Tackle big messes with just a handful of pantry staples
Homemade cleaners can help you save money and feel a little bit like a scientist. Combining vinegar and baking soda to banish stains or scrub away dirt may be one genius formula, but there are many other ways to make homemade cleaners for just about every surface in your home.
From toilet bowl cleaner to mopping solution and more, here are nine homemade alternatives to your favorite household cleaners.
1. All-Purpose Cleaner
No cleaning kit is complete without an all-purpose cleaner, which is handy for cleaning up counters after dinner or wiping down the trash can. While vinegar and water work great for an all-purpose cleaner, consider making a scented version to help make the whole home smell fresh.
Fill a spray bottle with one part distilled white vinegar and one part water.
Add fresh rosemary and citrus peels, like lemon or orange, for a lovely scent.
Screw on the nozzle cap tightly and shake the bottle to combine ingredients.
Let the rosemary and citrus peels steep for one week; then, you can use your all-purpose cleaner.
2. Bathroom Cleaner
Whether you want to tackle soap scum in the bathtub or dried up toothpaste in the kids’ bathroom sink, this homemade bathroom cleaner will do the trick.
Combine 1-and-a-half cups of baking soda, half of a cup of warm water, half of a cup of liquid dish soap, and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, plus a squeeze of fresh lemon juice in a jar.
Apply the cleaner to surfaces and scrub or wipe with a sponge or microfiber cloth.
Follow up with a damp, clean cloth to rinse away any residue.
3. Carpet Cleaner
Homemade carpet cleaning products can be just as effective as store-bought options in some cases, but you can make them at home to save money. Different ingredients offer different cleaning benefits, so while dish soap and water might give an overall clean, carbonated water can help lift tricky stains, like red wine or juice.
Clear dish soap: For dirt or light stains, combine 1 teaspoon of clear, liquid dish soap with 1 cup of warm water. Pour the soapy water over the stain and sit for 10 minutes. Scrub with a clean towel, then repeat until the stain is fully lifted.
Vinegar and baking soda: You can clean nearly anything with vinegar and baking soda. For carpets, pour baking soda all over and let it sit for a few hours. Then, vacuum it to remove odors. For stains, soak the area in white vinegar, then pour on baking soda to cover the stain. Let it sit overnight or until the vinegar has dried, then vacuum up the baking soda.
Carbonated water: For fresh, deep stains, like red wine, pour carbonated water over the spot. Let it soak for about 10 minutes, then use a towel to blot the stain.
4. Refrigerator Cleaner
If your crisper drawer often looks more like a graveyard of forgotten spinach than a home for fresh veggies, it’s probably time to give your fridge a good scrubbing. Luckily, it’s easy to make cleaners that can tackle any food messes.
Salt water: Make a solution of 1 cup of salt in 1 gallon of warm water. Use a clean cloth to soak up the salt water, then use it to wipe the inside of the fridge.
Baking soda: Baking soda is great for neutralizing odors, making it a perfect candidate for cleaning out the fridge. Combine 1 quart of hot water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda, then use a cloth dipped in this solution to wipe out the fridge. Use a clean, damp cloth to rinse off the baking soda solution. Finally, dry with a clean towel.
5. Toilet Cleaners
Toilets are one of the dirtiest places in your home, but you can’t use a pumice stone to clean your toilet every week because that’ll wreak havoc on your porcelain. Homemade toilet cleaners are surprisingly effective for this dirty job. Drop two denture tablets in the toilet bowl. As they dissolve, they can kill germs. Once the fizzing stops, use a toilet scrubber around the toilet bowl to remove hard water stains.
Another surprising toilet cleaner is soda. You can pour cola around the edges of the toilet bowl and let it sit overnight. In the morning, simply flush the toilet and admire the sparkle.
6. Mopping Solution
Vinegar is an effective cleaning solution, even for floors. Add 1 cup of vinegar into one bucket of warm water to clean and disinfect your floors. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oils for a pleasant scent.
7. Window Cleaner
When making a homemade window cleaner, the goal should be a streak-free shine. One secret to making this happen is rubbing alcohol, which will help your DIY cleaning solution evaporate quickly rather than sitting on the surface to leave behind streaks or water spots.
Add a quarter-cup of rubbing alcohol to a spray bottle.
Pour in 3 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar.
Fill the rest of the bottle with 1 cup of distilled water. Tighten the nozzle, then shake gently to combine the ingredients.
Spray windows with the solution and wipe them down with a clean cloth.
Rubbing alcohol is flammable, so store it in a safe, cool space.
8. Mirror Cleaner
Like windows, you want your mirror cleaner to keep the glass free of streaks and spots. The window cleaner above will also work for mirrors, or you can mix up the following solution.
Fill a spray bottle with 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap, a half-cup of distilled white vinegar, and 3 cups of distilled water. Attach the nozzle, then gently shake to combine.
Spray the solution on mirrors, then wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.
9. Oven Cleaner
Ovens are particularly tricky to clean, as bits of food and grease can fall to the bottom and burn, firmly sticking to the surface of the oven floor. Fortunately, there’s little that baking soda, vinegar, and a little determination can’t do. This oven cleaning paste is one of our top cleaning hacks.
Make a paste with a half-cup of baking soda and 2 or 3 tablespoons of water.
Use an old cloth to rub the baking soda paste into the oven interior.
Let the paste sit for 12 hours.
Use a damp cloth to clean up the paste.
Spray vinegar on the oven interior surfaces. It will react with any remaining baking soda.
Finally, thoroughly wipe down the oven interior with a damp cloth until all of the vinegar and baking soda mixture is gone.