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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
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!
I am looking for recipe for a general cleaner (mainly kitchen), strong enough to clean off my stove.
Half vinegar-half water solution cuts grease, disinfects, and removes kitchen odor. It's environmentally safe (for you and the planet-no dangerous fumes or chemicals in the drains) and frugal.
I have good luck in cleaning my stove top and the inside of my oven with a paste made from water and baking soda. If the spots are a little stubborn, repeat the process using a green 3M pad. It is abrasive, but does not scratch the surface.
Harlean from Arkansas
I am looking for "recipes" for all purpose liquid solutions cleaner for general bathroom, kitchen, etc. Please help.
By "Sweet Pea" from Nevada City, CA
NEVER EVER mix ammonia or chlorine bleach with dishsoap because there can be serious chemical reactions that can cause several types of diseases and even death :-o Here are some natural recipes that are safe for living beings and the environment:
Equal parts white distilled vinegar and water
Baking soda mixed with a bit of water to make a paste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
Shake well before using
Toilet Bowl Cleaner:
Sprinkle toilet bowl with baking soda, drizzle with vinegar, let soak for 30 minutes and scrub with toilet brush.
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup vinegar
Pour baking soda down the drain and follow with vinegar. Cover and let sit 30 minutes. Flush with boiling water.
Daily Shower Spray:
1/3 cup rubbing alcohol
1 cup water
Mix in a spray bottle and shake. Spray on, no rinsing is require
Put 2 cups rubbing alcohol & 1/2 cup white vinegar in a clean, empty 1 gal. milk jug. Fill the rest of the way with water, squeeze (approximately 1 tsp.) dawn dish soap in. Put top on and give it a light shake. Fill a spray bottle. Use in the bathroom anywhere, kitchen counters, windows, mirrors, anywhere. Safe and super cheap. Never leaves a residue.
Can you make a cleaner from bad or over ripe oranges? I get a lot of these free from local grocery stores that I get bad produce from to feed my chickens and pigs, but none likes citrus. Thanks.
By bryan from WV
I use peels for a variety of uses. Never the actual orange though. You can make a homemade citrus vinegar cleaner. Fill a wide mouth jar with peels and cover with vinegar. Let steep for 3-4 weeks (a month is recommended but I get a bit impatient haha) shake the mixture up from time to time. After a month has passed strain the mixture and you are left with a great all purpose cleaner. I use as a laundry booster when I wash whites, to clean floors, windows, counter tops, cut grease in the stove, clean off soap scum in the shower, etc etc. Basically you use it just like you would straight vinegar but instead of that vat of french fries odor you have an amazing light citrus scent. I also throw peels in my water crock that I keep on my wood stove. Orange, lemon, and apple peels all give the house a nice scent.
As an aside, if I cut oranges, melons, etc. in half and toss out for the chickens they will happily peck away right down to the rind. Are you cutting them for them? Maybe I just have lazy chickens.
Reduce the chemicals you use to clean your home by making your own inexpensive all purpose lavender scented cleaner. This is a page about lavender scented all-purpose cleaner.
This is a page about homemade citrus cleaners. If you like using citrus based cleaners, but don't like the price, try making your own.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Here's a homemade cleaning recipe for people with allergies, asthma, or who just want to make something homemade and earth friendly.
In a large bowl place 2 tsp. baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar. Let it fizz and stir. Add 1 tsp. of environmentally friendly dish soap and stir. Pour this mixture through a funnel into a plastic spray bottle, and fill the remainder of the bottle with water.
I use this spray for counters, stove, appliances, bathroom, mirrors, glass, electronics, everything. When I'm wiping something like electronics I spray a paper towel or dust cloth to saturate with cleaner and then wipe. I do not spray directly onto electronics or fine furniture.
By Carly St.Clair from Lynnwood, WA
Combine together. This is window cleaner and can be used on stoves and refrigerators. Surface really shines!
By Robin from Washington, IA