Natural All-Purpose Cleaner

I am a bit of a clean freak, but my house is a total wreck 90% of the time… toys, clutter, laundry, etc…  For me, knowing that things are deep-down clean is what I obsess about.  The clutter or mess that is just resting on the surface, I can live with.

I am a big fan of all-purpose cleaners.  Back in the US, I was fond of the Method cleaners that they sold at Target, which I now think have a wider availability.  I felt good about using these, especially with having two small kids running around.

Fast forward three and a half years, in Bulgaria, I have been using any industrial all-purpose cleaner that is available and I feel like a bit of a hypocrite.  I grow my own veggies, make mostly everything from scratch, I make my own neem insecticidal spray for my garden, yet I slather my home in chemicals.  Well, that stops right now!

I did some research on different recipes for a natural all-purpose cleaner and found one that I liked at Elizabeth Redmond’s Green Options.  The only problem was finding borax in Bulgaria. I did a little googling to find out that borax is the same word in Bulgarian, боракс and it is available at most pharmacies (аптека)  The cost for 20g of borax at my pharmacy in Kyustendil was .55 ст. 
Then add water, vinegar and essential oil in a clean bottle and voila! I am looking at a real savings in total by making my own and it take all of 2 minutes to prepare.  A bottle of all-purpose cleaner from Kaufland can cost anywhere from 2.00 – 5.00 leva depending on the brand. Recycling one of my commercial cleansing bottles (500 ml), I divided the original recipe in half and found my two favorite essential oils: lavender and lily of the valley.
  • 1 – 1.5 t Borax
  • 1T – 1.5T Distilled vinegar (recommended) or white wine vinegar
  • 500ml Warm water (give or take, depending on the size of your bottle)

Pour borax and vinegar into the bottle.  Swirl or shake to dissolve.  Add warm water, not too hot or it will warp the bottle.  Give a good shake to see that the borax has dissolved completely.
I increased the amount of vinegar when I we got a puppy to deal with the urine/ammonia smell.  It works well. I have been using it for two years now and I have no intention of going back.
The result: my granite counters were in need of a serious cleaning.  My sister and I had been cooking all weekend and things had gotten a bit scary.  I was satisfied with the result, the grease and other stains were removed easily, although I think I used a few too many drops of essential oil, like 20 instead of 10, so there was a bit of an oily film, which I wiped away with a clean and dry dish towel and it gave a great shine. You can see the reflection of my over head light in the countertop.  What more could you ask for!
If you have an all-purpose recipe that you would recommend, please let me know.  I am up for experimenting with something new.  Also, I am looking for something a bit more abrasive to tackle my glass stove top.  Any suggestions?

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Author: caseyangelova

Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria

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