Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Household Cleaners {Guest Post}

 

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Household Cleaners:

{The following is a Guest Post from Maria Rainer on Do-It-Yourself Household Cleaners. Thanks, Maria!)

Spring is fast approaching, and that means every homeowner and renter is resignedly getting out from under the blankets to (sigh) clean house. There’s nothing worse than filling that nice spring air with the harsh smells and toxic fumes of bleach, artificial colors and fragrances, ammonia, and nasty acids, though. Skip that and the extra trip to the grocery store with things you probably already have in your pantry!

If you don’t have these ingredients lying around, don’t despair—you’ll be able to pick them up for cheaper than the chemical stuff. Although ingredients like tea tree oil is initially expensive (maybe $10 for 2 fl oz), a little bit goes a long way, and you’ll end up saving money by making more homemade cleaners for less (with fewer trips to the store and less plastic to recycle!). (TTO is a natural antiseptic that has been proven in recent studies to inhibit the H1N1 virus; see the research here.

So, without further ado, here are your easy, cheap, and eco-friendly cleaning supplies.

For bathroom tiles, sink, and other porcelain surfaces:

• Baking soda ($0.57 for 16 oz)
• Distilled white vinegar ($2.00 for 64 fl oz)

Dust the surface with baking soda. If the stains are light, scrub it with a water-moist sponge or washcloth and be done with it! If there’s mildew to contend with, spray it down with some vinegar (lemon juice works, too) and then scrub after a few minutes.

For windows and mirrors:

• 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
• Gallon of water
• Newspaper

Mix 2 tbsp of white vinegar with a gallon of water and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray it on the surface and wipe away with newspaper, which unlike paper towels won’t leave streaks. Don’t worry; the vinegar smell will go away once it dries. If you’re not so keen on it, though, you can add lemon juice.

For that mess your dog made on the carpet when he couldn’t hold his bladder:

• ¼ cup liquid soap (Dr Bronner’s 32 fl oz and essential-oil infused soap is $15)
• 1/3 cup water

Thoroughly mix the water with soap and spray on the area. Rinse the spot with vinegar. If it smells mildly dog-y later, wait until it dries and sprinkle with baking soda. Vacuum after 30 minutes.

For wood floors and surfaces:

• ¼ cup white vinegar
• 30 oz warm water

Spray a clean rag with your concoction until damp and mop or wipe down.

For counter-tops, cutting boards, steel sinks, ovens, refrigerators and more

• Baking soda
• Water

Use the method for the porcelain tiles. If stains are tougher, as in ovens, make a paste with the baking soda and water and leave on the surface for an hour or even overnight. Remove with a rag and water. If you have dry, sensitive skin on your hands, consider wearing gloves since the baking soda can sting areas like your knuckles and finger joints if the skin is broken (winter hasn’t been kind to me, either).

For germ-ridden surfaces, like the kitchen after you’ve handled raw meat

• 2 cups water
• 3 tbsp liquid soap
• 30 drops of tea tree oil ($12 for 2 fl oz—it will last over 10 spray bottles’ worth!)

Say no to bleach and clean with tea tree oil’s antiseptic properties, which won’t harm the water system or irritate your lungs. Spray this mixture on the surface and clean with a rag.

DIY dishwasher detergent

• 2 cups baking soda
• 2 cups Borax ($12 for 76 oz—that’s a lot of Borax, trust me!)
• 1 tbsp white vinegar

Mix the baking soda and borax in an old detergent box and use about 2 tbsp per full load. Put 1 tbsp of white vinegar in the rinse compartment. Since it takes 16 tbsp to make a cup, the dry mixture should last you 64 loads. You can add a few drops of tea tree oil in the detergent compartment, also.

DIY laundry detergent

• 3 bars of soap. Try a minimalistic soap, like Ivory. Since I don’t like the idea of rendered beef fat (Ivory’s number one ingredient, ick!) I use Dr Bronner’s lavender bar soap, $2 for 5 oz.
• 3 cups Borax
• 3 cups washing soda ($5 for 55 oz)

This mixture works even for HE (High Efficiency) washing machines. Grate the bars of soap using a cheese grater into a bowl and add the Borax and washing soda (don’t confuse with baking soda!). Mix and store in an old detergent container. Toss in less than ¼ cup per full load. If your kids have been playing in the mud, bump it up to a full ¼ cup.

DIY fabric softener

• ½ cup white vinegar
• Optional drops of lavender essential oil

Just add ½ cup of vinegar to your washing load at the beginning of the rinse cycle while it’s still in the washer. When it’s done washing, line dry to save extra money on the energy bill or toss in the dryer without the chemical softeners you relied on before. Seriously consider scrapping the idea of commercial softeners, since their purpose is to reduce static and make your clothes smell good but only by leaving chemical residues on your clothing and towels. Suffer from allergies or asthma? Fabric softeners, which sometimes contain known carcinogens, ammonia, and the like, may be the cause.

 

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online universities, and what online degrees mean in an increasingly technological world. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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Comments

  1. I’ve read a few similar articles in the past, but this one is great! I’ve never seen DYI dishwasher detergent, that’s gonna save a small fortune! I will def replace my old bookmark with this one, thanks so much!

    • Also, do you know where to find washing soda? I wanted to make homemade laundry soap in the past, but it took me forever to find Borax (finally found at Food Lion). Never did find the washing soda.

  2. Any ideas for a fiberglass tub and shower surround? I’ve tried the baking soda and vinegar solution, but it doesn’t do a good job against the soap scum.

  3. I also read somewhere when I first started to make my homemade glass cleaning solution that if you have used regular glass cleaner on your windows in the past to add a few drops of dish soap (like Dawn) to the mix to cut the flim left on the windows.

  4. I got my washing soda on amazon.

  5. I regularly make my own laundry soap. I purchase the Borax at Walmart. Meijer is where I have found Washing Soda. I am a HUGE fan of this laundry soap. It cost pennies and is amazing. The soap I use is Felz Naptha. I purchase it at Kroger.

  6. I also make my own stain remover.
    In a spray bottle, add equal parts ammonia, water, and liquid dish soap. Add dish soap last to cut down on bubbles.
    I regularly have to get grass stains out of softball uniforms (husband is a coach) and the stains just spray away. Amazing.

    • Ingrid I have heard tha reci[e for stain remover before. But I was unable to find ammonia. Can you tell me from where you get it.

      Thanks

  7. I purchased the tea tree oil at CVS. It was in the vitamin section with things like Vitamin E oil. I was able to get it BOGO when vitamins were on sale.

  8. I have been makeing these for about 2 years or so, and I have to say. its healthier. Your not breathing all thoose yukky harsh smells.
    Microwave Cleaner:
    INGREDIENTS:
    ITEM AMOUNT
    Vinegar 1/2 Cup
    Water 1/2 Cup
    1. Mixing white distilled vinegar and water in a microwave-safe bowl.
    2. Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave.
    3. Wipe clean.
    Food will be loosened, and odors will disappear..

  9. Question: Any ideas on REALLY REALLY stubborn rug stains?? I have 2 rugs with old stains… they are filthy! HELP!

    • Try Folex. I recently tried it and love it because of its biodegrable and non chemical properties. I got mine from Fred meyers. Also it comes with a money back garantee….Its safe to use around kids and pets.

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