Cleaning with baking soda

Catlin asked for the household cleaning recipes we use around here, so here are a few. These are from Better Basics for the Home, which we often give as a present, accompanied by a gallon of vinegar and the biggest bag of baking soda we can find (hint–check with the pool supplies for a 13 lb bag).

You’ll also need spray bottles. I did a controlled test–the $3 ones are appreciably better than the $1, in terms of both ease of use and longevity.

General cleaning spray:

Up to 1 tsp antiseptic essential oil (I like lavender, but you could also use tea tree, birch, rose, clove, or many others)

1 tsp washing soda (it’s with the laundry detergent at the store)

2 tsp Borax (also with the laundry detergent)

1/2 tsp dish soap (we like Seventh Generation)

2 c hot water

Shake to dissolve and blend. Lasts indefinitely.


1 part white vinegar

1 part water

a squirt of dish soap (if you are one of those people who has tried using vinegar to clean the windows and found the results disappointing, this little squirt of dish soap is the one thing you need. Trust me.)

Tub and tile scrub:

Take some washing soda and mix in some liquid dish soap until it is exactly the consistency of cake frosting. Scrub, then rinse.


1 bar of grated soap (Fels Naptha is the best, but if you can’t get it, Ivory is totally fine)

1 c. Borax

1 c. washing soda

Put it in the food processor and whirl until the particles are tiny. Use 1 Tbs per load.


1 c baking soda in the bowl. Stir to dissolve.

1 c. vinegar.

Enjoy the volcano.

Wait 15 minutes.

Quick swipe with the toilet brush, flush, and done. (Silas actually can help with this).


Aili Written by:


  1. June 13, 2013

    Doesn’t the Borax defeat the purpose of using 7th generation?

    • June 13, 2013

      Borax is a complicated issue, but from what I can gather, it’s about as hazardous to people and the environment as salt is (like salt, it’s classified as a 1 in the MSDS). Which is to say, very bad in large amounts. Given that a single recipe of the laundry detergent lasts about a month in our house, we’re not using it in toxic quantities. Also, you shouldn’t eat it, so I wouldn’t use it in dishwasher detergent.

      Most of the boron in America is mined in one of the most ecologically sound mines in the world (in Boron, CA), which is also pretty good.

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