The Money Saving WAHM (that's me!) has talked a lot about natural cleaning, as it is very easy on the lungs, skin, environment and pocketbook and is very effective. Here is a good article on that very subject.
(The links at the bottom of the article appear to be dead but they must be included with the article since I am reprinting it. The information contained in the article is still very valuable!)
The Benefits Of Natural Cleaning
by Lisa Fraley
There are benefits if you use a homemade natural cleaning product instead of a chemically laden commercial one.
Making your own cleaning product doesn't consume a lot of time and it is inexpensive too. How long does it take to fill a spray bottle with white vinegar, water and a few drops of essential oil? About a minute or two.
Once it's done you have an appliance and glass cleaner that's natural and chemical free.
Commercial cleaners can be very expensive and the prices are rising. Homemade alternatives cost only pennies to make and you don't need to use as much.
Most homemade natural formulas are multi-purpose so you will need less space to store cleaning products. This is a big help for those of us who are limited on storage space.
You can be creative with your packaging too. Wash out those old containers that use to store the commercial products and reuse them to store your homemade natural products instead. Store car and wood polishes in recycled coffee tins (the kind with the plastic lid). For your homemade powder cleansers reuse sprinkle top plastic containers (bulk spices come in these).
Essential oils are available in health food stores and you can find them online also. Be sure you are buying pure, undiluted oil and not one that has been diluted with carrier oil. Store your oils away from heat and light to keep them potent for the longest amount of time. The bottle will come with a dropper and that is what you use to measure how much you put into your cleaners. Essential oils can irritate the skin and must be diluted with either carrier oil or other liquid before use.
Here is a list of oils and herbs to have on hand if you are just starting out:
Citrus (sweet orange or lemon)
Wintergreen (take extra care when handling this oil)
Thyme - antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral
Rosemary - antibacterial
Basil - anti-fungal
Mint - antibacterial
Oregano - antibiotic, antiviral
Lavender - antibiotic, antiviral, anti-fungal
Lemon Balm - antiviral
Sage - antibacterial
Here are a few natural cleaning product recipes you may be able to make right now. The ingredients are common items you may already have on hand.
Herbal Sink Scrub
? cup baking soda
? cup coarsely ground sage leaves
? cup ground rosemary leaves
Combine all ingredients in an airtight container and blend together by shaking. Sprinkle a small amount into the sink and scrub with a damp sponge or cloth. Rinse the sink well. Use only whole dried sage and rosemary leaves.
? cup baking soda
Juice from half a lemon
Sprinkle the baking soda directly on the rust stain. Sprinkle the baking soda with lemon juice. Let set undisturbed no stain overnight. Wipe away baking soda and rinse thoroughly.
No Scrub Toilet Bowl Cleanser
1 cup borax
1 cup vinegar
Combine both in a plastic bowl or bottle and pour all at once into the toilet bowl. Allow it to sit overnight and in the morning just flush. This works great for toilets that have an everlasting ring around them. By morning even the toughest stains will be gone!
Laundry Fabric Softener
6 cups of white vinegar
1 cup of water
1 cup of baking soda
Combine all ingredients into a plastic container (heavy duty). Only takes 1 cup in your rinse cycle per load for wonderfully soft clothes. If you want to scent this, simply add about 15 drops of your favorite citrus essential oil.
Lisa Fraley is the author of "Frugal Comes In Green." An e-book packed with earth friendly ways you can have more money for the things you want. http://www.home-works-enterprises.ws/frugal-comes-in-green-ebook.html
She is the owner of Home Works Natural Skin And Body Care. Where you can purchase natural products for the natural you. http://www.home-works-enterprises.ws
Visit Lisa's natural product blog for articles, tips, do-it-yourself recipes and more. http://www.all-natural-products.info.