Saturday, May 1, 2010

Making Your Own Cleaning Products

Looks like I’ll be inside for part of this coming week. Rain and storms are forecast. Which is just as well since I’ve been neglecting  my house for my garden! I’m going to take advantage of the weather and deep clean my kitchen.

I thought I'd re-post something I wrote last year about saving money by making your own cleaners. I've had a few people email me asking me to get back to including my money saving tips! I guess I haven't felt particularly frugal lately except in the decorating department so I really wasn't in a mindset to write any posts on this subject. Plus they take longer to write and I've been so busy. So for the time being I'll probably re-post a few that I've posted before until the muse strikes me!
(photo source:
Don't you feel like you're always cleaning your kitchen? I do! Clean up after the dog who likes to take a few kernels of food out of his bowl and put them on the floor (he saves them for later!), cleaning up after cooking, after kids, after "people" who spill stuff on the floor/counter/fridge and don't clean it up right away....the list goes on.

Then there's just the daily maintenance cleaning of dishes, wiping down the countertops, handles etc. Just think about how much money you spend on cleaning supplies in a year for your whole house! Often this is a great area to cut expenses when you've already cut everywhere else.

I spend very little on cleaning supplies. You really don't need to buy window cleaner, floor cleaner, all purpose cleaner or room deodorizers. Just having the following simple ingredients on hand will help you squeeze a few more pennies out of the budget. Really! Price a big jug of vinegar or plain ammonia against any commercial cleaner!
  1. White vinegar (apple cider vinegar can stain)-kills germs, mold & bacteria
  2. Dishwashing liquid
  3. Baking Soda
  4. Lemon Juice (a mild acid that has mild bleaching properties)
  5. Ammonia (I don't use bleach but I'm sure you all know not to mix these two)
  6. Essential oils (just a few drops)- Optional if you want a bit of fragrance. Although, Lavender and Tea Tree oil have been shown to have antifungal and antibacterial properties - plus the nice smell makes cleaning just teensy bit more enjoyable.
First, I'd like to recommend that you stop using sponges! Clean rags are much more economical because you can reuse old worn out items you already have. I have two sets of rags. Ones that are in good condition and that I can wash again and again; the other is the kind you use for really messy jobs and then throw away (holey underwear for instance). I also love micro fiber cloths!

Also, be sure you label your spray bottles when you make these!
Some Recipes
Greasy Cabinets - 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid to 1 gallon of HOT water. Especially good if you have painted cabinets like me and need a gentle cleaner.

Fridge Cleaner - 1 qt. warm water & 1 dash of liquid soap or 2 tablespoons of baking soda & 1 qt. of warm water

Microwave Cleaner - a drop of lemon juice or white vinegar in a cup of water - boil in the micro and the let it sit for a while. The steam will softened any spills. Wipe the inside with a rag, rinse with a clean rag.

Floor Cleaner - 50/50 solution of vinegar and water for vinyl and laminate floors. I have Pergo floors - just be sure you don't get laminate flooring sopping wet. I also dry my Pergo floors with old towels because I find that if I don't they will look streaky.

Glass Cleaner - plain vinegar works great on mirrors. Try putting a little dishwashing soap in the vinegar spray first to get the chemicals and wax from your old cleaner off the glass otherwise you might have streaks the first time.

All Purpose Cleaner - Ammonia diluted according to directions on the bottle or mix one part vinegar to one part water (do not use on marble)

Toilet Cleaner - Flush the toilet, sprinkle sides with baking soda, add 1/2 cup white vinegar, let it sit for a while (it'll foam a bit) and then scrub

Sinks & Tubs - Some dishwashing liquid mixed with a bit of vinegar (this is what I used to clean my tiled shower today and it works great) or sprinkle with baking soda and then spray with vinegar and scrub

Homemade Soft Scrub - mix a small amount of baking soda with a liquid detergent until you have a smooth paste. For stains that need a bit of bleaching, I put some baking soda on a half of lemon and rub that on the area

Carpet Cleaner/deodorizer - when we shampoo our carpets we just use vinegar mixed with hot water in our carpet cleaner. The vinegar smell dissipates. You can also sprinkle baking soda over the carpet and let it sit for about 20 minutes and then vacuum.

Room Freshener - open the windows and let the fresh air in if you can! A few drops of vanilla or some other scent you find pleasing on a cotton ball placed strategically in a room works also.

These are just a few recipes that I use to get you started. There are loads of books out now that have homemade cleaning recipes, mostly the "Green Living" kind. You can even make your own dishwasher detergent and laundry detergeant to take it a step further!

I've found that I sometimes need to let the cleaner sit for a bit or use a bit more elbow grease than I would with a commercial cleaner. But I think it's worth it!
Not only can you save money, but you can control the amount of chemicals that are used in your home! 

I'd love for you to share your own earth friendly/frugal cleaner if you have one! Feel free to link to your blog in the comments if you have a post that deals with this subject.


Andrea said...

LOVE the quote!!! I just planted some flower seeds yesterday and today! A bit late, I know (oops!), but at least they are planted! :)

Anonymous said...

HI Manuela! Oh, thank you for reposting this! I would like to start doing some of this too! I do use quite a bit of vinegar as it will cut the "olden" from glassware.
Thanks again and have a wonderful weekend.
be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Julie Harward said...

And may I add one Manuela...For wood floors..1 part vinegar and 9 parts slightly warm water...and a mop. I saw this in a house Beautiful magazine, it came from a big beautiful old hotel with the most gorgeous wood floors. I have tried it and it makes my floors look brand new! It's so much better than anything on the market! Come say hi :D

June said...

Thanks for the awesome recipes!! I did try some homemade dishwasher detergent and it left my dishes still dirty and back to my Cascade and Jet Dry for that. For other cleaning, I will try out some of these for sure.

Vera @ Cozy Little Cabin said...

I too love the quote & just like you have chicken atop red/white bowls! I got mine at Marshall's. . .

Will try the vinegar cleaners as I have some glasses that are very filmy . . .

Have a great weekend & thanks for taking the time to blog!

Ally's Corner said...

Love your quote which reminds me I need to paint my frame.

Kathleen Grace said...

I use vinegar in the dishwasher rinse cycle. I find it works better than Jet Dry or other commercial rinse agents. We have very hard water and this also keeps the dishwasher from gunking up. Great post!

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Thanks for posting this again.
Hope you don't get the rain and storms that we have been getting here - really bad. They are saying more to come. :(

Brenda Pruitt said...

Manuela, I'm telling you, girl! You have to write a book. You have way too much common sense and decorating sense not to!

Damaris said...

This was WONDERFUL!! Thank YOU for sharing!!

Julie said...

Love the quote but I need it to stop snowing so we can get something done outside.

Love the recipes I'm going to send my daughter over she was just talking about making her own cleaners.

GlorV1 said...

Hi Manuela. I do remember it from last year. Great ideas and very frugal. Have a great Sunday. Go enter my giveaway for a chance to win a painted bangle. If you want.:) Take care.

Heather said...

Check out They have some great ideas for hosting a green cleaning party. Invite some friends over and make some frugal and environmentally safe handmade cleaners. I am planning to do this with friends this summer!

The Tattered Cottage said...

Hi Manuela -
Thanks for sharing this info. I use alot of vinegar and baking soda to clean with. Something my grandmother always did. Simple and budget wise :)
Have a great weekend :)

Cindy said...

Thanks for those great ideas. I have thinking recently that I really should make my own cleaners. I will cut and paste your ideas so I can have them on hand. Store bought cleaners are so expensive and an unnecessary expense at that. Thanks again.
Cindy S

Terri Steffes said...

Good morning~ love this post. In today's green society, it just makes sense. And, it today's economic climate, it just makes cents. Aren't I clever today?

I am going to put your quote on my chalkboard today. You and the blog world continue to inspire me daily!

Barb said...

Manuela, this is great...many thanks. I am all for natural anything since I have fairly bad allergy problems.

Love the sign....and I am also deep cleaning my kitchen this coming week. Whew!

Barb ♥

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

That quote made me smile. I was able to do a lot of laundry Saturday since it was such a rainy day.

Great info, too. :)

Oliva Ohlson said...

Thank you so much for all of the cleaning tips! They do work!!! TFS

Susan Freeman said...

Thanks Manuela, great tips!

Susan and Bentley

Jo said...

I've been looking into natural cleaners lately ~ thank you for the post. I also use a baking soda paste to get stains out of clothing and removing ink marks.


Unknown said...

Thanks I'll have to add these to my collection of recipes to try. I'm finding that I need more elbow grease with the natural cleaners. Still learning how to use them. Linda

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Yes, Manuela we have a rain system headed our way. Are you already in it? I guess I will get some stuff done inside the next couple of days, too.

Gypsy Heart said...

I love the quote too! I cannot get enough of flowers, plants, herbs, etc. I'm having fun with my patio ~ just moved ~ and am making a real effort to grow my own herbs.

Thanks for all the hints! I love using white vinegar & baking soda for different purposes. I also LOVE Shaklee's Basic H2. It is very concentrated and goes a lonnnngggg way ~ can use it for everything.

Brightest blessings,

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a wonderful post! I hopped over here from the Cozy Little house! I love your blog and would like to put it in my list of favorites! Thanks! ♥

Unknown said...

Popped over from Cozy Little Cottage. She is right, it's just heaven here. All these great cleaning ideas. Thanks goodness, it's Sunday and I don't have to get started until Monday.

Hope you don't mind if I follow along here. Stop by my garden. I'm off to see what mirror I have to put out like a couple of post ago. Great fun idea.

Kate - The Garden Bell

Bargain Decorating with Laurie said...

Manuela, I love the quotation on your chalkboard! Soooo true! Great tips. Thanks for posting them. laurie

{oc cottage} said...

Awesome information here! Thank you!

m ^..^

Angie said...

Thanks for these great tips! I am all for doing things better for my family and the environment.

Sue said...

Manuela, I learned to clean with vinegar many years ago. As for baking soda, I use a paste of it and water for cleaning my smooth cook top. The price for that particular type of cleaner is just ridiculous. I've made my own laundry detergent, too. I think you have enlightened many people with your tips. Stay dry! It's been raining here, too.
hugs, Sue

Bonita said...

Thanks so much for the tips and recipes. I've made some of these before, but some were new to me.

One question: How do you get rid of the vinegar smells? I've used the scented oils, but that didn't do it. My husband finally asked me to stop cleaning with vinegar because he hated the smell so much and it seemed to take forever to dissipate (and it wasn't because I was cleaning too often! haha).

Christina said...

Great ideas for chemical free cleaning. I do some of these and others I need to try.

I also wanted to say that your garden posts are always so enjoyable. The roses are just beautiful. Your pictures are a delight for the eyes.

Hope you are enjoying this rainy Monday. What a downpour.

brokeintrovert said...

Thanks for visiting me to day. I think I'm going to go with the black.

I need to clean my kitchen cabinets. I'm going to try that recipe for the cleaner.

Storybook Woods said...

Oh I love homemade cleaners for sooo many reasons. I can not understand buying them xoxoxo Clarice

Tanya said...

I really prefer homemade cleaners. I like to add a few drops of essential oil for some "aromatherapy" while I'm cleaning! I also have been making my own laundry soap from a recipe off of Tipnut. It works great.

Melanie said...

I love that quote!