Sponge

Since moving out of my parents’ home many years ago, I’ve lived in several different places as I finished college, got a job, and got married. Though my living arrangements changed a few times, one thing remained constant throughout the moves: I kept my space immaculately clean. I knew it was my own place and I took a lot of pride in how I kept it.

But my willingness to keep my place clean and organized did nothing for my wallet. Household cleaning supplies aren’t cheap! Plus, conventional cleaners are full of harsh chemicals. I became interested in going green and was even more willing to go all-natural when we adopted our cats – who were, at the time we adopted them, seven weeks old and tiny. Surely using a harsh cleaner on the floor or around their food and water couldn’t be good for them.

So I did my research, spent a lot of time searching for DIY solutions and made the switch from buying a ton of cleaning supplies from the store to using more natural and inexpensive products and even making some of my own. If you’re interested in doing the same – cutting out harsh chemicals from your home and saving some money in the process – check out what you’ll need to start making your own low-cost and all-natural home cleaning solutions:

The basic ingredients: white vinegar and baking soda.

These two cheap and readily available products are good for more than making volcanoes erupt for your elementary school science fair. They’re both fundamental ingredients to most recipes for homemade cleaners.

Baking soda makes for a great non-abrasive cleaner and can be used to safely scrub away at a variety of surfaces. It also makes a great deodorizer. You can use it as part of a mix or solution, or try sprinkling it directly onto things like carpets, rugs, and mattresses (after letting it sit for about 15 minutes, be sure to vacuum the area to remove it).

White vinegar is the superstar of the natural cleaning world. It serves at a general, all-purpose cleaner and is antibacterial. In other words, it’s a natural disinfectant, which makes it perfect to use in kitchens and bathrooms. It can even be used as a natural fabric softener. The strong smell vinegar naturally has is not so bad when diluted (something you’ll need to do to use it as a cleaner) and the smell fades away entirely after the cleaned area is dry.

Other useful add-ins

 In addition to using white vinegar and baking soda, you may want to stock up on some hydrogen peroxide (mixing hydrogen peroxide with Dawn dish soap makes an amazing stain remover), lemon juice (great for cleaning metals and removing hard water stains) and rubbing alcohol (for removing germs from cell phones and cleaning windows).

Once you have your basic ingredients, you can start whipping up fast and easy and completely natural household cleaners. There are recipes for cleaning solutions for every room of the house. Here are some of my favorites to use:

  • 2 gallons warm water + ¼ cup white vinegar + 1 tbsp dish soap + 1 tbsp baking soda = grease-cutting floor cleaner
  • 4 cups hot water + 2 tbsp dissolved cornstarch + ½ cup vinegar + ½ rubbing alcohol = glass cleaner
  • 1 cup baking soda + 1 tsp dish soap + 2 drops of antibacterial essential oil (like peppermint) + just enough warm water to form a paste = Martha Stewart’s Tub Scrub

Want to get fancy?

If you want to add a little something to your cleaners, try using natural oils like peppermint, lemon or lavender to your recipes. This will lend a fresh scent to your DIY products and helps eliminate any “cleaner” smell that may linger after you use something like a vinegar-based solution. More DIY recipes for floor cleaner can be found here.

Have any go-to cleaning solutions you make at home? Share with us!