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My Plastic-Free Life: Homemade Household Cleaners

It is my great honor and pleasure to welcome another guest blogger to our happy online home.

Michelle is a YWA team member and a multi-disciplinary artist with so many talents it’s hard to keep up. She is also an incredible mother and my friend. Though Michelle and I have worked in the arts together for many years, when she signed on to help grow Find What Feels Good and support the mission of Yoga With Adriene - I knew we had hit the jackpot. Though the workload when she signed on was total chaos, we joked, that one of our goals was to get to a place someday where we shared a brain.

The truth is, I would be so honored to share a brain with this woman. She has my back, she has my heart and I have hers too.

And among many things, we have had our head and hearts focusing increasingly more on this one thing… PLASTIC. And, amongst our community here in Austin, my girl has been raising the bar high.

Below is a blog that Michelle wrote for our “Living Sustainably” group in the FWFG KULA. (Free to join here - if you want to check it out.)

Thanks the inspiration, Michelle!

Readers, let us know what you think in the comments down below!
Share with your friends and family too!

XX

Hello Sweet Kula!

I’m sure many of you do not know me as I am one of the YWA team members that hides behind the metaphorical curtain, but in the spirit of #ywaACT and Earth Month, I am popping in to tell you all about one of the ways in which I avoid single-use plastic!

For a little over two years now, I have been doing my best to avoid plastic…which is very hard to do! Especially with a toddler who needs snacks and gets handed little plastic toys from almost everyone we know. Despite that, I am making progress every day. Perhaps I’ll write several articles about the things I do to keep plastic out of my life, but today I am focusing on homemade household products.

It seems intimidating, but it is so easy!

Let’s start with floor cleaner. I love my Swiffer, y’all. I love it. I’ve been swiffering up a storm for 10 years. I don’t think I can ever go back to old-school mopping. I’m not saying you should go out and buy a Swiffer if you don’t have one (it’s plastic!), I’m just saying that I will be swiffering forever. The thing I don’t like about it is all the waste and all the nasty chemicals. When my daughter started licking the floor (is that weird?), I decided I needed that floor to be clean and organic.

Floor Cleaner Recipe (for wood floors):

1 part white vinegar

2 parts water

2-3 drops essential oil per gallon (I use lemon & basil)

If you have laminate flooring, you could also add rubbing alcohol, but that’s a no-go for hardwood. I mix it up and keep in it a flat glass container (I love picking up glass containers at thrift stores) with a lid. I put my rags in there to soak and just pull one out, attach it to my swiffer and go to town!

Next, I tackled my dishwasher. Again, not a necessity, but when you’re a mom with a full-time job and a healthy side hustle it’s nice to have a machine wash your dishes.

Dishwasher Detergent:

1 cup baking soda

1/4 cup citric acid

1 tablespoon dish liquid or castile soap

Using a silicone mold, pack the mixture into cubes or rounds and allow to dry completely. After about an hour, you may need to pack it back down, if it's risen.

If like me, you have a newer dishwasher, rinse aid is key to the functionality. Learned that lesson the hard way.

Dishwasher Rinse Aid:

1 cup white vinegar

1/4 rubbing alcohol

1/4 peroxide

2 tablespoons citric acid

I love my rinse aid so much, I keep it in plain site on my kitchen window sill! It’s so pretty in the little glass oil jar I store it in. And again, haven’t found peroxide that doesn’t come in a plastic bottle, but I bought the giant one two years ago and I still have it.

When I ran out of Pledge recently, I got a little scared. I made a pact with myself that I would make all my household products as I ran out of my store bought supply. But making Pledge? That seems impossible.

GREAT NEWS! IT'S POSSIBLE!

Homemade Dusting Spray:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon white vinegar

15 drops essential oil (I use lemon)

2 cups warm water

I put this mixture into an old spray bottle that I had cleaned out and saved for future use. You guys, my tables have never been shinier.

My latest endeavor is my laundry situation. I finally emptied out my last big bottle of detergent. I Cosco’d a couple years ago and have been working my way through the supply. #noshame

Liquid Laundry Detergent:

2 gallons water

1/2 cup washing soda (I like Nelly’s, but Arm & Hammer works, too)

1/2 cup baking soda

3/4 cup castile soap

30 drops essential oil (I used lavendar, naturally)

I mixed it up in a big bowl with my trusty wooden spoon and poured it right into my empy detergent bottle.

Pinterest is a great resource for finding recipes and inspiration. Most of these zero-waste blogs have photos of pretty bottles with cute little labels, but I’m not fancy, y’all. I just want to make my home and our planet a little cleaner. And if that means cleaning out my old Windex bottle, putting a piece of tape over the label and writing SOAP on it with a sharpie, then that is ok.

-Michelle

Connect with her on Instagram at @the_zerowastejourney.

19 comments on “My Plastic-Free Life: Homemade Household Cleaners”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this! These are amazing tips. Heart smiles and much appreciation!

    1. Hi Sue-Ellen! So glad you enjoyed the tips! One small step at a time can make a huge difference! XO

  2. Thanks so much for sharing! I love that you are not worried about how the packaging looks just that it does what you need without waste. Do you use the laundry detergent in an high efficiency washer?

    1. Hi Drea! I recently switched to high efficiency dish washer, so I am not quite ready to invest in another big appliance just yet. When it's time, though, I'll definitely switch!

  3. This is exactly what I need right now! Have already started to use white vinegar / water solution to clean safely (also have floor-licking babies), but this is next level. & of course always wanting to reduce plastic use. So-- all around -very useful, and inspiring. Thank You for sharing!

    1. Hi Hannah! My local grocery store sells rubbing alcohol in glass bottles. I haven't found peroxide that doesn't come in a plastic bottle yet. I'm on the hunt!

  4. Love it, fabulous!! One thing...I have read a lot about not adding essential oils to your floor and furniture cleaners if you have cats. It supposedly can cause health problems because their livers don’t synthesize and eliminate some of the compounds in most essential oils like our livers do, and it can create a toxic backup. Stinks bc I Love essential oils! Xoxoxo

    1. Yes, I have heard that there are certain eos that shouldn't be used with pets, but I think there are some that are safe. I personally don't have pets, so it's not something I've researched.

  5. How much of the laundry detergent do you use per load? Do you just fill the cap up the same amount?

  6. I am so excited to find your recipes, Michelle! I recently made the decision to go plastic free (as much as is possible) by the end of this year. It is hard to do but I'm determined to reduce, reuse, and finally rid my home of it. Is this even possible? My adult daughter, Sara (who introduced me to YWA in 2016), has been gifting me with bees wax wrap and reusable bowl covers, clay infused natural sea sponges, and more for many years, and for the most part we do not use single use paper products, other than tissues and TP.

    I am ready to switch to bar soaps and start making my own cleaning products and just discovered we have a couple of zero-waste stores here in St Petersburg, FL. I loaded my car with mason jars and bags and am headed there today to pick up supplies. I hope I have as much luck as you do. Please continue to blog about your plastic-free life. It is so inspiring.

  7. Awesome! Thank you for sharing these fantastic recipes for homemade household products! I have been trying my best to not buy or use plastics in my household and to use biodegradable products, so these are fantastic and will be adding them to what I already use.

  8. Hi, i mixed the baking soda, citic acid, and dish sap for the dishwasher detergent and it started foaming and overflowing from the jar. What should I do? Thanks!

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