Household Cleaners

It’s quick and easy to make your own inexpensive and effective cleaning products from ingredients like white distilled vinegar, baking soda, liquid soap (castile, vegetable-based, or glycerin), liquid hand dishwashing detergent, olive oil, and club soda.

A steam cleaner filled with vegetable-based fragrance-free dish detergent works great for cleaning carpets. There’s no need to use commercial carpet cleaning products that may contain harmful chemicals. Add vinegar to the last rinse water to dissolve any remaining detergent. The vinegar odor goes away quickly.

Some commercial cleaners marketed as “green” or “natural” may contain harmful 2-butoxyethanol, so commercial cleaners may not be as safe as homemade cleaners.

All Purpose Cleaner

Use for cleaning countertops, floors, walls, carpets, and upholstery.

  • 1 teaspoon liquid hand dishwashing detergent or soap
  • 1 cup of water
  • 8 oz spray bottle

Fill a spray bottle with warm water, then add the liquid detergent or soap, and mix well. Spray on then wipe off.

To make a larger amount, add two tablespoons liquid detergent or soap to a bucket filled with warm water.

To remove soap residue, use a vinegar rinse.

All Purpose Rinse

  • White distilled vinegar
  • Water

Fill an 8 oz squirt bottle half full with vinegar, then fill the rest of the way with water. Spray and wipe. The vinegar odor disappears quickly. This mixture will dissolve soap residue, and is a good follow up to all purpose cleaners.

Carpet Spot Cleaner

  • 1 teaspoon liquid hand dishwashing detergent
  • 1/3 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 2/3 cups water

Mix the detergent with a cup of lukewarm water. Apply to the stain, then blot (don’t rub the stain). Mix the vinegar with two-thirds cup of water, then blot again.

Drain Cleaner

If you have a clogged drain, first try using a plunger. Plug the overflow opening with a rag, and fill the area with enough water to cover the top of the plunger. Push and pull at least a dozen times, lifting up quickly on the last pull.

If your drain is still clogged after using a plunger, try a plumber’s snake. Remove the trap or strainer, and thread the snake in slowly, rotating it continuously. When you reach the clog, pull the snake out carefully. Clean and rinse. If the drain is still clogged, repeat. To prevent clogs, use a drain trap to catch hair. Cover your sink drains with removable strainers that sit over the drain.

Floor Cleaner

  • ¼ cup liquid soap
  • 2 gallons of water

Combine the liquid soap and water in a pail, and wash as usual. You can follow this up with a vinegar rinse. Add ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to 2 gallons of water in a pail, and use this mixture to rinse. The vinegar odor goes away quickly.

Furniture Polish

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup white distilled vinegar
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil (optional)

Put the oil in a 16oz spray bottle. Add the essential oil, if desired. Add the vinegar, then fill the bottle with water. Shake well. Spray the mixture onto your rag or directly on the furniture. After polishing, use a second rag to dry the furniture immediately.

Glass or Mirror Cleaner

Club soda (it’s OK if it’s flat)

Fill a spray bottle with club soda. Spray, then wipe with a lint-free cloth. Drying with a second lint-free cloth is even more effective. Don’t use a newspaper to wash or dry the glass or mirror because the dissolved ink may contain harmful chemicals.

Mold and Mildew Treatment

  • ½ cup 3% hydrogen peroxide solution
  • 1 cup of water

Combine the hydrogen peroxide and water. Sponge the mixture onto the moldy area, and let it dry. Don’t rinse it. Take care not to get hydrogen peroxide in your eyes- if you do, flush your eyes with water for several minutes.

To prevent mold and mildew, after a bath or shower, use a fan to dry the bathroom. If you don’t have a fan, you can buy an inexpensive window fan, and place it in the window so that the air is blowing outdoors. Run it for fifteen minutes after each bath or shower to dry the bathroom.

Oven Cleaner

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/2cup salt
  • Liquid soap
  • Water

Fill an 8 oz spray bottle with water, and add a teaspoon of liquid soap. Mix thoroughly. Mix 1/2 cup baking soda ¼ cup of salt in a small shaker container. Mix an additional ¾ cup of baking soda and ¼ cup salt in a plastic bowl with ¼ cup of water. Mix to make a thick paste. Next cover any holes in the bottom of the oven with foil to prevent the cleaning mixture from leaking onto the broiler. Spray the oven with the soap and water mixture. Then sprinkle the dry baking soda and salt mixture over the soap mixture. For the oven walls spread the salt and baking soda paste over the walls with a sponge. Leave the mixture on for several hours (overnight is even better). Next scrape the paste and grime off using a putty knife, flat scraper, or plastic scrubbing pad. Take care not to scratch the oven’s enamel. Spray with the soap and water mixture, and wipe with rags. A rinse of a mixture of half white distilled vinegar and half water is a good way to dissolve any soap residue.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • ½ cup liquid soap
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Mix the liquid soap and baking soda. Then add the water and vinegar (it will fizz). A 22-oz squirt bottles makes a good container. Squirt inside the toilet, and clean with a toilet brush. Squirt on the seat, outside, and rim as well, and use a rag to clean.

Tub and Tile Cleaner

  • 1 2/3 cups baking soda
  • ½ cup liquid soap
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Mix the baking soda with soap in a wide mouth jar. Add the water, and mix thoroughly. Add the vinegar last, and mix (it will fizz). To use, scoop the scrub with a rag or sponge, and use to scrub the tub and walls. For tough stains use a scrub brush. Old toothbrushes are great for cleaning corners, and many stores carry narrow brushes made especially for cleaning corners in showers. You can follow with a rinse made from equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and water.