One of my allergen-induced symptoms was a horrible case of eczema on my hands. It made my job as a mama really difficult, since I needed my hands to wash dishes, change diapers, pull weeds, hang laundry. With every chore my hands would get a little bit more cracked and bleeding. Most people think eczema is just a skin condition caused by dryness. But actually it is a symptom rather than a condition. And while dryness certainly can exacerbate it, it’s not caused by it. Practically every case of eczema can be traced to some food intolerance. This has been true in my case, and in the case of all of my babies who had problems with eczema.

I had a two-fold approach to healing my eczema. First, was my diet. I controlled what I put into my body and eliminated all allergens from my diet. These are the food-related posts that I usually make.

But I also realized that it was just as important to control what I was putting ON my body, since my eczema was irritated by harsh chemicals and conventional cleansers. This was when I began to make my own cleaners. This is an area that I’m still working on. I confess it takes more mental energy to think about mixing my own dish detergent, instead of just buying something. But it’s so worth my effort and I never regret doing it.

I’ve tried lots and lots of recipes, most of which just did not work. Maybe you’ve had this experience too. You want something that’s “green” but actually, more than being green, you just want something that works. These recipes WORK. I promise! I use them daily and weekly in my home. If you’ve been using conventional cleaners, it may take a few rounds of “green” cleaning to rid the surface of the chemical buildup. This is especially true of glass. But once it’s gone, these formulas work like a charm.

Most of them come from my favorite green-cleaning recipe book. I can’t tell you how much I love this book. I’ve not been disappointed with anything I’ve mixed up, it has great information, and I love that it gives a preparation time and a shelf life for each concoction.

Some recipes I’ve pulled off of the internet and can’t remember where they came from. But I hope that they come in handy for you, whether you’re dealing with sensitive skin, allergies, or you just want to keep a green house.

Dishwasher Detergent

  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/4 cup citric acid (purchased at my local natural food store)
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • a few drops essential oil (I use thyme or lavender, both of which are mildly antiseptic)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Cover and store in a dry place.

Dishwashing Soap

  • 1 ounce liquid castile soap (purchased at my local natural food store)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin (I purchased online, but you could probably find this at a natural food store)
  • 5-10 drops essential oil (I use thyme or lavender, both of which are mildly antiseptic)

Combine soap and water. Add the glycerin and essential oil. Stir to blend.

All-Purpose Spray

  • 1/2 teaspoon washing soda
  • 2 teaspoons Borax
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap (I use castile soap)
  • 2 cups hot water

Combine the washing soda, borax, and soap in a spray bottle. Pour in the hot water, screw on the lid, and shake completely to dissolve.

Antiseptic All-Purpose Spray

  • up to 1 teaspoon antiseptic essential oil (I like thyme or lavender)
  • 1 teaspoon washing soda
  • 2 teaspoons borax
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap (I use castile soap)
  • 2 cups hot water

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle. Screw on lid, shake to dissolve and blend. To use spray onto a surface and let it sit for up to 15 minutes to give the essential oils time to work their antiseptic magic.

Window and Glass Cleaner

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap (I use castile soap)
  • 2 cups water
  • a few drops essential oil, for scent

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle, and shake to blend.

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