Homemade Cleaning Products Recipes

One of the ways I save money is by not buying too many cleaning products. It’s not only less expensive, but often it’s better for the environment to avoid harsh chemicals. And with the right mix of ingredients, homemade cleaning solutions often work just as well, and sometimes better, than their store bought counterparts.

The three ingredients I always have on hand for cleaning are baking soda, vinegar, and Dawn dishwashing detergent.

You can clean almost anything with these three items.

  • To clean windows, mix 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar, and up to 1/2 teaspoon of Dawn in a spray bottle. It cleans windows beautifully!
  • For floors, add 1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon hot water and mop away!
  • My favorite bathroom cleaner is a spray bottle filled with 1/2 cup Dawn and as much vinegar as the bottle holds. It works better than any commercial tub cleaner I’ve ever tried!
  • For cleaning toilets, mix 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup Dawn, and 1/4 cup water. Let sit on the toilet bowl for a couple of hours, swish with a toilet brush, and flush.
  • Plain baking soda works just like scouring powder. It’s also great for deodorizing carpet. Just sprinkle on the carpet, let sit for a while, and vacuum up!

Here is a video of me showing you how to make a batch of bathroom cleaner with Dawn and vinegar.

Have you ever tried homemade cleaners? What is your experience? Do you have any great recipes? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.



Author

By , on Jan 29, 2008
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{81 Comments}

  1. I make my own softsoap.
    2 bars of soap will make a gallon of soft soap.
    Just grate you favorite soap in to a gallon of water. heat till melted.

    We buy shaving razors at dorcousa.com for a fraction of the cost at the store.

    We buy our prescription glasses at zennioptical.com (6.95/pair)

  2. Nicky:

    I am a brand new business and i found this information to be very helpful. I used your info and added a lil imitation vanilla for a scent ( imitation has a stronger smell and is less expensive.

    i would also like to add that you can soak cotton balls in vinegar and place in tub, wall, or shower stall corners while you clean the rest of the bathroom, then go back and lift out the cotton balls and wipe up the loosened filth!

    Thank you!

  3. A sea salt scrub is great for cleaning your oven! It’s non-toxic, cheap and reliable.

  4. Joy Baskin:

    I know my Grandma used to always use baking soda for cleaning and scrubbing things but I had no idea it could be used to deoderize things!

    It’s amazing to see a product with so many uses, thanks for teaching me something new.

    Joy

  5. I just wanted to say thank you for your idea on the oven cleaner! I really liked using it and felt it was very safe for myself and my family! Thank you for your suggestion! I have also used newspaper when cleaning glass with glass cleaner. You can wipe it off in any direction and you do not have streaks! Yea! Thank you!

  6. Naomi:

    Quick question: is the Dawn brand liquid dish soap required, or can it be any liquid dish soap? Thanks for all these tips!

  7. Barbara J. Moore:

    Does anyone have a recipe (homemade) for dusting spray for wood?

  8. Stephanie Albrycht:

    I’ve used white vinegar in my laundry for about 10 years. It’s softer, brighter and I can use less detergent and softener, plus it helps prevent blacks from fading. It keeps the laundry smelling and looking so fresh and clean. I use Dawn on all laundry stains, even if it’s been through the dryer already! I cover the stain and let soak, maybe for a few minutes, maybe for a few days. It’s the best stain remover ever and has saved so many clothes. (as a wife and mom of 4 it’s needed) dilute fabric softener with water and moisten a lint free rag, use as a dryer sheet over and over. I also keep a spray bottle with 50/50 vinegar and water to spray on the tiles, tube and sink once a day. It prevents build up’s. Used coffee grounds mixed with some mineral oil makes a great wood furniture buffer/cleaner/shiner. Instead of heavy cleaners in the carpet cleaner I use 3/4 vinegar, 1/4 hot water with 2 lids of fabric softener. My carpets are clean and smell wonderful. With 4 kids and 5 pets I hate the idea of them laying on the strong carpet chemicals. Mix baking soda and a little dawn to use as a scrub. If you have a musty/smelly basement or garage… cut an onion in half, place on a plate and put in the room to help absorb odors. Have smelly teenage boy (or husband) gym shoes? cut up an old pair of panty hose/stockings/toole etc, fill will baking soda and stuff in the toe of the shoes with a dryer sheet. Depending on what cleaner I’m making I might add either liquid fabric softener or a few drops of a scented oil (or fresh lemon) to add a nice scent. Don’t be afraid of the vinegar smell! it’s been my best cleaning friend and won’t make the family or pets sick. How many times have you or the kids coughed due to strong chemical smells? My husband used to laugh at me for the vinegar and Dawn in our laundry. When he had to make budget cuts in his hotel he mixed spray bottles of Dawn and water to use as a stain remover and used vinegar (except when using bleach) when washing pool towels. He was surprised to find that it worked better than the expensive sprays and the pool towels were softer :)

  9. Linda Wickerath:

    If you ever get watermarks on your finished wood furniture, take a little mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip) on a soft cloth and wipe it over the watermark and watch the mark disappear before your eyes. Works on any kind of finished wood furniture.

    • Carrie:

      Thanks for the reminder. I always forget about these little tips which save me bundles. Mayonnaise works good on getting egg and glue out of doll hair too.

  10. Barbara:

    Hello. I have some questions. I am looking for a recipe for homemade jubilee kitchen wax. It has been off the market shelves for years and I still miss it. Anyone have any idea of how to make it at home? Also what cleanser are people using on marble floors? You can’t use vinegar (my old standby) because of the possibility it will pit the floors. Also here is a good hint. When you clean your windows dry them with old newspaper. It shines them like nothing else.

    • Barbara J. Moore:

      I haven’t tried it but my husband says car wax works the same especially for anything fiberglass. Barb

    • Cleaning with vinegar can be tricky. You need to have enough water in the mixture to eliminate that vinegar smell yet still clean effectively.

  11. Good info, will have to try the dawn and vinegar in the spray bottle.

  12. Jessie Petts:

    I’m usually not the guy to post my opinion on people’s write ups, but for this post I simply had to do it. I’ve been browsing through your site a lot nowadays and I am super impressed, I think you might potentially emerge as one of the main voices for your niche. Not sure what your schedule is like in life, but if you started devoting more effort to writing on this site, I’d guess you would start receiving a bunch of visitors eventually. With advertisements, it might emerge as a nice second revenue stream. Just something to ponder. Good luck!

  13. Elisha Bullins:

    You should really think about building up this site into a dominant player in this market. You clearly have a good grasp of the areas everyone is searching for on this site anyways and you could potentially even make a buck or two off of some ads. I would dive into following recent headlines and raising the volume of blog posts you put up and I bet you’d start receiving some good traffic in the near future. Just a thought, good luck regardless!

  14. Josie Lawrence:

    INTERESTING use of Dawn. We hired a highly reputable company to clean our windows and they did a fine job. I asked what product they used and they said they take a gallon of water and mix in a few drops of DAWN. They apply it with a sponge and then use a squeegee to remove the water and then polish with what looked like cheesecloth or a diaper. The cost was $450 for them to wash inside and outside window surfaces, so now I’m doing one room a week — at least the inside windows.
    Josie

  15. Val:

    Wow. I am glad I stumbled here! I have been making my own laundry detergent for a while, just started using my own dishwasher detergent and looking for recipes for dish soap (not dishwasher!). I have a blog with products that I make and sell with patterns and how to’s for sharing! I recently fell in love with a swiffer cover pattern that is completely reusable (I have used mine over 50 times easy at this point) and costs only a few dollars to make! Works for mopping, dusting, sweeping, and more. I think this blog is great for sharing and helping each other out in this crazy economy! I am going to share a linkback with my blog readers! Thanks for all the information!

    • michelle:

      Great way to make your own swiffers!!!! My tip is to use a large dish cloth or old wash cloths they tuck perfectly into the slots, my best find yet is old cloth diapers. You can find them at thrift stores for .10 cents or you can buy a bundle from wally world for under 10 bucks if the thought of used diapers is an issue. I use them wet or dry and toss them in my washer when I wash towels. I love my swiffer and cloths, but will never buy dispossables again!

  16. joan ensign:

    several years ago,my family started to use face clothes as dish rags.they work like a sponge and you cut down on the usuage of dish soap.also try using vinegar on your cookie sheets and other baking pans,you will love the results.beats using heavy chemicals that do not rinse off the way you what them to. thanks for the tips and recipes.

  17. magali:

    i wounder how vineger smells does it smell strong or not strong.

    • Carrie:

      It is strong when wet but as evaporation continues the smell is slightly less. Vinegar mixed with baking soda makes a nice apple smell. You can try that if you cannot handle the smell of the vinegar. You may want to try using the vinegar a few times and see how you like or dislike the smell as it does take a while for the smell to lessen when used alone.

      My tip for cleaning drains: I pour a half cup to one cup of baking soda (just depends on how much I can get down and how long it has been) down my sink drains followed by a cup or two of white vinegar to clean out the drains. They smell wonderful for days afterwards and they drain much better. The best part was no more sewer smell when I still lived with city sewer services.

  18. magali:

    i think it is a smart way and you could even save more money.

  19. Samantha:

    Laundry Soap-
    4 cups water
    1 Fels-Naptha laundry soap bar
    1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
    1/2 cup Borax

    Grate bar soap, and put in small saucepan with the water. Heat until melted. Meanwhile, fill a 5 gallon bucket half full with hot water. Add Washing soda and Borax and then melted bar soap. Stir to combine, and then fill the bucket the rest of the way. Cover with lid and let sit overnight. Fill a used laundry soap bottle half full of the soap and then top off with water.

    This makes 10 gallons of laundry soap, and all you need is 1/4 cup for front loader machines (approx 640 loads!) or a little over half a cup for top loader machines(180 loads!) I have tried a few other homemade laundry recipies, but this BY FAR is the best I have tried. And it smells good because of the bar soap.

    • Carrie:

      Thanks for providing the liquid version of this laundry recipe. I keep trying to get my mom to try it but she does not have enough room to store the gel detergent. This is definitely a super concentrated cleaner so thanks for the tip on how you dillute yours with the used laundry soap bottle and the ratio of water to soap.

    • Sherrie:

      can you use this in a washing machine that uses HE detergent only??

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