Monday, October 19, 2015

Homemade and Natural Cleaning Products

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Erin Benhke  shared some great ideas, tips and recipes with us.

Homemade and Natural Cleaning Products

I wanted to share with you some of my personal experience with homemade an natural products.  I have 17+ years of using these types of products, and have made plenty of mistakes a long the way.  Please learn from my trial and error to have your clothes and home as clean as you want it. 

First, scents really do play a huge role in what we purchase.  They make cleaning much more pleasant or unpleasant for us.  I cannot handle strong fragrance oils/scents.  They give me headaches.  I have learned that I really do need to stick with natural for this.  Essential Oils do not seem to bother me.  Sometimes I find it difficult to find pleasing smells in homemade EO blends, so I will purchased products that are already scented.  Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soaps come in many different pleasing scents.  If you don’t want to purchase a large amount of Eos to play around with, this is a good option.

Second, soaps and detergents work differently.  Detergents work better for getting clothes clean than soaps do.  In fact soaps will end up leaving your clothes with lots of mineral build up and will end up making them dingy and stinky over time.  I have found that short cuts or money saving homemade products do not work effectively in my laundry.  My favorite laundry products come from Bio Kleen (Bac Out is the BEST).  Although after learning more about detergents this past month, I will be trying something new from Costco soon.  I also have to mention that I love Shaklee’s Basic H.  A little goes a long way, it can be used for countless applications, and I can scent it any way I want to. 
Third, here are things that are a waste of money:

·         Ceramic Washing Machine Balls- these are a scam, one I fell for for way too long, and my laundry suffered greatly.
·         Wool Dryer balls- people swear by these, but I have NOT seen any benefit other than fluffing capabilities, and tennis balls would work as well.

     Lastly, here is my basic list of things you need to make just about anything:

·         Vinegar
·         Dish Soap or Castile Soap
·         Baking Soda
·         Essential Oils
·         Hydrogen Peroxide
·         White Toothpaste
·         Lemons
·         Borax
·         Citric Acid (if you want to make fancy 1 time use pods)


Foaming Hand Soap (For 1 16-oz or 2 8-oz dispensers):
2 cups of water, boiled an cooled (or distilled)
1-2 TBSP of castile soap
10-20 drops lemon or orange essential oil
Put ingredients into pump dispenser.  Start with 10 drops of EO, and add more to your preference.
Time Saving Tip: Use a scented castile soap that you like and fill the dispensers with 2 TBSP and 2 cups of water.

Unscented- don’t use EO
Other scents- put 10-20 drops of your favorite EO (mine is Four Thieves by Eden’s Garden because it keeps sickness away)
Extra Moisturizing- add 1 tsp. of vitamin E oil

Lemon Microwave Cleaner:
4 Cups water
1 Lemon
Put 4 cups of water into a microwave save bowl.  Juice  the lemon into the water, and put both halves of the juiced lemon into the bowl.  Microwave for 3-5 minutes, then let sit and steam for 10 minutesWipe clean with damp cloth.

Lemon and Clove Nightly Sink Scrub:
2 cups baking soda
10 drops Lemon EO
10 drops Clove EO
1 squirt of dish soap
Add baking soda to jar and scent with EO.  Stir to combine.  Wet kitchen sink a bit and sprinkle up to ¼ cup of baking soda in sink.  Add a squirt of dish soap and scrub with a brush.  Rinse and dry with a cloth.  Store leftovers in a cool, dark place indefinitely.

Granite Cleaner:
3 TBSP Rubbing Alcohol
2 Cups of water
¼ tsp. castile soap or dish soap
Add ingredients in a spray bottle and shake to combine.
Spray on granite and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.
Store in spray bottle for up to 1 month.

Kitchen Disinfecting Spray:
16-ounce container of hydrogen peroxide- use 3% solution that you find in the drugstore
Spray top
Find a spray top that will fit your bottle.  Rinse any food particles away, and spray surface with hydrogen peroxide.  Let stand for 10 minutes and wipe or rinse clean (you can use castile soap for this).  Make sure to keep in original container. 
This is great for cutting boards.

Great cleaning resource:
Best enzyme cleaner for laundry and best carpet cleaner:
I just like this stuff (Shaklee):
A great book, and its free on amazon wireless:
Soap Nuts:

DIY Laundry Essentials

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Jeannine Tripp shared a video and her recipes for homemade laundry essentials!

Homemade Laundry Products

Laundry Soap

1/2 bar Fels Naphtha Soap (can use Zote or Dr. Bronners bar soap)
1/2 c. Borax powder
1/2 c. Arm and Hammer Washing Soda

1. Grate bar of soap & put in large sauce pan
2. Add 6 cups water and heat until the soap melts
3. Add Borax and Washing Soda, stir until dissolved
4. Pour 4 cups hot tap water into bucket
5. Add soap mixture and stir together
6. Add another 22 c. hot water and stir until combined
7. Let cool and set up for 12-24 hours

Use 1/2 cup per load (2 tablespoons for front load washers. Add directly to clothes.)

Good idea to double recipe and make it in a 5 gallon bucket.

You can add a few drops of essential oil right into your washer to add fragrance.

For more cleaning power add more Borax to mix (3/4 cup)

Pour into gallon jugs (like Vinegar jug) before it gels up. Shake bit before each load. Sets better on shelf this way.

Spray & Wash Laundry Spot Cleaner

1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup ammonia
1/2 cup liquid laundry soap
1/2 cup water
Mix together in spray bottle. Spray on grease or food spots, or dirty collars and cuffs. Wash garment as usual.

Price at Walmart
Fels Naphtha $.97
Washing Soda $3.97
Borax $3.97

Fabric Softener

Laundry soap has a naturally alkaline pH, which can be a bit harsh for skin. To restore clothes to a pH that is skin friendly, it’s important to rinse with an acid like vinegar. In addition to its pH restoring superpowers, vinegar also softens fabrics, dissolves excess detergent and minerals, and reduces static cling. And don’t worry, your clothes won’t smell sour when they come out of the dryer!

White vinegar

To Use:
Add 1⁄2 cup to the rinse cycle, or add it to a Downy ball at the beginning of the cycle.

Do not combine with bleach – the two liquids create toxic fumes when mixed.

Scented Dryer Sheets

Here is an easy way to add scent to your laundry! Though these dryer sheets don’t reduce static cling – use homemade fabric softener and/or wool dryer balls for that – they will leave your sheets, shirts, socks and everything in between smelling fresh and clean.

Essential oil (your choice of scent)
Several pieces of cotton or flannel cloth, cut into 4-6 inch squares

To Make:
Cut pieces of fabric into squares. Old t-shirts work great!

To Use:
Run your clothes through an entire dryer cycle. When they’re done place about 8-10 drops of essential oil on a damp cloth and toss it in the dryer for 10-15 minutes on a “no heat” cycle.

Remove, fluff and fold!

Wash dryer sheets every 7-10 loads.

Store essential oils away from heat and sunlight, preferably in dark glass bottles or a dark cabinet.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pear Butter and Conserve

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Submitted by Elizabeth Leech.

Pear Butter

From the Kerr Blue Book I copied from my landlady Clara Thomas, probably from the 50s.

Wash pears. Do not peel. Slice. Add small amount of water to start cooking. Cook until very soft. Press through colander. To each cup pulp add 1/2 cup sugar. (Spices may be added - 1/2 tsp. cinnamon to 3 cups pulp.) Cook until thick, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Pour into sterilized jars and seal while hot.

Pear Conserve

From the Kerr Blue Book I copied from my landlady Clara Thomas, probably from the 50s.

5 pounds firm pears (15 cups sliced)
10 cups sugar
1 pound seedless raisins
rind of 2 oranges
juice of 3 oranges and 2 lemons

Peel pears and cut in small pieces. Add sugar and let stand overnight. Then add raisins, orange rind cut in small pieces, and juice of oranges and lemons.  Cook until thick, or about 30-35 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and seal while hot.

Wibnote: I have made this one several times. It is delicious , especially if you blenderize the raisins. I didn't have oranges the first time so I did more lemon and it was really delightful. While it was cooking, it was a smell like heaven on earth.

Cherry Pineapple Conserve

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Submitted by Elizabeth Leech.

From the Kerr Blue Book I copied from my landlady Clara Thomas, probably from the 50s.

4 cups cherries, pitted and ground
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups sugar

Wash and pit cherries. Run them through food chopper and measure. Drain pineapple and measure. Add pineapple and sugar to cherries. Cook mixture rapidly until thick and clear, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. If desired, add 1/2 cup of chopped nut meats just before removing from the heat. Pour into sterilized jars and seal while hot.

Cherry Conserve

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Submitted by Elizabeth Leech.

From the Kerr Blue Book I copied from my landlady Clara Thomas, probably from the 50s.

3 cups sour cherries
1 cup seedless raisins
3 cups water

Remove pits from cherries and cut raisins in pieces. Add water and boil 30 minutes. To each cup pulp and juice add 1 cup sugar. Cook rapidly until thick, stirring constantly. Pour into sterilized jars and seal while hot.

Wibnote: For any conserve that has raisins in it, I usually blend up the raisins, either in the water before cooking or after it's all mixed up. It's not authentic, but then you get the delicious taste without the children being grossed out.

Apricot Raspberry Jam

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Submitted by Elizabeth Leech.

From the Kerr Blue Book I copied from my landlady Clara Thomas, probably from the 50s.

2 lb. fresh apricots (6 cups sliced)
1/4 cup water
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups raspberries

Add water to apricots which have been pared and pitted. Add sugar and raspberries and cook until jam is of desired consistency. Pour into sterilized jars and seal while hot.

wibnote: Delicious. A family favorite. Most of these jam recipes need longer to cook than it says. I don't know if the fruit is different or the stoves or what, but I usually test jam's doneness by dropping some onto a plate, putting that plate in the fridge for a couple minutes, and then seeing if the drops are jam-consistency.

Pineapple and Apricot Jam

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Submitted by Elizabeth Leech.

From the Kerr Blue Book I copied from my landlady Clara Thomas, probably from the 50s.

2 1/2 pounds fresh apricots (7 cups sliced)
3 cups grated, canned pineapple
5 cups sugar

Wash and slice apricots, mix with sugar and pineapple (fruit and juice). Cook until desired consistency (about 25 minutes). Pour into sterilized jars and seal while hot.