Friday, January 4, 2013

All-Natural Cleaning Kit

I impressed myself again today.

I shouldn't be so pleased with myself, since I meant to get multiples of these things done before Christmas, but then an Amazon seller dropped the ball on my order for one of the components, and I didn't have the time to search for a replacement. C'est la vie, especially around the holidays. Fortunately, I feel like this gift is perfect for the New Year, as things settle down and routines become established again, and you feel like cleaning all the leftover holiday dust and wrapping paper and stray M&Ms out of your house.

Presenting the All-Natural Cleaning Kit: the perfect homemade Christmas, birthday, housewarming, or hostess gift.

I'm going to tell you what's in it, how to make or find what's in it, where I got my ideas, and what it costs.

This kit contains the ingredients for 3 different kinds of household cleaners.

All-Purpose Citrus Vinegar Cleaner
This has been floating around Pinterest forever, and I believe you can find the original source here. I am so happy I found this idea. Truly all-natural cleaning solutions are expensive and don't last long. I'll be buying citrus and vinegar from now on. There are numerous sources that claim the antibacterial properties of vinegar, and overall benefits of using it both in your cleaning routine and diet.

Carpet Spot Remover
A paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide can remove even stubborn stains from carpet. I used this solution on my nearly white bedroom carpet and it worked like magic. Two different sources explain this method.

Scrubbing Cleaner
I put off cleaning my oven for over a year, and it was pretty disgusting. I found this simple lemon juice and baking soda paste to be the best thing for cutting grease and scrubbing off caked-on oils and spills. You may have to let this one sit for a while, but it's worth it.

What's In It (complete supply list to recreate photo)
  • basket
  • shredded paper filler or tissue paper
  • silk flowers or other ornamentation (optional)
  • microfiber cloth
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • baking soda
  • lemons
  • citrus vinegar cleaner in a spray bottle
  • "laminated" instructional cards

How to Make or Find What's In It

Basket, filler, spray bottle, and flowers: Michael's
Microfiber cloth: Eurow Microfiber
Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, lemons: grocery store

How to make citrus vinegar cleaner:
In a large (about 2-gallon) container such as a pickle jar or plastic pitcher, combine the peels of 6-8 citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, limes, and/or grapefruits) and plain white distilled vinegar. I don't worry too much about putting in clean peels--I just juice the fruits so I have fresh citrus juice to use for other purposes and throw the roughage into my vinegar container, seeds and all. Let container sit in a dark, cool place for 2 weeks, stirring or shaking every few days. Strain liquid through cheesecloth; discard any pulp/seeds. You now have a gorgeous, citrus-colored, naturally antiseptic, naturally grease-cutting cleaner concentrate. If you wish, you may add 10-20 drops of a citrus essential oil to boost the scent; this is completely optional, however. To prepare for this basket or to use for yourself, mix 1 part concentrate with 1 part filtered or distilled water in a spray bottle. Label if desired. Note: I use a 1-1 mixture of water and citrus vinegar for cleaning countertops and other non-wood surfaces. Some people do recommend a greater dilution if you're cleaning wood.

How to make "laminated" instructional cards:
This is pretty simple. I "laminated" some note paper with packing tape. Just stick it on both sides and then trim the edges. I made 3 cards, one for each cleaner. I recommend trying each of these cleaners for yourself before giving to someone else, and creating your own instructional cards based on how you used the products and what your results were. Basically, though, just write down how to mix the solution and what to use it on.

What It Costs
Basket: $5.00 (half off at Michael's)
Filler: $1.00 ($3.99 bag that will fill at least 4 baskets)
Silk flowers: $2.00 ($3.99 sprig that will fill 2 baskets)
Microfiber cloth: $1.33 ($16 pack of 12)
Hydrogen peroxide: $.85
Baking soda: $2.00
Lemons: $.67 (6 for $2 at my store)
Citrus vinegar cleaner: $.50 (very rough estimate, assuming it takes about $8 to make a large batch of concentrate split into 8 portions, and then each portion diluted to 16 bottles)
Spray bottle: $3.00 (cost varies widely depending on source)
Instructional cards: free, if you have paper, pen, and packing tape
= $16.35

You could put quite a dent in even that reasonable cost by finding a basket at Goodwill, foregoing silk flowers, and finding a cheap spray bottle (beware, though...if it costs cheap, it sprays cheap).

I'm so excited to give my first cleaning kit to my friend this evening. I hope you'll consider making a few of these cleaners to use for yourself, and perhaps sharing with a friend as well.


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