A few months ago, I would’ve called you crazy if you told me that three months from now, I’d be making all my own cleaners. But, here we are, a few months later, and I’m making my own hand soap, laundry detergent, fabric softener, soft scrub, all-purpose cleaner, oven cleaner, window cleaner, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash and toilet bowl cleaner–and I don’t ever plan to go back!
If you get on Pinterest these days, homemade cleaner recipes are a dime a dozen. But, most of the work involved in the transition to homemade cleaners for me was the research that went into collecting recipes for different cleaners and the trial and error of testing them and figuring what worked best. Since I’ve done all that work now, I thought, why not go ahead and share them with all of you? Maybe I can take the guess work out of it for you and make it even easier for you to make the switch.
So, I will do a list of cleaners and detergent recipes in this post, tested and approved by yours truly. For those of you who know my cleaning habits, that may not give you much assurance. I don’t keep a spic and span house, and you would never want to eat food off my floor, but I do have a decent standard of cleanliness. Mostly, I don’t like to spend a lot of time cleaning, so when I do, I want my cleaners to work well and make my job easier. All these recipes fit this bill. As well, I’ve made sure these recipes are as all-natural as possible, that the base ingredients overlap as much as possible, and that the ingredients are as easily accessible as possible–this way, these recipes are good for the environment, your family, your time, and your budget!
I will also add printable recipe pages of all the recipes at the end of this post so that you can print them and store them for easy reference. I will share them in a format that will fit perfectly in my oilcloth mini binders, just in case you have one. Just print it, fold the page in half, slide it into a half sheet page protector, and and store in your oilcloth mini binder. If you have one of our regular sized oilcloth binders, leave the page unfolded and store it in a normal sized page protector.
Here are a few good, basic ingredients to keep around your house at all times, in order to be ready to make your homemade cleaners at any time.
Essential Household Cleaning Ingredients
- white vinegar
- rubbing alcohol
- hydrogen peroxide
- baking soda*
- washing soda (can be found at Walmart, I’ve also found at my local Ace Hardware store, but when all else fails, try Amazon)
- liquid castile soap (I like peppermint the best, I find it at my local whole foods store, but Amazon carries it as well)
- essential oils to personalize your scent (these are completely optional)***
*Buying baking soda in bulk from Sam’s or Costco will definitely pay off in the long run when making homemade cleaners.
**A note here about the safety of borax, as there’s a lot of conversations in the blogosphere about it. I’ve done a lot of research on it, this article by Crunchy Betty was the most helpful to me, and gave me the peace of mind to continue on using it. The lesson I learned is that it’s safe and effective, as long as you’re not ingesting it in large doses.
***Different essential oils have different benefits and offer more value than just a nice, clean scent. I use tea tree oil primarily in my cleaning because of it’s antibacterial qualities, check out this article to learn more about the benefits of this essential oil.
- ¼ c rubbing alcohol
- 1 T cornstarch
- 2 c warm water
Put all ingredients into a spray bottle using a funnel. Shake well before every use. You will get a streak free shine every time!
All Purpose Cleaner
- 4 c water
- 1 tsp borax or 1/8 c baking soda
- 1/4 c vinegar
Put all ingredients into a spray bottle using a funnel. Shake well before every use.
Homemade Soft Scrub (recipe courtesy of Live Renewed)
- ¾ c baking soda
- 1/4 cup liquid castile soap
- 1 T water
- 1 T vinegar
Pour all ingredients into a squeeze bottle. Add vinegar last and shake well. If it dries up between uses, add water and shake well.
Additional notes: This stuff cuts right through soap scum! I put all the ingredients into an old liquid dish soap bottle with a flip top that seals shut well, because this mixture is prone to dry out easily. In the past, when it’s dried up on me, I added some water to the bottle, shook it up well, and continued to use it without any trouble. This consistency won’t always be creamy, but it will still work.
Oven Cleaner/Microwave Cleaner (courtesy of One Good Thing)
- ¼ c baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide
Add hydrogen peroxide to baking soda and stir till a thick paste forms. Wipe onto tough grime, let sit a few minutes, scrub with a wet, abrasive sponge. Wipe off with a clean, damp cloth.
Additional notes: Do not expect to be able to just wipe this on and then just magically wipe the grime off without a little effort. I used a wet, abrasive sponge for the following results, and had to spend a little time scrubbing, but not much. This mixture also works well on sinks and tubs. Click on the second picture below to see how One Good Thing by Jillee used this mixture to clean her pots and pans.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- ½ c baking soda
- 10 drops tea tree essential oil (optional)
- 1/4 c vinegar
Mix baking soda and essential oil and add to toilet bowl. Add vinegar to toilet bowl and scrub with a toilet brush while it’s fizzing. Let sit a while for extra odor absorption. Flush when done.
Additional notes: I decided to spare you the before and after pictures of my toilet bowl, but it works to my satisfaction. I think a mom of five boys is a good spokesperson for any toilet bowl cleaner that works in her household!
My sister and I have already shared laundry detergent recipes with you. You can find instructions for my liquid version here, and for my sister’s powdered version here. I’m still enamored with my homemade laundry detergent and can’t imagine ever purchasing a commercial version again. (printable recipe at the bottom of this post)
You can find my post with instructions for making your own hand soap here. Again, it’s still working great for me! (printable recipe at bottom of this post)
Instructions for making your own fabric softeners can be found here, with the laundry detergent recipe. These days, I’m really just putting straight vinegar in my machine for the rinse cycle, and it works great. (printable recipe at bottom of this post)
By no means is my list here all-comprehensive, this is just what I narrowed it down to in an effort to keep it simple. There are so many recipes out there, many of them may even work better than mine, please feel free to share with us if you have any that you like!
Here are printable recipe pages, with all the above recipes included, click, print and enjoy!
Do me a favor and leave a comment if you do take advantage of my printable list! I will be sharing more recipes in coming weeks, so stay tuned!