Helping my grandmother clean her home as a child I picked up money saving tips that I still practice to this day. Using simple ingredients like baking soda, salt or vinegar I make my own household cleaners, which are bio-degradable, cheap and fume free. Just a few drops of essential oil, give my homemade concoctions a pleasing fragrance as well. Here are my favorite money saving, homemade cleaning products, which you can make too with ingredients found at your supermarket.
To polish my bathroom vanity, scour the toilet or remove soap scum rings in the tub, I use baking soda. Less abrasive than salt, baking soda is gentle on my tiled counter. To soften soap scum, I mix baking soda with water, smear the paste over the tub and wait 10 minutes. In the meantime, I scour the toilet with baking soda and a toilet brush, then I finish by pouring white vinegar around. Unlike many store-bought cleaners, these homemade alternatives are cheaper and fume free.
Window & Mirror Cleaner
Mix water, white vinegar and rubbing alcohol in equal portions inside an empty spray bottle to create cheap homemade window cleaner that works just as well as the store-bought version. Mix the ingredients well before use each time. Save money on using paper towels by using old newspapers instead, or use old kitchen towels as rags.
Garbage Disposer Freshener
Once a week I freshen the garbage disposer by throwing in one cup of crushed ice, lemon or other citrus peels I collected through the week (and saved in a refrigerated bag) and 1/8 cup of baking soda. As well as refreshing, this homemade cleaner helps to keep the drain flowing.
Though I have a self-cleaning oven, it is expensive to run because the oven must operate at very high temperatures for a few hours. For small cleaning jobs, I mix 1/4 cup of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of salt. Drizzling boiling water into the bowl, I mix the ingredients into a paste that I smear on the oven while it’s still hot. After 15 minutes, the grime on the oven softens and comes off as I wipe it.
Cornstarch will fresh carpets and remove odors. I crush some potpourri in a bag using a mallet. Then I mix the crushed potpourri with cornstarch (2 cups are enough for 800 square feet). I leave my homemade deodorizer on the carpet for 10 minutes before vacuuming.
After one too many dog-potty accidents, I shampoo my carpet with a homemade cleaner. In a bucket, I mix half a cup of clear liquid soap with half a cup of fabric softener. I add between 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar, depending on how dirty the carpet is. Then I add a gallon of water. I mix the ingredients well and place them inside the water tank of my carpet shampoo machine (rather than the concentrated soap container). After shampooing once, I follow with water only to extract the solution from the carpet.
Scented All-Purpose Cleaner
For kitchen spills, bathroom wipes and general household clean up and disinfectant jobs, I make a simple homemade cleaner. In a spray bottle I mix 2 tablespoons of ammonia with 1 teaspoon of clear dish detergent and a few drops of essential oil (for scent). I add water to fill the bottle and mix well. For a fume free alternative, I replace the ammonia with white vinegar.
My grandmother taught me to rub water stains and glass rings off wood furniture using a little baking-soda-rich toothpaste. For parched wood surfaces, a common homemade furniture polish works wonders. Simply mix olive oil with half the quantity of lemon juice. I treat my kitchen island with this homemade wood polish once a week and wait two hours before wiping it off.
Wood Floor Cleaner
With four dogs, I wipe my wood floors every second day, which can be expensive if you use store-bought cleaners. Instead I make my own wood floor cleaner by mixing 1/8 cup of glass cleaner in half a bucket of warm water. For an even cheaper alternative, substitute the glass cleaner with apple vinegar, although the scent won’t be as pleasing.
Houseplant Leaf Cleaner
To wipe dust off plant leaves and give them a shiny veneer, I use cotton balls dipped in milk. It’s important to wipe away any drops as these will leave a noticeable residue. Use whole milk for a shiny effect, or 2% milk for a more natural look.
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