Clean(er) Living // DIY Household Products

A few weeks ago, I started writing about the ways in which our family has shifted our approach to food, purchases, and various products in our home. We are in the process of looking for ways to consume less, use fewer chemicals, and eat cleaner foods, and today I'm going to share a few recipes.

I mentioned this in my first post, but one of the ways I feel strongly about switching things up is with our cleaning products, including our laundry detergent. There are many wonderful products you can purchase at stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, so making these items at home isn't entirely necessary; however, using your own glass bottles certainly helps reduce waste, and that's a big plus considering how many K-cups we go through in a week (#carbonfootprint).

I found this Four Thieves essential oil all-purpose cleaner recipe on Cloistered Away, one of my favorite simple living blogs, and it is truly perfection. I've been using it on everything from counter tops to bathroom sinks to toilets and even for spot-cleaning our floors. It gets up sticky residue better than brands like 409 and, of course, it's non-toxic so I don't have to worry about health hazards (unless Lucy decides to drink it or something).

Four Thieves All-Purpose Cleaner

4 tbsp Dr. Bronner's castile soap
14 oz. filtered water
20 drops of Eden's Garden Four Thieves essential oil (comparable to Young Living's Thieves)

Shake thoroughly in a 16 oz. glass spray bottle (glass is necessary for essential oil recipes) and store in cool, dark area such as a pantry or closet.

I also have a few other essential oil recipes - including glass cleaner, bug spray, and air freshener - which you'll find below.

Four Thieves Glass Cleaner

4 oz. white vinegar
12 oz. filtered water
20 drops of lemon or orange essential oil

This recipe also works well for an all-purpose spray, but I find the vinegar smell a little disconcerting so I use it for glass instead.

Lemon Air Freshener

2 oz. isopropyl alcohol
2 oz. filtered water
5 drops of Eden's Garden Lemon essential oil

Mix all ingredients in 4 oz. glass spritzer bottle and spray two or three times in each room.

Lavender Bug Spray

2 oz. witch hazel
2 oz. filtered water
5 drops of Eden's Garden lavender essential oil.

Mix all ingredients in 4 oz. glass spritzer bottle and spray on exposed body parts. It's not necessary to rub in, but if you want to the oil should be diluted enough that it won't cause any harm. I used this spray on Lucy when she was about nine months old and it has been a staple ever since! It works wonders and smells lovely.

Finally, we just finished up a bottle of Trader Joe's lavender essential oil laundry detergent (which is a big fav), so I have this beauty waiting at home for when we start our next load. This will be the first time we've used DIY laundry detergent, so I'm crossing my fingers for good luck! Here's the recipe (which I found here and halved) if you want to make your own:

Non-Toxic Lavender Liquid Laundry Detergent (I love alliteration.)

1 gallon bucket

1 gallon of water

1/4 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

1/4 cup baking soda

1/2 cup Dr. Bronner's castile soap

15 drops of Eden's Garden lavender essential oil

1 glass gallon storage container (with lid)

Measure your washing soda and pour it into the bucket. Fill with just enough hot water to cover the washing soda and mix until dissolved. Pour in your baking soda and mix until dissolved. Add a gallon of water and stir. Add the castile soap and stir, followed by your drops of essential oil. Stir well and pour into the glass storage container. Be sure to label the container! Some of the ingredients will settle or float around before you actually get around to using it, but don't worry. Just give it a little shake. Whatever is still clumped together should dissolve in the wash. 

A few tips before I go:

First, I am not a DIY expert. I'm just a mama trying to be better about what I use in my home. I'm following the advice of other mamas who may or may not be better at this than me, and I'm using my best judgment at every step. I hope you'll do the same.

Second, I'm going to reiterate that when using essential oils (especially if those oils will be ingested), it is always best to store your products in dark glass containers. Essential oils will degrade in light and they will also degrade plastic, which can leak into your food. It's not as big of a deal when cleaning, but since glass lasts longer (and it's prettier, TBH) it's better to be safe than sorry. I found our amber glass bottles on Amazon here.

What are some of your favorite DIY cleaning products? If you have any tips, I'd love to hear them!

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