According to Green Options, there are 8 basic staples that you need to create your own money-saving homemade cleaners. There are many ways that you can mix and match these (which I’ll get into later), but here are the ingredients you don’t want to be without for your cleaning needs.
- Baking Soda
- Distilled White Vinegar (white or apple cider usually work best)
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Lemons (or lemon juice)
- Olive Oil (cheaper grades work well)
- Vegetable Based (Liquid Castile) Soap
- Washing Soda
You certainly don’t need all of these items at all times, but these are the basis of your frugal cleaning toolbox. There are other items that will crop up in recipes (i.e. dish soap), but Green Option’s list provides a good start. (Oh, and in most of these cases, you’ll need a spray bottle or two. Sounds like a dollar store buy to me!)
Time to Clean!
Now that you’ve got your base ingredients, what do you do? While there are tons of variations on cleaners, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Below, I’ll breakdown some homemade cleaners for you based on what they clean best. You can always experiment with measurements and proportions until you find the best cleaners for you.
If you’re on a mission and want to just attack a bunch of dirty surfaces at once, check out some of these cheap, homemade, all-purpose cleaners. Just grab a cloth and go to town.
- Make an all-purpose cleaner using 2 tablespoons of borax mixed with 2 cups hot water in a spray bottle.
- Make your own disinfectant wipes with some paper towels and one of many choice ingredients mixed with water.
- Combine one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle. You can use this on pretty much anything but granite or limestone.
- Similar to the above mixture, you can also mix in some rubbing alcohol with your vinegar and water. Take a look at this instructional video:
- Mix together 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup Borax, 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 gallon of water for a general household cleaner.
- Combine 1/2 teaspoon washing soap with a dab of liquid dish soap and 2 cups of hot water. Shake in a spray bottle until washing soda has dissolved.
Note: Here is a recipe from Tip Nut for homemade liquid dish soap for extra savings!
Mix together 1 part baking soda, 1 part borax, 1 part water and 1 drop lemon or orange essential oil per cup of detergent. Store in a resealable jar.
- For a super strong all purpose cleaner for those heavy duty jobs, mix 1 tablespoon of non-sudsing ammonia, 1 tablespoon clear laundry detergent and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.
- For cleaning the bathtub, pour 1/2 cup baking soda into a bowl and add enough liquid dish soap to make a texture like frosting. Scoop this mixture onto a sponge and wash your surface.
Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.
- Pour 1/4 cup of full strength chlorine bleach into the toilet bowl and swish around with toilet brush and flush.
- To clean shower stall, shower curtain, tile and grout, dilute 3/4 cup chlorine in a gallon of water and scrub. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.
- For rust stains and hard water deposits, apply full-strength vinegar or lemon juice and let it stand until spot disappears. Rinse and then repeat if necessary.
- Fill a spray bottle with water and add 1 small drop of liquid dish soap and 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Shake this well and clean window and mirrors with newspaper to avoid the lint of cloths and paper towels.
- Mix together 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent, 3 tablespoons vinegar and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Again, clean windows and mirrors with newspaper for lint-free cleaning.
- For a glass cleaner that shouldn’t freeze in cold weather, try a 1/2 cup sudsy ammonia, 2 cups rubbing alcohol, and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap mixed in 1 gallon of water.
- Remove scuff marks with a solution of 1/2 cup baking soda and a bucket of warm water. Mop and rinse for a clean and sparkling floor.
- For rugs and upholstery, sprinkle corn meal, baking soda or corn starch on dry area and vacuum.
- For a carpet cleaning foam, mix together 1/4 cup vegetable oil-based liquid soap and 3 tablespoons or more of water. Whip these in a bowl with an egg beater and rub into problem area of a rug. When finished, rinse well with water.
- This no-rinse homemade floor cleaner is easy to make right in your kitchen sink. Fill a bucket with hot water and pour in 1/4 cup or white vinegar. Then add 15 drops of your favorite essential oil. Try this on ceramic tile, vinyl, laminate and hardwood floors.
- For heavy-duty messes like juice spills, ground-in grease, etc., fill a bucket with hot water and pour in 1/2 cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons liquid dishwashing soap and 15 drops of essential oil. To increase deodorizing and scrubbing powers, stir in a 1/4 cup of baking soda. Rinse floors after using!
- Sprinkle a sponge with a clean, damp sponge or cloth and wipe kitchen surfaces clean. You could also mix 5 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 quart of hot water until the baking soda dissolves. Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and use on countertops
- To clean your oven, sprinkle water on the oven bottom and add baking soda. After letting this sit overnight, wipe off and apply vegetable oil based liquid soap. Scrub oven clean and then rinse.
- For an oven cleaner in a spray bottle, combine 2 tablespoons vegetable oil soap and 2 tablespoons borax with warm water. Spray this mixture on the oven and leave on for 20 minutes before scrubbing.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 quart of baking soda in 1 quart of warm water for an exterior and interior refrigerator cleaner.
- Microwave a mixture of 1/4 cup vinegar and 2 cups of water in a microwave-safe bowl on high for about 3 minutes. Let it sit for 3 minutes, then you’ll be able to wipe down the walls with a clean, wet sponge. The steam will soften the spills inside and the vinegar will cut through the grease and deodorize. Dry with a clean cloth.
There are so many homemade cleaning recipes out there that there is really no excuse for the frugal person not to make them. I know that I’ve barely scratched the surface with the homemade cleaning possibilities. What are some of your favorite homemade cleaners? Are there any that you’ve tried that you’d like to warn against using? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments section below, and as always, thanks for being a Tip Hero!
A big thank you goes out to the following sources!