disinfecting cleaners

so… my lovelies had the pukes this weekend and i was desperately trying to figure out the best way to clean up behind them.  i’m a die-hard for the clorox bleach spray (gasp!  i know… bad, bad, bad) but i’m really trying to kick the habit.  i found a site that lists a number of homemade disinfectants, but i couldn’t seem to figure out which one would be the best option (or if there is a best option)

here’s the recipe choices

  • Regular cleaning with plain soap and hot water will kill some bacteria.
  • Borax has long been recognized for its disinfectant and deodorizing properties. Mix 1/2 cup Borax into 1 gallon hot water or undiluted vinegar and clean with this solution.
  • Mix a half-cup of borax with 1 gallon hot water. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary or lavender. Steep for 10 minutes, strain and cool. Or add essential fragrant oils instead of fresh herbs. Store in a plastic spray bottle.
  • 2 tablespoons borax, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 cups hot water. Combine the borax and lemon juice with the water in a spray bottle. Use as you would any commercial all-purpose cleaner.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol is an excellent disinfectant. Sponge on and allow todry. Use in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves.

i kind of came up with my own hodge podge recipe combo thing… i ended up using:

  • a quarter of a tsp. of tea tree oil
  • 1/4 cup of borax
  • and topped the rest of the 32 oz. spray bottle off with vinegar

i’m starting to wonder though if i went over the top with the disinfecting agents.  or is that possible?  does anyone else have any tried and true cleaning recipes or more specifically, a disinfecting spray recipe that they rely on?  also, can borax be used in a front loader HE washing machine?  i now have a massive box of borax so i guess i’m going to jump in with both feet into this homemade cleaner adventure.



if you’re in the portland area, i highly recommend you visit this site and see if you can recycle anything you might be purging. by now i hope you know how jen and i feel about recycling (and not filling landfills in general), so this post should come as no surprise.

for more information, visit this page. it goes into detail about what will and won’t be accepted and how to sort it. don’t be afraid- it’s minimal work and the payoff is huge!

this page will provide you with the locations.

so c’mon! PURGE! get rid of all of that plastic crap that’s taking up space and leaching toxins. go take inventory of your backyard and ditch the junk now!

Cleaning My Kitchen With Food

I’m doing it! I’m cleaning my kitchen with lemon juice and vinegar!

I was very hesitant to try it, but now that I’m doing it, I’ll never look back.

First of all, I cannot possibly tell you the peace of mind that comes from cleaning your kitchen with food. I can make a sandwich on top of a freshly cleaned countertop without worrying about residue from cleaners.

And it’s so inexpensive that I can use it liberally without a second thought. I don’t just swipe a rag over my table now. I really clean it.

Is it effective, you ask?

Cosmetically, it’s definitely effective! The acidic properties of the lemon juice and the vinegar break down dried-on food and grease. I just spray, leave to soak for a few minutes, then come back and wipe for a clean stove-top. Cooked-on food wipes away like a charm!

In terms of bacteria, we need to first review the real idea behind cleaning. We’re not looking to eliminate ALL bacteria, just to greatly diminish their numbers.

We want enough to give our immune system some exercise, but not enough to make us sick. This is why, unless you have an immunosupressive disease, you should not use antibacterial cleaners on everything. The medical community widely agrees that overuse of antibacterials can lead to allergies, as the immune system seeks things to attack.

That said, lemon juice and vinegar CAN kill bacteria. They are not potent germ-killers, but they do kill some germs. Combine that with their ability to dissolve spills for easy clean-up, and it’s a perfectly safe, effective cleaner for kitchen use. If you really want something antibacterial, you can add a few drops of tea tree oil.

A convenient, unexpected side effect of my new, liberal use of this cleaner is that my kitchen rags smell cleaner longer! The vinegar seems to be preventing bacteria from growing on the rag as quickly. Nice! I go through so many kitchen rags…

To make the solution, you mix 2 parts water, 1 part vinegar, and 1 part lemon juice. It needs to be diluted because vinegar can harm some surfaces if left on them at full-strength.

I didn’t like the vinegar smell, so I added a few drops of sweet orange essential oil. That greatly decreased the smell. You could use any essential oil.