Homemade cleaning supplies are safer AND save money
Making your own cleaning supplies isn't just environmentally friendly. You also save money – and make cleaners that are much safer to use around small children.
I did the math recently. I spend roughly $30-40 on cleaning supplies every few months – not a ton, but it adds up.
But those cleaning supplies are rather harsh. My five-year-old can't be in the bathroom while I'm cleaning. The bleachy fumes make her cough. And if I accidentally get some of that cleaner on my skin, I'm in for a few hours of itching afterward.
There are other, more pedestrian concerns too. Nothing infuriates me more than getting a splash of bleach on my clothes while I'm cleaning, leaving me with a little white spot in the center of an old favorite T-shirt.
So recently I started looking into homemade cleaners. Surely, there was something more healthy out there that would cost less and be more friendly around the kid.
It turns out, there is. All you really need are a few basic ingredients: vinegar, baking soda, ammonia and lemons.
Here are some recipes to try out in your home. I've tried them, and they work pretty well. You can add lemon juice to any of these to soften the smell and give it a little extra cleaning power:
• Make a scouring cleanser by combining a quarter cup of baking soda with one tablespoon liquid detergent. Add just enough white distilled vinegar to give it a thick, creamy texture.
• Mix a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar to use as a general purpose cleaner, which is good for cleaning windows and other hard surfaces. I also use it to clean the brushed nickel fixtures in our house. However, don't use the solution on marble – it can be damaging to marble surfaces.
• Soak cloudy, filmy glasses in vinegar to remove the water stains. The trick also works on items like faucets to remove lime deposit buildup. I find this tip to be especially useful, as Yuma's water seems to do a number on our glasses.
• To make a cheap tile cleaner, mix one-half cup of baking soda with one cup white vinegar and one cup ammonia to a gallon of warm water.
• To clear clogs in sink and tub drains, use a funnel to pour in one-half cup baking soda followed by one cup vinegar. When the foaming subsides, flush with hot tap water. Wait five minutes, and then flush again with cold water. Not only will this clear clogs without harsh chemicals, it also flushes away odor-causing bacteria. To clear clogs in sink and tub drains, use a funnel to pour in one-half cup baking soda followed by one cup vinegar. When the foaming subsides, flush with hot tap water. Wait five minutes, and then flush again with cold water.
• For a works well on glass, stainless steel and plastic laminate surfaces, fill your spray bottle with two parts water, one part distilled white vinegar, and a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid.
• For cleaning walls and other painted surfaces, combine one-half cup white vinegar, one cup ammonia, and one-quarter cup baking soda in a gallon of water. Pour some into a spray bottle, which you can then spray on spots and stains whenever needed. Wipe off with a clean towel.
• Remove dirt and grime (without creating scratch marks) from no wax and tile floors using one-half cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water. Mop and rinse clean for a sparkling floor. For scuff marks, use baking soda on a clean damp sponge, then rinse.
A few more pointers:
• Vinegar is an excellent natural mildew remover
• Baking soda, sprinkled in carpets or trash cans, is a natural deodorizer
• Many all-natural websites also recommend Borax, such as adding a cup to your laundry detergent to help boost cleaning power. You can also make a solution to clean your toilets by dissolving one-half cup of Borax into a gallon of water. Scrub, let it soak for an hour, and flush. However, a note on Borax: it can be very dangerous if ingested by small children, so keep it out of their reach.
For more green cleaning tips, try an Internet search for “homemade green cleaners” – the possibilities are endless!
Good luck, and happy cleaning!