Make your own homemade household cleaners from household items found right in your pantry. We all know baking soda is one of the many common household items that make a great addition to one’s cleaning arsenal, but there are many more. Check out this list!
1. Baking Soda
2. White Vinegar
3. Rubbing Alcohol
5. Lemon Juice
6. Olive Oil
7. Hydrogen Peroxide
8. Tea Tree Oil
9. Club Soda
10. Mild Dish Detergent
Cleaning Materials and Recipes
Empty spray bottles can be recycled from store-bought cleaning products (be sure to rinse thoroughly), or bought empty; rags, scouring pads, a good scrub brush, bucket, and mop will help get any job done.
Once you’ve assembled all of that, you may still need some guidance on what to do with it. Not all natural cleaning supplies are created equally. Each one has a range of things it’s good for, and each one mixes with some of the others for an enhanced outcome. Here are a few cleaning “recipes” to get you started.
Fill a spray bottle halfway with vinegar and top it off with plain water. Add lemon juice or another pleasant-smelling essential oil to hide the vinegar smell. Shake it up and use as everyday household cleaner. For a stronger all-purpose cleaner, you can use ammonia instead of vinegar. Use four parts water for every one part ammonia.
Glass Surface Cleaner
Fill a spray bottle a quarter way with vinegar and top off with warm water. For a faster-drying alternative, pour 1 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 cup water, and 1 tablespoon vinegar into a spray bottle. The rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly and acts as a good rival for commercial glass cleaners.
Make a paste from baking soda and a little Castile soap or mild dish soap. Add a few drops of tea tree oil for antiseptic properties and mold repellant. Scrub down bath and sink surfaces first without water and then rinse. To keep the mold growth in your shower and bathtub down, keep a spray bottle with water and several drops of tea tree oil on hand, and spray after each bath or shower.
Pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda in the toilet. Add 1 cup vinegar. Stir it up with a scrub brush and let it sit and fizz, then scrub again and flush. For heavy stains, use ammonia instead of vinegar. (Note: Never mix ammonia with bleach).
Fill a bucket with one gallon hot water, 1 cup vinegar, and a few drops of tea tree oil. For tough jobs, add 1/4 cup borax or baking soda and 1/2 cup ammonia. For marble or granite floors substitute rubbing alcohol for vinegar or ammonia. This will protect the porous surface from the harsh acidic qualities of the vinegar and ammonia.
In an old olive oil bottle, mix 1 cup olive oil and 1/2 part lemon juice. Pour the oil onto soft cloth and gently rub into the furniture. This is best for real wood surfaces, but works on faux wood and plastic, as well.
Sherie Blumenthal is a Food Access Coordinator with Lots to Gardens, an urban gardening and community nutrition initiative sponsored by St. Mary’s Health System in Lewiston, Maine.