A clean home is a healthy home, right? However, many store-bought detergents are filled with harsh chemicals and are often expensive. While these prepackaged cleaners can come in handy, there are alternatives.
You don’t need fancy brands to have safe and effective home cleaners. Take matters into your own hands by making your own do-it-yourself cleaning products.
As a bonus, you’ll know exactly what you’re using in your home – and you’ll save money too.
Basic supply for homemade cleaners
There are a few proven ingredients that you will want to keep around the house. Most of these are inexpensive and readily available. Here are some of the key points.
White wine vinegar
Costs: $ 2.69 for 128 oz. bottle
White vinegar is a versatile cleaning product and the basis for many DIY cleaners.
Isopropyl rubbing alcohol 91%
Costs: $ 2.59 for 32 oz. bottle
Isopropyl rubbing alcohol not only works as a cleaner, but also as a disinfectant. The higher the alcohol content, the more effective it is.
Costs: $ 2.19 for a 3.5 pound bag.
This is another product with a myriad of uses. Baking soda can help you clean off many different types of spill. It’s a must have for the DIY cleaner.
Hydrogen peroxide (3% to 6%)
Costs: 95 cents for a 32 ounce bottle
Hydrogen peroxide is a widely used household disinfectant. In a pinch, it can also be used as a bleach. Note that it comes in a dark, solid color bottle. That’s because it degrades when exposed to light.
Liquid castile soap
Costs: $ 13.99 for a 32 ounce bottle.
Liquid Castilian soap is made from natural herbal ingredients (often hemp) and has many practical uses. It’s a little more expensive than most of the other items on this list.
Costs: $ 15.99 for a pack of four 2.5 ounce bottles
Essential oils may not be essential for your home improvement, but they can improve the fragrance significantly. Let’s face it, not all of the other products listed here smell great, so a touch of lavender or sweet orange won’t hurt.
Costs: $ 3.99 for a 77 oz. Bottle.
Bleach can be a little harsh, but it doesn’t take much to make an effective detergent and disinfectant. Plus, it’s always pretty cheap.
Costs: $ 3.00 for a 16 ounce bottle
If you can, choose “high performance options” as some of these cleaning products can be harsh on plastics.
8 recipes for homemade cleaners
Now that you know what to have on hand, let’s move on to the cleaners. Here are recipes that will help you keep your whole house sparkling and safe.
1. Disinfectant wipes
You can use bleach to make your own reusable disinfectant wipes to keep your countertops, door handles, and other surfaces clean and free of bacteria and viruses. Here’s a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.
- At least 70% alcohol
- Paper towels or tissues
- Airtight containers that are not used for food or drinks (make sure they are big enough to fit on the towels)
Label the containers accordingly so that they are not confused with other liquids. Pour the rubbing alcohol into the containers. Let the towels soak for at least five minutes. Add a few drops of essential oils for a better flavor.
2. Glass cleaner
Keep those windows and mirrors pristine with this homemade formula from Good Housekeeping.
- 2 cups of water
- ½ cup of white or apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup alcohol (70% concentration or higher)
- 1 or 2 drops of orange essential oil (optional)
- spray bottle
Pour all ingredients into the spray bottle. When it’s time to clean the windows and mirrors, simply spray the mixture on a soft cloth or paper towel and wipe the glass.
3. Grease cleaners
This high-performance formula helps get the haze out of oven hoods, grills and more.
- ½ cup frothy ammonia (commercially available or homemade)
- One gallon container
Pour the frothy ammonia into the 1-gallon container. Add enough water to fill it up. It’s that simple – this solution is ready to use right out of the box. Simply dip into a mop or sponge, soak up some solution and use it to wipe oven hoods or other greasy objects. Then rinse thoroughly with clean water.
Make sure to completely rinse and dry your sponge or mop before reusing it. Gloves should be used when preparing and using this solution. Also, be careful not to inhale fumes.
4. All purpose cleaners and deodorants
Scrub kitchen counters, appliances, and even the refrigerator with this simple solution of basic kitchen ingredients.
- 4 tablespoons of baking powder
- 1 liter of warm water
- Container to mix in
Mix the baking soda and water in a container. Then dampen a sponge or cloth with the mixture and clean it with it.
5. Daily toilet cleaner
This solution takes advantage of the antibacterial properties of tea tree oil to disinfect your toilet.
- ½ cup of baking soda
- 1 cup of distilled white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon tea tree essential oil
First, get a spray bottle and add the vinegar and tea tree oil to it. Spray this mixture all over the toilet, including the seat, lid, handle, and bowl. Let rest for 5 minutes. Then sprinkle the baking soda into the toilet bowl and scrub with a toilet brush. Wipe the vinegar and tea tree mixture off the seat, lid and handle with a cloth.
6. Deep cleaner toilet cleaner
If your toilet is stained and needs a more thorough cleaning, use this mixture.
- ¾ cup of borax
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil
- 5 drops of lemon essential oil
Mix all the ingredients together. Flush the toilet to wet the inside, then pour the mixture into the toilet bowl. Let it stand for a few hours or, even better, overnight. Do not use the toilet during this time. After the mixture has been in the bowl for a few hours, scrub the toilet bowl and rinse it again to rinse it off
7. Dish soap
If you don’t have a dishwasher, hand washing is not only a daily chore, but a test of your efficiency and cleaning skills.
There are probably 1,000 ways to mix your own dish soap, but let’s start with a simple recipe. This formula from the Fulfilled Homemaking blog uses Castilian plant-based soap (biodegradable!).
- 1 cup of liquid Castilian soap
- A few drops of essential oil
- 1/4 cup of water
This recipe isn’t as effective as your regular dish soap on heavily soiled dishes, but can be used in a pinch.
8. Wet Floor Wipes
Here’s a great one from Live Simply. Who doesn’t like to clean up quickly on site with a sweeping stick? But the wet versions of cleaning wipes are expensive and can be burned out quickly. This recipe allows for simple, reusable cloths so you can quickly touch up the floor at any time.
- 2 cups of water
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of alcohol
- A few drops of essential oil
All you have to do is roll up your washcloths (or not) and put them in a jar. Put together your vinegar mixture, stir it together and pour it into the glass. Mash these washcloths into the mixture as best you can. Let them soak and pull them out as needed.
Tyler Omoth is an employee of The Penny Hoarder. Author Kristen Pope, former contributor Lisa Rowan, and former editor Dana Sitar also contributed to this post.