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Natural DIY Cleaners

Why make your own cleaners when you can buy ready-made cleaners and detergents?

I was prompted to make the switch because I wanted to do away with dozens of plastic covers and bottles that carried these cleaners. Because as I had mentioned in the previous post, avoiding plastics is better than recycling plastics. This is an obvious reason which I hadn’t thought of before – we may think we use all these cleaners external ly and they get washed down into the drains, so how can they be really harmful? Our skin is the largest absorbing organ  in our body,they have numerous pores through which soaps, shampoos and other cleaners we use enter our bodies on a daily basis (though the proportion might be negligible for one day, they aren’t negligible when used for a life-time, are they??!!!) Also what gets washed down the drains eventually ends up in the soil or water bodies which is not ok as well.

Ever since we started making our own cleaners at home, we have started saving lot of money on monthly expenditure. To sum up, I would say, these are eco-friendly, healthy and pocket-friendly options.

Bath Powder/Hand Wash Powder

I would say this is an amazing bath cleaner/scrub that I have ever used in my life.Not even the best of best soaps has given me this sense of freshness after a bath. And here is the recipe:

Green gram (say 1 kg) + Vettiver powder (50-100 gm)

Grind the green gram in a flour mill – grind a handful of the green gram little coarse, remaining can be a smooth powder. Mix the vettiver powder with this and store in an air-tight container. People with oily skin can use this powder as it is. For people with dry skin the powder can be mixed with gingeley oil and used instead of a soap.

We store the same powder in a small pepper sprinkler and use it instead of a handwash.

Hair Wash Powder

Option 1: (Basic version)

  • Shikakai (Main ingredient) – oil cleanser
  • Green Gram – oil cleanser
  • Methi/fenugreek seeds – conditioner
  • Soapnut – foaming agent

Any more of healthy ingredients can be added to this like dried curry leaves, hibiscus and so on.

Option 2:

Roasted gram flour – cleanser (More of it) + Methi/fenugreek powder-  conditioner (less of it)

We make our rice in an open pot, so we always get the rice kanji – we leave it for a day or two to ferment and mix it with the above powder and bathe. Works great even for an oil bath.

Dish Wash Powder

We slowly moved from liquid soaps to bar soaps to powder cleaners . I was still not satisfied because all of these had unsafe chemicals in them, though we wash it off well, these chemicals/soaps stick onto the vessels and are ingested into our bodies. We oil the idli plates to make idlis – whenever I oil the neatly cleaned (with soaps), dried idli plates, it will always turn into whitish translucent layer which is nothing but the soap.

We casually tried the wild ideas dish wash powder and it was amazing at cleaning even hard stains and oily pans. Have heard even Krya products are good. But though they were organic  and nice, they worked out a little expensive on a monthly basis.

Option 1:

Then I chanced upon my friend’s blog and here is her recipe for a cheap and perfect cleaner:

  • Used coffee grounds, sun-dried – 50% (got these from a filter coffee house)
  • Citrus peels(sweet lime/orange/lemon), sun-dried – 25% (got these from a juice vendor)
  • Shikakai – 12.5%
  • Soaput – 12.5%

One days’ yield from a coffee shop and juice vendor lasted me for about 2 months, in spite of giving away a portion of the powder to many of my friends, Whenever I drop by to any of my friend’s place, I carry this powder as a gift.

Option 2:

  • Shikakkai Powder – 50% – meant for cleansing and clearing out oily/sticky stains
  • Wood Ash – 50% (Got it from a nearby construction site – one day’s yield can last for more than a month) –  meant for bringing a luster to the ever silver vessels

The proportion can be varied as per convenience.

These can be used to clean kitchen slabs as well – they can easily remove even heavy oil stains.

Note: Take only required quantity of the powder every time in a small bowl – moisten the vessel and clean it with a scrub (dabbed with the dry powder).

Courtesy : Sangeetha Sriram’s blog

Floor Cleaner

This is a home made liquid ; before I share the recipe I would like to say what prompted me to specifically make this liquid (apart from the reason that I wanted to avoid plastic containers).

When my little one was around 9 months old, he was on his oral exploration phase and he would often come in contact with the floor on his bare mouth. So we made sure the floor was cleaned well (with what?of course the chemical floor sanitizer) – then suddenly it occurred to me I was literally feeding my little one with chemicals and for a couple of days after that we were cleaning the floor with just plain water. Finally I ended up making neem leaves decoction and ever since we have been using this instead of commercial floor cleaner solutions. Bonus?? – its an amazing ant repellant..!! No need of harmful chalk pieces anymore. Here is a video on how to make the neem leaves decoction:

About an year ago, we have stopped using refrigerator in our house, so storing the neem leaves decoction is not possible now. So we take care of basic hygiene in the house, we wipe the floor with plain water, and sometimes with neem oil diluted in water..!!

Reasoning: After nature cure, we know disease is our friend, so we are no more worried about sanitisation much.

Natural Tooth Powder

Store-bought toothpastes are a strict NO NO in our house. But making your own tooth paste is pretty much easy – here are 2 options:

Option 1:

Mix a couple of drops of any oil into a pinch of any herbal tooth powder (home made or store bought)  and use instead of a paste (using a tooth brush is optional)

Option 2:

This is what my friend recommends:

  • 2 parts Himalayan pink salt/ Sea Salt
  • 1 part Baking soda
  • 1/2 part Turmeric
  • Few drops of any cooking oil

Make a paste out of this and use instead of a paste (using a tooth brush is optional)

Natural Ant Repellant

Wiping the floor daily using the diluted neem leaves decoction repels most ants. If its till persists, I follow these 2 steps:

  1. Identify the source – if you have the tie wait till the ants eat away their delicious meal, else u can remove the source and displace it to any outdoor space
  2. Sprinkle turmeric powder over the ant line – the ants just go away after a while. Unlike when using the chalk pieces the ants are repelled here rather than getting killed. It feels ethically so nice to be nice to these little beings you know.!

It is after I saw this simple technique work that I realized why our traditional olden day houses and temples were lined with turmeric on the outside walls and also near the entrance (vaasapadi).

Natural Mosquito Repellent

Sure shot answer I have found so far is Lemongrass oil (an essential oil). Trust me it really works, because I tried it during the Dec 2015 floods – no power, stagnant water behind the house – it magically worked. Plus this oil being used in aromatherapy induces a freshening sleep. Take a few drops of lemongrass oil in a small cup and leave it on your bedside and enjoy a mosquito-free sleep. Alternatively you also get room fresheners with lemon grass fragrance, guess they work well too (I haven’t tried this though, but it has worked for my friend).

All-Purpose Cleaner 1:

Soapnut powder or liquid can easily be used as an all purpose cleaner, right from cleaning floor to bathrooms to kitchen sinks.

All-Purpose Cleaner 2:

Bio-enzyme – A homemade, child friendly, inexpensive cleaner – it can be used on tough stains of laundry, socks, cloth pads, toilet, sink, floor, etc. I followed this blog to make bio enzyme, a very detailed explanation. Please follow the bio-enzyme link.

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