I was raised with chemical cleaners. Glass was cleaned with Windex. Porcelain (tub, sinks and toilet) was cleaned with Comet. Wood was done with Pledge. The linoleum got the Pine Sol treatment. Everything else got liberally sprayed with 409 and wiped down. We even used 409 to spot clean the carpets if there was a major spill. It was simple. 5 cleaners took care of everything… and believe me, my mom kept a clean house!
I have carried those cleaners ever since because they were familiar, and I knew they worked. But in the last year or so, my family has been having some adverse physical problems, so we’ve decided to change the way we clean to be a little more natural and “green” by making our own homemade cleaners. This also fits with our homestead spirit – simpler life, do as much as you can on your own. Plus, these homemade cleaners are super cheap to make! Chances are, you’ve got most of the ingredients around your house already.
Homemade Cleaner #1: The All-Purpose Cleaner
If you’re a loyal reader, you know by now that my main go-to cleaner is my citrus vinegar cleaner. I may reference it in this post some more, so just remember “CVC” = “citrus vinegar cleaner”.
- 2 Cups distilled white vinegar
- Citrus peels (about a cup) or 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Cups warm water (preferably distilled)
Steep the citrus peels in the vinegar for a couple of weeks. After steeping, combine the vinegar and water in a spray bottle and shake well to mix. If you don’t want to wait for the citrus peels to steep, you can just use lemon juice. Just combine the lemon juice, vinegar and water in the spray bottle and shake to mix.
We use this stuff mainly in the kitchen to clean the counters, microwave, fridge, stove, toaster… everything! It’s totally food-safe, so you could literally lick your counters after you clean them.
Homemade Cleaner #2: The Glass Cleaner
I wanted to find a glass cleaner that didn’t include alcohol or ammonia. Those two ingredients tend to be harmful to people with asthma or other breathing and lung issues, and with 2 people in the house with lung issues, and 1 with asthma, we needed to find something that wouldn’t be harmful.
This stuff cleans great and doesn’t streak! I’ve seen people on the ‘net talk about how vinegar will etch or pit glass over time, but I have also seen as many say they have never had problems with vinegar on glass. Likewise, I have seen people report a powdery white residue, but I haven’t had that problem yet, either. As long as you use a microfiber cloth or some newspaper to follow up, you shouldn’t have that problem, either.
- 1/4 Cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
- 2 Cups warm water (preferable distilled)
Combine all the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Also, shake well before each use as the starch may settle on the bottom if it isn’t fully dissolved and could clog the spray nozzle.
Homemade Cleaner #3: The Bathroom Cleaner
We’ve been using this one for a few months now, and it works SO good! It leaves the porcelain super clean! It also cleans the counters and fixtures well, too. I’ve actually even tried it on the mirror and it cleaned well, there, too… but I still prefer the glass cleaner above.
- 3 Cups CVC (citrus vinegar cleaner)
- 1/4 cup liquid dish soap (we use the Dawn Original blue formula)
- 2 tsp Borax
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle, swirl to mix. You’ll be amazed just how well this mixture works!
Homemade Cleaner #4: The Wood Cleaner
This is a great formula for well-used furniture, but will also work well on hardwood floors. The vinegar works wonderfully to pull dirt out of wood.
- 1/2 Cup CVC
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish soap
- A few drops olive oil (essential oils could be used here, as well)
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle, swirl to mix. Spray onto a soft polishing cloth or sponge. Wash surfaces.
Homemade Cleaner #5: The Floor Cleaner
We usually mop the floor once with this mixture, then again with just hot water to make sure there is no residue left behind (and to be sure we got the floor good in the first place).
- ¼ cup of CVC (citrus vinegar cleaner)
- 1 gallon of hot water
Mix and apply to vinyl, linoleum, and tile floors. Allow to dry. Although we have never done it before, I have heard you can add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil to the mix for a little added smell-good effect.
Some General Tips on Homemade Cleaners
- Label bottles using masking tape and a permanent marker (masking tape is much easier to remove than a sticker label). List the ingredients, date and name of product.
- Use clean bottles and triggers only – don’t use a bottle from another product until the trigger and bottle have been thoroughly rinsed and do not spray out or smell like the old product.
- Use different shapes, colors and sizes of bottles if possible to further ensure you are using the correct product.
- Make enough for 1-2 months of use and that’s it. These don’t have the same stabilizers that store-bought products do. Less additives means lower shelf-life.
- Never mix a recipe that you make up yourself without checking to see if it is safe to do, some items you cannot mix together!