Skip the Store: 8 Homemade Cleaners to Keep Your Home Clean and Safe
A clean home is a healthy home, right? But, a lot of cleaners that you can pick up at the store are filled with harsh chemicals and are kind of expensive. While those cleaners can make life super easy, you do have other options.
Take matters into your own hands by making your own do-it-yourself cleaning supplies. You don’t need the fancy name brands to have safe, effective cleaners to use in your home.As a bonus, you’ll know exactly what you are using in your home — and you’ll save a little money, too.
Basic Supplies for Homemade Cleaners
When it comes to making your own cleaning products at home, there are a few tried-but-true ingredients you’ll want to keep around the house. Luckily, most of these are readily available at Target and are not very expensive. Here are some of the essentials.
Cost: $2.79 for 128 oz. bottle
No surprise here. White vinegar is a versatile cleaning product and is the base for a lot of DIY cleaners. It’s also generally easy to find and cheap.
Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol 91%
Cost: $2.59 for 32 oz. bottle
Isopropyl rubbing alcohol works as a cleaner and, perhaps more importantly, a disinfectant. You can use the 70% varieties out there, but for cleaning and disinfecting, the higher alcohol version will be more effective.
Cost: $2.19 for a 3.5 lb. bag.
This is another product with a myriad of uses. Baking soda is easy to find, cheap and can help you clean a lot of different types of messes. It’s a must-have for the DIY cleaner.
Hydrogen Peroxide (3% to 6%)
Cost: $.95 for a 32 oz bottle
Hydrogen Peroxide is a common household disinfectant. It can also be used as a bleach in a pinch. However, when using it, notice that it comes in a dark, solid, colored bottle. That’s because it decomposes when exposed to light, so anything you make with it should also be in a solid, light-proof bottle.
Liquid Castile Soap
Liquid castile soap might be less familiar to you. It’s a soap made from natural plant ingredients (frequently hemp) and it has a lot of handy uses. It’s a bit more expensive than most of the other items on this list.
Essential oils may not be essential for your DIY cleaners, but they can add a lot in the way of your favorite aromas. Let’s face it, not all of these products smell great so a touch of lavender or sweet orange won’t hurt.
Bleach is a standard product in many households. It can be a little harsh, but it doesn’t take much to make an effective cleaner and disinfectant. Plus, it’s always pretty cheap.
If you’re going to make some awesome cleaners, you need to be able to use them. Spray bottles are readily available and cheap. Go for “heavy-duty” options if you can, as some of these products can be hard on plastics.
8 Recipes for Homemade Cleaners
Now that you know what to keep on hand, let’s get to the cleaners. Here are recipes to keep your whole house sparkling and safe.
1. Disinfectant Wipes
With bleach, you can make your own reusable disinfectant wipes to keep your countertops, door knobs and other surfaces clean and free of bacteria and viruses. Here is a recipe from Healthline:
- small cloths like microfiber kitchen cloths or baby wash clothes.
- ⅓ to ½ cup of bleach (depending on the type of bleach used)
- 1 gallon of water
- tall airtight container large enough to fit the cloths
Let the cloths soak in the bleach solution and use them as needed. You can squeeze out the excess liquid, place them in an airtight baggie and take them with you on the go, too. For a more pleasant aroma, you can add essential oils.
2. Glass Cleaner
Keep those windows and mirrors spotless with this homemade formula from Good Housekeeping.
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup white or cider vinegar
- ¼ cup rubbing alcohol (70% concentration or higher)
- 1 or 2 drops of orange essential oil (optional)
- Spray bottle
Add all the ingredients to the spray bottle. When it’s time to clean windows and mirrors, simply spray the mixture on a soft cloth or paper towel and wipe down the glass.
3. Grease Cleaner
This heavy-duty formula will help get the gunk out of oven hoods, grills and more.
- ½ cup sudsy ammonia (available commercially or make your own)
- One-gallon container
Put the sudsy ammonia into the one-gallon container. Add enough water to fill it. It’s that easy — this solution is ready to use. Just dip in a mop or sponge, soak up some solution and use it to wipe down greasy oven hoods or other greasy items. Then, rinse thoroughly with clean water.
Be sure to fully rinse and dry items before using them. You should use gloves when preparing and using this solution. Also, be sure not to inhale any fumes.
4. All-Purpose Cleaner and Deodorizer
Scrub down kitchen counters, appliances and even the refrigerator with this simple solution made from basic kitchen ingredients.
- 4 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 quart warm water
- Container to mix them in
Mix the baking soda and water together in a container. Then, simply moisten a sponge or cloth with the mixture and use it to clean.
5. Everyday Toilet Cleaner
This solution uses the antibacterial properties of tea tree oil to disinfect your toilet.
- ½ cup baking soda
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon tea tree essential oil
First, get a spray bottle and add the vinegar and tea tree oil. Spray this mixture all over the toilet, including the seat, lid, handle and bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, sprinkle the baking soda in the toilet bowl and scrub with a toilet brush. Use a cloth to wipe the vinegar and tea tree mixture off of the seat, lid and handle.
6. Deep Cleaning Toilet Cleaner
If your toilet is stained and needs a deeper clean, use this mixture.
- ¾ cup borax
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 5 drops lemon essential oil
Mix all ingredients together. Flush the toilet to get the inside wet and then pour the mixture into the toilet bowl. Let it sit for several hours or, better yet, overnight. Do not use the toilet during this time. After the mixture has been in the bowl for several hours, scrub down the toilet bowl and flush again to rinse
7. Dish Soap
If you don’t have a dishwasher, hand-washing is not just a daily chore — it’s also a test of your efficiency and cleaning skills.
There are probably 1,000 ways to mix your own dish soap, but let’s start with a simple recipe. This formula from the Fulfilled Homemaking blog uses vegetable-based Castile soap (it’s biodegradable!).
- 1 cup liquid Castile soap
- A few drops of essential oil
- 1/4 cup water
This recipe isn’t as effective on heavily soiled dishes as your regular dish soap, but it can do in a pinch.
8. Wet Floor Wipes
Here’s a great one from Live Simply. Who doesn’t love doing quick spot cleanups with a sweeper stick? But the wet versions of cleaning cloths are expensive. You can burn through them really fast. This recipe makes for easy, reusable wipes so you can always do a quick floor touch-up.
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol
- A few drops of essential oil
All you need to do is roll up (or don’t) your washcloths and put them into a jar. Create your vinegar mixture, stirring it together and pour it into the jar. Mash those washcloths down into the mixture as well as you can. Let them soak and pull one out as needed.
Tyler Omoth is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder. Contributor Kristen Pope, former staff writer Lisa Rowan and former editor Dana Sitar also contributed to this post.