Sunday, January 29, 2012

Guest Post Sunday - A View from the Baobab Trees


Meet Kristin 
A lovely little lady that writes about 
green living, vegetarianism & everyday life!

Hello! My name is Kristin and I write a small blog called A View from the Baobab Trees. I am so thrilled to be writing a guest post for Sam’s wonderful blog! Today, I wanted to pass on a few tips and ideas about green cleaning.

I became interested in natural, environmentally- friendly cleaning solutions for a few reasons. First, there are the obvious environmental and health concerns associated with many commercial cleaning agents. If the bottle reads “Toxic” or walking down the cleaning aisle at your local grocery store leaves you feeling light-headed and woozy, that’s just not a good sign--both for the toll the production takes on the earth or the potential long and short-term consequences to our health. Second, as a person with sensitive skin, I’ve found that making my own cleaning products has been the most hypoallergenic solution for me because I know exactly what goes into every mixture and can easily customize my cleaning products to suit my needs. Last but not least, it is very important to me to not buy products that are not tested on animals.  (Although there are some wonderful natural, cleaning brands that do not test on animals  such as Seventh Generation, Meyer’s and Target’s Method brand).

In this post, I’ll share with you some basic recipes for homemade cleaning agents. I have tried all of them, and they have worked like a dream for me so far.

Ingredients:  Here are some basic ingredients to get you building a “green-clean pantry”. Most of these ingredients are extremely inexpensive and can be purchased in large quantities. The biggest initial expenses are the essential oils but since you really only use a few drops at a time, they should last a fair amount of time.

  • Plastic spray bottles
  • Borax (is typically sold in a 4lb. box near the laundry detergent)
  • White distilled vinegar’
  • Baking soda
  • Distilled water
  • Vodka
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Clove essential oil
  • Bergamot essential oil
  • Castile Soap
  • Funnel
  • Measuring cups and spoons (just to keep everything kosher, I bought a cheap set to use exclusively for my cleaning stuff)
  • For more in-depth ideas ranging from how to make your own paint to how to make your own cosmetics, I would recommend investing in a natural home-care book. I use, Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond.

Recipes: Where indicated (*) I have reproduced some of the recipes from Better Basics. I also throw in my hints and experiences with each recipe.


                   Simple Orange Clove Pomander:

I make these every year around Christmas time. In my experience, they typically hold their scent for an entire year. You can make several to place in dresser or sock drawers. They also make beautiful centerpieces and look great in decorative bowls around the house!

                        One large bottle of whole cloves
                        One large orange

Push cloves into orange. Cover the entire surface area.

  Other Cleaning Agents:

                        All-Purpose Cleaner* (pg. 48):

I have even used this on carpet spills. When used right away, it worked immediately, removing the stain, leaving a mild yet fresh scent and did not leave the sticky, stiff residue on the carpet like many commercial carpet cleaners seem to do.

                        ½ teaspoon baking soda
                        2 teaspoons borax
                        ½ teaspoon soap 
                        2 cups hot water

          Funnel all ingredients into spray bottle. Shake.

Window Cleaner* (pg. 100):

This literally leaves no streaks!

¼ cup white distilled vinegar
½ teaspoon soap
2 cups water

You know the drill, funnel into spray bottle and give ‘er a shake!

Thank you so much for reading and letting me share! Best wishes for the upcoming week!


  1. Very cool idea with the orange and cloves!

    I typically use a mixture of washing soda (also sold in bulk in the laundry aisle) and white vinegar to do my scrubbing and it works great. No intoxicating fumes!

    Thanks for the additional tips!

  2. Yeah, washing soda is great! Especially if you need a heavier-duty cleaner and I love white vinegar- it smells a little pungent but it's a great disinfectant/cleaner! :)


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