Cleaning supplies are expensive and contain a host of ingredients that can be harmful to children and pets. Making your own cleaners removes toxic chemicals from your home and can save you money. Both safe and easy to make, homemade cleaners work as well as commercially available products, as long as you know the most effective combination of ingredients to use.
Here is how to get started:
Know your ingredients
Most homemade cleaners use a combination of vinegar, baking or washing soda, soap, and a degreaser such as liquid dish soap. Each ingredient has a different function.
Baking or washing sodaprovides scrubbing power.
All-natural castile soap or gentle baby soapremoves the oils from skin and hair.
Degreaser removes food residue or man-made oils.
The best recipes use a combination of these ingredients.
Keep it simple
Commercial cleaning brands make a lot of money marketing separate kitchen, bathroom, toilet, and stove cleaners. But all these different bottles really aren't necessary. For most households, a good all-purpose cleaner, window cleaner, and dusting solution is sufficient.
Play it safe
Always use new bottles the first time you make cleaning solutions, and only refill bottles with the same recipe that was used before. Bleach and ammonia should never be mixed, and if you use a recipe calling for either bleach or ammonia, realize it needs to be rinsed off with water before being touched. To save yourself a step, do not use bleach or ammonia in any recipe.
Go antibacterial the easy way
Vinegar provides a good antibacterial component to any homemade cleaner. But if you really need a product to take care of germs, add either lavender or tea tree essential oil to any recipe.
Prepare in bulk
Double, triple, or quadruple your recipes to fill an entire spray bottle, or make your cleaners by the gallon. Cleaned out milk jugs make good storage containers for most cleaners. But they are only good for a single use. The vinegar in most recipes will break the plastic jugs down over time.
Now that you know the basics, here are some recipes to get you started:
All-Purpose Cleaner (Mix in the order listed)
1-1/2 tablespoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon washing soda (found with the laundry additives)
1/4 teaspoon soap (castile soap or baby body wash)
Sprinkle the stain liberally with baking soda, pour on vinegar, cover immediately with a damp towel, let sit for 15 minutes, then wipe clean.
Making cleaning supplies is an easy process, and a simple Internet search can yield hundreds of recipes for you to try. When combined with regular cleaning, homemade cleaners are every bit as effective as expensive, chemical-laden commercial products.