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Make your own cleaning supplies. Saves money and safer for you and your family

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Cave Dweller:

--- Quote ---Basic Self-Sufficiency #2 - CLEANERS
By: CountryLady
A good way to be self-sufficient, stay prepared, and save money, is to reduce the number of
different products we use. This may seem to be a simplistic perspective, but open your mind a
minute, and take a look at the following information.
What do you use to clean your home? Think of all the different cleaners available today for the
kitchen, bath, laundry, windows, drains, vehicles, leather, pets and small livestock pens. Its easy
to make excellent cleaners with ingredients that are often already on hand for other things, such
Baking Soda
Beeswax or Paraffin
Boiled Linseed Oil
Chlorine Bleach
Cream of Tartar
Dawn Dishwashing Liquid
Fels Naptha Soap
Hydrogen Peroxide
Ivory Liquid Dish Soap
Ivory Soap, Bar
Neatsfoot Oil
Rubbing Alcohol
Table Salt
Vinegar (distilled white vinegar)
Washing Soda
Witch Hazel
Essential Oils,
Lavender is great because it is antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial.
All Purpose Cleaner #1
1/2 cup ammonia
1/2 cup washing soda
7 cups warm water
Combine ammonia, washing soda and ONE CUP warm water in a 1/2 gallon jug.
Cap and shake well to mix. Add remaining water. Label the container.
Makes 1/2 gallon of CONCENTRATE.
To use, mix 1/2 cup of the concentrated cleaner with 1 & 1/2 gallons hot water.
(Be sure to test on delicate surfaces such as wallpaper before using)
All Purpose Cleaner #2
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 baking soda
5 gal bucket water
A great disinfectant type cleaner that's gentle on the nose, surfaces, and even for animal feeders
and waterers.
No-Rinse Wall Cleaner
1 cup ammonia
1/2 cup vinegar
1 gallon hot water
1/4 cup baking soda
Mix together and wash your walls. No rinsing is required.
Magic Wall and Appliance Cleaner
2 tablespoons non-sudsy ammonia
1 teaspoon liquid dish soap
1 pint rubbing alcohol
1 gallon water
Store in a spray bottle. This is comparable to the "Fantastic" cleaner.
All Purpose Spray Cleaner #1
31 ounce Water
1 ounce Ivory Liquid Dish Soap
Mix Water and a squirt of Ivory Liquid thoroughly in a spray bottle
Use Ivory because most other dish soaps leave behind a filmy residue. Ivory is especially safe for
marble, wood counter tops, butcher blocks, brass and gold plated items.
All Purpose Spray Cleaner #2
1 pint rubbing alcohol
1 tablespoon dishwashing detergent
1 tablespoon household ammonia
1 tablespoon vinegar
Mix in a gallon jug. Fill jug with warm water and shake. You can put this in a spray bottle and
use as you would Windex. Great for cleaning windows, chrome and bath fixtures.
All Purpose Bleach Cleaner
2 tablespoons liquid chlorine bleach
1 quart cold water
Mix in a bucket. Moisten a rag with the solution and wipe on surface to be cleaned. Let stand for
2 minutes, then rinse well. USE ONLY ON COLORFAST ITEMS.
Bathroom Tile Mold Preventative
1 part water
1 part bleach
Put into a spray bottle.
Spray the tile and bathtub area evenly and wipe off with a damp sponge.
Bathtub Cleaner (for badly stained tub)
Cream of tartar
Make a paste of peroxide and cream of tartar. Scrub vigorously with a small brush. Rinse
thoroughly. If the stains persist, spread the mixture over the stains and apply a drop or two of
household ammonia. Allow to set for two hours before scrubbing.
Aluminum Pot Cleaner
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 quart water
Mix; boil in the aluminum pot for 10 minutes. Scour lightly if needed.
Moist Towelettes
24 squares white Bounty brand paper towels
1 cup witch hazel
1 teaspoon glycerin
Separate and stack each of the paper towel squares from the roll; cut each square in half. Place
the rectangles in front of you vertically, fold each rectangle into thirds as though folding a
business letter. Fold each in half as though closing the cover of a book.
Combine witch hazel and glycerin. Mix well and pour over towelettes. Let stand for a few
minutes to absorb all of the liquid. Stack in a lidded plastic container or zip-lock type bag.
These are also great for melting windshield ice in cold weather!
Car Wash
1/3 cup mild soap flakes
2 gallons warm water
1/4 cup baking soda
Mix soap flakes and baking soda in a large bucket. Add water and stir until soap flakes dissolve.
Start washing from the top down. Wash one section at a time, then rinse. Wash the wheels last.
Pre-Treated Dust Cloth
1 tablespoon mild soap powder (Ivory Snow)
1 tablespoon ammonia
2 tablespoons boiled linseed oil
1 quart warm water
Soak a large piece of flannel in this solution for several minutes.
Wring out and hang to dry.
Store in a covered glass or plastic container. Once washed, treat again.
Concrete Cleaner (heavy-duty)
1 pint liquid chlorine bleach
2 gallons warm water
Mix well in a bucket. Wash concrete; rinse with clear water and allow to dry.
For tough stains, allow the mixture to set for 15 minutes before rinsing.
Shower Head Cleaner
1 pint white vinegar
1 pint hot water
Pour into a pot to cover shower head. Soak for 1 hour.
Copper and Brass Cleaner
1 pint vinegar
3 tablespoons salt
Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and add salt.
Spray solution liberally on copper or brass.
Let set for a while, then simply rub clean.
Saddle Soap
3 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup neat's-foot oil
3/4 cup soap flakes (not detergent)
1/2 cup beeswax or paraffin
Heat water to the boiling point, then lower heat to simmer.
Slowly add soap flakes and stir gently.
Combine neat's-foot oil and beeswax or paraffin in the top of a double boiler.
Heat until melted, then stir.
Turn heat off and slowly add oil and wax mixture to the soap solution.
Stir until thick. Pour into containers and cool.
To use, apply with a damp sponge over leather surface.
Buff dry with a soft cloth.
Spot Remover (use in a well-ventilated area)
(Especially good for removing spots from delicate fabrics.)
3 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide
1 tablespoon ammonia
Mix ingredients and dab on the stained area. Leave on for up to 1 hour, then rinse off.
Reapply if necessary.
CAUTION: Fumes from this cleaner may seem strong, so work in a well-ventilated area.
Do not make this recipe in a larger quantity as it will not keep.
Also the two chemicals generate heat if left together for long.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
1 cup bleach
1 to 10 cups water
Pour bleach and water into a clean gallon-size plastic jug.
Label, cap, and keep out of the reach of children.
Pour 1 cup into the toilet. Let sit for 30 minutes with the lid closed and then swirl around and
under the rim with a toilet bowl brush. Flush.
Clogged Drain Remedy
1 cup salt
1 cup baking soda
1 cup vinegar
Mix, then pour down the drain. Let foam.
Follow with 2 quarts boiling water.
Once you start to use the various homemade cleaners, you'll soon discover which are your
favorites and the choices are reduced even further. Having a clean home and homestead is so
nice, and so is saving money.
--- End quote ---

Your current choice for cheap cleaning is toxic chemicals or expensive "eco-friendly" products. How about a 3rd choice that uses reusable packaging such as plastic spray bottles and more often than not costs less than 5% of the commercial equivalent.

I am starting to clean with natural products. This saves money and improves the quality of my homes air and reduces my exposure to toxic chemicals.

Most of my recipes come from "The naturally clean home"

Disclosure: if you end up getting the book on amazon that link will give me affiliate credit

I won't give too many away from the book as that won't be fair to the author, but have included some samples here. The ones I found on free blogs/etc are on there.  
I'd like to say that in the spirit of being frugal you can find many, if not all, recipes online. But if you can spare the $7 I think the book is a good buy.

I'll note which ones came from the book with the prefix *NCH* (Naturally clean home)

The book has tons of recipes for pretty much anything you can image from degreasing to window cleaning.

Other tips I have amassed from blogs or relatives, etc.

Many of the recipes use essential oils. You can find these at a health food store or online
Note: Lime essential oil can be used in place of lemon where noted if you prefer it.

Some of the Essential Oils I use  (you can get these at a health food store or online from Western Botanicals)

Tea Tree


Soap Flakes:
-both places are about the same price.
Alternatively you could go to the dollar store and buy a cheap cheese grater and grate your own. Please be aware that MOST SOAPS AREN'T ACTUAL SOAP. They are detergent bars and not real soap! So if you grate your own you need to make sure it is natural soap.
If you want a mass produced soap that is as close to an "all natural" premium product as possible then buy plain unscented "ivory" brand soap. Grate it yourself and you can save some money. I would assume you can get this at costco.  I personally plan to grate ivory soap with a dollar store cheese grater.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Washing soda:


20 mule team borax - target or walmart, etc in the laundry aisle
White vinegar - I get it at costco
baking soda - laundry aisle at target/walmart etc. Arm & Hammer brand.
Alternatively you can get it in bulk here:

==========All Purpose Cleaners=====

All purpose cleaner:
Use with a plastic spray bottle.

Mix 1/2 white vinegar
1/2 water
Optional: 3 or 4 drops of citrus essential oil such as lemon or grapefruit.
I get my vinegar at Costco and it looks like this:
Note: Vinegar is a natural indoor deodorizer and you should not notice any vinegar smell in the air after about 4 minutes.

Alternative all purpose spray cleaner
with plastic spray bottle

1/2 teaspoon washing soda
a "squirt" of dish soap (see dish soap recipe)
2 cups of hot water.

Combine hot water with the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda dissolves.   Shake before each use.

To clear a room of a persistent odor
Let a bowl of white vinegar stand open in a room overnight


*NCH* Wood Cleaner
1/2 teaspoon murphy's oil soap
1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice

Mix in a glass jar. Use a soft rag to wipe onto wood surfaces.


*NCH* Dish soap
Water and soap flakes into a pan on medium heat. Stir occasionally until it boils and soap dissolves. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes to thoroughly

combine ingredients.  Remove from heat and let liquid partially cool.   Add essential oil and stir. Pour into clean plastic squeeze bottles with a funnel.

2 cups of soap flakes (such as grated ivory)
1 gallon of water
25 drops lavender essential oil (alternatively you can use a citrus oil such as grapefruit or lemon)

Rinsing agent for your dish washer:

Fill your rinsing agent reservoir with white vinegar.

*NCH* Basic Dishwasher Powder soap
2 cups washing soda
1 cup borax
1 cup baking soda

store in sealed container such as a bucket. 1.5 to 2 tablespoons per dish load.


Oven Cleaner
Spray water generously over bottom of oven and then cover the grime with baking soda so that the surface is totally white.  Then sprinkle more water onto the

top of the baking soda you just put in there.  Let mixture sit overnight.  YOu can use a bit of dish soap on a wet sponge when you clean it the next morning.


Don't skimp on the baking soda. Make sure it is completely covered.

Clean wood cutting boards and implement
use the all purpose vinegar/water spray

put 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 cup water in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 5 minutes or long enough to boil it.  Then use all purpose spray and a

sponge to wipe the interior of the oven.

Commet type scrub powders
baking soda.. cover with baking soda.. scrub with damp sponge


*NCH* Mold/mildew shower spray
Use with plastic spray bottle

2 Cups water
8 to 10 drops of citrus seed extract
2 teaspoons of tea tree essential oil
4 drops of juniper essential oil

*NCH* no-scrub toilet bowl cleaner
Combine all in plastic bowl and then pour into toilet. Allow to sit overnight and then flush in the morning. Immediately swipe with toilet brush and then

flush again.

1 cup borax (I get it at target in the laundry asile. This is the brand
1 cup white vinegar
10 drops pine or lavendar essential oil
5 drops lemon or lime essential oil


*NCH* Your basic Laundry detergent powder.
I plant to use an empty kittly litter bucket. Any type of large bucket will do the job. Make enough to fill the bucket. Buy yourself a measuring scoop that

you keep in the bucket or just use the one that came with your other detergent.

1 cup washing soda
1 cup baking soda (I get mine at target in the laundry aisle)
1 cup soap flakes

add 1/2 cup per load

Alternative Powdered Laundry soap (recipe #2)
2 cups soap flakes
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax

Add 2 tablespoons per load

To keep colors from running
add 1/2 cup white vinegar to the load

In NCH there are good recipes for sports clothing, fabric softener, pre-stain treatment ETC. I recommend this book!

========AIR FRESHENER SPRAY============

*NCH* Herbal scented spray
use plastic spray bottle

fill with water. Add 6 to 7 drops of any essential oil

Homemade Fabreeze:
1 cup herbal fabric softener
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups water

Homemade Fabreeze #2
3 cups water
3 Tbs herbal fabric softener
3 tbs rubbing alcohol


Vinyl or tile: 1 part white vinegar 1 part warm water in the bucket with a mop

Wood: 1/2 part white vinegar 1 1/2 parts warm water in the bucket.  Dip a sponge into the bucket and squeeze as much out as possible (almost dry) wipe the floor. Never put cleaner directly on the floor and clean up any wet areas with a towel

All purpose cleaner should work fine, but if you want something closer to windex

1/2 tbs dish soap
3 tbs vinegar
2 cups water

put in spray bottle and shake it up before using


--- Quote ---For a simple liquid soap that uses bar-soap as a base, grate one full-size bar of ivory soap and add it to 1 cup of boiling water [or herbal tea]. Add this mixture to a blender and whip it until the soap has disintegrated completely. Next add 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of glycerin to the mixture and blend it again thoroughly. Now add enough water to the mixture to bring it up to the six-cup mark and allow the mixture to cool, occasionally mixing it in the blender. When the mixture has cooled and is thoroughly blended, pour it into a bottle with a pump top.
--- End quote ---
- Glycerin:

This recipe I found at    I didn't record the other sources for the other tips/recipes  or I would credit them.

+1!  Great post.  Thanks.


Good article explaining why using toxic chemicals to clean is a bad thing (which you should intuitively know)

Spamity Calamity:

--- Quote from: ladieu on February 09, 2010, 07:55:50 PM ---
Alternatively you could go to the dollar store and buy a cheap cheese grater and grate your own. Please be aware that MOST SOAPS AREN'T ACTUAL SOAP. They are detergent bars and not real soap! So if you grate your own you need to make sure it is natural soap.

--- End quote ---

Whats the difference?


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