Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Spray Cleaner Recipes

I've turned my kitchen into a test lab the past few days. Good thing this stuff has cheap ingredients!

I've been on a mission to create or find some spray cleaning recipes that smelled great, were incredible cleaners, and weren't complicated to make. I'm really happy with the recipes that I ended up with.

Again, there are sooooo many recipes out there online and even in the little tiny book of The Naturally Clean Home. There are some recipes as basic as vinegar and water (ick!) or some as extensive as adding 2 or even 3 essential oils along with 3 other ingredients. I was looking for something more in the middle.

I didn't want something that smelled terrible but was cheap such as the vinegar and water.

But, I also didn't want something complicated and expensive like the extensive recipes.

When you use essential oils with your cleaning products, you are getting their natural powers (sounds like a superhero) and also their natural smells. I feel like that is what separates some of these recipes from what is out there.Using essential oils is not a must. It is a preference. I've tried making cleaners without them, and I wasn't near as thrilled with the smells or the results.

Here is a chart of some of the essential oils that I've mentioned and their uses (taken from The Naturally Clean Home- I ain't that smart:). These are just a few on a really long list.

Peppermint- antibacterial
Eucalyptus- antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antibiotic
Lavender- antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antibiotic
Lemon- antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antibiotic
Mint- antibacterial
Orange- antibacterial
Patchouli- antibiotic, antifungal
Lime- antibiotic, antifungal
Tea Tree- antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antibiotic

The fun part about all of this is you get to make up your own and come up with cleaners that suit you the best. With a little bit of knowledge on what ingredients and oils are used for, the possibilities are endless.

The book and the internet have A TON of recipes in it for many different things. But, I feel like these 3 are the ones that I will use most often. Keep in mind when you are creating your sprays that less is more in using essential oils. If you add too much of the essential oils, you will have a greasy mess on your hands.

Herbal Appliance Degreaser (taken from The Naturally Clean Home)-

This recipe is excellent. We use our stove for practically all 3 meals and use olive oil a lot too. So, needless to say, our stove gets lots of grease build-up on it. I never even thought about using Murphy's to clean my stove. But, I was amazing at how well it work compared to 409 (which I used all of the time).

2 cups warm water
1/4 cup Murphy's
10 drops of citrus oil or lavender oil

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Mix well. To clean, spray surface and scrub with a sponge. Wipe off with a towel or cloth.

*depending upon how big your spray bottle is, you could double this recipe.

Herbal Disinfectant

Did you know that Borax is a natural disinfectant that has been around for almost 4,000 years? I sure didn't. I wanted a cleaner that was a great disinfectant as well in order to have an alternative to using bleach. So this is what I came up with using the research and information in the book.

2 cups HOT WATER (so Borax will dissolve correctly)
1/4 cup Borax
3 tablespoons of white vinegar
5 drops of lemon oil
5 drops of lavender

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe clean with a cloth.

All-Purpose Spray

This is my go-to spray. I use this all of the time! It smells wonderful and cleans incredibly. I even used this to spray down the inside of my car. You can use liquid castile soap to clean just about anything.

2 cups warm water
2 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Magic Soap
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
4 drops of patchouli oil
4 drops of orange oil

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle.

I ONLY own a grand total of 5 essential oils as of right now. I have lavender, sweet orange oil, peppermint, lemon, and patchouli. So that is the reason for the repeat of the oils. But, you can see that you don't need to spend a whole lot of money on the oils to get great cleaners. Overtime, I would love to have a variety of essential oils, but these are the ones that I have on hand.

I have a gift for you that just might motivate you to come up with something on your own...........


These were created in photoshop and I saved them as a .jpg so you should be able to download them and print them off your own computer. They are 2 inches x 4 inches so you can put these on shipping labels or just print them off on cardstock, cut them out, and put some shipping tape over them to protect them from water. I think they have waterproof labels somewhere out there, but not here in our little town of Brenham!

****If you find any cute spray bottles while you are out and about, let me know. I'm not too thrilled with my bottles, but it was all that Wal-Mart had that were halfway decent. I would love for the surface around the bottle to be smooth and not bumpy to help keep water out even more when putting on the labels.


QuiltedSimple said...

Okay - I am going home tonight and trying the degreaser. We have a propane stove that we use constantly, and there is gunk all over the place. I would have never thought to use Murphy's Oil Soap (and I've had a large bottle of it for years and years). Interesting. Try at your dollar store (ours is Dollar General) - I got some decent spray bottles there just the other week.

Take care,

CarpioFamily said...

It so funny how after you make your own cleaners, you step back and think how super they are. I do it every time.
I'm so glad you mentioned the peppermint soap. I am a mint freak. I use this in my cleaners,(bath and counters) it is such a blessing to use great smelling products, where usually you have harsh smells from store bought.

shauna maness said...

WARNING: this is going to be a long post!
I THOUGHT ABOUT YOU ALL DAY! i cleaned (almost) EVERY INCH of my house... remembering your post on how many household cleaners the avg. person has and uses... i realized (gasp) that i used... comet, tilex mildew, lime-away, caldrea (actually natural and my favorite) glass, and everyday cleaner, and pledge...
CRAZINESS! oh and two different detergents and softeners (hubby has sensitive skin)
when i come to yonderway farm... i'm making a list and going to pick everything up and doing it! i was thinking today that i was going to ask you for recipes! YEAH! i was beside myself and smiled for 10 minutes when i saw how simple they were!! I AM SO EXCITED! can't wait to trash all the eye burning, skin irritating products!!
LOVE YOU... thanks! again i leave inspired!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lyns! I can't wait to try them out. I've been worried about cleaning because I only have harsh cleaners like Clorox Clean Up, and I'm afraid for little Brody to be around it.

QuiltedSimple said...

Lynsey - I tried the de-greaser tonight and it worked AWESOME!!! And it made my kitchen smell so much better than my usual 409 (or worse depending on how bad the splatters are). Isn't it amazing how simple these things are (and to think, the companies could make us all so much happier rather than gunking up our lives with chemicals) and how well they work??

Take care,

Connie said...

My friend and I didn't get to make our detergent and softener last week :( But now I'm glad b/c we're just gonna add these to the list and get it all done at once. My husband wants me to be you, I think. When he got on his "tree-huggin" kick I rebelled. I had every single size of ziplock bags known to man and he was asking me to WHAT? Get rid of them...NEVER. I still have them but I am trying to change my ways. One day at a time Sweet Jesus!

I even have to take canvas bags to the grocery store. It's all good...I go incognito in my sunglasses and trench coat.

Anonymous said...

I use borax as my dishwasher detergent. It cleans and does not suds. Also, if you want good spray bottles that stand the test of constant use, the place to look is either in the gardening section of a big departent store or at a nursery. Good spray bottles can also be found at beauty supply stores.

I make my own Febreeze with alcohol as the base plus whichever essential oil I have. I actually prefer peppermint. I haven't researched the alcohol component, I just know that it can be sprayed on soft surfaces (furniture, cushions, window dressings) and it dries immediately leaving the fragrance to be enjoyed. It works well in your vehicle too.

Lynsey, you probably need to research the alcohol ingredient before anyone jumps off into something that isn't safe. I look forward to your info about this.

Kind regards,

The Mosiers said...

Thanks so much for all these recipes and info! I think it's about time for me to try these out! I can't wait!

Maass Family said...

Okay...I'm like you about being a perfectionist and not willing to settle just because, and I'm big on scent. I was very skeptical before I made my homemade cleaners (a week ago)...I thought I would have to use lots of "elbow grease" to get things clean and that I would make them to prove to myself that they're really not that great...boy was I wrong. I am pleasantly surpised and happy with all my cleaners. I agree about the vinegar and water though, not a huge fan and will be trying your alternative.

One more that you can add is scented baking soda...I love this one. Just add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil to baking soda, mix it to "dissolve" the oil and put it in a shaker-type container. (I got this one from Rachel Supercinski.) Use it anywhere you would use a cleaner like Soft Scrub, to clean the kitchen sink at night, sprinkle it on the carpet as a carpet refresher, & sprinkle it in the bottom of your trash can before placing in your trash bag to absorb odors and leaks.

For Dishwasher detergent: (also from Rachel S.) 1 c. washing soda, 1 c. borax, 10-15 drops of essential oil. Use 1 Tbsp. in each cup of the dishwasher.

Look forward to seeing more of your cleaners posted to make for my home. I really am enjoying making my own supplies:)

Thanks for sharing with us!


the groves said...


I know this might be a dumb question but where do you buy all these ingredients? Wal-mart??


Allison said...

Thanks so much for this! Somehow I found your blog when I was looking for natural cleaning recipes. I am a newlywed who is a first-year teacher, and we're on our way to buying our first house... so needless to say, we've been trying to save money AND be a little more eco-friendly. :) I am excited about making these for a little Saturday project and trying them out! Thanks for sharing- and the labels are just too much fun!!

Andrea Manor said...

Can you tell me what "Murphy's" is and where I can get it? I'm going to have three friends over for a "cleaner making party" after seeing the recipes on your blog. Thanks,

The Kramer Family said...

Hi Andrea!

Murphy's Oil Soap is actually a wood floor cleaner. You can clean other things with it too and it works wonderfully and smells incredible.

You can find this at the grocery store or Wal-Mart by the floor cleaners.

See this link for a photo!

I hope you ladies have a blast!

Liz said...

it was so great to meet you at the concert a while back too!
(i'm sorry i'm just now responding...sometimes i'm slow with blogging and emailing!)
i love love love your blog and your ideas. I love all the alternative cleaning products and the fact that you guy produce such healthy produce, meat, eggs, etc. on the farm.
i would love to see your farm sometime and to have you photograph my kids out there.
I'm a little jealous you live on acreage. I'm kind of a country girl at heart!

ajsmom514 said...

Great recipes! I've tried the degreaser and the disinfectant. I'm on my way to get the ingredients for the all purpose cleaner! Great post and thanks again!

Thanks and well wishes to you and your family!


Anonymous said...


I tried the herbal cleaning recipes and loved them! The only trouble I ran into was with the herbal disinfectant. It formed into crystalized chunks overnight and clogged the spray bottle. Has anyone else run into this problem?

Anonymous said...

hey i've started making my own cleaners and i love it! i have so much fun and i love the smell! but i'm just cuious if anyone knows how much essential oils you have to put in, lets say a 16 oz bottle of water for it to be antibacterial. im talking about like ecualuptus since i know that one is an antibacterial one... thanks for the help! -vicki

Nat---uhh---lee! said...

This is wonderful blog...im allergic to almost everything and this will hopefully help with that & my asthma..ty ty!

Anonymous said...

I also had a problem with the disinfectant --- mine also crystallized overnight and clogged up the sprayer. I even used very hot water and was careful to make sure the borax was completely dissolved.

Any ideas on what to do about this?

Love all the recipes - thanks!


Anonymous said...

Hey ladies,
I've had clogging problems with a recipe for laundry stain remover which contains washing soda. What I've noticed is when the recipe calls for "hot" water then it should be used that day and not kept for later use. I would make a smaller quantity for one-time use.

I have another issue to bring up though. Dr. Bronner's site warns against mixing vinegar and soap as it desaponifies and you're left with oils, not soap. You still get the same benefits from using a soap spray and then rinsing with a vinegar spray.

Here is the link to Dr. Bronner's article. http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=292

Anonymous said...

Where did you get your essential oils? I found lavender at walmart in their organic section... but other oils are just fragrant.. not essential... any tips on where to find these?? =]

ShorT1882 said...

Thank you for the appliance degreaser tip!!! I can't wait to try it :-) I gave your idea a shout out on my blog today!

Anonymous said...

Peppermint magic soap where do you buy this at please

Anonymous said...

Thanks for clearing that up. In Ireland, Murphys is a stout (alcoholic drink) like Guinness... not sure how well it would clean!

Anonymous said...

A good place to buy essential oils is a discount place like TJMaxx, Ross or Marshalls. You will find them in the personal care section with the body washes, etc.

Also, the essential oils are antibacterial already so I would leave out the vinegar in that spray.

Spray Cleaning said...

I've been using several spray cleaner recipes, I'll try this recipe you gave for it might be better than the previous ones that I tried.

Anonymous said...

Just did some research on Murphy's Oil. Owns by Colgate. After reading some about this product, I would suggest another, more natural oil be used.