Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Different Kind of Recipe - All-Purpose Cleaner

Yesterday I scrubbed down our high chairs for the last time.  They are now sparkling and ready to be moved into the garage for donation or craigslist resale sometime in the near future.  My big boys are now eating in their boosters at the kitchen table!  I am so happy to never have to clean those darn chairs again (the boosters are much much easier) and the kids look so grown up!  But of course it is bittersweet as we lose one more vestige of babyhood.  Sigh.  Ok, I'm over it. ;)

Anyway, the big move and my recent success with homemade laundry detergent spurred me to researching how to make non-toxic home cleaners.  Because even though sometimes my good boys use utensils and eat off of plates like this:

Most of the time by the end of the meal the plate has been turned upside down or is on the floor and we are actually eating our fruit like this:

 What cleaning chemicals?  Who cares!  Give me more oranges!

Sooo.  I decided that if they must eat off of the table, I'd rather be cleaning said table with something a bit less toxic the average glass/all purpose cleaner.

In reading around the internets I discovered that there are three basic natural cleaning levels.  Light, medium, and heavy.  Light is generally just something like vinegar and water.  Great on windows covered in child-sized fingerprints but not so great on actually cleaning up food debris.  But I didn't want all the chemicals in the heavy cleaners so this is a more medium type cleaner.   It cleans glass without streaking, cleans up minor food grease and stuff, and it is very low on the non-edible cleaning agents.

All-Purpose Cleaner, found at
1/2 cup distilled vinegar
2 teaspoons borax (or you can use 1/4 cup baking soda)
2 liters water

I used an empty milk gallon container to mix up my ingredients and store the leftovers of the cleaner in.  Also make sure you have an empty spray bottle.  It is generally advised that you use a new clean bottle rather than mixing this with the unknown chemical residue from an old bottle.  You can buy a nice big spray bottle at Target for $3 or a really cheap smaller one at Walmart for $1.

Pour 2 liters of water into your gallon container using a funnel.  Much less messy that way!  Then pour in your vinegar.

Add the borax or baking soda.  If you are making laundry detergent or have borax around the house I recommend using that to make this a super super cheap homemade product.

Put on the lid and slosh it all around a bit.  Use the funnel to fill up your spray bottle and don't forget to label it!  I also tuck a cleaning rag under the handle to keep it close by and accessible.  Old baby burp rags (those flat fold diapers) work great as cleaning rags and are very inexpensive.

Now obviously this stuff isn't the strongest cleaner out there but I've been using it a while now and I find that as long as I wipe off the majority of the food particles from the table, it does a very good job.  I love not being worried about the babies ingesting chemicals off the tables (most of our tables are glass around here, ugh), I love not worrying about chemicals on my kitchen counters and I love that it even got crayon off the kids Little Tikes plastic table, from which they also eat snacks. On top all that it is easy to make and much much less expensive than the natural cleaners on the market.  I hope you all try it and love it!

A picture to supposedly show my clean table, hard to see that I guess but you can see Taco!


  1. love it! and the boys are adorable. my next venture is dishwasher detergent and shower cleaner !

  2. Thanks! I am using this in the bathroom with good results but Id love to hear how the dish detergent comes out, I hate hate spots on my glasses!