Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Homemade Cleaners

With spring here many of us are cleaning out our homes, garages, closets and cleaning up the yard. Isn't it great to open up the windows and let a warm breeze waft through the house taking out the stale smell that winter left behind?

Today I'm going to share with you some homemade cleaners that I've found. I'd love to hear if you have any that you use regularly!


NEVER MIX BLEACH AND AMMONIA TOGETHER! This combination is deadly! Also, never mix products together that contain bleach with products that contain ammonia. This includes dishwasher detergent (contains bleach). I would even go as far as storing them in different places just as a precaution.

General Uses For:

Ammonia - good grease cutter, wax stripper, and window cleaner. NEVER MIX WITH BLEACH!

Lemon juice - great for whitening items, but vinegar is cheaper . It also cuts through grease and stains on aluminum and porcelain

White Vinegar - very cheap and versatile, great for whitening, also fantastic for cleaning hard surfaces, windows and shining up metal surfaces. Removes mildew, stains, grease and wax buildup. This is another natural cleaner that whole books have been written on!

Bleach - great for whitening anything, removing molds and mildews, and general cleaning. Best used diluted with water. DO NOT MIX BLEACH WITH VINEGAR, TOILET BOWL CLEANER, OR AMMONIA. The combination of bleach with any of these substances produces a toxic gas which can be hazardous. We want to save money without jeopardizing our lives!

Borax - (sodium borate) It deodorizes, removes stains and boosts the cleaning power of soap. It also prevents mold and odors. Great alternative for those who do not want to use bleach.

Baking Soda - Extremely versatile, baking soda is an all-purpose, non-toxic cleaner. It cleans, deodorizes, scours, polishes and removes stains. There are entire books out about the zillions of uses of baking soda, and the best thing about it is that it's cheap!

Washing Soda - (sodium carbonate) Cuts grease and disinfects. It will also increase the cleaning power of soap.

Ketchup - great for cleaning copper

Cornstarch - cleans and deodorizes carpets and rugs, you can use this to replace expensive "baby powders" also.

Pure Soap - cleans just about anything and is mild

Salt - believe it or not, regular table salt makes an abrasive, but gentle, scouring powder. Who would have known?


All Purpose Cleaner (From Rodale's Book of Practical Formulas)
2 cups rubbing alcohol (70% isoprophyl)
1 tablespoon mild dishwashing liquid (for handwashing dishes, NOT dishwasher detergent-it contains bleach!)
1 tablespoon ammonia
2 quarts water

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl. Fill a CLEAN spray bottle (not recycled one) with cleaner and store the rest tightly sealed in a large bottle. Use with a cloth or sponge to clean the bathroom fixtures, kitchen fixtures, appliances, chrome, plastic countertops, and painted surfaces. Rinse with a clean cloth or sponge after cleaning.

Homemade Dust and Furniture Polish

1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup lemon juice

Pour oil and lemon juice into a squirt bottle or jar. Stir to combine. To use, dip dust cloth or rag into oil, blot the oil by folding the cloth together, and then dust your furniture. Leaves a beautiful finish!

All purpose quick shiner

This shiner is mild and safe to use for all surfaces

1 ¼ cups white vinegar
1 ¼ cups water
22 ounce spray bottle

Pour vinegar and water into the spray bottle. Shake gently to combine. To use, spray on
and wipe off.

All Purpose Window and Glass Cleaner

Vinegar cuts grease and leaves windows sparkling clean. Best of all, this mixture is absolutely safe. It's the best choice if you have young children in the house.

¼ cup white vinegar
1 quart of water

Pour vinegar and water into a bowl or container, or mix the ingredients in a spray bottle. Clean windows directly with a sponge dipped in the bowl of cleaner or spray on and wipe clean. I have heard that you can use newspaper to clean windows quite well, I have always used old cloth diapers.

Sink Cleaner

Replace Comet and other abrasives with this homemade one. Combine baking soda and salt (I am guessing in equal amounts) to scrub stainless steel.

Oven Cleaner

¼ cup ammonia
2 cups of warm water

Pour ammonia and warm water in a baking dish and leave in a warm oven overnight. This will loosen the grime in the over, which you can then clean with an ammonia-based cleaner or soap and water. You can also scour with baking soda.

Cleaning Silver

Don't buy one of those metal plates that you put in warm water to clean silver. This is the same thing! 

Aluminum foil
Baking soda
Very hot water (can be boiling if you like)

Combine the above ingredients in a clean kitchen sink. Put your tarnished silver and silver-plated items into the sink and let set for a few minutes. Watch as the tarnish disappears from the silverware and reappears on the foil. This is a natural chemical reaction, and a great way to teach the kids some science!

If you would like to see the complete article for even more tips visit Homemade Cleaners on FamilyCorner

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea borax was a substitute for bleach, which I avoid using. Thanks for the tip!

    Ali @ Moon Garden


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