Update: Cleaning products

This post is an update of my Clean all the things post.

First off, I must admit that I have gone to the bleach side. As I’ve mentioned before, the fumes from most commercial cleaning products set off my allergies. (I do keep Lysol wipes on hand for poop and pee accidents, because we are going to have those for a while.) After this bout of misery, however, I am willing to spare a little shelf space for some Chlorox spray. Even if it means R has to clean the bathrooms, I think it best that we not leave such things to chance. At least until the kids are past the stomach bug years.

Still, that does not mean that I have given up on my homemade cleaners. I have simply added to my arsenal. I have, however, tweaked a few things in the intervening months, hence the update.

Personal Care
Hand soap
My recipe is the same, but I’m experimenting with making smaller batches; the amount my bottles make starts to smell rancid before we use it up. So I gave the store-bought stuff another try — no go. I have to water it down so much (the perfumes are so strong!) that I wonder how effective it is, and even then it dries my hands out. Especially after a hand-washing fest like the Great Stomach Plague inspired. Once I perfect my ratios, I will post an updated recipe.

Body wash
I have altered this recipe a bit.

In a small bowl (I use a 4-cup liquid measuring cup, to make it easier to pour into my pump bottle), combine:
3/4 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon glycerin
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 cup castile soap

Stir. Then stir some more. Stir until your arm gets tingly. This stuff takes a bit to come together. If the last lumps of xanthan gum just refuse to incorporate, you can pour the mixture into your pump bottle, put the lid on, and shake vigorously. But don’t worry if you have a few small lumps left over; they will dissolve on their own, with no help from you.

The xanthan gum thickens the mixture nicely, and the extra castile soap helps it be more effective at removing some sunscreens (just not the high SPF ones — anything over, say SPF 40). Just a little xanthan gum is all you need; do not, as I did the first time out, toss in a rounded tablespoon and think you’re going to get that stuff mixed in. Not happening.

The soap is still quite drying, though, so it doesn’t work so well for me in the winter months. I’m researching more moisturizing recipes, and in the meantime rejoicing that I finally found a store-bought soap that doesn’t kill my sinuses or break me out. (Dove Winter Care, if you’re interested. Which says it will be available for a limited time only. Just my luck.)

Household Cleaners
Toilet cleaner
I am sad to concede defeat on the toilet cleaner. If I had time to clean my toilets once a week or more, this stuff would rock. As it stands, though, I am lucky to get to it every other week, and that’s just too infrequently for a cleaner this mild. I did find, however, that Lysol makes a nonbleach-based cleaner (using hydrogen peroxide) that doesn’t make me wheeze. I can also use Chlorox Green Works. (Though as I mentioned before, for the time being it’s gonna be all bleach, all the time. At least until everyone stays well for a month.)

Dishwasher soap
Still using this stuff. I have discovered in the interim that my dishwasher sucks. So the lack of sparkliness is not necessarily the fault of my dishwasher soap. However, I have started doubling up on it, and using 4 T instead of 2 T per load. Still cheaper than store-bought.

Laundry soap
The laundry soap is still working well for us. In fact, I recently broke down and bought some “free and clear” laundry detergent, figuring that my previous reaction to it was probably pregnancy-related and I should give it another shot. Turns out Kai is allergic to it, too. (We find this out after I washed most of his clothes in it, naturally.) So it’s back to the homemade stuff.

With winter here, our lack of fabric softener is once again becoming an issue. After doing some research, I tried the simplest solution ever: I line dry the items especially prone to static. (I installed a tension rod above the doorway in my laundry room for this purpose, since I can’t very well dry stuff outside. It’s extremely handy, and is also tucked away out of sight when not in use.) Some of my most staticky sweaters are still a little shock-inducing after line drying, but nowhere near as much as they’d be if I dried them in the dryer. Plus, line-drying is a sure-fire method to keep soft fleece items as silky as the day you bought them. (See, there are nuggets of wisdom on Pinterest!)

My quest for the perfect homemade household cleaners continues; as I improve my recipes, I will post updates here.
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