When you make your own cleaning products, you avoid exposing yourself and your family to hundreds of harsh chemicals. You also protect the environment, and save money, too! The following all-purpose cleaner recipes contain simple, ordinary ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice. You probably already have most of these ingredients on hand. If you don't, they are inexpensive and easy-to-find at your local supermarket. Best of all-they really work!
With the exception of the laundry detergents, these cleaning recipes should be used immediately (not stored), as some of the ingredients will become inactive after standing for a period a few hours. Although the ingredients are mild, some may stain or scratch certain surfaces, so always test them out before applying them to a large area. Any ingredients known to harm certain materials are marked with an *asterisk.
All-Purpose Household Cleaner
Mix one teaspoon of liquid soap or borax with a gallon of hot water. Lemon juice or vinegar added to the mix will cut grease and leave a fresh scent. Vinegar is a great deodorizer.
All-Purpose Fruit and Veggie Wash
In a bowl or spray bottle, mix together 3 cups filtered water, 3 tablespoons of white distilled or apple cider vinegar, and 2 tablespoons baking soda. Spray on veggies, scrub gently, and then rinse them under cold water.
Note: Do not use this solution on mushrooms as they will absorb the flavor.
Cutting Board Sanitizer
Apply with a spray bottle, scrub with a sponge, and then rinse clean.
Coffee Maker Cleaner
Pour 1 cup of white distilled vinegar into the water reservoir (use ¼ cup for smaller coffee makers). Fill the rest of the reservoir with water. Turn the coffee maker on, and without adding coffee or a filter, let it run through a cycle. Empty the pot. Run it through another cycle using plain water only to get rid of any remaining vinegar residue. Repeat a third time (water only again) if necessary.
Mix ingredients together and pour into a clean spray bottle. Once mixed, this solution can be stored for later use, just make sure you label the bottle and keep it out of reach of children.
Place baking soda in a bowl. Add water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a spreadable paste. Spread the paste evenly over the bottom of the oven and let it sit overnight. If necessary, spritz the paste with water the next morning to dampen it and make it easier to wipe clean. Wipe away the baked on residue using a damp sponge and follow with a damp cloth to remove any remaining baking soda. For really tough baked on spots, try sprinkling the damp sponge with salt for a little extra scouring power.
Pots and Pans Cleaner
Sprinkle two tablespoons of baking soda into dirty pots and pans. Add 2 to 3 inches of hot water and a little squirt of dish soap. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes (preferably on still warm burner) before scrubbing. For extra tough stains, add 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar (it will foam!). Most baked on food can be easily removed from pots and pans if you act quickly.
When you're done cooking, immediately squirt a little hot water and dish soap into the empty pan and leave it site on a warm (turned off) burner. By the time you're finished eating, the dish soap and water will have worked its magic and the stuck on food should come off easily.
Note: Do not use baking soda solutions on non-stick pots and pans, as it may scratch the coating, which may then leach into your food. This solution should also not be used on aluminum pots and pans as it may discolor them.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon each of oxygen bleach powder and baking soda in the porcelain dish (2 teaspoons for a larger dish). Fill the dish with hot water and swirl to dissolve the powders. Let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes before scrubbing.
All-Purpose Stainless Steel Cleaner
Combine the ingredients in a bowl. Use a soft damp cloth or non-abrasive sponge to rub the mixture onto the stainless steel surface. Wipe clean (no rinsing necessary) and polish with a soft cloth.
All-Purpose Anti-Bacterial Cleaner
Using a wooden spoon, mix the baking soda and detergent in a bowl until it is the consistency of frosting. Stir in essential oils. Slather some of the mixture onto a soft sponge and scrub. Rinse well. Use this recipe to clean glass, porcelain, ceramic, and most plastic surfaces. It's abrasive enough to clean without scratching. You can find essential oils at health food store.
Porcelain Tub and Sink Brightener
Apply to a sponge. Scrub thoroughly and rinse. For stubborn stains, allow to stand for 15 minutes before scrubbing.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Squirt liquid soap into the toilet bowl, followed by a sprinkle of oxygen bleach powder and baking soda. Add essential oils (optional). Scrub with a toilet brush. For tough stains, let the solution stand for 10 to 15 minutes and scrub a second time. Flush when finished.
A plumber's drain snake can be used to manually clear a clogged drain. You can find both professional grade and inexpensive plastic versions at most big-box home stores. As a preventative measure, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of white distilled vinegar (it will foam!). Do this once every two weeks to help prevent future clogs.
Soap Scum Cleaner
Use the all-purpose cleaner (see above) plus add 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar. It will foam up when the vinegar is added to the baking soda, so don't be alarmed. Use an old toothbrush to clean hard to reach places and rinse with warm water. Soap scum build-up is easy to prevent just by wiping down wet surfaces regularly after bathing.
All-Purpose Liquid Laundry Detergent
Place the grated soap in a small saucepan and cover with water. Dissolve over low heat. Fill the bucket with water, and add the dissolved soap. Stir in 1 cup of washing soap and mix well. As the solution cools, the liquid should start to thicken up. Store soap in covered bucket. Use 1-2 cups per load. Fels-Naptha® bar soap and washing soda (usually Arm & Hammer® brand) can both be found in the laundry aisle of most supermarkets.
All-Purpose Powdered Laundry Detergent
Combine all ingredients and store in a covered container. Use 1 TBSP for light loads, and 2 TBSPs for large or heavily-soiled loads.
Add 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
Spot-treat stains with a solution of 3 tablespoons borax and 2 cups of room temperature water. Test on a concealed piece of fabric first, before using on a large area.
Use a clothesline and some sunshine as a natural way to bleach!
Tile/linoleum Floor Cleaner
Dissolve 1-2 teaspoons of dishwashing soap in 3 gallons of warm water. Mop the floor with this solution. To rinse, follow with 1 cup of white vinegar in 3 gallons of cool water and dry with towels.
Wood Floor Cleaner
Dissolve 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 cup of white vinegar in 3 gallons of warm water. After mopping, wipe floor dry with a clean towel.
Rug/Carpet Spot Remover
Blot immediately with a soft, dry towel. Sprinkle with baking soda, cornstarch or borax and let dry. Wash with club soda, let dry and vacuum.
Test in an inconspicuous area first.
Sprinkle a small amount of salt on the rusted area. Soak the area with the juice of one lime, saving the rind. Let stand for about three hours. Use the leftover rind to scrub the surface clean.
I don't know whether these work or not, however, I do know that whenever you mix vinegar and baking soda; one is an acid and the other a base, you will get salt, water, and carbon dioxide. This is why it bubbles. Bubbles, in my experience, are not great cleaners. Neither is salt water.
Vinegar by itself does some jobs. Baking soda by itself does some jobs. But when you mix them, they neutralize each other, and all you have is salt water. Any recipe that contains both can not be more effective than salt water. The floor cleaner, for instance, is nothing more than salt water. It can't work any better than plain water. I'm sorry. It's basic chemistry.
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This is the best all-purpose household cleaner I know of. I make a batch and put it in an old spray bottle that once held a commercial cleaner. I keep the extra in an old gallon sized vinegar bottle.
Making a paste out of whitening toothpaste and baking soda is an easy, wonderful way to tackle some of the things that were hard to clean before I started using it. I get the cheaper whitening paste (or gel).
After buying bleach cleaners at the dollar store and still feeling I was spending too much I went to the Clorox web site and found this. It is much cheaper too.
For a good all purpose cleaner, you need water and Ivory liquid dish soap. Fill a 32 ounce spray bottle nearly full with water. Add a squirt or two of Ivory Liquid Dish soap. Put the sprayer back on and gently shake the bottle until the soap has been evenly distributed.
The best natural cleaner for many uses is classic blue Dawn dish soap and white vinegar. Mix in a spray bottle 50/50, it works wonders in the shower, tubs, sinks, on stoves, and for pots and pans just to name a few.
Plain, old vinegar is still one of the best and thriftiest cleaning products going. But the smell can put some people off and keep them from using it more often, even though it dissipates quickly after use.
I don't know where I got this recipe but it works great on almost anything.
Fill a glass quart jar with the peelings (remove any of the white pulp) of any citrus fruit-grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, etc. Cover the peelings with white vinegar, cover and allow it to sit for about 2 weeks, occasionally shaking the jar.
For a good all-purpose liquid cleanser, combine 1 teaspoon borax, 2 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon washing soda, 1/2 teaspoon vegetable-based detergent and 2 cups very hot water.
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Looking for recipes for homemade household cleaners.
Debby from London, Ont. Canada
I NEVER, EVER buy household cleaners. Vinegar and newspaper to clean mirrors and windows. Vinegar in the washing machine rinse cycle softens the clothes as well as help to clean the skum from the washing machine. Don't buy fabric softners. If I'm washing dishes by hand I sometimes pore a little vinegar in the dishwater. Nothing cuts the grease as well as vinegar. I don't buy prewashes either. I use dishwash detergent and rub in it the spot. I clean my comodes with vinegar. I clean the tub and sinks with baking soda. It's a little abrasive but not like Comet, etc.
To clean my microwave I squeeze the juice from half a lemon into a small bowl of water set the microwave for 5 minutes and let it sit for 5 minutes. The steam loosens the grime so it wipes right off and the lemon gives it a fresh scent!