If you are reading this, chances are you’ve considered making your own household cleaning products.
Perhaps you’ve already researched some DIY cleaners and maybe you’ve even tried a thing or two in the past, but did you know that the same ingredients can be used in a variety of DIY cleaners?
With just seven household items, you can make a foaming hand soap, a powerful scouring scrub, an all-purpose cleaner, a simple laundry detergent and an everyday dish soap.
We’ve listed a couple recipe options for each cleaner and most take less time to prepare than the time it would take to run to the store and buy the commercial version.
Making your own home cleaning products is not only more affordable, but it can be a lot healthier too.
Homemade cleaners are often more cost effective and environmentally friendly. You control what goes into them and, therefore, can eliminate any harmful or toxic ingredients or potential allergens.
And for an added bonus, you can be eco-friendly by replacing plastic bottles with reusable glass ones.
All you need are a handful of basic, inexpensive ingredients to make several common household cleaners.
This gentle, vegetable-based soap can be used for a variety of cleaning applications and most of us are familiar with the popular Dr. Bronner’s brand. You should note that castile soap does not mix with vinegar, so in some recipes you’ll have to pick one ingredient or the other.
Most of the recipes listed utilize castile soap with the exception of the dish soap recipe where you’ll want to use Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds since castile soap doesn’t quite have the grease cutting powers you’ll want.
Distilled White Vinegar
Vinegar is a great glass cleaner that also removes hard water spots, but is best used as a disinfectant spray AFTER you have cleaned a surface.
As a cleaner, it’s only really effective in full strength, but most of us aren’t a fan of that intense scent left behind or the possible eye and nose irritation it can cause. It can also harm natural stone and wood surfaces, so be careful where you use it.
Baking Soda and/or Washing Soda
This natural, non-toxic ingredient causes dirt to dissolve in water, making it an effective cleaning agent. It is mildly abrasive and works well in scouring powders.
Washing soda is a stronger and more effective cleaner and, if you want to be even more frugal, you can make your own washing soda from baking soda. And who doesn’t already have some baking soda in their pantry?
Distilled or boiled water that has cooled is best to use with natural cleaners, as it will reduce the risk of developing mold or bacteria. Water really is the ultimate cleaner and what could be more natural?
These optional ingredients are mostly used for their pleasing scents to mask vinegar smells and make your laundry and hand soap smell pretty.
Some are touted as having anti-microbial properties, but this is one of those subjects where it is important to do your own research. There is a lot of information out there about how to safely use essential oils and tell which brands are 100% pure and we recommend looking into it before purchasing.
This will also be the most costly ingredient, but only small amounts are used in the recipes and, again, they are optional.
Another optional ingredient, salt is mainly used for softening laundry or for its abrasive qualities in scouring powders. The two types used in our highlighted recipes are non-iodized and kosher and what type of salt to use depends on what you are making.
Given that this is controversial as a natural ingredient, Borax is optional. We’ve offered up a few recipes that include it and many that leave it out.
There has been a lot of debate over whether or not Borax is safe to use and nothing absolutely concrete in either direction that we have seen, so it is another one of those subjects where we highly recommend you do your own research and make your own informed decision to use it or avoid it.
Now that you’ve got your green cleaning essentials, let’s start building your arsenal.
All Purpose Cleaning Spray
Every home needs one of these trusty concoctions to tackle the everyday muck and grime that lands on our kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
- This recipe is actually two recipes, one with castile soap and one with vinegar, as we mentioned earlier that the two will not mix. Just remember not to use vinegar on natural stone such as marble and granite or on wood surfaces.
- Here is a recipe containing Borax, for those who are comfortable using it, and without vinegar. There is also a helpful FAQ about making your own cleaner.
Liquid or powder? Borax or no Borax? Whatever your preference, we found some great recipes for all options. It is also pretty inexpensive to make your own, as you can make a lot of it at once and store it for a long time.
Making your own dish soap won’t be a huge money saver, but it will score higher on the green clean meter than some popular store bought brands. This is where you will replace castile soap with Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds because, in our experience, it will be tons more effective at cutting through grease and will mix with vinegar if you need to add it for hard water.
This one goes hand-in-hand with dish soap. As wonderful as our homemade recipes are, sometimes you need just a bit more grit to get those pots and pans sparkling and your tubs and tile pearly white again. Non-iodized salt is used because it will be more abrasive than your basic table salt.
- Insert this super simple scouring powder recipe for those tougher jobs.
After all of that cleaning, you’ll need something to freshen your lovely hands. This is where you’ll likely pinch the most pennies, as one 5 ounce bar of soap can make up to a gallon of hand soap. And you can get creative with your soap dispenser or recycle an old one.