While I was giving my kitchen a much needed clean up this morning, I noticed I was almost out of all purpose spray cleaner, so I made some more.
Yeah, I did.
I don't know if it's the Bay Area influence run amok, if it's motherhood causing me to examine my choices, or if I'd just rather spend money on trashy magazines than expensive natural cleaning products, but I make my own spray cleaner. And it's awesome. Awesome enough to take on the kind of mess we make, which is the kind of mess where you sweep up a raisin and you think "Raisins? When did we have raisins?" and then you realize that actually, a month ago, and it was grapes.
Anyway. You are probably not interested in all the agonizing I did over what the environmental impact of white vinegar production might be, or whether the borax miners are treated with dignity and given full health benefits, or whether I should be seeking out organic baking soda if such a thing there be. In the end, I decided that I appreciate knowing what is in my cleaning products, I appreciate the low cost, I appreciate that I can make effective products that are not toxic to my family, and I appreciate that I can do so without buying into anyone's marketing strategy, something I'm all too easily drawn into (hi, Whole Foods!). And each of the ingredients has countless other uses around the house.
All Purpose Cleaner
1 teaspoon Borax
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 squirt liquid dish detergent
2 cups of hot water
Mix all ingredients thoroughly and store in clean spray bottle. Optionally, you can add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil for that "Mrs. Meyer's" vibe. Otherwise, it really doesn't smell like much of anything, which is great for fragrance-sensitive people who don't like sneezing their way through a cleaning project, or people who just don't get where "lemony!" equals "clean!"
White vinegar is cheap enough anyway, but I use it for so many things besides this cleaner that I buy it in bulk at Costco--ditto baking soda, which you can also find at Home Depot in twelve pound bags for less than the cost of a couple of small boxes of the stuff at your grocery store. Borax is pretty much the cheapest thing in the laundry aisle, and any old dish detergent will do.