- Homemade Pine Cleaner
- Making your OWN Household Cleaners is Far Best
- Why Not Pine Sol
- Come’On, it’s Diluted – What is the BIG Deal?!
- Making your Home Pine Cleaner
- How to Get Started with Essential Oils
- Homemade Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner (No Vinegar)
- Evergreen Scented Vinegar for Cleaning
- Scenting Vinegar
- Moving Beyond Citrus Scented Vinegar
- Pine Scent Cleaners
- The Great Evergreen Smell Test
- Evergreen Scent Tip
- The Experiment
- Pine Scented Cleaner Results
- The Evergreen Scented Vinegar Verdict
- How to Make Pine Vinegar
- How to Make Pine Vinegar Quickly
- Scented Vinegar Cleaning Recipes
- More Scented Vinegar for Cleaning
- Cleaning with Vinegar
Homemade Pine Cleaner
Do you LOVE Pine Sol Cleaner?
MANY people do – my in laws are infatuated with the stuff as well. She won’t clean with anything else (unless of course it’s Fabuloso)… she’s pretty glued to the cleaner and she won’t clean with anything else.
It’s usually always a sale item at Kroger (Fry’s) when they have a Mega Event, and sometimes you can even pick it up for $.99 – once in a blue moon they have a coupon that makes it even less … I can almost bet that many people will buy some when the price drops.
You can even find the Knock-Off version at the Dollar Store or Dollar Tree, albeit .. it’s not the “Pine Sol” Brand, but it smells somewhat similar, nonetheless.
Pine Sol is one of those items that is a household name for most everyone who breathes air every day.
But.. it’s not desirable for everyone. I can’t use it because it gives me the most horrendous headaches (which is why I haven’t been using it in years).
IF you are looking to make your life more eco-friendly and you are trying to become less dependent on purchasing items that you can simply make yourself, stay clear – everything that you use or consume can contain some pretty harmful stuff. Sure, it might be packaged into nice bottles, pushed by manufacturers who make loads of money or, advertised heavily .. but it doesn’t necessarily mean that is what is best for you.
We have always said that making your OWN cleaner is the cheapest route to help you save – not going to the store at all is always going to be a cost savings over picking up cleaners – even if they ARE cheap with a coupon.
Any trip to your supermarket can result in purchases that weren’t intended.
So while some cleaners might be a great deal after double stack, triple stack, coupon clipping, “one day deal” or catalina special, staying away from them in their entirety is always the BEST option.
Not only are some of these items harmful to use, breathe in and handle, they have chemicals that be pretty scary. Check out Pine Sol for example – there is NO question in my mind that this isn’t what you NEED or want under your cabinets – cleaning your floor, or do you?
See this picture below by heading HERE:
Making your OWN Household Cleaners is Far Best
All that is required to make your own are a few simple things – Baking Soda (another Natural Cleaner…), Castile Soap, and Essential Oils.
Essential Oils can be used for so many things – from health and wellness to cleaning, respiratory support, immune support & more – see MORE details HERE on why we use them in our home for our family.
Then there is Castile Soap – which is also a natural cleaner for everything from wood surfaces to floors, tile, toilets & so much more … we use it for body wash & bubble bath, too!
Why Not Pine Sol
Pine-Sol has some pretty nasty stuff rolled up in that bottle of liquid…
Toluene is one of the main ingredients in Pine Sol – linked to hormonal imbalances, birth defects and even more physical and health complications. I’m not so sure that you really want to be using it – or do you?
That was directly from the OSHA Site HERE – I love how it says “VERY Toxic” but yet it also says it’s not carcinogenic to humans. I’m not sure about you but I’ll make my own!
Come’On, it’s Diluted – What is the BIG Deal?!
It IS a big deal.
Yes .. it is diluted but the risks are still there. Why not just avoid buying it? Sure, it might seem trivial – it’s obvious, dilute it and you won’t have a problem.
The problem is that ALL of these items you use … they ALL add up together. Over time, compounded use WILL be a problem.
Making your Home Pine Cleaner
Essential Oils are plant-based items (instead of chemically based) – it has an invigorating aroma that’s great for cleaning or incorporating into your own DIY Cleaners.
While we use a LOT of Thieves Cleaner in our home, you can ALSO put together your own DIY Pine Cleaner that’s cheaper & easier to do than Pine Sol.
- 1 Tbsp Castile Soap
- 4 Cups Water
- 10 drops Pine Essential Oil (see what we use HERE)
If you are using as an all purpose cleaner, cut down the recipe and use 4 C. Warm Water, 1 Tbsp Castile Soap and 5-6 drops of Pine Essential Oil. It’s important to keep it in a glass spray bottle – repurpose a store glass bottle (see our post HERE).
How to Get Started with Essential Oils
Homemade Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner (No Vinegar)
Today’s DIY recipe is simple and effective, yet I hesitated to write this post, or more photograph this post.
When it comes to food, there are so many fun textures and colors to style and photograph, particularly when it comes to real food.
But homemade floor cleaner? There are only so many ways to photograph a mop, bucket, and three simple ingredients.
While the photos may not be as glamorous (hello white bucket and mop), I can guarantee you that today’s cleaning “recipe” is a keeper. A recipe that’s worth sharing despite the photography challenge.
At the end of last year, I shared a recipe for homemade floor cleaner, which I use frequently to clean our tile floor. If we take a look further back into the blog archives, I’ve also shared a floor cleaner made with similar ingredients in a make-ahead wipe form. Both recipes share a common ingredient: vinegar.
Vinegar has a reputation for being the “do it all” cleaner, and it’s for a good reason. Vinegar may be used to soften clothes in the washing machine and remove dingy odors. Vinegar may also be used to disinfectant toilet bowls and sinks, clean hard surfaces and windows, and wash floors. I think vinegar lives up to its “do it all” cleaning reputation pretty well.
While vinegar is an amazing cleaner, there are a couple of issues that arise when using vinegar to clean a home:
1. The vinegar scent is quite strong.
Yes, the vinegar scent is nothing compared to smelling bleach or a dirty dog (because there happens to be one sitting under my feet), but it is quite strong.
If you’ve ever opened a bottle of vinegar or sprayed down your counter with diluted vinegar, then I’m sure you know the scent I’m talking about. I know some folks choose not to clean with vinegar due to the odor.
Vinegar isn’t toxic and its odor is completely safe and usually dissipates after a few minutes, but if it bothers you, cleaning your house with vinegar won’t be enjoyable.
2. Vinegar isn’t safe to use on all surfaces.
It really bothers me when I see recipes online that include vinegar and claim to “clean everything,” yet I know from my own research and experience that the cleaner may actually destroy granite or marble (just one example).
Vinegar is an amazing natural ingredient, but just because something is natural doesn’t mean it should be haphazardly sprayed on every surface. Vinegar is an acid, which means it may actually damage some fragile surfaces, marble and granite.
I really don’t mean to shatter anyone’s vinegar bubble today. I believe it’s important to always think about the products we use in our home (or on our bodies, or in our bodies), even if it’s a natural product.
I personally love cleaning with vinegar, and I use vinegar quite frequently to wipe down our counters, clean the kids’ toys, disinfect our toilets, and wash our floors, but I know there’s more than one natural way to get a house clean.
Sorry, Vinegar, you might just have some cleaning competition.
If you have a house with hard floors and you can’t use vinegar for cleaning, or you don’t want to use vinegar due to the odor issue, let me introduce you to vinegar’s competition: castile soap.
Castile soap and vinegar don’t get along, and they can’t be mixed to form one cleaner, but they can be used separately and are both amazing ingredients to add to a cleaning toolkit.
Just vinegar, castile soap also has many different uses: washing the dirty dog I referenced earlier, cleaning a human’s body (too), cleaning a hard surface, cleaning clothes via a homemade laundry soap (both dry and liquid soaps), dusting surfaces, and even washing hard floors.
What is this magical substance known as castile soap?
Castile soap is a concentrated vegetable-based soap made of ingredients you can actually pronounce. This soap is gentle on the skin and effective in the fight against dirt, grease, and unwanted germs. Castile soap has a pH around 8.9, and 7 is considered neutral. This mean castile soap doesn’t have the acidic “harshness” of vinegar, making it ideal for more fragile surfaces.
Is castile soap the natural cleaning answer for all surfaces? To be honest, I’m hesitant to say that one ingredient or product will work for every surface (or person), but I will say that I believe castile soap is a good alternative if you don’t want to (or can’t) use vinegar on your hard floors.
I hope this floor cleaner recipe provides you with one more option to clean your home, naturally.
For me, it’s wonderful to know that I have many different choices for what I can use to clean my home, using the same ingredients in my natural cleaning toolkit in different ways.
Next week, we’re going add this recipe to a helpful list of natural and simple products that may be used to clean an entire home, from the bathroom to the floor to the kitchen.
Servings 2 gallons, one-time use
- 2 gallons hot water
- 2 tablespoons castile soap or less, or Sal Suds, see note under “Ingredient Notes”
- 5 drops pine essential oil or tea tree essential oil, or your preferred essential oil scent
- Add the hot water to a bucket, then the liquid castile soap and essential oil. Gently stir the ingredients together (you don’t want a ton of bubbles).
To Use: Dip a mop into the solution, then mop the floor. Do not saturate the floor while mopping. Once the floor is clean, discard the dirty water and fill the bucket with 2 more gallons of hot water (no soap this time), wipe the floor with the mop and clean water.
The “where to buy” links provide links to the actual products I use. As always, I recommend shopping around online and at local stores for the best prices and products you love.
This solution may be safe for sealed wood floors and other common household surfaces (I use this on our tile) since the pH of castile soap is around 8.9 (a pH of 7 is neutral).
Always spot test first (a couple of times) before applying any cleaning product to a full surface! I’ve also learned, from some major trial and error, that’s important to talk to a floor expert about the best way to clean a particular floor (what kind of ingredients/methods to avoid in particular), since there are so many different types of floor surfaces today.
Any castile soap variety will work. I just happen to have unscented castile soap on hand as I was photographing this post. I’ve made this floor cleaner with tea tree, peppermint, lavender, and orange castile soap. I prefer to use 2 tablespoons of castile soap to 2 gallons of hot water.
If you feel this ratio is too soapy, then reduce the soap ratio to 1 tablespoon of castile soap to 2 gallons of hot water. If your test spot has a soapy residue, then you know you’ll want to tweak the ratio. If you’re still not happy with castile soap on your floor, then I recommend using Sal Suds, which is a heavy-duty (safe) detergent.
You’ll only need about 4 drops of Sal Suds versus 3 tablespoons.
Evergreen Scented Vinegar for Cleaning
Evergreen scented vinegar for cleaning (pine vinegar) can be made with just two simple ingredients: vinegar and fresh evergreens. Learn how to make this easy pine scented cleaner today!
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Vinegar is one of my favorite weapons in the green cleaning war.
Unfortunately cleaning with vinegar makes the house smell …
Some people flat-out REFUSE to clean with vinegar because of the ODOR. (If you clean with vinegar you know that the smell doesn’t last for long. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer… it dries scentless.)
But I get it, it is MORE FUN to clean with yummy scents of flowers and refreshing forest odors drifting through your home.
Luckily it’s easy (and cheap) to make scented vinegar that is a great natural cleaner AND is less offensive to the nose.
Moving Beyond Citrus Scented Vinegar
Orange vinegar was my first successful vinegar scent. It’s easy to make from leftover orange peels and popular with DIyers (You’ve probably seen versions of it online.) Orange vinegar cleans great due to the orange oil it contains and has a light citrus scent from the peels. (Get my favorite orange vinegar cleaner recipes HERE)
I cleaned with orange vinegar for years and even learned to make cleaning vinegar with other types of citrus fruit and herbs. Then I started to get a little BORED with citrus vinegar.
I thought about other popular cleaner scents and decided that evergreen or pine might be a nice addition to my cleaning routine. (Hello, PineSol and hundreds of other store bought cleaners!)
Pine Scent Cleaners
Do you love the smell of pine scented cleaner?
PineSol was the originalpine oil-based cleaner invented in 1929. It contained pine oil as it’s active ingredient. (Pine oil is is made by distilling pine stumps, boughs, needles and cones. It has a lovely piney scent and is a natural disinfectant.)
Unfortunately, the pine oil was eliminated from PineSol in 2014 so the commercially sold cleaner is now petrochemical based and with artificial fragrance.
A big whan-wa (that’s my verbal sound effect for failure) for those of us who avoid both of these ingredients.
The Great Evergreen Smell Test
I decided to make an ALL-NATURAL pine scented cleaner and, after a bit of brainstorming, decided to try steeping evergreens in vinegar to extract the scent.
Evergreen Scent Tip
Have you ever gotten up close and personal with a tree? If not, let me tell you a little SECRET –>
- Some evergreens smell Christmas and fresh clean forests (HOORAY!).
- And some smell cat urine (BLACH!).
I didn’t want my cleaner (or house) to smell cat urine, so I conducted an evergreen vinegar scentingexperiment:
- I gathered branches from my dried up Christmas wreath and a neighborhood pine tree.
- I put the needles in separate glass jars and covered them with white vinegar.
- I allowed the vinegar to steep for several weeks in a dark cupboard then smelled the results.
- In the end, the vinegar steeped for 6 weeks (or more) for the best smell to develop.
Pine Scented Cleaner Results
The DIY evergreen vinegar for cleaning smelled best when made with spruce branches from a Christmas wreath. It has a mild, piney scent. (Full disclosure: I am not a botanist… just a crazy DIYer! The wreath was labeled SPRUCE. )
The fallen pine needles also produced a nice scent, but it was much milder and still had a lot of vinegar odor. (Stronger scents helps to better mask vinegar odor.)
The Evergreen Scented Vinegar Verdict
Vinegar takes nearly twice as long to scent using evergreen needles instead of citrus peels. But it is such a simple and affordable project there is nothing to lose! (Plus it’s a fun experiment!)
I will make evergreen vinegar again (especially around the holidays when I can easily get evergreen clippings).
*2019 Update: I’ve now made evergreen vinegar multiple time and have left jars to steep as long as 3-6 months. The spruce vinegar gets more and more pine scented (and more orange in color). The pine vinegar stays milder with a vinegar odor and light green color. Spruce is still the winner!
How to Make Pine Vinegar
You can make your own pine scented vinegar with 2 simple ingredients: evergreen clipping and white vinegar.
- Place evergreen branches or needles into a clean glass jar with a lid.
- Fill the rest of the jar with white vinegar.
- Allow the mixture to steep for at least 3 to 6 weeks in a dark, cool place. (*Speed up the process by heating the vinegar before pouring it over the evergreens.)
- Filter the branches or needles the vinegar.
- Store the vinegar in a cool, dark place and use for household cleaning.
*I’ve left evergreen vinegar to steep for up to 6 months! The scent gets better and better!
How to Make Pine Vinegar Quickly
If you have no time to gather and steep evergreen needles you can make quick pine cleaner by adding a few drops of pine essential oil or spruce essential oil to vinegar or vodka. (Pine oil was the original active ingredient in PineSol. It is made by distilling pine stumps, boughs, needles and cones and has a lovely piney scent, plus it’s natural disinfectant.)
- Combine in a dark glass spray bottle:
- 1 cup of white vinegar or cheap vodka (using vodka will give the cleaner more of pine odor)
- 1 cup of water
- 5-10 drops of pine oil
Scented Vinegar Cleaning Recipes
Use pine scented vinegar in your cleaning recipes. These are a few of my favorite:
- Bathroom Cleaner – Use full strength to help remove hard water stains when cleaning the bathroom. Mix with dish detergent for a no-scrub shower cleaner.
- No Rinse Multi-Purpose Cleaner – Mix 1/2 cup vinegar with 4 cups water and 1/4 tsp hand-washing dish detergent. Use to clean counter tops, sinks, toilets, and hard floors. Use mixture in “quick mop” for ceramic tile and linoleum floors (get my hardwood floor cleaner recipe here).
- Window Cleaner – Mix 1 cup water with 1 cup vinegar and pour into a spray bottle. Mist windows and mirrors with the solution and wipe clean.
- Stainless Steel Appliance Cleaner – Dampen part of a microfiber cloth with vinegar. Wipe against the grain of the stainless steel. Use the dry portion of the cloth to wipe dry.
*Use caution when cleaning with vinegar. There are a few vinegar don’ts including natural stone, wood, electronics, and grout. Learn them all HERE.
More Scented Vinegar for Cleaning
cleaning with orange vinegar? Check out my other favorite DIY vinegar scents.
- Orange Vinegar for Cleaning
- Herb Infused Vinegar for Cleaning
I hope you try making scented vinegar or scented vodka. A few jars can replace commercially scented cleaners for a greener, healthier home.
Cleaning with Vinegar
Learn more about cleaning with vinegar in this guide and get recipes for great vinegar based cleaners.
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