Who doesn’t like a clean house? Whether it be out to sea or ashore, we’ve found a few simple recipes that help us keep Kaleo shining inside from stem to stern.Editor's note: Please don't confuse washing soda (sodium carbonate, NA2CO3) with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NAHCO3). Tho the names and formulae are similar, they are very different chemicals. One is suitable for use as an eyewash (the bicarbonate) and the other could cause blindness if you get it in your eyes (the carbonate).
Yet you won’t find Mr. Clean or Windex lurking under our galley sink.
With just a few basic items that you most likely have on hand (water, vinegar, baking soda, tea tree oil), you can do almost all of your household cleaning, save money, and keep your home free of the toxins found in many store-bought cleaning products.
Here are a few recipes that will help you do most of your everyday cleaning:
General Surface Cleaner
Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and use to clean general surfaces such as counter tops, sinks and the stove. Do not rinse.
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is antiseptic, germicidal, antifungal, and antibacterial agent making it a very effective surface cleaner.
Mold and Mildew Eliminator
Using the same recipe as above, wipe down surfaces in high-mold or high-humidity areas. Tea tree oil is a natural fungus fighter but if you encounter large amounts of mold, or black mold, however, call a mold-removal specialist.
Head (Toilet) Cleaner
Mix in a small spray bottle and use for head surfaces, the toilet bowl and wiping down the gel coat shower pan. If you’re concerned about the smell of vinegar, you can add a few drops of essential oil to your mix, but know that the odor of vinegar disappears as it evaporates.
- 50% water
- 50% white vinegar
In addition, about once per month we run a pint of undiluted white vinegar into the toilet, flush once and let it sit overnight to fight the salt water deposits that build up.
Mix the ingredients into a spray bottle for an effective glass cleaner. It also works well on the chrome faucets in the galley and head and even on the stainless steel dorades and rails on deck.
- 1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
Trash Can Deodorizer
Mix the two ingredients thoroughly, ensuring all lumps are removed. Place a (fresh) piece of absorbent cloth on the bottom of the trash can and sprinkle this mixture over it. Change the pad and deodorizer every other week or so.
- 1 teaspoon tea tree oil
- 1 cup baking soda
- Oil absorbent cloth
A few other natural deodorizers
- Boil 1 tablespoon of vinegar in 1 cup of water to eliminate unpleasant cooking odors
- Baking soda is excellent for absorbing odors in the fridge or icebox
First, mix the grated soap in a saucepan with 4 cups of water, and heat on low until the soap is completely dissolved. Add hot water/soap mixture to 3 gallons of water in the 5-gallon bucket, stir in the washing soda and Borax, and continue stirring until thickened. Let the mix sit for 24 hours and it’s ready to go. Use 3/4 cup per full load. You can store this in gallon jugs aboard and fill a water bottle to take to the laundromat.
- 4 cups of water
- ⅓ bar of natural soap, grated (this is where the scent will come from in the detergent, so go with something you like)
- ½ cup washing soda (not baking soda)
- ½ cup of Borax (20 Mule Team)
- 5-gallon bucket for mixing
- 3 gallons of water
- (optional) A few drops of scented oil such as tea tree or lavender which will overpower the soap (especially if you choose unscented)
Bug Trap – Not really a cleaning product but one we use when those nasty fruit flies visit.
Cut the top off a small plastic cup. Add apple cider vinegar and drops of dish soap. Place on your kitchen counter and within minutes the little buggers will be swimming. Apple cider vinegar attracts the bugs and the dish soap traps them on entry.
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2-3 drops of dish soap
Happy (and healthy) cleaning!
Friday, June 24, 2011
Please welcome new contributors Christie and Matt aboard s/v Kaleo. As their first contribution, they offer us tips on cleaning supplies made from commonly available ingredients: