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Where to Find Homemade Cleaning Supplies

Where to Find Homemade Cleaning Supplies

Most ingredients in homemade cleaners are simple and very easy to find (the majority can be found at the grocery store).  Here’s a list of the most common ingredients and some notes to help you find the best stuff!

  • Baking soda – this handy cleaner is typically found in the baking aisle.  Save money by buying the large box – it’s sure to be put to good use!
  • Borax – this is typically sold in the laundry detergent line of the grocery store.  The brand sold around here is 20 Mule Team.  It comes in a thin cardboard box and is easy to overlook so look carefully!  This is only used occasionally so if they sell multiple sizes, go with the small.
  • Club soda – this is usually located in the soda/drink mixer aisle of the grocery store.  It makes the ultimate glass cleaner!
  • Containers – Most of these recipes use spray bottles which can be found at grocery, hardware, dollar, beauty supply store, etc.  The challenge is finding a quality bottle for a reasonable price.  It’s tempting to just buy a bunch of spray bottles from the dollar store, but be careful – sometimes these bottles are so crappy you end up replacing them and negating your savings.  Remember that since these recipes are non-toxic, your bottles can be cleaned, dried and reused indefinitely.  Spending just a dollar or two more is worth it for a durable bottle that will last longer and be much more pleasant to use.   But don’t rule the dollar store out.  If you notice decent looking bottles, buy one or two and test them out.  If they’re good, go back and buy a lot!  Other options include beauty supply stores (good selection but overpriced), garden centers (ok selection, ok price) and the grocery store (usually poor quality and overpriced).  If you’re willing to pay shipping and/or buy in bulk, the best selection is found online.   My personal favorite bottle is the Soft ‘n Style 16 oz clear spray bottle which is sold on Amazon (at the time of this post a 6 pack cost $12 including shipping).  I also like the Soft ‘n Style 8 oz bottle. They work great, look good and are worth the extra dollar in price.
  • Other containers – It’s helpful to have a good shaker for your baking soda cleansers and they can be tricky to find!  I’ve found glass shakers at the dollar store that work pretty well if the holes are big enough, but I prefer an unbreakable container.  The best shaker I’ve found is the big plastic shaker that parmasean cheese comes in.  Eat the cheese, clean and dry the container really well and it works like a charm!  (Please note: I don’t recommend repurposing containers unless they can be throughly cleaned and the previous ingredients were non-toxic).
  • Essential oils – this is one of the few cleaning ingredients you’ll probably have to buy from a specialty store.  I recommend buying them from a health food store such as Whole Foods or similar local place.  Look for pure oils with no additives.  Avoid anything that says fragrance or perfume oil – you want the real stuff!  Properly stored essential oils are sold in dark colored glass bottles to maximize their freshness.
  • Liquid castile soap – this great product is starting to show up in grocery stores, usually in the natural foods section.  If your store doesn’t carry it, health food stores virtually always do.  My favorite brand is Dr. Bronners unscented which I usually buy in 32 oz containers.  It’s high quality and smells the best of the brands I’ve tried.
  • Labels – I like to label all of my products with their name and the recipe so they’re really easy to refill.  At first I used regular paper labels but they inevitably got wet and started to bleed and fall apart.  I tried laminating and taping them but nothing worked.  So then I got smart and started using water resisitant labels.  If you have a laser jet printer, you’re in luck.  Office supply stores typically carry a decent selection of water resistant labels (sometimes called weatherproof).  If however, you have a regular old inkjet like me, your options are limited.  I eventually found a good selection at Elements, Bath and Body (http://www.elementsbathandbody.com/Inkjet-Waterproof-Labels-c-120.html).  The only catch is they charge so much shipping it’s almost not worth it unless you buy additional stuff (they do have lots of containers, soap and skincare supplies).  I’ve been using their labels for a couple months now and they’re great.  I smeared the first couple and then learned to use the lightest ink setting (fast draft on our printer) and to let them dry completely before using.  Now even the ones that frequently get wet are holding up great.  They’re a good way to make your products look more attractive and professional.
  • Vinegar – unless otherwise noted this means white distilled vinegar.  I save money by buying it in gallon jugs.  I love vinegar’s cleaning power, but I can’t stand the way it smells.  For this reason, I prefer name brand vinegar (like Heinz) because the scent is less harsh.  If smell doesn’t bother you, generic is fine.
  • Water – The best products are made from purified water which you can get at the grocery store for about $1-2/gallon.  Supposedly the minerals and additives in tap water impair cleaning.  Honestly I haven’t noticed much difference and use tap for many recipes.  As long as your tap water is safe and doesn’t smell horrible, you’ll still have a good product using plain tap.

 

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/clogozm/4844764408/

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