Thursday, March 14, 2013

Safer All-Purpose Cleaner

When I began this blog two years ago, one of my goals was to share recipes and tips that were:
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Better for the health of me and my family (and those in my daily care)
  • Frugal
Over the years I've done a fairly good job of ridding my home of products that are filled with harmful (for both the environment and my family) chemicals. But sometimes I let my guard down and those things that were formally banned from my home make their way through my door.

Last summer my daughter was in a car accident which meant that I stayed in the hospital with her during her three weeks of care. The day before we returned home, my sweet husband {although I don't approve of his cleaning supplies, I am so thankful for his thoughtfulness!} went to the store to buy cleaners so that he could do a quick clean up of the house for us. He didn't have a clue on how to use my homemade cleaners (besides he isn't quite on this bandwagon with me). So we "acquired"  bottles of 409, bleach, toilet cleaner and Windex. 

Over the months following the accident I no longer focused on my green and frugal adventures, nor did I continue to blog about such topics, as I was overwhelmed with catching up. After five weeks off of work, I was catching up on paying my bills, reading mail, and work had returned with a vengeance as the number of children that I care for in the summer time doubles. More kids, more piles of toys, more piles of neglected paperwork......I really didn't care if I was using Windex or vinegar on my windows. But guess what? I'm back and I'm ready to tackle my previous endeavor of providing for my family and my home with products that are safe, green and frugal!

Being frugally minded I resisted the urge to throw these products away (besides what if I left home for any length of time? Hubs may decide to clean the house again!) The bleach, my least favorite of the bunch, didn't last long only because I had no problems tossing that one. The Windex is half gone (probably would have been used up faster but I usually use my own cleaner when I have the kiddos working with me). 

The 409, despite my feelings towards the chemicals it contains, has actually become a favorite of mine for getting gunk off the dining room table (serving  20 snacks/meals per week to a group of kids under the age of five can leave the table kinda of "gunky"...they are not the neatest eaters.) So today, as I scrubbed the gunk, I realized that my bottle of 409 was almost empty! Light bulb moment here as I realized that I could fill the 409 bottle with my own cleaner and no one (hubs) would even know the difference! :)

I'm not sure what is in Formula 409 Antibacterial All-Purpose Cleaner. The only ingredient listed is so small that my old eyes can't quite make it out but I am able to see that it's so long that I'm not able to pronounce it. Oh, here, if I squint and tilt my head..........well, I guess I need to be a chemist in order to decipher. 

On the back of the bottle however is this:
Avoid contact with eyes, skin or clothing. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling. Avoid contact with foods.

The warning says it all - DON'T USE! One of my tests that I use to determine if I should be using a cleaning product is whether it makes me sneeze (you know the ones that burn your nose hair?), or if the product makes my skin or eyes hurt/itch. So the above warning clearly tells me that 409 is not a product that I want to be using and will not be allowed in my house. 

Homemade 409 All-Purpose Cleaner

2 tsp Borax
1 tsp Washing Soda 
1/2 cup white vinegar (I used the "orange vinegar" that I brewed up a couple of months ago)
2 cups hot water
1/2 tsp dish soap 

I also added 10 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil (germ killer and air purifier)

The Chicken Chick


  1. I don't know how I missed your orange vinegar earlier! thank you for linking to it again! I'm going to do that today as I'm tired of my vinegar smell;)

    I've been using half vinegar/half dawn original dishsoap for awhile now in my showers, etc... but I've been looking to kick it up a notch. this might do the trick--thank you!

    and where do you get your Eucalyptus Essential Oil?

    1. I like the NOW brand and buy in at a local food co-op. I know that GNC also sells NOW essential oils.

      Thanks for stopping by, Nikki!