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Homemade cleaning products – a problem solved

20 May, 2011

I like to use homemade cleaning products, and have done for years. When I make my own cleaning products I know exactly what is in them, can control their strength and 90% of the time the products are completely non-toxic and could be eaten (although that would be unpleasant). The remaining 10% of products that are toxic are only because they contain borax which can be toxic in larger quantities.

One problem that I, like many other before me, have run into when making our own cleaning products is clogging spray bottles. While they are minute, the particles in home made cleaning products are larger than in commercial products and that slight size difference is enough to clog up the spray mechanism.

Recently, I inadvertently discovered a solution. We were embarking on a family project of cleaning all the outsides of the windows. Children took turns at hosing the fly screens as they were removed, and the others were using my super-cheap, non-toxic window cleaning solution in spray bottles. Only trouble is, I only had two spare spray bottles, three children and one mum who really needed to be the one to clean the top halves of the windows.

After searching through cleaning cupboards, I found an empty pump-bottle, like the ones you might use in your bathroom for soap. I made up a batch of my window cleaner (recipe to follow) in the pump bottle and used that to pump a squirt of solution straight onto the scrunched up newspaper and then onto the windows.

While it didn’t spray in the conventional way, it worked surprisingly well. The pump bottle was designed for liquids with lower viscosity and even larger particles, so it doesn’t clog in the same way a spray bottle does. It still dispenses a small amount at a time, better than putting it in a bottle and pouring a little on the cloth each time. It probably uses the solution quicker. This wasn’t at all an issue when cleaning the grubby outside windows. Inside, it may be more of an issue but I don’t think it is an excessive amount. The solution is so cheap and easy to make that there’s not really the waste issue to consider (I know waste is waste but when I’m thinking about something that only costs a few cents to make a 500mL batch I realise I’ve got bigger battles to fight).

Now, to my recipe.

Lizzie’s Super-Cheap Non-Toxic Window Cleaning Solution

1 Tbsp Dishwashing liquid
2 Tbsp cleaning vinegar (it has a different ph to cooking vinegar, although normal white vinegar can be used in a pinch)
450mL warm water

Pour into pump or spray bottle in order. It will froth as you put the water in, don’t stress. Replace lid, give a quick shake to mix and you’re done!

Cheap, quick and easy to make and works!

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