Save Money and More on Homemade Cleaning Supplies
If you believe the commercials on television, your home will twinkle and shine as long as you buy the right products, in the new and improved formulas of floor cleaners, toilet scrubbers, and kitchen disinfectants. If you live in reality (or a home like mine), it takes a lot more than well-marketed cleaners to get the job done. There are messes that don’t get swept up or wiped down. You need a pressure hose and a regulated army to keep up with the kids. And by the time you spend the money on the products and read the labels, you wonder if you’re really doing a good thing for your home.
My home is far from showcase ready or sparkling – between 4 kids, 1 dog, 2 cats, and the country dirt and weeds finding their way into the house as well, I need all of the help I can get. I don’t want to spend a fortune, I don’t want to use harsh chemicals, and I want to do as little damage to the environment as I can. And I want to be sane in the process.
Substitutions for Cleaning Supplies
If you’re looking for more natural ways to clean that are effective and inexpensive, check your refrigerator and pantry for a few simple ingredients that can help you reach your cleaning goals.
Lemons and Lemon Juice
- Equal parts of lemon juice and water combined in a spray bottle will clean your bathroom and kitchen surfaces, and leave behind that fresh lemon scent.
- If you’re dealing with lime scale on the faucet, take a small section of a sliced lemon and scrub on the lime scale to easily remove it.
- Take 2 parts of unseasoned olive oil and add 1 part of lemon juice to make your own wood furniture polishes.
- Mix one cup of lemon juice and ½ cup of Borax to make your own homemade toilet bowl cleaner.
- Mix ½ cup of vinegar with 1 quart of water in a bucket and place your showerhead into the bucket to remove clogs left behind from mineral deposits. We live in a rural area and the well water can be really hard on our appliances and fixtures – the natural cleaning power of vinegar really helps to deal with the effects of our water source. You can also soak paper towels or rags in vinegar and lay them across the stained portions of the tub and leave them there until they dry. Then reapply with a spray bottle of vinegar and wipe everything clean.
- Have a spray bottle in your bathroom cupboard that is filled with vinegar. Once a week spray your shower curtain and let it sit to remove soap film (you don’t have to rinse). You can also spray shower and tub walls and doors and let it sit, then re-spray and wipe to clean.
- Pour 1 cup of vinegar into your toilet and let it sit for 30-60 minutes. Sprinkle some baking soda onto your toilet scrub brush and scour any stains that are left.
- Use equal parts vinegar and water to clean stains on carpets – scrub and blot dry. You can also use this solution to wash rugs, removing mildew and stains.
- On my linoleum floor I mix 1 gallon of warm water with 1 cup of vinegar and mop the surface. It disinfects and removes dirt and grime before I polish the floors.
- My microwave can look horrendous between the science experiments the kids invent and the food that teenagers are consistently preparing. To clean it I use a coffee cup filled with water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda combined and place it in the microwave. Zap it on high for 1 minute or so and then the food mess wipes off easily.
- Use baking soda with a small amount of water added to scour your stovetop and sink.
- Baking soda sprinkled onto a lemon wedge is great for cleaning wood cutting boards, and it leaves your board smelling like you used a professional cleaning supply.
- Coffee and tea stains in cups and the pots can be removed by dissolving 3 tablespoons of baking soda into hot water and soaking the cups and pots.
- Baking soda is a great room, carpet, and rug deodorizer. You can sprinkle it and then vacuume after it rests for a few minutes, or you can place an open box on the top shelf in the closet to reduce musty shoe smells.
- I love using baking soda to wash purchased fruits and veggies, especially if my kids eat the foods with the skin (like apples and pears). You just soak the fruits in cool water with a sprinkle of baking soda added.
Cleaning house isn’t always the most glamorous or enjoyable task, but it can be done for less money and with less impact on the environment. Don’t forget to label all of your homemade cleaning supplies, and don’t reuse commercial bottles that have originally held chemical cleaners. Also, when the kids outgrow their clothes and they are too stained for reuse by someone else, cut them into rags to be used in household cleaning. How do you save money on cleaning and still get the job done?