Today I took yet another trip to the commissary, this time armed with pen and paper. My purpose was to write down the cost of the ingredients for my homemade cleaner recipes from the book Green Up Your Cleanup, as well as the prices of the standard cleaners for comparisons sake. Let me state right off the bat that the COST of green living is secondary to me; you can't put a price on protecting your family. Is there really a problem with the chemicals in standard household cleaners? Here are some statistics from the book The Naturally Clean Home: 100 Safe and Easy Herbal Formulas for Non-Toxic Cleansers
"According to a five-year EPA study, the air in an average American home has chemical contamination levels 70 times greater than outdoor air. The EPA maintains that half of all illnesses occurring in the United States can be attributed to chemical contamination of indoor air.
A study by the Toronto Indoor Air Commission concluded that, due to increased exposure to household carcinogens, women who work at home have a 55 percent greater chance of developing cancer than women who spend the majority of their time outside the home.
The National Academy of Science estimates that 15% of all Americans are multi-chemically sensitive due to chronic exposure to household and cosmetic products.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has determined that more than 150 chemicals found in ordinary household products are directly responsible for producing cancer, allergies, birth defects, and numerous psychological disorders. "
Putting aside the safety issue for a moment, let's look at cost comparison. The cleaners I would normally purchase for my home are:
Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner: $1.99
Oh I would buy a whole bunch more than those too, but I was just looking for something comparable to the cleaners I made up the other day. I included Pledge since the All Surface cleaner, lightly sprayed on a microfiber cloth will replace it for me on "wood-like" furniture, and I will use just a microfiber cloth on real wood furniture.
The prices for the cleaner ingredients are as follows:
1 Gallon of Vinegar: $2.19
Baking Soda: $0.59
Castille Soap, 16 ounces: $6.00
Organic Lavender Essential Oil, 1/2 ounce: $4.00
So the glass cleaner, after multiple calculations, broke down like this:
2 cups water = free
2 cups Vinegar = $0.28
1 tsp Castille Soap = $0.06
8 drops essential oil = $0.11
TOTAL: $0.45 per 32 ounce bottle
That's a savings of $2.43 over Windex, per bottle. Also, keep in mind the castille soap is not necessary after the waxy buildup is gone.
All Surface Cleaner:
32 ounces water = free
4 tsp Borax = $0.02
1/2 tsp Castille Soap = $0.03
TOTAL: $0.05 per 32 ounce bottle
A savings of $3.37 over Pledge.
All Purpose Large Batch:
Gallon of water = free
1 Tbsp baking soda = $0.04
2 Tbsp castille soap = $0.36
TOTAL: $0.40 per gallon
I used to use Lysol All Purpose Cleaner for mopping my floors. It's $1.99 for a 40 oz bottle, and the recommendation is 2 ounces per gallon of water, bringing the total per gallon to about 10 cents. That slams the all natural cleaner by $0.30 per gallon.
So let's say you make up 20 gallons of this, which is the equivalent of one 40 ounce bottle of Lysol All-Purpose cleaner. The cost would be $8.00. That's a big, massive point for the store-bought cleaners in this cost war!
Here's how it all plays out.
If we were to go shopping, and buy just the amount of ingredients we needed to make the 3 cleaners, the price would come to $8.50.
The cost for the three standard cleaners is $8.29.
The difference is 21 cents. As my Dad would say, "Whoopdeedoo."