Annie Berthold-Bond's book "Better Basics for the Home". This book is packed full of homemade non-toxic techniques and formulas for home, body and pet care products.
Most of the ingredients are easily found, utilizing safe, sustainable
products, herbs, essential oils and the like, and are truly frugal
alternatives to chemical-laden commercial products. Best of all, these
work. Almost every formula comes with a few variations for scent,
antiseptic qualities, alterations according to the specific issues one
might be dealing with, such as hard water, and Ms. Bond also takes the
time to explain in easy to understand terms what the science is behind
each recipe - why one might choose one ingredient over another, which
means that this isn't jus a recipe book - it's a great textbook of
non-toxic living principles.
A lot of what's in here is so simple, you might feel like you already
knew it - perhaps, like me, you had a mother who was doing this before
it was trendy, because it's what her mother taught her. And perhaps
like me, you forgot how easy it was until you tried it for yourself.
Know what my favorite quote from this book is? Her first suggestion for
dealing with odors (a great many recipes follow): "Open a window."
That is the sort of common sense you get here - favor easy over hard,
non-formulary over complex recipe, and move on from there.
Here at our house, we have very hard water, so I tend to use her
Acid-Based All Purpose Cleaner for most things - this cuts through
mineral deposits and soap scum, and it tackles body fluids well (pets,
meat juice, etc). I use it in my kitchen and bathroom, and it allows me
to clean without undue scrubbing ('elbow grease' with arthritic elbows
is no fun!).
Acid-Based All-Purpose Cleaner
1/4 c distilled white vinegar
1/2 t. Detergent (such as Dawn)
3/4 c warm water
up to 1 tsp. Antiseptic essential oil if desired*
Put in spray bottle and shake - use on counters, sinks, shower. For
areas in need of heavy cleaning, let it sit a few minutes before wiping
up. This can store in a spray bottle indefinitely.
Liquid soap can be used in place of detergent, but for really hard
water, detergent does a better job of cutting through mineral deposits
without leaving soap scum.
*antiseptic essential oils: thyme, sweet orange, lemongrass, rose,
clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon, rosemary, birch, lavender, tea tree oil