Two simple DIY home cleaning recipes I use [one step closer to being a hippy ;) ]

Who knew that making your own household cleaner was so simple you could do it with your eyes closed?! I recently decided to have a crack at making my own Spray-n-Wipe type cleaner. There really is no 'con' with this - only pros. It's probably easier to make this than it is to go out and buy another spray-n-wipe. It's also cheaper, smells way better, and is chemical free. Chances are you may even have the ingredients on hand right now. And you get to feel really smug that you're now environmentally conscious, a little more self-sufficient, chemical-free and all those good things. I'm sure I don't need to mention it being free from all the extra rubbish they put in chemical cleaners e.g. blue colouring and ingredients you can't pronounce. Not to mention the wasteful plastic packaging. 

1. All purpose household cleaner
I use this for:
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • All hard surfaces that need wiping
  • Mirrors (use a fine micro fibre cloth)
  • Windows (use a fine micro fibre cloth)
  • Floors

What you need:
  • 4 parts water (distilled if your water is not pure)
  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 4-5 drops Tea Tree essential oil (antibacterial)
  • A few drops other essential oils of your choice, for scent (optional). I use lemon and lavender

DIY natural multi-purpose home cleanerDIY natural multi-purpose home cleaner

That's it! Mix them in a spray bottle for easy cleaning. 
The vinegar and tea tree oil give this antibacterial properties, and although the other oils are completely optional I have to say the fresh clean scent they make is addictive, without that cloying synthetic fragrance of other cleaners. 

I use a micro-fibre cloth for cleaning surfaces. A fine micro fibre cloth gives a perfect finish on glass. I have a bunch of different colours for different areas (everyday surfaces, bathroom surfaces, glass, etc) and throw them in the wash after use. I don't spend loads of money on fancy ones - these are from the supermarket.

DIY natural multi-purpose home cleaner

2. DIY Laundry powder
Once I got brave enough to give our own laundry powder a try, I was so glad I did. It was simple, it works, and it will last us a long time.
Easy DIY natural laundry powder detergent nz
My husband has sensitive skin and I had been trying to use Soap Nut Liquid (a natural soap alternative) but then I read people saying it was amazing even tho it made their clothes dingey over time. It made their clothes dingey? And they kept using it? Clearly some people are not as super fussy about perfect laundering as I am?!

So I decided to go the whole hog and make an actual laundry powder myself.
I actually went to Bin Inn for these ingredients and it was like a whole new world of natural alternatives. I was surprised to feel so excited about all the things they stock for make-your-own type products. (They are not paying me to share all this, but they should, because I'm so into them right now!)

What you need:

[If you want to make less (or more) than the 2.5 kg I made, the ratio is 2 parts borax: 2 parts washing soda; 1 part soap. Adjust the volume accordingly].

To make a whopping 2.5kg (approx) of washing powder, free from fragrances or fillers or any other rubbish, I used:

  • 4 cups borax (I got mine from Bin Inn, but you can get it from the supermarket or hardware places)
  • 4 cups washing soda
  • 1-2 bars of a natural soap. I used organic goat's milk soap from Bin Inn for $1.20.
  • A grater or food processor you don't mind getting soap in
  • (Optional: few drops essential oil for scent)

DIY natural laundry powder detergent nz


  1. Grate or food-processor the soap, and mix it in a large bowl with the washing soda and borax.
  2. Store as you usually would
  3. Use 2 Tbsp per load
DIY natural laundry powder detergent nz

Easy DIY natural laundry powder detergent nz

Easy DIY natural laundry powder detergent nz

That's it!

It's fun and educational for kids to help with this, although obviously you don't want them inhaling or eating the powder so be careful about that. Borax (sodium tetraborate decahydrate) is a naturally occuring mineral but that doesn't make it safe for using beyond what it's meant for. I let my daughter stir this but not get it all over her hands. Just like I wouldn't let her play, breathe-in or ingest any other detergent or cleaner ingredient.

I enjoy knowing I made this and that it's virtually a waste-free product for our household. Also, it works just like any other laundry powder that you buy! Without fragrance, fillers, or wasteful packaging. Did you know that Bin Inn give you a 5% discount if you bring your own jars or containers?! (The packaging you see in the pictures above are my own fault for forgetting to bring containers with me.... but now I know for next time.)


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