Friday, April 20, 2012

Making Your Own Household Cleaners

In an effort to be a little more green and a little less toxie, I've been experimenting with making my own cleaning products over the last couple of years. I started out making my own glass cleaner and just slowly added products as I found more recipes and ideas. They really aren't hard to make and can definitely save you some dollars. And the ingredients that go into them (for the most part) are common grocery store and household items: water, white distilled vinegar, baking soda, and liquid castile soap*.

Here are my favorite DIY concoctions :

glass cleaner (for windows, mirrors, shower doors)
  • equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle
  • spray and rub it down with newspaper 
all-purpose surface spray
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon castile soap
  • 20 drops lavender essential oil 
  • (put it all in a 32 oz. spray bottle)
For years we've been using the Method surface spray, which we've really like. It smells great is just generally a good product. But I've been experimenting with this recipe (which I found here on Young House Love) to try to match the feel and smell of a store-bought cleaner. Until recently, I hadn't been adding the essential oil 'cause I just didn't have it around the house. A trip to Whole Foods revealed just how expensive this sh*t is. Am I the only one who didn't know about this? A small 15mL bottle is like eight bucks. I bit the bullet and bought it—I figured I can get a few batches of spray out of it. And the lavender definitely adds a little something something to the mix.

soft scrub (for bathtubs, sinks, and fixtures)
  •  roughly equal parts baking soda and castile soap 
The first thing I do with this is gauge the amount of surface area I'm trying to clean. Then I pour out some baking soda in a little mound right into the sink/tub/etc. I add about an equal amount of castile soap...

...and then just mix them together with my hand until the it has a pasty consistency.

I rub it over the surface I'm cleaning and then scrub it with a wet rag. Then just rinse off the remaining goop. It really does make your porcelain all nice and shiny.

There are tons of recipes you can find out there for natural household cleaners. These are just some easy ones that have worked for me (I've gotten a lot of my ideas from that post I mentioned above on YHL and from this book a friend gave to me). 

* You may have to trek it to Whole Foods to get liquid castile soap.


  1. Hey Jen! I know you were commenting on household cleaners but do you use green mixtures for anything else? I read a blog and she posted about fabric softener and I immediately thought of you! See you tonight at D&B!

    1. Hey, Amanda! I haven't yet ventured into making my own laundry detergent/fabric softener, but that recipe on Andee's blog looks super easy! We've been using the Seventh Generation stuff for the dishwasher and washing machine...