There's a whole aisle at the store devoted to cleaning supplies. They are plentiful and easy to find at nearly any grocery store or big-box store. Their labels proclaim super cleaning powers, everything is premixed and ready to go, and their containers are attractive and easy to use. So why would you want to make your own cleaners?
Many people are concerned about the chemicals that might be lurking in commercially produced cleaners. Reading the label is usually no help in learning what's in there either, unless you have an advanced chemistry degree.
Also, there is growing interest in using products that do less harm to the environment. In the past, cleaning products have contained damaging chemicals such as phosphates, and although some of these ingredients have been eliminated, some people would like to use a more natural, gentle product.
Luckily, it's easy and very economical to make your own cleaning products. You'll be happily surprised at how much money you can save by doing this.
A simple and effective first project is making your own window cleaner. Several recipes are available. Here's one that works well:
2 cups water
1/4 cup plain white vinegar
1 or 2 drops dish soap (optional)
You could even add a little blue food coloring if you like.
You can actually use the same mixture for kitchen counters. Some like the addition of a tablespoon of lemon juice for a nicer smell and additional germ killing.
Other homemade cleaning remedies
The uses for vinegar as a basic cleaner are nearly endless. Here is a fun and completely free way to make it even more effective:
The next time you eat an orange, put the peels into a glass jar, like a canning jar or clean pickle jar. Cover the peels with plain white vinegar, and wait a week or so. The orange peel will release some of its natural oil into the vinegar, boosting its cleaning power and helping to mask vinegar's natural scent, which some people find unpleasant.
A simple and safe way to clean your tub is to sprinkle baking soda over the surface, squirt a little dish soap around, and then scrub. It really works.
Recipes abound for many different kinds of cleaners on the Internet. There are even easy recipes for making your own laundry detergent. Try a few variations until you find the ones you like the best.
: Never mix ammonia with bleach, as the combination forms a poisonous gas.