Mamas and Papas: Homemade Household Cleaners

If you haven’t started making some or all of your own cleaning supplies, this may be just the article you need to get motivated to start. Misty Amarena, the Co-op’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, shared some great tips and tricks that she found in the book The Naturally Clean Home: 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning by Karyn Siegel-Maier. And, yes, the Co-op does carry this book. Naturally.
 
Staple Ingredients: Most of these ingredients are inexpensive ones that you may already have around the house. 
1. Baking Soda: Cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours. Great for tackling hard-water stains or pet odors in carpet.
2. Cornstarch: Use to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs.
3. Lemon: One of the strongest food acids, lemons are effective against most household bacteria.
4. Soap: Unscented soap in liquid form (such as Castile soap), flakes, powders, or bars can clean just about anything.
5. White Vinegar: Cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax (e.g., crayons, candles) build-up.
6. Washing Soda: Cuts grease; removes stains; softens water; cleans walls, tiles, sinks, and tubs. Washing soda can irritate mucous membranes, so handle with care. Do not use on aluminum.
 
Herbs/Essential Oils: Herbs and essential oils not only add a pleasant fragrance to your cleaners, but many also have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. 
1. Antibacterial: rosemary, tea tree oil, citrus oils (e.g., lemon, orange), citronella, eucalyptus, mints (i.e. peppermint, spearmint), lavender, certain blends.
2. Antifungal: tea tree oil, citrus, eucalyptus, lavender, certain blends.
3. Antiviral: tea tree oil, citrus, eucalyptus, lavender, clove, certain blends.
 
Quick Tips and Tricks: Even if you’re not ready to dive into the deep end of making all your own cleaners, you can experiment with certain ones to see how they work out for you and your family.
1. For extra greasy dishes, add 1/2 cup of white vinegar or lemon juice to the dishwasher.
2. To rid your fridge of lingering smells, line the bottom shelf with newspaper sprinkled with 10-15 drops of essential oil and remove after two to three days.
3. Try sprinkling a few cotton balls with peppermint oil to deter spring ants from exploring your cabinets. 
4. To maintain a fresh scent in the bathroom, place a few drops of your favorite essential oil on the cardboard inside the toilet paper tube of the paper currently in use.
5. For extra stubborn stains in an old-fashioned porcelain sink, brew a strong herbal infusion and let it soak for a few hours or overnight. Boil rosemary, thyme, or mint for two to three hours and then strain the liquid into a closed sink. After soaking for the recommended time, sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub.
 
Five Recipe Ideas: 
1. All-Purpose Cleaner: 9 parts water, 1 part white vinegar.
2. Easy Automatic Dishwasher Powder: 2 cups washing soda, 1 cup borax, 1 cup baking soda.
3. Tile Cleaner: 1/2 cup baking soda, liquid Castile soap. Optional: Also add 5-10 drops of lavender or rosemary or tea tree essential oil.
4. Toilet Bowl Cleaner: 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup vinegar, 10 drops tea tree essential oil.
5. Window Cleaner: 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon liquid Castile soap, 2 cups water.
 
Mamas and Papas Topics for May: 
May 4: Acupuncture, Naomi Brownson
May 11: Sun and Summer Safety, Misty Amarena, Moscow Food Co-op
May 18: Open Discussion: Family Check-in. Bring questions/topics that you would like to discuss
May 27: Holiday, No Meeting
 
Please note that the Mamas and Papas group now meets every Monday from 9:30 – 11 a.m. 
Where: Uma Center (414 South Jefferson Street in Moscow—the corner of 5th and Jefferson)
Who: All interested participants are encouraged to attend! 
Each Mamas and Papas Group Meeting features a speaker on a topic relevant to expectant parents or parents of children up to two years of age. Child-care assistance will be provided by Co-op volunteers during the meeting. The Co-op Outreach Team will be there with refreshments and samples. We hope to see you in May!