According to CBS News, you can replace all of the cleaning products in your home for about $20. How? Make your own.

While it may sound like a lot of work, it’s really not that complicated. And if you do it on a gradual basis as you run out of your various cleaning products, it won’t be as overwhelming as trying to do it all at once (and this way you use up what you already have rather than throwing it away).

Many common household products can be combined with each other and/or water to make effective cleaning products on the cheap. And best of all, the solutions are less toxic than many of the cleaning products you find on the market today.

For example, vinegar – and particularly white vinegar – can serve as a terrific natural cleaner for a number of different cleaning jobs. Need to clean windows and mirrors? Instead of using Windex or equivalent, just combine white vinegar and water (we’ve seen ratios anywhere from 1/4 vinegar to 1/2 vinegar), pour it into a spray bottle, and voila, you have a window and mirror cleaner.

White vinegar and water combinations can also be used as a floor cleaner, on stainless steel, and on tiles. In fact, a vinegar-water solution serves as a great all-purpose cleaning product. According to, white vinegar “cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up.”

Baking soda is another fairly common household item that can be combined with water or other ingredients to make different types of cleaning solutions. Because it is a natural abrasive, it works well for scrubbing. For example, combining baking soda with a little dish soap makes for a good stove-top cleaner. Baking soda also works as a deodorizer – actually eliminating odors rather than just covering them up (unlike most air fresheners which just hide the smell).

Lemon can be added to a lot of the natural cleaners you make yourself, providing a nice, fresh scent. It also can help cut grease and counter a lot of bacteria.

There are many other common household ingredients (or at least items common enough to be found in your local supermarket) that can be used in a variety of ways to clean your home and replace store-bought cleaning products. We’ve provided below a couple of articles on the subject, as well as a couple of videos, to help you get a better sense of all of the different kinds of cleaning products you can make yourself, along with suggested ratios for the various solutions.

One side note: When cleaning areas such as windows and mirrors, try using a newspaper to wipe them down instead of a sponge or pad. It’s cheaper (assuming you have some newspaper lying around) and it also doesn’t leave any lint behind.

Cleaning products: Green buying guide 7/07

Non-Toxic Home Cleaning

How To Make Your Own Cleaning Products

How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit

CBS News: Save Green As You Go Green!

“Lush tips for environmental cleaning”:

“Make Your Own Cleaners”:

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