Non toxic cleaner to make with your kids

Tuesday had a blast making a bunch of non toxic all purpose cleaner a few days ago. I think getting to use SHARPIE (!!!) on the labels might have been her favorite part.
I swear I shared this at some point on this blog, but searching comes up with zero. And I was asked for my favorite recipes and tips so here you go!

(Tuesday October 2012)
I first tried this with Tuesday when she was 3.5. I had made really simple cleaners, vinegar & baking soda together and Bj was not a fan. He didn’t think they cleaned that well so we kept getting Method and I kept saving the bottles to fill someday. This is the original recipe (from the now defunct Natural Home Magazine):
All-Purpose Cleaner and Disinfectant
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon washing soda (similar to, but more caustic than, baking soda)
15 drops tea tree essential oil
15 drops lavender essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a reusable spray bottle and shake well. To use, spray on surfaces, especially cutting boards, countertops and toilets. Wipe with a dry cloth.
One thing I don’t do any more is mix in the bottle. I find it much easier to mix in a large measuring bowl and pour it through a funnel into the bottles. One reason is the chemical reaction of the washing soda and vinegar; it makes lots of gas. It’s a little violent so it’s easier (and more fun) to deal with in an open container.

I basically used that same recipe this time, but modified it a bit. I had infused some white vinegar with citrus (after reading this post by NW Edible Life) so I used that instead of plain white. Since the vinegar now has some oil in it not as much essential oils are needed. Tuesday also wanted to try a minty smelling one, so a few of these bottles used peppermint instead of lavender (and not the full 15 drops).

We used Method bottles (and if you know me and you have some extras we’d be happy to take them off your hands and re-fill them with natural cleaner!). They hold about three cups of cleaner, but I wouldn’t fill these to the top. The labels peel off these easily, but leave a residue. I used scraps of vinyl (colored contact paper would also work great, and is readily available) to cover it up. Before peeling off the backing I let Tuesday decorate them (any excuse to use a Sharpie!). I also wrote what was in the bottle.
We gave some of these as gifts and kept a couple. I’d try to use them up in six months or less. We had some hanging around from the first experiment and it had separated a bit. So how do these work? Amazing! We love them. Bj loves them! You can tweak the smells to your liking, so try it!
*SAFETY NOTE* Washing soda is all natural, but it’s not all safe. I would do this as a really closely supervised activity, and keep way out of reach of a kid who might put things in their mouths. When Tuesday was three her bottle just had baking soda in it, to be extra safe. The essential oils are also very potent. We had both doors open and a nice breeze going through the house when we made these.

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  1. This is on my to do list. Currently I just use method cleaner and really like it, but I need to give this a shot.
    I also need to try making laundry soap. I bought all of the ingredients…

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