Using Vinegar to Clean Your Home 0
While the chemical industry has been spending millions of dollars on research & development and advertising a year, people have been rediscovering the power of their kitchen pantry when cleaning. People have stopped resorting to sprays and scrubs full of harmful chemicals, which have negative effects on people using them, the individuals exposed to them, and the environment. Instead, many are resorting to simple concoctions made from a few, well-known ingredients to get the job done.
And when it comes to cleaning naturally, there's no greater hero than white vinegar. Its acidic nature helps in breaking down greasiness, cutting through grime, and killing a lot of germs. Used with other powerful ingredients, it can create amazing natural cleaning products that you can make yourself, keeping your home more natural and keeping your waste levels down.
Here are some easy DIY recipes for household cleaners that use Vinegar:
All Purpose Cleaner:This is a great recipe for those who aren't a fan of the "pickling smell" that comes with use of vinegar in household cleaning.
- 1-2 cups of white vinegar
- The peel of two lemons (a great way to use leftovers)
- 1 tsp Castile Soap (like Dr. Bronners or the Green Beaver)
- 20 drops of Lemon or an alternative essential oil
Put your lemon peels in a glass jar and cover them with the vinegar. Screw the top on, give it a shake, and leave the jar in a sunny place to infuse for at least 2 weeks. After this time, strain the vinegar to remove all the lemon pieces and pour into a spray bottle. Add the remaining ingredients and you're ready to go! Just give your solution a swirl before using and you have a fresh smelling, natural, and effective all purpose cleaner.
Glass Cleaner:No more streaky mirrors and windows! Just 3 ingredients and you have your own DIY version!
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup rubbing alcohol
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and get cleaning! Use with a soft cloth that won't leave lint on your surfaces. Store away from heat as the alcohol is flammable.
Combine equal amounts of vinegar and lemon juice in cup or bowl and then transfer into a spray bottle (or not!). With a small, clean cloth, softly rub the solution into your furniture to polish. Wipe away any remaining moisture with another dry cloth. This solution doesn't store well, so you'll want to prepare a small amount each time you intend to do some polishing.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner:
Pour a cupful of vinegar in your toilet bowl, let it sit for a few minutes, and scrub with a toilet brush. The vinegar will lift any stains that remain and neutralize the smell. If you have some stubborn discolouration or stains that don't react to just vinegar, throw some baking soda in there first, and then add more vinegar. It will cause a fizzy reaction and the by-product is an acid which is effective in fighting grime.
Add a cup of white vinegar to your load of laundry for some extra softness. It also helps with restoring your whites to their former glory without threatening your colours. Don't worry about the vinegar smell- it will be masked by the laundry soap or add some essential oils to your wool dryer balls to impart a different scent.
White Vinegar vs. Household Vinegar
One thing to be careful with is what kind of vinegar you are using in your cleaning products. While you are welcome to use the white vinegar that you find at the grocery store, many DIY'ers like to use household vinegar, a more potent option with less water in it. In stores we offer refills on the Unscented Company Household Vinegar which is 12% acetic acid instead of the regular 5% that you would get in the grocery store. This means that you can cut down on at least half of the vinegar amounts listed in the above recipes if you are using household vinegar. This high acidity vinegar can be great for spot treatment, tough stains, and cutting through thick grime, giving you more options than regular vinegar.
As you see, there's no need to stock up on new cleaning products this month- just refill the containers with ingredients you can easily find around your home!
(Image credit: Quentin Bacon)
All Natural Stain Removers | Remove Tough Stains Naturally Without Fear 0
"Nonsense, it can't be done!"
What's that you're talking about? How you can actually remove stains naturally with strategies that don't include using powerful and harmful chemicals?
We know, we know. You have crazy stains to deal with, from paint on your toddler's clothes, soiled cloth diapers, or even wine stains on your linen following last week's dinner party.
But when we make natural and safe laundry a priority, it means that we have to get creative with how to best remove these tough stains without pumping our water full of chemicals and keeping hazardous materials in our homes.
It's taken us a while to hone in on what works best, but we are now ready to share our favourite products and tricks to attain clean, fresh clothes without resorting to powerful bleaches which are neither good for the earth or for us.
BunchaFarmers Stain Remover
This all natural stain remover is easy to use in multiple ways. It comes in a stick which you can apply directly to stains or cut off pieces to add directly to your load of laundry. It's not a detergent- it's a soap (read more about the difference here), and safe to use all around the home, even on walls, carpets, and appliances. Just dissolve a bit in hot water, put into a spray bottle, and you're ready to go. We like using this on colour loads since it fights stains without fading the fabric.
Molly's Suds Oxygen Whitener
You've probably heard of oxygen bleaches and here's the natural version! This oxygen whitener uses sodium percarbonate and other natural ingredients to combat stains and overall "dinginess" which hard water can leave on your whites. You can either use it as a pre-wash soak, add it to your white laundry loads, or even use it around your house on carpets or even toilets! There's no ammonia, no bleach, and no fragrance oil to be afraid of!
Bummis Whitening Powder
Those who have kids in cloth diapers know that these stains are not easy to keep at bay, especially if you are just washing them like you would anything else. We carry Canadian-made Bummis diapers in store, and they have a recommended washing routine to help make your diapers as clean and long-lasting as possible. If you are finding that the diapers are still not the colour that you would like, even when following the recommendations, add some of this whitening powder to the short cold wash cycle. It should help lift some of the stains and help with overall whiteneing.
RLR Laundry Treatment
This packet might look like a blast from the past, but the reason that it's still around is that it works! Just add it to your laundry cycle to remove stains while preserving the colours of your clothing. Many find this particularly good for cloth diaper loads, and with its small individual packets, you can give it a try without committing to a large bag.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
If you have a particularly tough stain that's not coming out despite multiple washings, try making a paste of baking soda and vinegar and rubbing it in with a toothbrush. This is an all-natural, home made stain remover that I have used successfully a number of times. As these are pantry staples, you don't have to worry about being stuck with no stain fighting measures while that offending substance continues to soak into your fabrics.
This bathroom staple is especially effective on plant-based stains like grass stains, berry juice, vegetable stains, as well as blood. You can apply to directly to stains with a Q-tip after testing on an inconspicuous spot. Rub gently and watch it disappear. If it's a greater area, spray or pour the hydrogen peroxide directly and leave to soak for 10 minutes before laundering it as usual. It's also great for removing bacteria-caused smells from items like towels or athletic equipment. Soak these items in hot water containing up to half a cup of hydrogen peroxide or add a greater amount of the peroxide to a full load's worth.
Treat stains quickly
As soon as you notice that there's a stain, it's time to spring to action. Even if you can't immediate treat it as you would want to, at least dab off any excess of the offender, wet it, or better yet, soak it in warm water.
Sun It Out
Ever notice that your patterned curtains turn a different colour after being in direct sunlight, or your kids' sunhats look a bit lighter after a season of constant use? That's because the sun is a natural bleacher! If you hang or lay your whites outside in the sun, they will benefit from this whitening hack. This is especially helpful with tough stains on cloth diapers.
Perfecting your natural laundry and stain removal techniques will take time, and some trial and error. After a while, you will develop your own preferences and favourites that work for you and your family's needs. Don't be afraid to share your natural stain removal secrets with others- it's part of preserving our earth and making this a healthier world for everyone!
Share your tips in the comments!
The Difference Between Laundry Soap and Detergent 0
Aren't soap and detergent the same thing? They both clean things, right? Though some people use the terms interchangeably, the simple answer is that no, they are not the same.
Since the beginning of its history in Babylonian times, soap has been made of natural ingredients including plant oils or the acids from animal fat, now referred to as alkali salts of fatty acids. This also means that it is biodegradable (granted that no chemicals have been added).
However due to historical shortages and the expense of production, synthetic cleaners were introduced and labeled as detergents. Unfortunately, now the vast majority of products which are used for cleaning today are actually detergents instead of soaps, even those created for washing your hands, face, and body. If you are confused or unsure while standing in the aisle of a shop, if the listed ingredients include sodium lauryl sulfate or cocomidoproyl betaine, you're holding a detergent, not a soap.
Furthermore, when these detergents get into the water, they wreck havoc on the natural environment by introducing a number of harmful chemicals which your water purification plant won't be able to remove. And if you are worried about the chemicals on the water, wouldn't you have some apprehensions before washing your children's clothing in them, especially since they wear it against their skin?
However, there are some modifications that you will have to make when switching to laundry soap. Since it doesn't spread universally in water like detergents do, they usually need an additional clear rinse with soft water to prevent the build up of soap scum. Additionally, to best activate the power of soap, it's important to use warm water. This will create a wonderful lather and ensure that your clothes end up as clean as could be, without the damage which detergents create on the environment.
We are often asked "do you carry natural laundry detergent?". Now you understand why we answer no. There is no such thing. However, there are a number of excellent companies which manufacture laundry soaps which are highly concentrated, safe to use on baby clothes, have natural scents, and keep our clothes in excellent condition, all without harming the environment.
Stay Clean and Green!
*Live for Tomorrow Products label their Laundry Soap as a detergent since people are used to the term. However, it's really a soap. Thankfully!