Cleaning & Disinfecting 101

Sodium Bicarbonate with Toothbrush
This blog post has been rewritten and all photos regarding EO have been changed in order to be compliant with the FDA as well as the current EO company that I use. If you have any questions regarding this post or essential oils, please contact me via email. All EO photos are stock photos found on Google Images and as generic as I could find.
If you know me at all, you know that I tend to steer clear of commercial cleaners. The funny thing is, is that I used to use them ALL THE TIME! Then once I started to rethink our foods, it did not take me long to do the same with other areas in my life. Funny how your entire perspective can change when you change one thing in your life.

My body can only get rid of about 20-30% of the toxins it absorbs due to a blood clotting disorder I have.

You can reread that last sentence if you want to again.

I can wait until you are done.

I am patient that way.

Your eyes were not playing tricks on you!

I did say that my body can only remove about 20-30% of the toxins I absorb. A HUGE benefit for me using the natural stuff is that I obviously have less toxins going into my system.

My Hubby went shopping a few months ago and on a whim bought me Windex Everyday Touch-Ups Cleaner. He thought I would LOVE it since I used to use the spray version of it all the time prior to switching to our current cleaners.

My heart melted. He actually searched through the cleaners trying to find something to make my life easier. I was faced with a choice to either just suck it up and use the cleaner or break his heart for the incredible intentions he had. I opted to suck it up! However, my body was NOT appreciative of my decision in the least. My throat hurt IMMEDIATELY, like as soon as I put the cloth (we do not use paper towels) to the cleaner. When I went to wipe the surface with it, my nose started to burn and then post nasal drip began flowing and I had a whopping headache directly after that. I hoped it was all in my head. Hubby was so proud of himself. I tried it again the following day only to have the same thing happen again. I decided that that was the last time I was going to put myself through that. My system is just not up to the harsh chemicals.

I am often asked what are my favorite go to cleaners that I use and can I please share my recipes?

My rule of thumb when it comes to my cleaners???

The simpler the better! I add as little as possible to my cleaners and I expect them to perform to the level I need them too.  I have 3 kids, a Hubby, 3 dogs, a blind in one eye feisty but slightly asthmatic cat, my blog and FB pages that demand my time and constant attention. So for me to make a post on them….YEAH, they do the job and do it VERY well here.

My Basic Arsenal For Cleaning and Disinfecting My Home Supply List:

Vinegar

One of my favorite cleaners to use. I thought I would have a lot more of an issue with the smell of vinegar at first to be honest. But I do not even notice it really. The scent dissipates so quickly. The cleaning power is incredible. It is effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs due to its acidity level. There is almost NOTHING I have found that it will not clean.

Essential Oils

Where to begin with my LOVE for these incredible tiny 5ml and 15ml little bottles. I use these bad boys ALL the flipping time!

Baking Soda

This white powder is an ally that I use just about on a daily basis. It is a cleaner that is as impressive as it is ridiculously inexpensive! You can find it almost anywhere from grocery stores to box stores and even some drug stores in between! Baking soda is bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate.  It is a mild abrasive so it gently wears away stains. When it is mixed with vinegar, it boosts the corrosive acid in the vinegar. It releases carbon dioxide (bubbly gas) increasing the scrubbing effect. It also is known to eliminate odors by neutralizing acids in odor molecules.

3% Hydrogen Peroxide

Oh the bubbly fun stuff! Who does not remember getting this poured on a cut or scrape and watching it bubble while you listened to it make the gurgling bubbling noises!!! As a child growing up, did you know that it could also clean your house and remove stains??? OH YES IT CAN! From removing blood stains, fighting mold, to disinfecting cutting boards, it really is a power to be reckoned with.

All Natural Cleaning Soaps

I have some recipes that call for all natural cleaning soaps. You can use any all natural soap you want too. I do not use it in my All Purpose Cleaner as I do not want to worry about having to wash off any residue left behind on  my counters, food prep areas and tables. I have too much going on to worry about that!

Glass Containers

I use both glass spray bottles and mason jars for most of my cleaning solutions. Essential oils are NOT well known for their friendliness to the world of certain plastics. The cheaper the plastics, the quicker their demise! I use glass containers. If you have no intentions of using essential oils, feel free to use what ever plastic water bottles or containers you want. I typically use 4oz and 8oz glass bottles (2oz bottles when I am traveling) to make my cleaners in. I prefer the smaller sized bottles compared to the typical 32oz spray bottle.

When using essential oils, it is always a good idea to use a DARK colored glass bottle. The essential oils tend to break down when exposed to light.

Click here for a link to where I buy my glass bottles.

Microfiber Clothes

Where to begin with these incredible pieces of fabric. They are a MUST have item in my cleaning arsenal.

Scrub Brushes

These are also a must have. They come in all sizes and shapes just for your cleaning needs. I save our old toothbrushes to scrub things as well. You can go anywhere and buy whatever size and shape you want.

Rags / Clothes

I drive my Mom In Law CRAZY with the NO paper towels, NO saran wrap, and NO zip lock baggies in my home. We just use wash clothes and small hand towels instead of the paper towels.

Oils

You will see a couple of recipes that call for oil in them. I use either liquid coconut oil or olive oil personally. However, if you have a different oil you prefer, I am not going to stop you from getting on with your Badass Self.

The Recipes….

All Purpose Spray

I use this spray in on my kitchen table, counter tops, island, stove top, windows, sliding glass doors, mirrors.

Like I said ALL PURPOSE!

Equal parts water and vinegar

15 drops of Essential oil (Completely optional)

Water Bottle

I use an 8 oz amber glass spray bottle because I am using essential oils. If you are not using essential oils then a regular spray bottle will work just fine. You can use either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

Now I will tell you that when I clean mirrors, sliding glass doors, windows, my ceramic cooktop, I use a microfiber clothes to avoid streaks.

I do not add soap or baking soda to my all purpose cleaner. I do not have time to go back and rinse surfaces off before I use that surface once again. I can always go back if I need to and add something like baking soda on the spot if the spray does not work by itself. This RARELY ever happens.

My range top after cooking and prepping. LOVELY HUH???
My range top after cooking and prepping.
After....
After….

Bathrooms

I hate cleaning bathrooms. I mean they are freaking gross! Covered in well, yea, I am not going to go into the details of what all covers most bathrooms.

Recipe 1

1 cup vinegar

1-2 quarts of hot water

1 tsp natural soap (Do not use Castile Soap)

30 drops of essential oils (Optional)

Mix in a container and scrub it all down.

Although there are several recipes that call for castile soap and vinegar to be used together, they actually cancel each other out when mixed together.

Recipe 2

All purpose cleaner and a rag or cloth.

Mold Drama

I am going to tell you that our master bathroom has a really deep dark and nasty secret. It loves mold. When they designed our house, they decided that we did not need a vent in the master bathroom because they would just put a window in instead. Not a bad thought, unless you are one that is using the shower and it is below freezing. The window is located an arms length away from the shower stall. The funny thing is that only the shower stall molds.

3% Hydrogen Peroxide.

I pour it straight onto the mold or I put it in a spray bottle and spray it on the mold that way. I then rinse or wipe the area clean. If I have a particularly stubborn spot, I will add some baking soda to the peroxide and gently scrub it away with a scrub brush or toothbrush.

The pics below are real pics of my master bathroom shower stall. We had an issue with our pipes in our bathroom rendering it unusable. I was in awe when I opened the shower curtain to get something out of the stall and found this…

Master bath shower stall!!!!
Master bath shower stall….
Close up of my shower stall!!!
Close up of my shower stall…

Since I am doing a post on cleaning I figured the Universe was seriously having a good time with this post. I decided to show you what peroxide could do. I will tell you that I poured it over the mold and then immediately dumped baking soda on top. I gently scrubbed it with a toothbrush. It was late at night and Hubby needed to get to bed so, I did not do a second round of the peroxide on it. I wanted to show you what one round of it all could do.

Peroxide and baking soda thrown on top....
Peroxide and baking soda thrown on top….
After....This is the first round gently scrubbed with a toothbrush once....
After….This is the first round gently scrubbed with a toothbrush once….
Shower stall after peroxide and baking soda round 1....
Shower stall after peroxide and baking soda round 1….

There is no harsh odors and the stall came clean after one round of peroxide and baking soda. At least you know I am keeping it real.

Toilets

Let’s be honest….I do not know anyone that likes to clean toilets. I HATE HATE HATE cleaning toilets! With that being said. We have VERY hard water here that leaves stains in our toilets all the time.

Toilet Cleaner Recipe

1/2 – 1 cup of baking soda

1/4 – 1/2 cup of vinegar

10 drops of essential oil

Add all the ingredients to the toilet and scrub as the baking soda and vinegar react to each other. (They will bubble and fizz.)

Here are the before, during, and after pics. ONLY for this post would I let things get this nasty just to take before and after pics.

OMFG GROSS TOILET!!!!
OMFG GROSS TOILET!!!!
Solution as it fizzed and did it's magic....
Solution as it fizzed and did it’s magic….
After. I did let the solution sit for about 1/2 hr and gave it a really good scrub to get the hard water stains out of the inner chamber....
After. I did let the solution sit for about 1/2 hr and gave it a really good scrub to get the hard water stains out of the inner chamber….

Floors

I use vinegar, water and essential oils to clean my laminate and tile floors. Have hardwood floors? Relax I will share a recipe for those too. I am just not lucky enough to have them.

1/4 cup of vinegar

1 gallon of water

20 drops of essential oil

Mix ingredients in a bucket and go to town. I use a mop head that I can throw in the washer and reuse. I know, I am thrifty that way.

Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Equal parts vinegar and olive oil

10 drops essential oil (Optional)

Spray bottle

Mix the ingredients together in a spray bottle and apply to  a microfiber cloth.

If you have a Swiffer Sweeper or a dry dust broom, you can put the microfiber cloth on the bottom of them and use that to clean the floors with.

Dusting

I am allergic to dust. So, I try to keep my house dust free as much as possible. Microfiber clothes are amazing at trapping the dust.

If you want to apply a furniture polish, I use the hardwood floor cleaner recipe.

Furniture Polish Recipe

Equal parts vinegar and household oil of your choice

10 drops essential oil (Optional)

Spray bottle

Mix in a spray bottle and mist a microfiber cloth with the solution and dust away!

You can use this as often as you like or every couple of months.

Room Disinfecting Spray

This is a spray that I LOVE to use.

Water

40-50 drops Essential Oils

8 -10 oz  GLASS Spray Bottle

Put the oils in the glass water bottle and fill the rest of the way with water…. shake gently before each use.

Disinfecting Wipes

1 cup water

1 cup vinegar

30 drops of essential oils

1 quart mason jar

1/2 yrd of flannel fabric (100% cotton)

Pinking shears

Directions:

This recipe can be used with a roll of paper towels cut in half instead of fabric. If you choose to go the paper towel route, you will not need a pair of pinking shears.

If you are using fabric for this recipe, you can honestly use any kind of fabric you want. Old clothes, baby washcloths, receiving blankets, washcloths, towel scraps, etc. I went to my local fabric store and bought 100% flannel in black. I chose the darkest color I could find because I did not want to see a bunch of stains on my wipes. The amount of fabric you need is up to you. I used about 1/2 yrd to make mine.

Wipes....
Homemade wipes

I cut the fabric into a square/rectangle size I wanted (a little bigger then my hand) and then using pinking shears I trimmed the edges. The pinking shears allowed this project to be a no sew one.

Pinking shears....
Pinking shears….
Fabric cut into the size I wanted....
Fabric cut into the size I wanted….
The fabric frayed almost instantly after I cut it....
The fabric frayed almost instantly after I cut it….
Recut the edges with the pinky shears....
Recut the edges with the pinky shears….

Next I laid the fabric out in a row. Each piece covered about 3/4 of the other piece. I rolled them into a log shape.

Cloth laid out ready to be folded....
Cloth laid out ready to be folded….
Fabric rolled in to a log shape...
Fabric rolled into a log shape…

I added the water, vinegar, and essential oils to the mason jar.

Liquid in the jar...
Liquid in the jar…

I put the wipes in the jar and with the lid on tight, shook the ever living HELL out of it. Rolled it, flipped it, shook it some more until it was completely through all the fabric!

Ready to be used...
Everything in the jar…

I then opened up the wipes gently in the center and pulled one out to see if it was wet. The first time I did this, it was not wet in the center at all. I added more of the cleaning solution again until it was thoroughly wet. However, this did cause my wipes to crumble into a mass instead of stay in the pretty roll like formation. Next time, I now add the fabric first and pour the liquid directly into the center.

Nicely mixed and ready to be used....
Nicely mixed and ready to be used….

Wipes in action….

Close up of my disgusting cabinet front...
Close up of my disgusting cabinet front…
Cabinet being wiped down...
Cabinet being wiped down…
The wipe even took off double sided sticky tape residue.....
The wipe even took off double sided sticky tape residue…..
Close up of the cabinet....Talk about impressive!
Close up of the cabinet….

If you are worried about how to wash the fabric wipes, just throw them in the washer or dryer with a load of laundry. I personally wanted something that I could just toss and go!

NOTES: 

Water

I did not list whether you should use distilled, bottled, tap, spring, well, boiled, etc. That, I will leave up to you. Use whatever water you are the most comfortable with using. My goal is to get you to explore the world of natural cleaning, not to demand you to use a specific kind of water.

Essential Oils

extract-oil-from-orange-peel

I did not list what essential oils I use in the post on purpose. I want you to chose whatever oils you want or prefer to use. I am going to list the oils that are the most popular oils used in cleaning recipes.

I have kept the list of oils VERY generic on purpose as to keep within the FDA and oil companies compliance guidelines. 

Lemon

Lime

Wild Orange

Geranium

Lemongrass

Melaleuca

Lavender

Eucalyptus

Bergamot

White Fir

Peppermint

Grapefruit

Oregano

Rosemary

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7 thoughts on “Cleaning & Disinfecting 101

  1. How far in advance can you make the cleaning supplies or what is their shelf life? Trying to figure out if these could be made now and used when needed . Thanks!!

    1. I personally make them as needed, because they are all natural cleaners with 0 preservatives. Most people have the biggest issue with mold on their wipes. I make up smaller batches that I can use up in about a week. I have not had any issues with mold by doing it this way. I keep the next set of wipes in a quart sized mason jar so that all I have to do is add the liquid to them and they are ready to go. All the recipes take about a minute to make up at the most, so making them fresh is never an issue here. It takes me longer to make a pot of coffee then it does to any of the cleaning recipes in this post. The All Purpose Cleaner, I have NEVER had any issues with it going bad either. I use 4oz and 8oz bottles for my cleaning recipes too. They are smaller in size then the typical 32oz spray bottle most people use. I have updated my blog with both the size bottles I use as well as also added my favorite site for glass spray bottles to the post.

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