Lately my wife has been complaining about the awful smell of home cleaning products. I agree with her; the harsh chemical smell is off-putting. So I bought a book called Make Your Place, by Raleigh Briggs, which has recipes for nice-smelling cleaning solutions, as well as skin care products, and home health remedies.
After deciding on the products I wanted to make – window cleaner, soft scrub, and all-purpose cleaner, I went online and ordered all the necessary ingredients and equipment: funnels, plastic squeeze bottles, spray bottles, vinegar, borax, castille soap, baking soda, and oils of peppermint, tea tree, lavender, and eucalyptus. Most of the ingredients were inexpensive, except the oils, which were quite costly. Fortunately, the recipes called for just a few drops of the fragrant oils. A little goes a very long way. I estimate that home-made cleaning solutions cost about half as much as store bought products.
My two daughters (ages 7 and 13) and I made the all-purpose cleaner first. We combined water, castille soap, borax, the essential oils, and a bit of vinegar. It smelled good and I tested it on a sticky, crumb-covered countertop. The solution made short work of the mess.
Next, we made the window cleaner, which was mostly vinegar and castille soap. After mixing the ingredients, my younger daughter sniffed the solution and wrinkled her nose. “Yuck! She exclaimed. It smells gross.” I took a sniff myself and was nearly bowled over by the foul smell. My older daughter said it smelled like vomit. For some reason the vinegar, when combined with the odorless castille soap, produced a nauseously rancid stink. I poured the batch down the drain. As a substitute, we made the mirror cleaner, which included vinegar but not castille soap. The result was nice smelling and did a good job on a dirty window.
The final product, soft scrub, included baking soda, castille soap, fragrant oils, and a few crushed aspirin tablets. We poured it from the mixing bowl into a squeeze bottle and squirted a dollop into the sink to try it out. It took care of the mess with ease.
I’m going to get a few half gallon jugs so that I can make these three pleasantly scented products in bulk, so we can refill the spray and squeeze bottles without having to whip up a small batch every time we run out.