Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Basic Hard Water Household Cleaner

My go-to resource for non-toxic household cleaners is Annie Berthold-Bond's book "Better Basics for the Home".  This book is packed full of homemade non-toxic techniques and formulas for home, body and pet care products.

Most of the ingredients are easily found, utilizing safe, sustainable products, herbs, essential oils and the like, and are truly frugal alternatives to chemical-laden commercial products.  Best of all, these work.  Almost every formula comes with a few variations for scent, antiseptic qualities, alterations according to the specific issues one might be dealing with, such as hard water, and Ms. Bond also takes the time to explain in easy to understand terms what the science is behind each recipe - why one might choose one ingredient over another, which means that this isn't jus a recipe book - it's a great  textbook of non-toxic living principles.

A lot of what's in here is so simple, you might feel like you already knew it - perhaps, like me, you had a mother who was doing this before it was trendy, because it's what her mother  taught her.  And perhaps like me, you forgot how easy it was until you try it for yourself.

Know what my favorite quote from this book is?  Her first suggestion for dealing with odors (a great many recipes follow):  "Open a window."  That is the sort of common sense you get here - favor easy over hard, non-formulary over complex recipe, and move on from there.

Here at our house, we have very hard water, so I tend to use her Acid-Based All Purpose Cleaner for most things - this cuts through mineral deposits and soap scum, and it tackles body fluids well (pets, meat juice, etc).  I use it in my kitchen and bathroom, and it allows me to clean without undue scrubbing ('elbow grease' with arthritic elbows is no fun!). 

Acid-Based All-Purpose Cleaner

1/4 c distilled white vinegar
1/2 t. Detergent
3/4 c warm water
up to 1 tsp. Antiseptic essential oil if desired*

Put in spray bottle and shake - use on counters, sinks, shower. For areas in need of heavy cleaning, let it sit a few minutes before wiping up.  This can store in a spray bottle indefinitely.

Liquid soap can be used in place of detergent, but for really hard water, detergent does a better job of cutting through mineral deposits without leaving soap scum.

*antiseptic essential oils:  thyme, sweet orange, lemongrass, rose, clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon, rosemary, birch, lavender, tea tree

Shared with: Natural Home Challenge Week 2
The Gathering Spot, Motivated Monday, Mostly Homemade Mondays, Mop It Up Monday, Mondays with Countrified HicksMarvelous MondaysMake Your Home Sing Monday, Make It Yourself Monday, Made By You Monday, Homestead Barn Hop, Natural Living Monday, Backyard Farming Connection Blog HopTuesday Greens, Eco-Kids Tuesday,
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Thursdays Treasures, Thursday Favorite Things, Transformation Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Hookin Up with HoH, HomeAcre Hop, DIY Thrifty Thursday, Creative Juice, Simple Lives Thursday, Keep It Real Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Show and Tell Friday, Frugal Friday, Friday Favorites, Freedom Friday, Fresh Bites Friday.


  1. I love the "open the window" suggestion, lol! Common sense and yet sometime we just forget about it and are looking for another answer, lol!

    Looks like a fun book with lots of great ideas. I will see if my library has it! Thanks for the suggestion and thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

  2. Sounds lika a great book. I too like her idea of "open the window". An allergy book I have recommends open the window for 10 mins a day as the best of all tips for dealing with dust mite allergy.
    On essential oils...it's always better to use at least 2 together, there is a synergistic effect between them. Lemon is another great antiseptic oil.

  3. Great tips! I used tea tree oil this past time, because it has a nice astringent quality. Pines and the like make me sneeze, and I got so used to avoiding citrus cleaners when I had cats that I don't think about using them often, but lemon sounds nice!

  4. With all of the going greener talk I think readers will really appreciate this. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Lynda,
    Great Post! I like homemade cleaners. Hope you are having a great Valentine Weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  6. I use homemade cleaners too. Thanks for the info on the book. Thanks for sharing your post with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday. Hope to see you back today! http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2013/02/melt-my-heart-eco-kids-tuesday.html

  7. Great info :) Thanks for sharing this on The HomeAcre Hop! Here's the link for the next hop :)

  8. Great post :) I prefer homemade cleaners, too. Thanks so much for sharing this on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday!

  9. Fabulous tips, I loved this post and I like your suggestion for adding some essential oils too:-) Thank you for sharing your cleaning recipe with us! Rebecca @Natural Mothers Network x

  10. I just opened our windows the other day when we had a cold. I love that spring is coming so that that natural method is easier to do. Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Greens!