Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Make: Homemade Cleaners (with free labels!)

Although I have been using my easy homemade laundry detergent for over a year, I only recently jumped on the homemade cleaner bandwagon. This goes along with my new year's resolution to make our house more environmentally-friendly and less chemical-ridden. My home is not quite as "green" as I would like, but we're moving the in the right direction.

I was so excited by this endeavor that I even made my very own spray bottle labels which you can download by CLICKING HERE.  (These are for personal use only!)

There are many, many variations of homemade cleaning solutions out there. I found it helpful to learn a bit about the different components before choosing my "recipes". Standard ingredients for most cleaning solutions include: 

Vinegar has been used for centuries as a cleaning product. It is highly acetic and kills mold, bacteria, and germs. A natural organic bi-product of fruits, vegetables and grains, vinegar is safe for the environment and your family. It also has a crazy long shelf life and the unpleasant smell dissipates after a few minutes.

Water is primarily for diluting vinegar and dissolving the items listed below.

Baking Soda is mildly abrasive and therefore useful for scrubbing (without scratching) while also removing odor; this makes it best suited for kitchen and bathroom cleaning.

Washing Soda is commonly confused with baking soda, though the two have totally different chemical makeup. In general, just remember that it is more abrasive than baking soda and it is generally recommended to wear gloves/mask while cleaning with washing soda.

Castile Soap has a base of vegetable oils like palm, coconut, hemp, jojoba, or olive. Most other soaps actually have a petroleum base. The name "Castile" comes from the Spanish city famous for its olive oil as well as this style of soap.

Essential oils like lavender or tea tree come in handy since the above ingredients do not exactly smell wonderful.

So there is your basic overview, but what exactly do you do with all of these ingredients?? I am currently using the following cleaning solutions. Note that both of these require giving the bottle a good shake before use.

All-Purpose Cleaner
1/8 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 cups hot water

Pre-Wash Fabric Spray (stain treatment)
½ c. ammonia
½ c. white vinegar
¼ c. baking soda
2 tbsp. liquid soap or laundry detergent
2 quarts water

If you would like more suggestions, I found an exhaustive list over at Young House Love. I definitely plan to use more of these recipes in the future!

Next week I will show your how to make your own reusable Swiffer cover!


  1. Young House Love is my new favorite blog. I've been following them for about 3 months now and have made it a habit to check them out daily. I haven't jumped on the homemade cleaning supplies bandwagon yet, since I have to get through the store bought supplies first. I also want to try to get away from using paper towels and switch to bar towels (read about that on another blog last week about how easy and inexpensive it is to rid your life of paper towels). Thanks for the suggestions on new cleaning supplies though!

  2. You're welcome, Mary! I have a few different bottles of store-bought stuff that I need to use up too--I guess I don't clean often enough, haha!

    Young House Love is the best! So many great ideas that you can actually do!

  3. Thank you for sharing this tip. I’m actually a fan of homemade products. As much as possible, I make sure that everything I use is eco-friendly. I also use over-the-counter cleaning products, but I make sure that they have all natural content. +Skylar Cox