For years (years!) I had been meaning make my own household cleaners. And now I can say that I’ve made a bathroom cleaner and it works well.
Mix these ingredients in a spray bottle:
- 1 t. borax mixed in 2 c. hot water, then cooled
- 1/2 t. liquid dish soap
- 3 T. white vinegar
- 5 drops of tea tree oil
- 15 drops of lavender oil and 10 drops of eucalyptus oil
(when I saw the price of essential oils—$8 or more for a small bottle like you see in the picture—I opted to use 10 drops of lemon oil only; tea tree oil contains antibacterial properties but smells medicinal, so other oils are added for their scent)
I was feeling self-congratulatory about my eco-sensitivity and was looking forward to teaching my five year old boy how to clean a bathroom using this new cleaner, and then I stumbled onto some facts about borax (which does a great job as a toilet bowl cleaner, BTW).
According to About.com, “borax and other borates clean and bleach by converting some water molecules to hydrogen peroxide.” Boron also “inhibit[s] the metabolic processes of many organisms…allow[ing] borax to disinfect and kill unwanted pests.” That is exactly what I wanted, but like most other cleaners borax can potentially cause eye, skin, and respiratory irritation.
This cleaner may not be safer than ready-made “green” cleaners, but I take some comfort knowing the ingredients and their quantities. And by using a homemade cleaner I’ll be throwing out less packaging and, over time, spending less money.
(You can buy borax at a hardware store and essential oils at a food coop or online. If you don’t include sourcing the ingredients, including a spray bottle, you can definitely consider this “Five-minute simplifying.”)