April has sprung and so has Spring… (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere)… ! While the snow is melting and the flowers are blooming, spring cleaning is probably on everybody’s mind.
Although I live in the Southern Hemisphere now and “winter” is approaching, I do have a deep cleaning routine set in place that comes around every 3 months. So it’s the perfect time to share some of my DIY cleaning products that are toxic-free. These products are great for everyone whether you’re living as a family, as a bachelor(et), or as a university student because they are so budget-friendly!
As it’s become evident from my previous blog posts, I am a strong believer in keeping my home as chemical-free as possible, not just for sustainable reasons but also for the health and well-being of my family. With all the trial and error experiences, these DIY products have become staples in my household care. There are still some store-bought products that I have not been able to find good toxic-free replacements or DIY swaps for, and so I do not have a choice but to use these for deep cleaning. But at least I keep the usage of those products at a minimum and not at a regular basis. IF you have any alternatives of those products (which will be mentioned throughout the blogs), please share them with me in the Comments!
This blog post focuses on cleaning the kitchen and is 1-of-4 in the Spring Cleaning Series that will go on till the end of April. Let’s get started…
1. All Purpose Cleaner
Simple. Easy. Efficient. Knocks off the need to buy multiple products and can be used in every corner of your home! How to make: in an empty spray bottle add one teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), pour Castile soap 1/3rd of the way up, and fill the rest with filtered or distilled (NOT tap) water. Shake it up and it’s ready to use on counter-tops (quartz, granite, even builder’s basic), on stove tops, inside and outside the fridge, cooking appliances, and the list goes on.
Baking soda allows for hard stains/spills to be removed and Castile soap is a powerful cleanser that disinfects all types of material. I have tried and tested this on a burnt stovetop with overflown milk and didn’t need any additional product to clean up the residue! It works well on stainless steel and does not leave streak marks.
I use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap because it is Certified Organic, so I trust how it is sourced, but you can choose any brand of Castile soap that is available to you. Keep in mind that it is very powerful and must be diluted greatly before using it. Also, since it requires to be diluted it is an amazing money-saver because you don’t need to purchase it as frequently. I buy a 32oz bottle and use it for cleaning my entire house – and it lasts me ONE YEAR! Yes, one year – and I use it for everything… you’ll see.
2. Sink Scrubber
In Brazil it is not as common to have a dishwasher as it is in North America, and so I wash everything by hand. Since I do it by hand twice a day, the sink also needs to be cleaned thoroughly afterwards. My routine is to clean the sink with the DIY All Purpose Cleaner after each load of dishes washed, and use a scrubber once a week to deep clean and bring back the shine of the stainless steel.
I use none other than baking soda as the scrubber. Once the sink is empty, I place a drain stopper to prevent anything from draining (obviously) and sprinkle a good amount of baking soda all over the surface. After leaving it there for 15-20 minutes, I use the same loofa to clean my dishes and start scrubbing the baking soda into the sink and on the sides thoroughly, not leaving any space untouched. Once it’s all rinsed off with water, the sink will be shinning like it’s brand new!
You can apply the scrub biweekly or even once a month depending on how much your sink is used on average.
3. Dish Soap
Personally, I use a store-bought dish soap (Brazilian brand) that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals and is more soothing on the skin, which was important for me because I don’t wear gloves while washing the dishes…and as mentioned above, I tend to wash dishes a lot. However, in the past I have used a DIY dish soap made from Castile soap. It worked very well, even on pots and pans but was leaving my hands dry. You can try this out for yourself and see if it works in the long-run.
I use the same Castile soap as the one in the All Purpose Cleaner, except the quantity is more. Instead of using 1/3 Castile soap to 2/3 water, to make the dish soap it is best to use 1/2 Castile soap to 1/2 distilled water in a pump bottle. Make sure to shake it up once.
4. Cutting Board Sanitizer
If you have a wood cutting board, it’s important to maintain it properly because it is prone to warp and crack. A well-maintained wood board can last years and be passed down in generations!
Leaving it soaked in water causes the wood to warp so it’s best to not wash it heavily under the tap. Regular dish soap will also cause problems so it’s best to be avoided altogether. I take a damp microfibre cloth to wipe down the cutting board and then apply a simple DIY sanitizer. All you need is half a lime and salt. Apply salt generously on the surface and scrub it with the lime for a good minute. This will kill all germs. Once it’s done, you can wipe it off with the damp cloth or rinse it with water directly, making sure to pat dry it instantly. This can be done once a week.
To prevent the wood from cracking or to fix any cracks that may already be there (proven by my own experience), it’s good to season the board once a month. Simply apply mineral oil generously on all surfaces of the board and leave it in a upright position overnight. It will look brand new in the morning!
These are all the DIY Cleaning Products I use for my kitchen! In the next post I will talk about the bathroom. If you create your own DIY cleaning supplies that are different from these ones, share them below. 🙂
Peace & Love ❤