By Tara Dodrill
Homemade cleaning products should also important part of your preparedness stores. Growing your own food, self-defense training, survival gear, and long-term food storage products may be at the top of your self-reliance shopping list, but items necessary to keep a garden healthy and the home free from disease, are important as well.
Ridding the home of germs will help keep the family healthy when spending a lot of time indoors together during a long term disaster. Something as commonplace as a seasonal cold could spread quickly and infect the entire family if home surfaces are left unclean. If everyone in the family or mutual assistance group becomes too ill to tend to the livestock, water the garden, and take their post on watch duty, the chances of survival are drastically reduced.
By using homemade and natural cleaning products even during non-emergency times, you can save money while reducing your consumption of commercially made products sold in wasteful plastic containers. Skip the cleaning aisle of your local grocery store and create safe and earth-friendly cleaning products at home.
Spray Cleaner – Distilled white vinegar can be used as a base ingredient for many household cleaning tasks. Simply pour one cup of white vinegar and one cup of water and a dab of lemon juice together inside a spray container and shake. You can make a larger amount of the cleaning agent by combining equal parts of both ingredients. The cleaning spray can be used to cleanse kitchen counters, back-splashes, stovetops, linoleum floors and toilet surfaces. To remove soap scum build-up in the shower, heat the mixture in a microwave for approximately one minute. Spray the barely warm cleaning mixture onto shower walls and wash off after fifteen minutes.
Distilled White Vinegar – Use white vinegar directly out of the container to clean the inside of a toilet bowl and remove mineral deposits from shower fixtures. For particularly tough stains, fill a storage bag with vinegar and attach to the fixture with a rubber band overnight. Ditch store bought fabric softener and pour a cup of white vinegar into the washer during the rinse cycle to eliminate residue and soften clothing. Clothes absolutely will not smell like vinegar. You can also pour a tablespoon of white vinegar into the dishwasher “clear rinse” pocket of to eliminate water spots.
Baking Soda – Natural deodorizing ingredients in baking soda serve as an effective replacement for more harsh manufactured cleaning agents. You can pour small amounts of baking soda onto damp sponges to clean the bathtub, sink vanities, and sink drains. You can pour a cup of baking soda into a grimy drain to unclog.
Isopropyl Alcohol – You can use rubbing alcohol to clean windows, mirrors, chrome and ceramic tile. Mix one cup of isopropyl alcohol, one cup of water, and a tablespoon of white vinegar into a spray bottle and clean the areas as you would normally clean with a commercial product. For heavy cleaning, mix the rubbing alcohol, water, and one tablespoon of ammonia into a spray bottle.
Furniture Polish – Protect your wood furniture while cleaning with a natural cleaning agent free of silicone oil. The oil penetrates small cracks in the furniture and can damage the finish. Pour a cup of olive oil and a half-cup of lemon juice into a spray container and shake. Spray onto the wood and clean with a soft cloth.
Homemade Weed Killers – The type and location of the weeds plays a huge role in determining which earth-friendly ingredients to mix together. Undiluted vinegar contains enough acetic acid to thoroughly eliminate all the weeds from your flowerbed, but it would likely zap the surrounding annuals and perennials as well. Before grabbing the measuring cup and a bucket, review the areas of your yard which need tending to and make specific green weed killer recipes to address issues in the various areas.
If weeds are creeping up the wall of the garage, onto the sidewalk or around a fence not bordered by plants, undiluted vinegar is all you need to tackle the problem. A gallon of distilled white vinegar or pickling vinegar sprayed directly onto the area once every two weeks will keep the weeds away. Simply pour the undiluted vinegar into a spray bottle and squirt the top of the weeds liberally. One gallon of vinegar will properly coat the ground around four standard sections of fencing. Spraying near the root of the weeds may decrease the need to spray tp twice a month, but will also kill the surrounding grass.
Treat weeds which are growing in between sections of the driveway, sidewalk, or patio pavers with undiluted vinegar and table salt. A mixture of one-part salt to two-parts of vinegar will kill the weeds quickly. The mixture should be rubbed or drizzled on with a sponge.
Squirt the mixture only if spraying onto an area largely covered in concrete to prevent damage surrounding plants and grass. A gallon of the mixture will cover approximately 25-feet of concrete.
Liquid dish soap and warm water will rid flowerbeds of weeds. Although it is unlikely that blowing spray from the soapy mixture will harm plants, you should still aim carefully at the weeds. In a one-gallon bucket mix together one part liquid dish soap with 10-parts of warm water and stir. Pour the mixture carefully onto the weeds or fill multiple squirt bottles and spray. The process typically needs to be repeated weekly during the growing season. It is best to spray the weeds during the heat of the day when rain is not expected for at least 24-hours.
Witch Hazel – Use to make a natural deodorant that is also known to help heal, dry, and care for dry skin. Mix together 2 tablespoons of cornflower water, 2 tablespoons of orange flower water, 1 teaspoon of high proof vodka, 8 drops of bergamot essential oil, 10 drops of geranium essential oil, 10 drops of cypress essential oil, four drops of lavender essential oil, five drops of neroli, 3 drops of black pepper, and 4 tablespoons of witch hazel. Use a funnel to slowly and carefully pour all of the ingredients into a bottle with a spray nozzle and then shake vigorously. Shake the bottle before each use to make sure none of the skin soothing ingredients have sunk to the bottom.
* Borax flakes are also a great way to kill weeds, but they product can be highly toxic to pets and animals.
[Image Via: Greenpower]