Friday, December 4, 2009

Natural Cleaning Recipe & Green Resource Recommendations

I love making my own gifts for people and I am always looking for new ideas so that people do not get bath salts from me every single year, that is, unless they really really want them. 

One gift I recently gave which met with great approval from the receiver, Sarah, was a tile cleaner from The Naturally Clean Home, 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning, by Karyn Siegel-Maier.  The book has made it possible for Marcus and I to afford to switch to organic, plant-based cleansers for every room.  It explains the purpose of the various ingredients and essential oils, which I find helpful, because I like to play around with recipes.  Although this product is not glamorous, the most important gift evaluation criteria for Sarah is usefulness--so it was a great gift for her.  Of course, I piled it into a pretty container and added a nice gift tag and ribbon, but Sarah's review of this product was outstanding because it cleaned better than other store-bought products she used.     

My gift ideas are more likely to be approved for the production process by me if they meet least one if not all of these criteria: hand-made or made by a craftsperson, something other people would like to make if they had more time, healthy/yummy/both, relaxing, spiritually fulfilling, or encouraging adventure.  I also strive to meet the following package criteria:  hand-packaged with recycled materials, or with beautiful materials that can be kept to store things in later, or easily re-purposed packaging.

I altered the original recipe in the below book to use ingredients that I had in abundance at the time, and, it make it an appealing present.  The had piles of rosemary and lavender I had harvest from my Philly community garden plot.

1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup mixture dried rosemary and dried lavender leaves
5 drops lavender essential oil
3 drops rosemary essential oil 

If you want to turn this into a soft scrub, and lemon juice to the desired consistency.  If you use a heavy moisturizer in the shower, you may want to add 1/8 cup of borax to cut the waxy/greasy residue.     

The Naturally Clean Home, 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning chapter are as follows:  1.  Why Clean with Herbs?  2.  The Kitchen   3.  The Bath   4.  The Laundry  5.  Wood Care   6. Cleaning Metals  7.  Walls and Carpeting   8. Clearing the Air   9. The Garage and Basement  10.  The Garden and Landscape  11.  The Home Office  It is well worth eleven bucks and will definitely save you more than this if you switch from store bought organic cleaners to your own.  978-1-60342-085-3  Click on the link above for a review of the book on abebooks. 

How to Clean Your House Without Hurting the Planet, by Green Guide, posted on Grist (an awesome online magazine that keeps you up to date on all things environmental) gives you a brief tutorial on green cleaning vs green washing.  Green washing is a marketing ploy that encourages you to think the product is good for the environment or healthy for you--but it isn't.  The article also gives a section by section list of what people are generally using, the problems with what they are using, and, hallelujia, the solutions.  It also recommends products to buy. 

Grist  is great because it gives summaries of articles and insights made by all different news sources that address the environment and gives further links to those sources.  The Green Guide is a National Geographic Publication that contains a consumer guide to help you with many purchases, from light bulbs to water filters to computers.  It also has pages of ideas about how to upgrade your home and lifestyle to a green one--in ways that do not always cost a lot.

About this Picture
I took this picture, but I have no idea where.


Mary said...

Will you please post your environmentally friendly handsoap recipe? The one that you use at your house?

Spirit of a Dove said...

Marcus and I use Dr. Bonner's Magic Liquid Soap halved with water. We like the lavender kind best. To make it last a loooong time, buy or reuse a liquid soap pump dispenser. Our recommendation is the lavender one! Check out the Bonner website: