Scouring the Sink ~ Dana

Well, for those of you who are hoping that title is a metaphor, you are sadly mistaken.  It’s time for another recipe for our Footloose and Chemical Free page.  I have been in a stalemate with adding new cleaning and beauty products to my cabinets, but I am reinvigorated and renewed and finding lots of new great cleaning products!

I’ve always used scouring agents in my kitchen sink and in my bathrooms. But last week, when I dropped the Comet in the bathtub and inhaled a nice green dust cloud, I knew it was time to start looking around for an all-natural alternative.  I came across this recipe at, which is quickly becoming a great resource that I turn to for information on essential oils.

I already had all of the ingredients on hand for my other all-natural cleaners (like laundry detergent, all purpose cleaner, and hand sanitizer), so it was no problem to measure them out and mix them together in a mason jar.  No more green dust.  No more harsh chemicals.


Powdered Sink Cleaner

½ cup Borax

½ cup super washing soda

½ cup baking soda (set aside 1 Tbsp if you will be using essential oils)

½ cup salt

15 drops essential oil (I used lime for my first batch, but lavender, lemon, or grapefruit would also work)


1.  Combine Borax, washing soda, baking soda, and salt in a (preferably glass) container with 2 cup capacity. If using essential oils, keep 1 Tbsp baking soda aside.

2.  To add the essential oils, mix 1 Tbsp baking soda and 15 drops essential oils together with a mortar and pestle for several seconds until well combined.  Then add to the other ingredients.

3.  Cover container and shake well to thoroughly combine all ingredients.

4.  Use as you would any store-bought abrasive cleaner like Ajax or Comet.  Sprinkle a small amount over desired surface and scrub with a damp cloth or sponge.  Rinse well.

I’ve also started using that AWESOME hand-crocheted dishcloth, pictured above, that my mom’s cousin, Reenie, made.  Homemade, sustainable, wonderful!  In case you are interested in making your own, I found this tutorial online.  You’re welcome.

Natural All-Purpose Cleaner ~ Dana


After I started making my own laundry detergent, the homemade, all-natural bug bit me.  I researched basic kitchen and bathroom cleaners and found that the chemicals used for the production of non-natural cleaning products include neurotoxins, carcinogens, heavy metals, and depressants.  They are great at cleaning up messes, but can also cause respiratory problems, allergic reactions, cancers, trigger asthmatic attacks, and reproductive problems (   Ew.  I don’t want that stuff in my home, around my kids, and touching our food.

An easy non-toxic cleaner I use every day is this simple all-purpose cleaner from   It’s a great kitchen cleaner, bathroom cleaner, and can it even disinfect toys after the kids have been sick.  And unlike its commercial counterparts, you do not have to rinse it off of the countertop. That little-known nugget is in the fine print on most cleaners.  Yikes.

If you’ve made the laundry soap that we posted last week, you already have a couple of the ingredients.

In a spray bottle, mix:

1 tsp borax

1/2 tsp washing soda

1 tsp liquid castile soap

Essential oils – I use 4 drops lemon (antiseptic), 4 drops lavender (antiseptic and anti-viral), and 10 drops orange (antiseptic)

Add 2 cups of warm water.  Distilled is best, but any water that has been boiled will work. Cover bottle and shake well. Use as needed.

The essential oils can be purchased at most health food stores, like Clarks Nutrition or Sprouts here in Southern California.  Sometimes if I’m not going to make it to one of these stores for a while, I order the oils on, too.

One thing that I am discovering with most of my homemade cleaners is that I need a bit more elbow grease when using them than when I clean with chemical cleaners.  And that makes sense, doesn’t it?  So by using it, you’ll be healthier and your arms will be toned.

For tougher jobs like the stovetop and microwave, I keep a spray bottle filled with half distilled or boiled water and half white vinegar.  The acidity of the vinegar breaks down grease better than the all-purpose cleaner.  And don’t worry; the vinegar smell doesn’t last long.  I promise.