Make Your Own Cleaning Products

People ask me all the time about cleaning and what products I use. I don’t know how it comes up in conversation so much. This makes me sound super boring, and maybe I am, but whatever.

If you’ve been reading the rest of my posts, you probably know by now that I’m big into DIY stuff. I’m also a huge fan of nature and our environment. For these reasons I have stopped buying pre-made cleaning supplies at the store. Stinky super-powered chemicals that kill every little germ aren’t necessary at our house — we’re not a healthcare facility. We’re just a married couple with two sweet cats we’d rather not harm with our cleaning products.

We do still have some pre-made, store-bought items in our house. We bought most of these before we switched over to what we use now. I keep them on hand because it seems silly and wasteful to get rid of them. We’re still using the same bottle of glass cleaner we bought like 3 years ago, and I think we have some other miscellaneous products we haven’t used in forever. We still buy chemical-loaded toilet bowl cleaner, which I’m not proud of (though once we run out of the bottle we have now, you can bet I’ll be changing that too).

Other than an occasional specialty product, the recipes I’m listing below are pretty much all we need these days.

All-Purpose Cleaner
½ tsp baking soda or washing soda
2 tsp borax
½ tsp liquid soap (we use Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap in peppermint)
2 c hot water

This should just barely fit into a 16 oz. spray bottle.
Mix everything except the soap and shake well. Then add the soap and shake gently.
This is great to use in the kitchen, bathroom, and on most other surfaces.

Drain Cleaner
½ box of baking soda
½ c white vinegar
A kettle of boiling water

Pour baking soda down the drain. This works best if the drain is dry.
Pour the vinegar down the drain and immediately plug it with a rag or stopper so everything can work its way downward. It’ll fizz and create some volcano action, so you might want to wear gloves.
Let it sit for about 30 minutes, then unplug the drain. Slowly pour the kettle of boiling water down the drain.
If your drain is really clogged, you may have to repeat this once more.

Fabric Freshener
½ c vodka (think cheap vodka that’s too crappy to drink — the higher proof the better)
½ tsp essential oil
1 ½ c distilled water

Mix the vodka and essential oil in a 16 oz. spray bottle. Shake it up real good. Then add the water. You can add a pinch of baking soda too if you like.
Shake well before each use, and spray on any fabric or furniture that needs freshening up. It’s probably a good idea to do a test patch before getting too crazy.

To clean the tile in your shower…
Wet the area down with white vinegar
Sprinkle some baking soda on a brush
Scrub until it looks good (you might want to use gloves here too)

We have a lot of iron in our water, and this takes care of the stubborn pink stains we get on our grout. It gets rid of the soap scum in the tub and shower too.

Our house is all wood floors and no carpet. Pretty much every mop we bought in a two-year span broke, which was a bummer. One day I was hanging with my grandma watching QVC and became obsessed about owning a floor steamer. Super nerdy? You bet. I totally asked for one for Christmas and my wish was granted. It’s super nice! All you do is fill the tank with distilled water, put a couple drops of essential oil on one of the reusable cleaning pads, and go to town. The floors are dry in minutes, and clean without the use of chemicals. I’m not sure where ours was purchased, but a lot of department stores carry them.

So, there it is. At any given time, we have every ingredient we need on hand to do whatever cleaning we need to do, and we don’t need to repurchase very often. It’s also pretty nice to not be gagging constantly while cleaning and worrying that we’re compromising our health. I think the cats appreciate it, too.

Do you have any tips, tricks, or recipes to share?


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