Saturday, September 28, 2013

My Favorite Homemade Cleaners

 Hi friends!  I hope you're having a nice weekend so far.

Since I have cleaning on my mind lately (trust me, most of the time more talk than action), I thought I'd share some of my favorite homemade cleaners with you.  I used to be the type that had a specific store-bought cleaner for each room, until the past couple years when I started realizing that I really only needed a few basic supplies for everything and I could make the majority of them too. 

I love using as natural products as I can in our home, but they do have to be effective.  I don't make every cleaning product in our house (I have yet to try making laundry detergent), but I enjoy putting together a few combinations that are effective and also very easy and quick. 

 Distilled white vinegar is like your best friend when it comes to homemade natural cleaners.  It is a great safe alternative to chemical cleaners, does an amazing job, plus it's affordable.  I buy a huge container of it at Costco to store and decant it into Ball jars (which sit on my open shelves in the laundry room) and bottles.  There are so many uses for vinegar it amazes me.  Here are some ways I use it:

Floor Cleaner 
 (I use this on our non-waxed wood floors, laminate wood floors and tile)
1 quart water
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
3 drops pure essential oil, such as lemon (optional)
Note: I use a mop with a washable microfiber pad and a refillable bottle that I can pour the solution into

Window Cleaner
equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle 

Fabric Softener
I add 1/4 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle in the washing machine

Mildew Remover + Stainless Steel Cleaner
Undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Pour a few cups of vinegar into the toilet bowl and let it sit for an hour before scrubbing

 Mild dish soap can also be used for more that just washing dishes!  I always use Mrs. Meyers as I love the scents and effectiveness. 

Bathroom Cleaner
(I learned this from reading Martha Stewart and it works fabulous for scrubbing)
Pour a little baking soda and dish soap into a bowl and mix until a paste is formed

All Purpose Cleaner
1 quart water
1/4 cup dish soap

 A friend of mine got me hooked on having a couple pure essential oils in the house.  I have both lavender and lemon and I use them all the time.  I add them to my floor cleaner occasionally to mask the smell of vinegar, but probably my favorite way to use them is in the dryer.  I cut a lint-free towel into little squares and pour a few drops of lavender oil onto the towel square to add with wet clothes in the dryer.  Because I use a laundry detergent that is free of scents and the vinegar in the rinse cycle works as a fabric softener, this is a way I can add just a little natural scent to our clothing. 

I also want to tell you about an amazing natural homemade silver cleaner.  Recently my friend Ann over at On Sutton Place posted her recipe for removing tarnish from silver.  I decided to give it a try one day on our silverware and I could not believe how well it worked (and how easy it was!).  I immediately threw out my silver cleaner!  You can find the recipe here, but it consists of using only water, salt, baking soda and foil.

I'm sure many of you have some fabulous ways of using these ingredients for cleaners and probably know a lot more than I do about it.  I just love that there are so many ways to use natural, affordable ingredients that do just as good a job at cleaning...if you haven't had a chance to try homemade cleaners yet, I hope you enjoy the recipes!

Have a great weekend.


  1. Wonderful info, Andrea! I am fighting asthma right now and researching all I can to figure out what I must rid my home of. And one thing is my beloved candles! I found out they emit so many bad things I've been breathing. But no, I won't go without candles, so I'm going to find soy-based with the right essential oils. Essential oils is on my list too. Where did you get yours?

    1. Hi Brenda, I bought my essential oils at a whole food store, but you can easily find them on Amazon, etc. You'll be amazed how long they last!

  2. Great post! I've been reading your blog for a while but never commented. =) I was excited to hear that the natural method of polishing silver works, I had seen that elsewhere and wondered. My family does a lot of natural cleaning, too, and we make our own laundry detergent. I actually wrote a post about it on my mom's blog; It is a pretty easy method and works wonderfully for us!

    1. Thanks for the recipe, Ashton! It looks great - I'm going to have to try it. :-)

  3. I use a lot of natural cleaners, too, and even make my own laundry soap...which my kids use all the time now too----because good old Mom supplies it!;>) I love Mrs. Meyers-it's my favorite and I love her lemon verbana scent. xo Diana

  4. This is great, Andrea. Thanks for sharing. Baking soda is a favorite of mine. I recently made a paste of baking soda and water and used it to clean the inside of the oven window. After applying the mixture, I let it sit a while, then used a razor blade and carefully scraped off all the baked-on mess. Worked great.

    Question: I love the idea of using essential oil in the dryer (I stopped using dryer sheets years ago and also use fragrance-free detergent), but could the oils leave a stain on the clothes?

    Have you heard of soap nuts that can be used in the laundry? I saw a couple on Shark Tank who have a business selling all-natural soap nuts called Eco Nuts. I'm curious to try them.

    1. HI Claudia, I've wanted to try cleaning the oven with the baking soda paste... I'm going to have to try it!

      I really don't think the essential oils would leave stains, unless you used a lot. I only use a few drops per load in the dryer and I've never had an issue. And I know some essential oils, like lemon, can actually remove stains. You could always try it on a load of old clothing first, but I've never seen any type of staining. (I use lavender.) I definitely only buy the pure oils though.

      I have never heard of the soap nuts, but I just looked up Eco Nuts... how interesting! You'll have to let me know if you try them. :-)

  5. Thanks for the great info, Andrea. I've been wanting (for way too long) to try more natural cleaning products. Not sure if I really will soon, but pinning this so it'll be there when I'm ready.

  6. Isn't that silver cleaning method amazing?!? I tried it out on a few pieces of jewelry and was absolutely amazed at how well it worked. So much so I rummaged through my house for anything made of silver to try it on (super fun way to spend a Saturday).

  7. Great tips! I love using natural products whenever I can for cleaning.Sometimes though I have to still use nasty chemicals because of our hard water :-(

  8. You must try the homemade powdered detergent! It works great and a little goes a long way. I made a batch last October and I still have tons left. It gets even my husband and son's dirtiest clothes clean. And I have never had an issue with it not disolving even though I wash everything in cold water. It has been great to not have to buy Tide for 12 months :) LOVE your blog!

  9. Great post! I have started using homemade cleaners as well. I love the homemade spray n wash. I found the recipe on pinterest and I have not bought any at the store in a while now. I think that it works better than any brand that I have ever purchased.

  10. I use vinegar on my hardwoods too. Works great. I also use it around the house when I need to get out bad smells. Just put out a few small bowls...does the trick every time! Thanks for the great info.

  11. Great tips. I just used the vinegar in my rinse cycle this past week for the first time and was amazing at how wonderful it worked! can't wait to try some more of your tips and tricks.

  12. Thanks for sharing the information, Andrea! Homemade cleaners are a great way to save on money as well as having an eco-friendly alternative to industrial cleaners. Vinegar does prove to be quite handy, but for those who aren't fond of the smell, vodka can be used as a substitute in these recipes as well.

  13. Hey, Andrea! Love this post. I have three different homemade laundry detergent recipes that I use. I also clean with a lot of vinegar. I have a little spray bottle that I fill with vinegar, water, dawn dish soap, and lavender that I use on my counter tops. It works really well. I'm thinking about doing a whole blog post about my love of lavender and how I use that essential oil in many different ways. If I ever get back to blogging that is. :) Have a great weekend. ~ Jamie

  14. I will definitely try the silver cleaning method, though I am skeptical of it...I have rubbed by way through much tarnish in my life as an antiques dealer...always wanting to preserve some part of the patina...this method according to On Sutton Place, won't remove all of the old piece of silver devoid of any patina is not least to me...Thanks

  15. It is good to search for homemade cleaning products.

  16. My biggest problem with cleaning the cooker was the chemicals. I am allergic to pretty much every one going, so needed something natural. In the end I was actually surprised to learn that cleaning companies, at least the decent ones, also use natural cleaners and not necessarily the highly toxic ones you read about. After recent visits from both oven cleaning sheffield and oven cleaning solihull I realised it's more about technique and, as you so rightly put, getting the most from your natural ingredients such as bicarb, vinegar, etc. Thanks for the great tips!


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