DIY cleaners (or their commercial green counterparts) have the reputation of not working as well as the hard core heavy duty eco-unfriendly brands. I would say this recipe works better than the Seventh Generation brand but it does require a bit (just a tiny bit) more scrubbing than Fantastic.
One empty, clean, 32 oz spray bottle with the label removed.
Shake the bottle before each use, spray the surface generously and allow it to sit for a few minutes before wiping it off. Most dried-out, encrusted food spill will come right off without any effort.
For problem spots like red wine stains on white formica surfaces, mix together 1 part citric acid with 2 parts baking soda. Sprinkle over the stain, mist with this cleaner (or even plain water) till the powder fizzes, let sit a few minutes and scrub it off.
Notes on ingredients:
I prefer citric acid rather than vinegar because it has no smell and has the same effect: it treats the water, enhancing the performance of the soap and preventing white mineral deposits and streaks. Citric acid is a bit harder to find: in Brooklyn Sahadi's carries it but they call it lemon salt. Kosher grocery stores call it sour salt. But getting it in the spice section of a grocery store is pricy in the long run: you're much better off getting citric acid online, in bulk. It will last for years and you can use it for making bath bombs and lots of other fun stuff, and it will end up being cheaper than using vinegar.
The purpose of the lecithin is to disperse the essential oil in the water -- but is also enhances the performance of the cleaner. Don't ask me why, I don't know. But I tried it with and without, and including lecithin made the cleaner perform better. Plus it makes my Paperstone counters feel silky smooth.
Use liquid castille soap (such as Dr. Bronner's, available at Trader Joe's or at the Vitamin Shop) rather than regular liquid dishwashing soap if you're interested in avoiding the chemicals I mentioned in the intro. Another option is to grate two tablespoons worth of soap off a bar such as Ivory and dissolve it in boiling water.
Washing soda is sodium carbonate, which is more alkaline than sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda). Including it makes the spray more alkaline, which improves its cleaning potential (more of the splatters in kitchen are acidic -- tomatoes, wine, etc). In NYC washing soda in in the laundry aisle of practically any supermarket. I've heard it can also be found in pool supply stores, sold as "soda ash."
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