Homemade Cleaners

February 12th, 2013 posted by Kim Tilley

“NEW! IMPROVED! WITH THE CLEANING ACTION OF BLEACH AND THE FRESH SCENT OF BAKED APPLES, IT’S…..” Ah, the miracle cleaners! If you look at the coupon sections of your Sunday paper, cleaners are big business. There are always plenty of coupons for cleaners, all claiming to miraculously clean everything. We often see products advertised now that brag about how they have the scent of a rose and the “added power of baking soda” (or other basic cleaners, like bleach). Why not just use the baking soda? Why buy something expensive, over hyped and prepackaged when the baking soda is sitting in your kitchen cabinet? Take a look at your favorite cleaners – what’s in them that makes them really work well? I had to hit myself over the head for this one! My favorite cleaner is Clorox Cleanup with Bleach. Why am I not just trying the bleach by itself? Why do I still feel like I need the miracle cleaner? Sometimes it is hard to change when we are conditioned by commercials. They tell us we need these miracle cleaners that are strong enough to kill microbes on Mars but still have a “lemony fresh scent.” I think the key to any change is to make the transition gradually. In this case, you do that by replacing your store bought cleaners as they run out and ignoring those commercials! The whole topic of natural cleaners, homemade cleaners and natural homemaking has been the topic of many books. I cannot claim to be an expert, as I too am slowly replacing my commercial cleaners (bought with double coupons and free after rebate!) with homemade cleaners. What I found while researching this article is that there is a ton of information out there! Here are some homemade solutions and uses for things you may already have in your home. I have tried some of them. Not all of them will work “miraculously”, but they will probably get the job done. Please let me know how the homemade cleaners you try work out for you! And be sure to send in your favorite homemade formulas that I may have left out.

Some safety tips

1.NEVER MIX BLEACH AND AMMONIA TOGETHER! This combination is deadly! Also, never mix products together that contain bleach with products that contain ammonia. This includes dishwasher detergent (contains bleach). I would even go as far as storing them in different places just as a precaution. 2.ALWAYS check labels on products before combining ANYTHING. It’s not worth making these cleaners if you wind up in the hospital or the morgue, so PLEASE BE CAREFUL! 3.KEEP ALL CLEANERS AWAY FROM KIDS – even though these are environmentally friendly, they are still not safe for children , so please keep these away from your kids.

General Uses For:

Ammonia – good grease cutter, wax stripper, and window cleaner. NEVER MIX WITH BLEACH!

Lemon juice – great for whitening items, but vinegar is cheaper . It also cuts through grease and stains on aluminum and porcelain

White Vinegar – very cheap and versatile, great for whitening, also fantastic for cleaning hard surfaces, windows and shining up metal surfaces. Removes mildew, stains, grease and wax buildup. This is another natural cleaner that whole books have been written on!

Bleach – great for whitening anything, removing molds and mildews, and general cleaning. Best used diluted with water. DO NOT MIX BLEACH WITH VINEGAR, TOILET BOWL CLEANER, OR AMMONIA. The combination of bleach with any of these substances produces a toxic gas which can be hazardous. We want to save money without jeopardizing our lives!

Borax – (sodium borate) It deodorizes, removes stains and boosts the cleaning power of soap. It also prevents mold and odors. Great alternative for those who do not want to use bleach.

Baking Soda – Extremely versatile, baking soda is an all-purpose, non-toxic cleaner. It cleans, deodorizes, scours, polishes and removes stains. There are entire books out about the zillions of uses of baking soda, and the best thing about it is that it’s cheap!

Washing Soda – (sodium carbonate) Cuts grease and disinfects. It will also increase the cleaning power of soap.

Ketchup – great for cleaning copper


– cleans and deodorizes carpets and rugs, you can use this to replace expensive “baby powders” also.

Pure Soap – cleans just about anything and is mild

Salt – believe it or not, regular table salt makes an abrasive, but gentle, scouring powder. Who would have known?

Some helpful hints: 1.Make your cleaners ahead of time. 2. Organize them according to location they are used in, keeping out of reach of children. I like to keep all kitchen items under the (baby-proofed) sink, in a caddy (recycle a detergent box or milk jug for this) so they are handy. I make extras of items for the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms. 3.Buy your ingredients in bulk. This way, you save money twice! You save by buying in bulk (on sale of course!) and you save because you have what you need on hand, avoiding a trip to the store! 4.Store your ingredients in reusable airtight containers. I like to purchase spray bottles in bulk for this purpose, since it is not safe to reuse bottles that had commercial cleaners or chemicals in them. Milk jugs are great to use too. 5.Make large batches of several cleaners and store them in recycled milk jugs. 6.Wear rubber gloves when you clean to avoid skin irritation (and chapping in my case!) Continue to Part 2

Kim Tilley (22 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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