Putting Natural DIY Cleaning Sprays to the Test!

After doing quite a bit of research online, I have found so many different recipes for DIY spray cleaners for the kitchen and around the house. Most of them, however, use 3 main ingredients as their “secret” weapon: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, Apple Cider Vinegar, or White Vinegar.

Today, I decided to make all 3 and put them to the test to see which cleaner is going to become a part of my own cleaning regimen. I decided to score my findings on a 1-5 scale and based on 3 factors: Cleaning power, Smell, and Cost.

diytothetest

First up, the Dr. Bronner’s Recipe:

1/4 Cup Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap

2 Tbs. Baking Soda

7 Drops Tea Tree Oil (for antibacterial properties)

Fill the rest of the bottle with Water

Score:

Cleaning Power- 4

Smell- 5

Cost- 4

My Notes: The Dr. Bronner’s cleaning spray by far smelled the best of the 3. The combination of the peppermint scent of the Dr. Bronner’s itself and the tea tree oil was amazing!  It also cleaned my counters really well. It was so nice to spray the counters with something that cleaned them yet didn’t have that gross chemical smell of most store-bought cleaners. The Dr. Bronner’s costs about 63 cents per 1/4 cup, the baking soda was about 5 cents per 2 tbs., and the tea tree oil is probably about 25 cents per 10 drops of liquid. At less than a dollar a bottle, it’s certainly an inexpensive option!

Next up, Apple Cider Vinegar:

2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar

Fill the rest of the bottle with water

Score:

Cleaning power- 4

Smell- 1

Cost-1

My Notes: This solution cleaned very well. As good, if not better than the Dr. Bronners. But the smell is more than I can handle on a daily basis. If you have never smelled apple cider vinegar before, let me tell you it is quite intense! I know that many of the natural/ organic bloggers that I follow just love this stuff but I have a really hard time getting over the smell. It doesn’t dissipate very quickly either. I still feel like my counters have a bit of a lingering scent. I was not  very impressed by the cost of this DIY cleaner either. The organic apple cider vinegar is about $5.50 for a small bottle and the 2 cups that the recipe calls for is about half of that bottle. Therefore the final cost is a whopping $2.50 for 1 bottle of solution! To me, although it did clean well, this option did not seem worth it when I took into consideration the smell and the cost.

And lastly, the White Vinegar

Fill up an old jar with Orange or Lemon Peels (about a 12-16 oz Jar)

Pour white distilled vinegar (About a 1 1/2 cups)  over peels and let sit for at least 24 hours

Score:

Cleaning Power: 4/5

Smell: 2

Cost: 3

My Notes: This solution cleaned really well. Perhaps the best of the 3. I think it was the combination of the vinegar and the acidity of the orange peels. Yet, the vinegar smell still overpowers the scent of the oranges when sprayed on the counter. Although the smell is less intense to me than the apple cider vinegar, it still had an unpleasant odor to me overall. Also, the cost was more expensive than the Dr. Bronner’s solution yet less than the apple cider vinegar. Organic vinegar sells for about $6.00 for a 32 oz bottle. That makes the solution about $2.25.

THE VERDICT:

To me, the choice was clear as soon as I tested all 3 solutions. The Dr. Bronner’s cleaned well even if it didn’t clean the best of the 3 and it also smelled the best and cost the least. When I first bought the Dr. Bronner’s, I was concerned about the cost since it was $10 for a 32 oz bottle. But, it is concentrated so you don’t have to use very much to get the job done! Overall, I definitely think this is the best option for me. I have also found a ton of recipes for other uses for this stuff and I can’t wait to test out Dr. Bronner’s in the laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoo, and body wash that are on my “to do” DIY list:)

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Witch Hazel, Honey, and Sweet Orange Facial Toner

I have naturally oily skin and tend to notice that I have larger pores on my nose and cheeks so a good toner is an imperative part of my daily skin routine. For me, it’s as important as a good moisturizer (I have found that you need both if you have very oily skin).
I was so happy when I discovered that you could witch hazel as a natural alternative to store-bought toner.
After playing around with the mixture for a while, I think I came up with something that feels the closest to my chemical-filled “favorite” toner from the past. I also added orange oil because I have heard it works wonders on acne! The orange oil makes it smell so wonderful too:)

astringent

Witch Hazel, Honey, and Sweet Orange Facial Toner

75% Water

25% Witch Hazel

15-20 drops of Sweet Orange Essential Oil

1 Tsp. Honey

sweetorangewitchhazel

I am so obsessed with putting everything in mason jars at the moment so I thought a small jar would work great for the toner too! I added a pump so that I could just squirt it on to a cotton ball.

 This time, I spray painted the lid and pump black since they didn’t match and I think it came out great!

Natural Disinfecting Hand and Kitchen Wipes

Time  to get rid of more ugly plastic containers! This time I am replacing my Clorox disinfecting kitchen wipes and my Wet Ones disinfecting hand wipes with more natural alternatives.

And did I mention how much prettier they will look in your kitchen?

disinfecctinghandandkitchen

Making the containers for the wipes is a little bit different than with the hand soap pumps I made in a previous post.

For the special tops that allow you to pull the wipes out without opening the jar, you will need pieces of plastic that you can cut to fit the top of the mason jars.

I used an old wet wipes container and one of the many lids that I can no longer find the Tupperware bottom for in my cabinet.

tupperwarelid

wetoneslid

Just trace the mason jar lid and cut out the circle to make sure that it will fit perfectly and be air tight!

Then use a box cutter to make an x in the center of the plastic so that you can pull the wipes through.

papertowel

For the wipes, you will either need to cut a paper towel roll in half (for the kitchen wipes) or in thirds (for the hand wipes).

kitchenmixture

Kitchen Wipes Mixture

3 Tbs Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (Citrus, Peppermint, and Lavender are my favorites)

1 Tbs Baking Soda

3 Tbs Vinegar

4 Drops of Tea Tree, Lavender, or Peppermint Oil (All of these are disinfectants)

1/2 Cup Water

After you have placed your paper towels in the jar, pour the mixture into the jar. The roll will come right out after it is saturated! Then just pull out the loose end of the towel in the center of the roll, pull through the x on the lid, and screw the mason jar shut! If there is extra liquid at the bottom, simply pour it into another mason jar and save it for the next batch.

Tip: Cut the X somewhat larger than it is on a typical Clorox container and bend it with your fingers several times to make it flexible. The paper towels are more fragile than the Clorox wipes so if the cut out is too tight, the wipes will tear.

Hand Wipes Mixture

1/3 Cup Water

3 Drops of Tea Tree, Lavender, or Peppermint Oil (All of these are disinfectants)

2 Tbs Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (Any Scent)

The best thing about these wipes is that if they dry out a little (like the Clorox and Wet Ones usually do) you don’t have to throw them out because you have all the ingredients you need re-saturate them!

DIY Anti-Bacterial Foaming Hand Soap

One of my favorite natural and organic products that I have come across since I decided to make my own personal care and cleaning products has been Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap.

Castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s is safe to use on pretty much anything. It also comes in scented versions which all smell amazing as they are scented with essential oils.

The first recipe I want to share with you is also one of the easiest things I make.

teatreeandpeppermint

Moisturizing Tea Tree and Peppermint Foaming Hand Soap

What you will need:

An old foaming soap dispenser or one of the mason jar dispensers I made here.

1/4 Cup Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

1 Tsp Organic Olive Oil

Tea Tree Oil

Water (Fill up the rest of the container with water after all other ingredients were added)

ingredientsteatreepeppermint

Just add all the ingredients together and make sure you shake regularly to keep everything mixed together (the ingredients will separate a little)

Experiment, yourself!

Many essential oils have antibacterial qualities including:

Cinnamon Oil

Lavender Oil

Lemon Oil

Peppermint Oil

Combine these essential oils with some of the other Dr. Bronner’s scents to come up with a unique scent of your own!

DIY Jar Dispensers

I hate plastic containers.

Now, before you go accusing me of being a pretentious, new-age hippie, I have to confess that my reasons are pretty shallow. I just hate how it looks. I realize that plastic can be practical due to its durability but glass is just so much prettier.

It seems pointless to spend so much time decorating and cleaning my home so that it looks presentable only to stick ugly plastic dispensers in the kitchen and bathroom.

My solution: re-using mason/ condiment jars to make my own dispensers. I got the idea from this wonderful blog but decided to put my own touch on this project.

The final result should look something like this:

jardispensers

I had fun with mine. The back stickers were made from black chalkboard contact paper like this.

I printed out free shapes that I found doing a simple google image search and printed them out on cardstock. Then, I simply traced the shapes on the back of the contact paper and cut them out.

contactpapershapes

I also used patterned Duck Tape like this for one of the jars which I thought was fun. But look at your local dollar store before you go buying this online! I have seen tons of knock-offs like this tape which would work just as well!

To write on the contact paper, you can use a chalk pen or a white sharpie. It’s totally up to you but I used the chalk pen so that I could change the labels every time I made something new.

To install the dispenser, you will need:

Mason/ condiment jar

Glue gun

Pump (either a foam pump or a regular pump depending on what you plan to put inside)

Hammer

1 Nail or Tapered Screw

Pliers

First, hammer the nail or screw into the center of the lid.

hammerandlid

Then, take the pliers and pull outward slowly making the hole bigger.

pliersandlid

After the whole is big enough for the base of the dispenser to fit through, place it through the whole and use the glue gun to set it in place (I just happened to have sparkly glue in mine so that’s what I used but you wont see it so you can use whatever kind of hot gun glue you want).

hotgluelid

Then you just need to screw the lid back on the top of your jar and you are set!

I use mine for all of the natural products I make including dish soap, foaming hand soap, liquid hand soap  shampoo, body wash, and make-up remover!

Recipes for all this and more to follow!