Make Your Own Housecleaning Products

Whether you're out of your normal cleaner or you want to reduce the chemicals you use around the house, these tricks should work.

Posted by Anne Burkley | Feb 18, 2010
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Making your own cleaning products is a good way to save money and control the use of chemicals in your home. Most of the following recipes are made from non-toxic ingredients, but there are some chemicals as well. If you store any of these, be sure to label them so you know what is in the container -- and keep these and all household cleaners out of reach of children and pets!

Here are some simple recipes for cleansers to take care of the most common household chores.

Window Cleaner

  • Spray bottle with club soda
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar in a quart of warm water. 

Put in a spray bottle.

Consumer Reports' tried-and-true window cleaner:

  • 1/2 cup soapy ammonia
  • 1 pint rubbing alcohol

Mix well, put in spray bottles and label.


  • White vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons castile soap
  • 20-30 drops of tea tree extract

Mix in a 16-oz. sprayer and top with water. 

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • Club soda
  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 1 part water

Mix in a spray bottle. Do not use vinegar on stone surfaces (such as granite, quartz, soapstone, slate, etc.) 

Non-Abrasive Cleaner

  • 1 part baking soda
  • 1 part lemon juice

Make a paste and use a sponge to scrub.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar

Flush the toilet, sprinkle in the baking soda, spray with vinegar and scrub.

Bath Tile Mold Prevention

  • 1 part water
  • 1 part bleach

Spray tile and wipe off with a warm, damp sponge. 

Grout Mold Cleaner

  • 1 part hydrogen peroxide
  • 2 parts water

Combine in spray bottle. Spray, let sit for an hour, and wipe with a damp sponge. 

Drain Cleaner (not for full clogs)

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup of baking soda

Pour baking soda then vinegar down drain. Let sit for 10 minutes and flush with boiling water followed by warm tap water until drain clears.

For serious drain clogs, call a reliable plumber.

Furniture Polish

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar (or 1/2 cup lemon juice)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

Mix. Apply and polish with soft cloth.

Air Freshener

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda

Add a few drops of essential oil or cologne for fragrance if you like. Mix in spray bottle. 

Carpet Cleaner/Deodorizer

Sprinkle carpet with baking soda. Let it sit for a half-hour and vacuum.

All-Purpose Floor Cleaner

  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 gallon water

Mix and mop. (NOTE: Vinegar should not be used on grout or any type of stone flooring.

Wood Floor Cleaner

  • Few drops of dish soap
  • 1 gallon of warm water

Mix and damp mop.

Dishwasher Liquid

  • 1/2 cup liquid castile soap
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 drops tea tree extract
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar

Stir water and soap together. Add rest of ingredients and stir until blended. Put in squeeze bottle. Use 2 tablespoons per load.

(From "Natural Cleaning for Your Home: 95 Pure and Simple Recipes," by Casey Keller)

Dishwashing Rinse

  • White vinegar

Pour vinegar into the rinse agent disperser compartment. 

Garbage Disposal Freshener

Grind orange and lemon peels in the disposal. 

Laundry Detergent

  • 1 bar of soap, shaved (Ivory, Fels-Naptha or Zote)
  • 1/2 cup of washing soda

Stir together until combined well and store in an airtight container. Use 1 tablespoon per load (2 for heavy soils). This is low-suds and should work well for front-loading laundry machines.

Fabric Softener

Add 1/2 cup white vinegar to rinse cycle.


These ideas will save you money and put your mind at ease about using too many chemicals. 

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