How to Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies

Everyone knows by now that I am really getting into this zero waste thing. Somedays I obsess over how I can continue to push myself on this zero waste journey and others days I am on auto pilot making great progress without noticing the amazing changes that I have made overtime. I have a few cleaning supplies that I make myself. They are super easy to make, inexpensive, don’t contain any harsh chemicals, and work great. They work so well it makes me think we are being bamboozled by the cleaning supply industry when what grandma did was more than good enough to get the job done. Below are some of my favorite homemade cleaning supplies:

Easy Everyday Cleaner: Great for wiping down counters and tables

  • Spray bottle
  • Vinegar
  • Water

Step 1: Fill the spray bottle with 1 part vinegar 2 parts water.

More Powerful Everyday Cleaner: Great for cleaning your stove top, and cleaning up after a pet accidents

  • Jar
  • Orange, lemon, grapefruit or lime rind
  • Vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
Step 1: Keep your citrus fruit rind instead of composting
Step 2: Put rind in an empty jar and fill with vinegar
Step 3: Let the jar sit for several weeks. Once it’s changed color it’s ready to go.
Step 4: Fill the spray bottle with 1 part vinegar solution (without the rind), and 1 part water. Compost the rind.
Step 5: Get another rind ready so that by the time you run out you are ready to go with the next batch

Floor Cleaner: Great for tile, stone or laminate.

  • Bottle, or spray bottle
  • Vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl)
  • Water
  • A few drops liquid dish soap
Step 1: Fill empty bottle with 1 part vinegar, 1 part rubbing alcohol, 1 part water and a few drops of liquid dish soap
Step 2: Put cap back on the bottle, and shake to mix
Step 3: Let the suds settle before use

Bathtub/Sink Cleaner: Good for removing soap scrum and general cleanliness of the tub/sink

  • Lemon (I like using Meyer lemons)
  • Baking soda
Step 1: Cut Lemon in half
Step 2: Sprinkle baking soda on lemon, preferably over the tub or sink you wanted to clean
Step 3: Scrub the tub or sink squeezing the lemon and sprinkling more baking soda on the lemon as need
Step 4: Let it sit for a few minutes
Step 5: Rinse
Step 6: If really dirty repeat

Toilet Cleaner

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Toilet Brush
Step 1: Flush toilet
Step 2: Pour 1 cup vinegar, and let sit for 20 minutes (60 minutes if it’s really dirty)
Step 3: Sprinkle baking soda in bowl
Step 4: Scrub with toilet brush
Step 5: Add more baking soda ,and brush if needed
Step 6: Flush toilet

Homemade Chicken Broth

We cook a lot in our house (at least 4 times a week). Sometime I get adventurous, like the time I made gyro meat and tahini sauce from scratch for homemade gyros. They were amazing, but too much work. Other times it’s a game I like to play called what can I make with the random things in the pantry and fridge, I mostly win. Mostly is the keyword here.

For Christmas I decided to cook my first whole Chicken. I found a rosemary chicken recipe that I was excited to use. The chicken was great so I decide to save the carcass in my freezer for making chicken stock at a later date. And in the mantra of zero waste I started saving the scraps from onions, garlic, carrots, and celery and was storing in my freezer.

Rosemary Chicken

Yesterday was the day! I pulled the chicken and leftover scraps out of the freezer. Filled a pot with water and started cooking. About 4 hour later I have almost 5, 24 oz jars of stock.

Homemade Chicken Stock

Tips:

  • Instead of throwing away your leftover onion, garlic, celery & carrot scraps put them in a glass jar in your freezer
  • Do the same thing for meat bones
  • Substitute the stock for recipes that call for a cup or two of water like rice or quinoa
  • You can use the onion peals, but it can add a bitter flavor to the broth
  • Store the stock in the fridge or freezer in a reusable container. These are the 24 oz jars I use which are also great for bulk grocery shopping because they have a wide lid.
  • Make sure to write the date somewhere on the container
  • Enjoy!

My 1st Zero Waste Christmas

My journey towards Zero Waste started earlier in 2015 so once December had rolled around I had already created some good habits and a minimal waste mindset around what I wanted to accomplish for Christmas. Some initial plans rolling into the holiday season were to make our own christmas tree, focus less on buying things we didn’t need, to enjoy time with friends & family, and to take some time off from work.

Last year we decided that we no longer wanted to cut down a tree. Since we are big crafters making our own tree made a ton a sense and got everyone really excited. This year’s tree was made from upcycled fence posts left over from a project this summer and other items we had around the house.

homemade upcycled diy chirstmas tree
Our homemade upcycled Christmas tree. Made from left over fence posts from a summer project.

This year we also focused on fewer gifts. In total we got our 7 year old; a used dictionary (something he requested), an atlas (because he wants to travel the world), a stop motion animation toy so he can create movies, and last but not least a family trip to Hawaii (we found a great deal on flights). Focusing on experiences has been more meaningful to us.

Other Accomplishments included:

  • I took sometime off from work and the world didn’t end.
  • I was able to spend quality time with friends and family without feeling like I needed to attend every event that I was invited to.
  • Decorating the house took about an hour and putting everything away after Christmas was a breeze.
  • We didn’t purchase a single holiday candy, cookie, decoration, card, or wrapping supplies which saved us money and time.
  • We didn’t have overflowing garbage and recycling cans.

All and all I am really happy with how the entire month played out. I think it was the first time EVER I wasn’t stressed out about the holidays.