The supermarket aisles may be filled with ready-to-use “specialized” cleansers, but you can keep your house perfectly clean by using homemade, organic alternatives. These are cheaper, environment-friendly, and also much safer. In fact, many commercial cleansers are dangerous pregnancy hazards. Read on and find out how to make everything you need for a fresh-smelling, sparkling-clean home with a few readily-available ingredients.
1. Homemade Spray Cleaner
Combine one cup of white vinegar and one cup of water and place in a sprayer bottle. Use this to clean kitchen countertops and remove light stains from your oven. It’s also great on bathroom floors, sinks, and the toilet exterior.
To remove stubborn stains (like those on the walls of your shower) heat the vinegar solution in the microwave before spraying. Wait 15 minutes—giving time for it to soften any soap scum—before scrubbing and rinsing. This is also very effective for dissolving hard water deposits.
The great thing about the vinegar-and-water solution is that (unlike colored cleansers) it doesn’t stain grout. Don’t worry about the vinegar smell, either. It will disappear the moment it dries.
2. Vinegar power cleansers
To remove really stubborn stains, use undiluted vinegar. This is great for washing the inside of the toilet bowl. Just flush the bowl of fluid by dumping about a bucket of water inside. Then, generously pour vinegar around the bowl and scrub, scrub, scrub!
Undiluted vinegar can also declog shower heads (just pour into a plastic bag and tie around the shower head with a rubber band) and leave overnight. This melts any mineral deposits, and as a bonus, leaves the shower head shiny—you just need to buff it a little bit.
3. Baking soda grime buster
Baking soda is a natural deodorant and abrasive, which makes it the perfect substitute for scouring powders. Just put a little on a moistened sponge and use it to scrub off food bits from the kitchen counter, bathtub rings, and stinky kitchen sinks. You can get a more “powerful” solution by mixing it with water to make a thick paste. Leave it on the area for about half an hour and then scrub off.
There are actually several practical uses for baking soda, so grab a big box next time you go to the supermarket.
4. Double-defense cleaner
Get the best of both worlds by combining ½ cup vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda with ½ gallon of water. This is great for cleaning stains from shower stalls and polishing bathroom fixtures and mirrors.
4. Vinegar fabric softener
Many people who have sensitive skin develop allergic reactions to commercial fabric softeners. Use vinegar instead—one cup to every load of laundry. It’ll make your clothes soft and fluffy, and also help remove detergent residue.
5. Baking soda declogger
If your drains are sluggish (but not blocked) pour about ¾ cup of baking soda inside, then add just a little bit of hot water to flush it down. Leave it overnight. This can help clear and deodorize the area.
6. Alcohol glass cleaner
Combine a cup of isopropyl alcohol with a tablespoon of white vinegar and a cup of water. Use this to clean your windows. Additional tip: wipe windows with old newspapers instead of rags. You won’t get any lint residue, and it’s a great way to recycle!
7. Ammonia super all-purpose cleaner
Non-sudsing ammonia is an alkaline solution that’s great for removing dirt and stains. Why skip the suds? These are harder to rinse out and actually don’t contribute to the cleaning process.
Combine two cups of water with a tablespoon of non-sudsing ammonia and a tablespoon of clear laundry detergent. This is really great for tough dirt or for general spring cleaning.
8. Olive oil furniture polish
This organic furniture polish adds a gorgeous finish to wood and is actually much safer to use on antiques because it doesn’t contain silicone oil. Silicone oil (which is used in many commercial polishers) can enter cracks and make it difficult to refinish the furniture.
Just mix a cup of olive oil (which protects the wood and adds shine) with half a cup of lemon juice (which removes smudges and dirt). Shake it in a covered jar and then spread over the furniture with a clean flannel rag. Then, polish using the other side of the rag.
9. Lemon air freshener
Most commercial fresheners just try to hide the bad smell or lower your sensitivity to odor by coating your nasal passages. To really get rid of the stink, mix baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice and pour into small dishes, which you can scatter in hidden corners of your home. This actually absorbs the odor.
10. Vinegar kitchen freshener
To get rid of odors in the kitchen, just pour a cup of water and a tablespoon of vinegar into a pot and simmer on your stove while you cook your meal.
11. Hydrogen peroxide mold buster
Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water and pour into a spray bottle. Squirt it on any moldy areas, like the cracks in the shower or sink. Wait at least an hour before rinsing off.
12. Vinegar stain remover
Mix equal parts water and white vinegar and pour into a spray bottle. Use this to get rid of carpet stains! Just squirt some directly on the stain and leave for 15 minutes. Then, dip a sponge or brush into warm soapy water and scrub.
13. Borax carpet cleaner
Mix ¼ cup of salt with ¼ cup borax and ¼ cup vinegar. The resulting paste is an excellent heavy-duty carpet cleaner. Just apply directly on the stain, and let that “sit” for a few hours before vacuuming.
14. Lemon disinfectant
Chopping blocks and cutting boards are germ magnets. Soap and water isn’t enough. So after you rinse these off, rub a lemon slice against the surface. If you notice any stubborn stains, squeeze lemon juice on the area and leave for 10 minutes before wiping dry.
15. Borax dishwashing liquid
Combine equal amounts of borax and washing soda for an environment-friendly dishwashing liquid.