3 Recipes for Homemade Household Cleaners

Baking Soda is a versatile product that is used in many homemade cleaners. My homemade cleaning products posts have been going over really well, so I thought I’d keep going with it, Especially since my readers keep giving me great ideas!

So far I’ve done posts on basic homemade cleaning products and homemade laundry detergent. I’m happy to report that I made a second batch of laundry detergent, using only half a bar of Fels Naptha soap, and it’s working just fine. The true test was when I washed my towels yesterday. My son had put his Easter-chocolaty hands all over my white towels, and I’m pleased to report the chocolate came right out with the homemade detergent! So make it and use with confidence.

For those who are interested in taking the homemade cleaning products out of the house and into the car, Gibble posted a bunch of homemade cleaning recipes for your car yesterday, so make sure you check it out!

Now on to the new stuff! Shirley, a Being Frugal reader, posted a comment with this recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent. I don’t have a dishwasher, so I can’t vouch for how well it works, but Shirley has been using it for years and says it works better than most commercial detergents.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Use one tablespoon Borax and one tablespoon baking soda as you would use your normal dishwasher detergent. Easy, eh?

Shirley also reminded me of a stain remover recipe from the Tightwad Gazette. I have used this recipe many, many times, and I can tell you it works miracles!

Last-Ditch Effort Stain Remover

  • 1 cup Cascade dishwasher detergent
  • 1 cup Clorox II
  • Hot water.

Add the Cascade and the Clorox II to about 5 gallons of really hot tap water. (I use my washing machine). Soak the clothes in the water overnight. The next day, wash as usual.

Now I must warn you, this stain removal trick may fade clothes, so only use it if the clothes won’t come clean any other way. When my daughter was a toddler, I used to use this all the time to get spaghetti stains out of her little rompers. It worked every single time. And I think I only faded one outfit, but it REALLY faded.

Non-Toxic Oven Cleaner

  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup water

Mix ingredients to make a thick paste. Dampen the inside of your oven, then spread the paste throughout the inside. Leave overnight, and wipe clean in the morning.

I’ve used the oven formula before, and it is effective, if your oven isn’t super dirty. It does get a little messy when you’re wiping the oven out, but it sure smells a lot better than the commercial oven cleaner. I feel better baking food in my oven after using a natural cleaner, too.

Now you have three more natural cleaners to add to your homemade cleaner arsenal! If you all keep sending me tips, I may never buy another commercial cleaner again!

Do you have a favorite homemade cleaner recipe? Feel free to leave it in the comments. I’d love to do more posts on homemade cleaners, and I’d love to include your ideas!

16 thoughts on “3 Recipes for Homemade Household Cleaners”

  1. To the person that said their 0.05 laundry detergent per load is cheaper, it’s not. The homemade laundry detergent comes out to 0.01 per load :). May not make a difference to you but I’m poor as hell so it does to me LOL

  2. Another alternative for Oven cleaning – I recall as a child helping clean the oven. Soak a large bath towel in amonia. Wring slightly and place in the oven for an hour or so. Baked on scum will remove easily from oven and racks. Use warm water, and small towels to wipe down and rinse as you wipe down the inside of the oven.

  3. I got rid of an old grease stain (cooking oil) that I have on my pants I rubbed it with alcohol and then to the washer it worked perfectly

  4. Lynnae-

    For any of your reader interested to make their own laundry detergent,
    the kit is available at a website SOAP GONE BY.

    You could technically get the washing soda, borax at the regular supermarket. However, the Fels Naphta soap, SOAP GONE BY sells it
    grated already, or you could buy them in bars. It come with 2-3 recipes
    for making those. I am pleased with the result, and I used to rent out
    rooms in my house to college students…boys..Those laundry detergents
    are excellent cleaning out the bed sheets once a week. It lasted me
    almost 1.5 – 2 years per kit.

    Fels Naphta soap is great to clean out poison ivys off my hands, rubber gloves etc in the summer, when I have to cut out the poison oaks and poison ivys in my backyard…I kept one bar in the laundry area, where
    I could wash my hands, skins immediately after gardening. It works like
    magic! Also, Fels Naphta is a powerful stain cleaner…I just clean
    the stain directly by rubbing the bar hard several time, and wash it off.

    Voila its gone!

  5. To clean out your drains use baking soda and vinegar. Put a little baking soda in the drain then add vinegar. The vinegar cause the baking soda to foam up quite a bit but cleans the drains out following with some hot water

  6. My fiance was concerned when I made the switch to homemade because he was afraid we’d get sick due to the lack of antibacterial power. Well, after much browsing, I found that to make homemade cleaning products antibacterial, add a few drops of tea tree oil. You can add it to anything, and a little goes a long way. My 2 oz bottle that I bought from Trader Joe’s was $6.99 and has lasted about a year, and there is still some left. The smell is strong, but it has grown on me. I add it to my surface cleaner, toilet cleaner and dish soap (all formulations I use are similar to the ones on this blog … one other tip: I kept a store-bought foaming hand soap dispenser and use it for the dish soap. It makes it last a really long time!)

    I even use TTO (diluted with olive and/or jojoba oil) on my acne and as deodorant. I’m proud to say neither of us has gotten sick at all since I started adding tea tree oil to my routines. I love multi-purpose ingredients!

  7. To the poster for the silver polish tip. DO NOT USE THIS ON REALLY GOOD AND FAMILY SILVER. This method will stip the natural silver patina quickly. I would approach this tip with caution. Great way to ruin your sterling jewelry or family silver.

  8. Great suggestions. Not sure if you’ve ever tried this one for cleaning silver before:

    Line sink or a glass pan with aluminum foil. Put your silver on the foil so that at least one part of the silver touches the foil. Sprinkle baking soda over the silver utensils and then pour boiling water over all so that the utensils are covered by the water. Almost instantly the tarnish will transfer from the silverware to the foil. Doesn’t last as long as silver polishing, but it is SO easy, you can do the whole process in about 5 minutes once a month.

    Great site. Thank you!

  9. These are great ideas–absolutely will try them out!

    I’m fixated on vinegar. It’s the best stuff for cleaning that light skiff of grease that settles on a kitchen counter & that you can’t get off with anything else. It also works wonderfully to clean bathroom mirrors and windows. The odor doesn’t bother me much, since it seems to air out quickly and leaves no residual perfume.

  10. I have a lot of laundry detergent, so I’ll wait for that to run out before I try your recipe.

    Thanks for the dishwasher detergent! I’m tired of spending so much money on it. I will try it out next month.

  11. Another easy and cheap oven cleaner is – Ketchup! Yes, just ordinary ketchup. I use the dollar store ones and they work great. It must be the vinegar, but it works better than straight vinegar, probably because it’s thick and stays in place. I started using it because I had it around, and the chemicals and fumes of those spray cleaners hurt my eyes and made the house stink when I used the oven the next time.

    Love your blog!

  12. I have to tell you I made the homemade laundry detergent, and I had such fun trying it. :) Cleans my clothes well. :)

    1/4 cup Baking Soda or 2 tsp Borax 1/2 cup Vinegar 1/2 gallon water = a decent all-purpose cleaner. (But it smells like vinegar; maybe add a few drops of a nice essential oil.)

    Hydrogen peroxide also works as a disinfectant (but know that it can bleach), so does ethyl alcohol (but know that it is flammable).

  13. Hi Lynnae,
    Thanks for the good ideas. I haven’t tried making my own detergent yet but I was inspired to at least find out how much my cheapo detergent from Sam’s was. It costs only about .05 per load! (11.86 for 200 load tub)I’ve used it for years and it works well. I do have to use a stain remover for really bad stains. I use the liquid ERA for this – it’s higher but it only takes a drop or two on a stain and I think it works better than the name brand stain removers.

  14. I tried the dishwasher combo in my old dishwasher. It just didn’t do as good a job as my usual store bought choice. Maybe if I had one of the newer ones with more working jets… It sure did smell nice though, very clean.

  15. I tried that detergent recipe once or twice, and I did not see how it was cheaper. The ingredients you use are expensive. I just get the Arm and Hammer big box of laundry detergent. It’s 2 something for a huge box, and it lasts forever.

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