I posted this article back in January, but had to repost because it's one the of my favorite frugal tips! Making your own natural cleaning products can be one of the easiest steps to create a healthier home and save a ton of cash in the process. Think about all the cleaning products you buy, and if going green is important, these products can cost even more. Usually there's a different cleaner for every task, but if you stock just a few items you'll be able to tackle any job that pops up, and in a natural way!
There are so many books out now offering recipes and concoctions, but I suggest trying several simple recipes to get your feet wet. Below are a few essentials, many you might already have on hand.
- Baking soda
- Distilled white vinegar
- Essential oils (lemon, lavender or tea tree)
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Liquid castile soap
- Washing soda
Dishwasher detergent – 1 cup borax, 1 cup baking soda, 10-20 drops of lemon, lavender or tea tree essential oil. Use 1 tablespoon per load. Click here for photos in the step-by-step process...
Dishwasher rinse – White vinegar. Use this instead of products like Jet Dry and pour into the rinse compartment of your dishwasher.
Laundry detergent – ¼ cup liquid castile soap, 1 cup borax, 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup washing soda. 1 tablespoon does an entire load! If you have a really large load or one that’s extra grungy, use 2 tablespoons.
I’ve found it’s best to blend the liquid castile soap with one of the dry ingredients first, using a fork. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix. A hand pastry blender works really well if you have one. Click here for photos in the step-by-step process...
I prefer not to use essential oils in the laundry detergent because the castile soap has such a beautiful scent all on its own. But feel free to add oils if you like. Just make sure they are clear oils, as those with any color will end up coloring your clothes. Or just add several drops of your favorite oil on a cotton rag and toss it in the dryer with the clothes. Instant dryer sheet!
Fabric Softener – ½ cup of distilled white vinegar. This is the best fabric softener and so easy! Yes, that’s it, just plain ol’ vinegar. Simply add it to the rinse cycle.
Vinegar also gets rid of urine odors – perfect for those who have little ones that wet the bed or pets who aren’t quite housetrained yet. Simply wash the load with ½ cup of vinegar and hot water. Then wash again with the laundry detergent and items come out fresh and clean!
Basic Cleaner – 16 oz of hot water and 1 oz of liquid castile soap. I use this to clean everything and always have some in a spray bottle! It also works as a floor cleaner. I use a steamer mop to clean our floors, but when I don’t want to drag it out, simply spray the Basic Cleaner on the floor and use a towel to wipe it up!
Another Multi-Purpose Cleaner – 16 oz of hot water, 3 tablespoons of vinegar and 10-15 drops of essential oils.
Window Cleaner – 16 oz of water, 2 oz of vinegar, ½ teaspoon of liquid castile soap and 10-15 drops of lemon, lavender or tea tree essential oil.
This also works as a great bathroom cleaner for the toilet, tub & shower since vinegar and tea tree essential oil kill mildew.
Vinegar can also be used on its own as a wonderful window cleaner.
Tub & Tile Scrub - Ratio of ½ water and ½ baking soda. Use a sponge or brush and scrub away! If you feel you need more “power” in the scrub, add a little liquid castile soap.
Bleach Alternative – Hydrogen peroxide makes a great bleach alternative.
Here are a few book recommendations to begin your natural cleaning journey:
- “Clean House, Clean Planet” by Karen Logan
- “Better Basics for the Home” by Annie Berthold-Bond
- “Clean & Green” by Annie Berthold-Bond