All Purpose Cleaner
There are a myriad of green, non-toxic all purpose cleaners out there.When I'm in a pinch and don't have time to make my own I have come to rely on Nature Clean products - more on those at another time - but I like making my own. With a basic recipe you can make a cleaner for every room of the house - with a wonderful scent (or no scent) for each room.
Here's what you are going to need:
Soap Nuts (Soap Berries) - I used Earth's Berries because a friend of mine bought these for me a while ago - a 500g bag is about $21.
Essential Oils (optional)
A pot large enough to boil 6 cups of water
A clean sanitized bottle
Put 6 cups distilled water in a pot. Any water can be used but I use distilled to reduce any impurities that might contribute to the solution going bad more quickly.
Add 10 to 12 soap nuts, and boil for 30 minutes. Leave the lid off otherwise it tends to boil over and you don't get the same reduction in liquid.
Once time is up, scoop out the soap nuts with a slotted spoon or use a fine mesh sieve and just strain it into a measuring cup - But don't forget to put the boiled soap nuts in your green bin, or even better, if you've got laundry to do, throw them in a little muslin bag and toss them in as laundry soap
Wait until it has cooled slightly and add 1 tablespoon of citric acid - stir well, but don't wait too long or the citric acid won't dissolve very well. I usually pour it into my big measuring cup because it makes it easier to pour into the bottles once it has cooled.
Grab the spray bottle you are going to use and add your essential oils to the bottle. I'm using tea tree, bergamot, lemongrass and peppermint this time around because I need a kitchen cleaner. Tea tree is a great disinfectant; lemongrass is a bactericide and disinfectant; bergamot deodorizes, and peppermint deters bugs (it's getting to be ant season soon and I hate it when those little buggers get on my counters). The amount you add depends on its purpose. I'm going to use about 5 drops each of the tea tree and lemongrass because it is for the kitchen, and then add a drop or two of bergamot and peppermint.
After the liquid has cooled completely you can pour it into your bottle. If there isn't enough liquid you can either make more or just top it up with water (again, distilled is best). I usually use a half and half formula.
Store any soap liquid that is left over in a well sealed jar in a cool place (or the fridge - just remember to label it!). It should last about a month.
And that's it. That's all there is to it. A green, non-toxic, all-purpose cleaner. The great thing about it is that you can customize it for whatever you need. Oh, and according to the bag that the soap nuts came in, it can be used as window and glass cleaner as well (2 cups water, 1 tbsp vinegar and 1 tbsp soap nut liquid). I have tried that and I like it too. I'll have to make some of that when my current cleaner is used up. Or maybe I'll start my Spring cleaning early and go clean all my windows so I can make some.