Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thrifty Thursday: Homemade Cleaning

Some of you may be interested in cutting the cost of cleaning supplies that can nickel and dime you, quickly adding up. Others may be interested in eliminating chemicals and going "green" in the cleaning realm. Maybe you don't fit in either category. Either way, it really is interesting to learn how natural, chemical free household agents and remedies that you most likely already have on hand can team up to remove odors and cut the grime. Thanks to one of our readers, Gail, for sharing this very informative and helpful homemade cleaning guide. Let us know which tips you try!

Homemade Cleaning: Safe Household Cleaners

Best Disinfectant/Sanitizer
This will kill germs better than bleach! You can use it on any hard surface and it will also eliminate odors on cutting boards. This is completely non-toxic for food surfaces.
  • 1 spray bottle with undiluted white vinegar
  • 1 bottle of peroxide (brown bottle) with trigger sprayer
Note: Do not pour peroxide out of its brown bottle or it will become ineffective if contact with light occurs.

Spray one and then the other, it does not matter which order. Let air dry overnight. If needed you can wipe after 5 minutes.

Glass and Surface Cleaner
  • Equal parts water to white vinegar
Mix in a spray bottle and use on all glass or hard surfaces. A mild disinfectant but will not kill all germs.
Works great on all bathroom surfaces. Removes odors. Vinegar odor will disappear as soon as it dries completely and will leave a non-scent. This is a great cleaner for laminate and tile floors. Note: Do not use on hardwood floors.

All Purpose Cleaner
Disinfecting spray that is completely non-toxic and can be used around children without fear. If used directly on food surfaces it will need to be rinsed/wiped with a wet cloth.
  • 14 oz of water in a spray bottle
  • 1 oz of castile soap such as Dr. Bronner’ s
  • 10 or more drops of Tea Tree Oil (I like it a little stronger)
Shake well and apply to any hard surface tub, sink, and toilet bowl cleaner.
Shake onto surface and scrub with a damp cloth, sponge, or brush.
For extra cleaning power, spray with pure vinegar.
Baking Soda Tip #1: Put Baking Soda into a shaker top jar (ex-parm. cheese jar)

Baking Soda Tip #2: You can also clean non-coated and glass pans with a baking soda and water paste to remove stuck on foods. Keep drains moving by putting a couple of tablespoons of soda in the drain and then chase with a cup of pure vinegar each month.
Tea Tree Oil Tips-wonderful disinfectant and in strong dilutions can be used to kill mold and fungus. Can be used to treat athlete’ s foot and nail fungus. It is also antibiotic and can be used on cuts and to treat acne. Note: Do not ingest.

Furniture Polish
  • 1 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice

Shake together in a spray bottle. Spray on furniture and buff with a t-shirt or microfiber cloth.

Leather Furniture Cleaner and Conditioner
  • 1 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup White Vinegar
Shake together in a spray bottle. Spray on furniture and wipe with a terrycloth towel.

Other Tips

  1. For smelly laundry soak clothes, towels, or other items in the washer and add 1 cup vinegar per load size; 1 cup for small, 2 cups for medium, 3 cups for large. Soak for at least 1 hour or overnight. Then wash as usual. This is great for athletic items and soured towels. Vinegar can also be put in the fabric softener dispenser or Downy ball to soften laundry and eliminate odors. You will not smell vinegar on your laundry.
  2. You can use vinegar on any hard or soft item to remove odors. Once it dries the odor, including the vinegar smell, will be gone. This works great for urine, sour milk, and vomit odors in carpets. You may have to treat several times to remove pet odors. It can take several days to dry completely on some surfaces so don’ t do this right before company comes unless you want your house to smell like vinegar! I have used this on clothes, drapes, carpets, rugs, sofas, and mattresses. It is a miracle!

  1. Carpet/Upholstery- use baking soda and/or peroxide. Check for color fastness before using peroxide as it can bleach some fabrics. Scrub into stain with a brush, allow to dry and vacuum. You may have to re-treat but it will remove most stains. Works amazingly for vomit and wine stains.
  2. Laundry-use a 50/50 dilution of dish liquid to water in a spray bottle. This will remove grease stains and almost all food stains except milk. Use straight dish liquid, peroxide, or lemon juice to remove milk stains and tough grease stains. Do not use chemical (petroleum based) stain removers on fat/oil stains! You can also try a baking soda paste on greasy stains if you catch them right away. Salt will also take out some stains. Use rubbing alcohol to get out ink. I usually try my whole arsenal of stain techniques before I give up and I rarely loose an article of laundry to stains. Note: Do not dry clothes until a stain is removed or it will become permanent. Soak heavily stained clothes in Oxi-clean overnight in a sink or washtub then wash as usual. Hydrogen peroxide can also be added to the wash to brighten whites instead of bleach. Not natural or non-toxic but useful when needed, Pine-sol will take oil based paint out of clothes. Wink (rust remover) will take out rust and tough red mud stains. Both are dangerous and corrosive but sometimes necessary.
I was surprised to find that my homemade cleaners outperformed commercial ones. Not only that, but they are safe for your whole family and the environment. Another awesome benefit is they are super cheap to make.If you don’ t like something, at least you won’ t feel like you wasted a lot of money.

1 comment:

AmyA said...

This is great info! I have recently switched to homemade cleaners and am very happy with the results. I'm glad to have more "recipes!"
Here's another one to add to your list. Our house is currently on the market so I'm often having to run through the house on an hour's notice, cleaning and straightening up. In a spray bottle I keep: 1 c. water, 1 c. rubbing alcohol, 2 Tbsp. white vinegar. I like it because I can spray counters, mirrors, faucets, toilet seats, etc. with it without having to switch cleaners. A wonderful resource I've used is:
Loved this post! Thanks for sharing!