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Make Your Own Glass Cleaner

September 27, 2009 By: NB Category: Basic Formulas, Clean Formulas

homemade glass cleaner

homemade glass cleaner

This is the quickest, easiest, safest and cheapest glass cleaner you can make.  There is no need for hazardous chemicals like ammonia or ethyl/isopropanol alcohol to make your windows and mirrors shine.

Mix all the ingredients in a clean empty spray bottle and shake well.  Label your bottle.  I use a permanent waterproof marker right on the bottle.  Paper labels get wet and smear or come off.

1/2 cup white vinegar

2 tsp. liquid soap

3 cups warm water

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Make Your Own Dishwashing Liquid

September 27, 2009 By: NB Category: Basic Formulas, Clean Formulas

homemade dishwashing liquid

homemade dishwashing liquid

This dishwashing liquid may not be as thick or suds as much as the store bought varieties but it cleans just as well, is much less expensive, and contains no ingredients that are harmful to people, pets, or the environment.  Remember — suds are like hype — it may make it seem as if a product producing lots of suds is doing a lot of work but the bottom line is that suds don’t clean. It’s the water and soap in this recipe that does the cleaning.  The glycerin is an emollient to protect your skin.  The lemon juice dissolves grease and kills germs and bacteria.

The essential oil of lemon is optional.  You can get many essential oils at very good prices at Mountain Rose Herbs.

1/4 cup soap flakes
2 cups hot water
2 tsp. glycerin
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 drops lemon oil (optional)


Mix all ingredients in a clean empty squeeze bottle. Cover, and shake well to blend. Label your container. I like to use a permanent waterproof marker directly on the bottle.  This dishwashing liquid has a shelf like of 3 to 4 months.

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Basic Liquid Soap Formula

September 16, 2009 By: NB Category: Basic Formulas, Clean Formulas

liquid soap

liquid soap

The basic liquid soap is used in multiple other formulas.  There are four choices with varying degrees of effort in creating a basic liquid soap.

Choice 1:  Make liquid soap using vegetable oil(s) and potassium hydroxide.  The advantage of making your own liquid soap from scratch is its purity.  The disadvantage is that it takes 4 to 8 hours to make soap.

Choice 2:  Make liquid soap by grating a bar of pure soap and mixing it with boiling water until the soap has dissolved.  The advantage of this method is it takes far less time than choice #1 and less expensive than choice #3 or #4.

Choice 3:  Purchase pure soap flakes and mix with boiling water until the soap has dissolved.  I haven’t found any local establishments who carry soap flakes but I have found a couple on the internet – but they cost more than I was willing to pay.  Proctor and Gamble stopped making Ivory Soap Flakes in 1993.

Choice 4:  Purchase a liquid soap, such as castile.  The disadvantage of this choice is that these can be a bit pricey.

Unless you’re already a soaper (slang for someone who makes soap) choice #2 (or #3 if you can get the flakes at a decent price) is the easiest and cheapest for most people.  Making soap flakes is easy.  Just grate the bar of soap with your kitchen grater just like a vegetable.  It won’t hurt your grater – just be sure and wash it well and rinse in a mild vinegar bath (3 tablespoons of vinegar to a gallon of water) so the next veggie you grate doesn’t taste like soap.

To turn your pile of soap flakes into liquid soap mix 1 cup of soap flakes with 3 cups of boiling water in a wide mouthed container with a tight fitting lid.  A large quart jar (save the earth and reuse an empty one!) works wonderfully.  Now just imagine you’re south of the border at a fiesta and the jar is a maraca and shake, shake, shake!  You could even put on some spicy Latino music and burn a few extra calories while you’re making soap.  Multitasking FTW!

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Vinegar Does More Than Flavor Food

September 14, 2009 By: NB Category: Clean Chemistry, Safest Cleaning Agents

white vinegar

white vinegar

Vinegar results from a natural fermentation process – the oxidation by acetic acid bacteria of the ethanol found in beer, cider, wine or any other alcoholic liquid. Acetic acid bacteria are a gram-negative, aerobic, rod-shaped bacteria present universally in foodstuffs, water, and soil. The acetic acid concentration of vinegar usually falls around 5 percent by volume for table vinegar up to 18 percent or higher for pickling vinegar. At a 5% concentration vinegar has a pH of about 2.4, slightly less acidic than lemon juice. Acetic acid is detectible by a characteristic smell.

Concentrations by weight of 10% to 25% are classified as an irritant. Higher than 25% is corrosive and must be handled with great care as it can cause skin burns, mucous membrane irritation, and permanent eye damage that may not even appear until hours after the exposure. Concentrations over 90% are also flammable. Common table vinegars, including distilled white vinegar, are safe for humans and animals.

Among vinegar’s versatile aspects you’ll find the following:

  1. Vinegar is antibacterial.

  2. It is also antifungal.

  3. Vinegar will dissolve mineral deposits including limescale and hard water spots from glass and hard surfaces.

  4. Vinegar included in a bath and tile formula as a rinsing agent will help prevent bathtub rings and soap scum.

  5. It is an effective solvent for epoxy resin and hardener.

  6. Vinegar is safe as a herbicide as the acetic acid is not absorbed into root systems. It will kill top-growth but perennials will reshoot.

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Eight Great Uses For Baking Soda

September 14, 2009 By: NB Category: Clean Chemistry, Safest Cleaning Agents

sodium bicarbonate

sodium bicarbonate

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate and to a lesser extent as sodium hydrogen carbonate, is a chemical compound found in the mineral natron. It is a white solid that is crystalline in structure but can appear as a fine powder with a slight alkaline taste. The natural mineral form of sodium bicarbonate is nahcolite but it can be produced artificially. Besides helping our baked goods rise and have a light texture, baking soda is a wonderful additional to our cleaning arsenal. Here’s why:

  1. Baking soda is antiseptic and helps kill germs not only in our homes but for personal hygiene as well. A paste made from baking soda and 3% hydrogen peroxide is a safe and effective alternative to commercial toothpaste. It also makes a good natural deodorant. It is more effective than vinegar, salt, or hot water alone when washing vegetables to remove pesticides.

  2. It’s anti-fungal and not only helps kill mold and mildew but will neutralize their odors.

  3. Baking soda will dissolve tarnish. A solution of baking soda in warm water ( 3 Tbsp to a quart of water) with a piece of aluminum foil laying in the bottom of the container will remove tarnish from silver when it comes in contact with the foil.  Caution: This method should NEVER be used on any plated items, only solid metal, and never on any piece of aluminum, or the finish will be damaged.

  4. Baking soda is a powerful odor absorber – in the fridge, freezer, down the drain, on carpets, upholstery, fabrics, even a pair of smelly sneakers.

  5. It’s gently abrasive. A smooth paste of baking soda and water will help scrub off caked on, baked on, dried on gunk from glass cook-tops, porcelain, fiberglass, stainless steel and enameled metals.

  6. Baking soda softens hard water and is superb as a fabric softener. As an aside. you never want to use a fabric softener on towels and washcloths – it hampers their absorbency.

  7. Baking soda will extinguish small grease or electrical fires. Don’t use baking soda on a deep-fryer fire though – it might cause the flaming grease to splatter.

  8. It is effervescent when combined with vinegar and will work wonders cleaning a grimy oven or clearing a clogged drain.

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