much cheaper it is than store bought, and I love that it uses less packaging since I’m reusing the same bottle over and over!!



If you use bar soap and have no reason to switch to liquid, this may be a fun experiment when you’ve used up your bar and only a sliver remains….what a great way to keep from letting those go to waste!


Here’s the recipe, straight from Savvy Housekeeping (I’ve included my personal notes in blue):


  • 1 cup soap flakes
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp glycerin (I used a “heaping” tablespoon, and I found it at Walmart in the pharmacy section.  It only cost me $2.31 for the entire bottle.)

Grate the soap.  Use a cheese grater, and get to work.  I found that 1 bar of soap made a little over a cup; I ended up using about 3/4 of a bar.

In a large pot, combine 1 cup soap flakes, 10 cups water, and 1 Tbs glycerin. Turn on medium-low heat and stir until the soap dissolves. This took about 3 minutes for me.

Let the soap cool completely, then pour into the containers using the funnel.  I used quart canning jars, since that what I have on hand.  This makes so much that I filled a few of them, and just have them stored under the sink in my bathroom for when the bottles need a refill.

*I’ve read through many comments about this recipe, and it seems that Dove soap does NOT work well…so you may want to steer clear of that brand.  The reason is probably that Dove is a moisturizing soap, and so it doesn’t dissolve the same way a typical non-moisturizing soap will.






Eco-Friendly Living: Make Your Own Laundry Detergent 2 comments

About a year and a half ago, I decided it was time to start making homemade laundry detergent.  I found a recipe I liked and doubled it.  It turned out well, and I’ve been making it ever since.   Go here for the original recipe. Here’s how we did it! First, what you need:

  • 1 cup borax powder (available at any grocery store in the laundry detergent aisle)
  • 1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda (I found this at my local grocery store, Reams in the laundry detergent aisle) *Note, this is NOT baking soda!
  • 2/3 bar of laundry soap. (Fels Naptha melts the best, in my experience, but I’ve also successfully used Zote or Ivory brands)
  • OPTIONAL: 1/2 to 1 oz. essential oil for fragrance. (choose what you like!)

First, grate the soap and stick it in a stockpot over medium heat. Do NOT cube the soap. We did that, and it took FOREVER to melt! Add 12 cups of water and stir occasionally until the soap is melted Once melted, add the borax powder and the washing soda. Stir quickly until dissolved.

Remove from heat. Pour 8 cups of HOT water into your bucket (or whatever other container you’re using…I used a 5 gallon bucket that we got free from Home Depot). Add the soap mixture and stir. Finally, add 2 gallons + 12 cups of water and stir. My kids had so much fun doing the mixing for me! (the first time, anyway, now I usually stir myself)












Now is the time to add your essential oil if you choose to. Make sure to mix it in good. Now, let it sit overnight. It’s gonna gel up, but not 100%. It’s kinda like a “blob”, actually. That’s the best way I can describe the texture!

Use 1/2 cup per load. This makes 4 gallons. We tested it out yesterday, and it works great!

*A couple of things to note: When you dump in your 1/2 cup, the “blob” kinda just sits there at first. Don’t panic, it WILL dissolve!! And also, take into account that this is a low-sudsing formula. You’re not gonna see a lot of suds, if any at all. That’s okay, it’s not the suds that clean the clothes!!

YAY for saving money and making homemade!! This actually calculates out to be a little less than $1.60 for this WHOLE bucket! It makes enough for 128 loads of laundry, so it ends up being about $0.01 per load. Yes, that’s ONE CENT!!!

Living Eco-Friendly: Make Your Own Dishwasher Detergent 1 comment

In my quest to live a more eco-friendly, green lifestyle, I’ve taken to replacing all of my commercial cleaners with homemade, safe, chemical-free cleaners.


Not only is this good for my home in that we aren’t breathing in potentially toxic fumes anymore, it is also good for the environment in that we are “consuming” much less packaging.  It is also very kind to our wallets!!  I mean really, it’s a win-win.  Don’t believe in the whole “green movement” happening?  No problem, make these changes to pad your pocketbook!


We’re going to start off today by talking about homemade dishwasher detergent.

Remember the recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent I posted?  Well, I finally tried it, and I confess, I was disappointed.  The dishes were “clean”, but they had that ever annoying FILM all over them.

So…I did some more research, and found that I was missing a key ingredient:


You see, citric acid is the key to sparkly dishes.  I bought some from amazon.com for a pretty good price (I think, I’ve never bought it before), added it to my detergent, and voila!!  The dishes came out completely clean, and with less film than when I used the STORE BOUGHT stuff.  Brilliant!

And so, here is the new revised, much improved recipe:

1 cup borax

1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda)

1/2 cup kosher salt

2/3 – 3/4 cup citric acid.

Mix all the stuff together and store in an airtight container.  For a load of dishes, use one heaping tablespoon.  You can put vinegar in the rinse aid container for an even better shine!

Wellness Wednesday – Green Spring Cleaning

I found a really cool article in my newspaper a little over a week ago.  It was all about spring cleaning…the green way.



The thing is, I’ve always been into chemical-free cleaners, even before the whole “green” movement began.  I grew up in a home where my mom used Melaleuca, which is a company that makes chemical-free stuff.  Everything from cleaners to makeup to personal care products.  Soooo, it’s always been something I enjoyed.


Unfortunately, the aforementioned company is just like every other company out there (in my cheapskate opinion):  overpriced.  When I can make “green” cleaners for less than half the price, I’m gonna do it.  That’s why I loved this article.  It shared a lot of cleaning ideas that I already knew, but a few new ones as well.  I especially love this all purpose cleaner recipe:

  • Citrus peels
  • Vinegar
  • Water

Fill a quart sized glass jar with citrus peels.  This doesn’t need to be done all at once.  Whenever you eat a citrus, just put the peel in the jar.  When it is sufficiently full, pour vinegar over the peels to cover.  Let the mixture sit for at least two and a half weeks.  The vinegar will take on an orange/golden hue and smell powerfully of citrus.  Fill half a spray bottle with citrus-vinegar, straining as you pour.  Fill the rest with water.  Use with a rag to clean, well, anything!  It works well on sinks, mirrors, windows, floors, wooden chairs, and counters.  Best of all, this is made with the citrus peels you’d otherwise be throwing out! (recipe from Penniless Parenting, MCT)

(You can see that I’ve just started on this…but I’ll be sure to share my thoughts when the entire cleaner is made!)


Here are the basic recipes and techniques to get you started with your green cleaning, which I’m telling you, will save you some major green!!

Glass cleaner –

Mix 1/4 cup vinegar with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle.  Spray on glass and wipe clean with a lint-free cloth or old newspaper

Countertops and bathroom tile –

Mix 2 parts vinegar and 1 part baking soda with 4 parts water.  Apply with a sponge, scour, and wipe away.

Floors –

Mix 4 cups white distilled vinegar with about a gallon of hot water.  If desired, add a few drops of pure peppermint or lemon oil for scent.  After damp mopping the floors, the vinegar smell will dissipate quickly.

Wood furniture –

Mix equal parts lemon juice and olive oil.  Apply a small amount to a cloth and rub onto the furniture.

Mold and mildew –

Wipe with straight vinegar

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I found a recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent from a magazine (I’m so sorry, I don’t remember which one…).  I haven’t yet tried it, but thought I would post it for you if you’re interested.  I’ll be trying it as soon as I get to the store to get the stuff, and I’ll share my thoughts.
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
1 cup borax
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup kosher salt
Mix all together and use instead of your regular dishwasher detergent.

*I personally will be adding vinegar to the rinse cycle when I try this, just to help avoid water spots and all that jazz.

MUST HAVES for making your own cleaners! 2 comments

Okay, let me explain the Parmesan container. This is a must have for the CONTAINER ONLY.:-) It’s a perfect holder for baking soda-type cleaners. You could use a baby powder container instead, but I had to explain that first off. And the windex container does not actually contain Windex. It is my homemade glass cleaner. I saved it from my former evil chemical cleaning life.

Included in my essential cleaning supply is

I will post some very specific recipes shortly, but in the meantime, here’s a quick overview of cleaning you can do with these items:

BAKING SODA – unclog a drain: pour 1/2 cup down a clogged drain, and follow with vinegar. Let it bubble for awhile and then flush with boiling hot water.
– tub and sink cleaner: use it like comet or ajax. I like to add a few drops of essential oil simply for the lovely scent! (the parmesan container comes in handy for this)
– clean off car battery corrosion: make a paste of baking soda and vinegar and scrub. It’ll work wonders.

SALT – Pour into a pan filled with grease after cooking and it’ll soak the grease right up.

LEMON JUICE – Use as a window cleaner.
– Use with salt as a lemony scrub for stuck on grease and other kitchen residue.

VINEGAR – wash windows: mix 1 part vinegar with 2-3 parts water and use as window cleaner
– wash doorknobs and handles: vinegar is a mild disinfectant, and is perfect for wiping down handles and other things that tend to harbor germs.
– unclogging drains: pour a bunch of baking soda down a drain and follow it with some vinegar.

BORAX POWDER – Pour a little into your laundry with your regular detergent to give it an added boost.
– Deodorize your garbage pails by sprinkling a little into the bottom.

ESSENTIAL OILS – Perfect for adding to almost any cleaner simply to add a nice scent, if you want it. I purchase mine from doTERRA.

RUBBING ALCOHOL – Add a tablespoon of this to your vinegar/water cleaner to provide a streak-free window cleaning.
– Use with a Q-tip to clean crayon markings off your TV (yes, I’ve had to do this many times, it’s tested and true, unfortunately!)

More recipes to follow….