Mommy Cafe

Vegetarian home cooking, kid tested and approved

Clean Anything Detergent

Once upon a time I tried making my own dishwasher detergent.  It cost mere pennies per wash cycle, which appealed to my cheap, er, frugal nature.  And not having unknown chemicals washing up against the glasses I drink from was another benefit.  Sadly, my glasses came out looking frosted, even after running the dishwasher with Jet-Dry or vinegar.  Adding citric acid made it only minimally better.  So I went back to my store-bought detergent and was left with several cups of homemade powder.  Worthless.

Or was it?

Fast-forward a year.  I found myself with a nasty microwave and no chemical cleaner would cut through the nuked spatterings of reheats past.  In a last ditch effort, I brought out the homemade dishwasher detergent, added a little water to make a runny paste, and hoped for the best.  One swipe and I could see white again!

Since that fateful day, I have used this detergent for cleaning just about everything: countertops, sinks, stove top,  linoleum floors, showers, and more.  It is truly a wonder-cleaner… unless you need to wash the dishes.  I’ve played around with the ratio of powder to water for different jobs.  I’ll list a few of those at the end of the recipe, but it really depends on the job and the level of dirtiness.  My kitchen floor, for example, needs a pretty high concentration of the powder to scour away the ground-in food (thank you, Will).

Keep in mind that if you use a strong concentration of powder, you’ll likely need to give your surface a water rinse.  Otherwise it will look like my glasses.

Clean Anything Detergent

  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/4 cup citric acid

Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

  • General cleaning: 1/2 T per 12 oz warm water.  Shake well to dissolve.  Store in a spray bottle for everyday cleanup.
  • Mopping: 3 T per 2 quarts warm water.  Stir to dissolve.  When finished, do a quick water-only mop for a nice shine on linoleum.
  • Heavy-duty cleaning: 1 T with a small amount of warm water.  Stir to make a paste.  This is pretty abrasive, so don’t use on surfaces that could be scratched, such as stainless steel.  Great for microwaves and stove tops.



February 18, 2011 Posted by | Cleaning Products | , , | 3 Comments

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Part of my unofficial New Year’s Resolution is to become less reliant on the store for things I can make myself.  A couple of years ago I started making my own laundry detergent.  Then I made my own general cleaner.  Recently I’ve moved on to homemade deodorant.  Many of my friends have also been making the move to natural, homemade products.

These items don’t neatly fit in with recipes for soups and pastas, but they’re still worthy of posting.  I’m starting with the laundry detergent, because it’s a great way to get used to homemade products… and it’s such a tremendous cost savings!  A friend of mine did the math once and told me it cost about 2 or 3 cents (yes, cents!!) per washer load.  Besides the cost savings, I’ve also found it to be easier on my clothes, less fading, and I can add my own essential oils instead of smelling the heavy perfumes that are in most store-bought detergents.

I make my detergent in a 5-gallon bucket.  Once it has set overnight, I pour some into a Rubbermaid pitcher with a sealing lid for everyday use.  You can also use your empty store detergent bottle.  It’s so much easier to shake a 5-quart container than a 5-gallon one.

Look for more cleaning and self-care products in the near future.  Just please don’t eat the deodorant!


Homemade Laundry Detergent

  • 4 cup hot water
  • 1 bar Ivory soap
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • ½ cup borax

Grate soap and melt with water.  Fill a 5-gallon bucket half full with hot water.  Add melted soap, washing soda, and borax.  Stir until dissolved.  Fill bucket with water and let stand overnight to thicken.

To use, shake well and pour 1/2 to 1 cup of detergent into wash.

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Cleaning Products | , , | 1 Comment