Household detergents and cleaning products can be expensive – and more than this, they are often packed full of harmful chemicals. However, there is a perfect solution to both of these problems – DIY homemade cleaning products.
These homemade options are inexpensive and have the big advantage of only containing what you put in them. So here are our favorite 11 homemade cleaners.
1. Basic homemade cleaner
One of the most basic natural cleaning products that almost everybody has in their home is vinegar. It’s been used to clean all kinds of things around the home for generations, and it’s cheap, effective and harmless. It kills bacteria, mold and mildew and can also help remove dirt and grime.
Baking soda is another basic item that most people will have in their home. If you add this to your vinegar, you will boost its cleaning properties and can use it on just about anything.
The final ingredient to this simple homemade cleaner is lemon essential oil. This will help mask the odor of the vinegar as well as giving the mixture added disinfectant properties.
For best results, use white vinegar – it still has a vinegary smell but is more neutral than other types of vinegar.
- 4oz vinegar
- 2 tbsp baking soda
- 10 drops lemon essential oil
Mix the vinegar and essential oil in a spray bottle and then add the baking soda. Shake well to ensure the baking soda dissolves in the vinegar and then use as a spray to clean tables, work surfaces or door handles. Simply spray on and wipe off with a cloth.
Lemon oil can be substituted with tea tree oil or anything similar according to your preference.
2. Scented all-natural cleaner
Vinegar is a common ingredient in many natural cleaners, but the problem is always the same – the smell. Vinegar may be something of a magic elixir when it comes to chemical-free cleaning, but you need to find a way to mask the strong odor.
With this version of an all-purpose cleaner that uses 100% natural ingredients, you simply add other ingredients to create something that smells altogether more pleasant.
Using lemon rinds gives the mixture a zesty citrus smell – and lemons also contain citric acid, which has similar properties to the acid in vinegar, making the cleaner even more potent.
Add to this some sprigs of rosemary and the result is a homemade cleaner with a fresh, summery scent.
- One part white vinegar
- One part water
- Lemon rinds
- Rosemary sprigs
This cleaner takes a little time to prepare since you need to leave it to sit for a week before it’s ready.
Simply combine the ingredients in a container and leave to infuse for at least a week. When it’s ready, pour the liquid into a spray bottle and use to clean just about anything you want. Spray onto the surface and wipe with a cloth.
3. Quick vinegar and citrus cleaner
If you can’t wait a week for your lemon and vinegar cleaner, there’s a sneaky hack that can expedite the process. This way, you don’t have to wait a week for your cleaner to be ready – this one can be used after only 24 hours.
- Citrus peels – lemon, orange, grapefruit or a mixture of these all work well
Prepare your citrus peels – you can either slice them off the fruit especially or save them from when you eat the fruit. Place all the peels in a large jar.
Put the vinegar in a saucepan and heat to just below boiling. When the vinegar is hot, pour into the jar with the citrus peels. Close the lid and leave to “brew” for 24 hours. The heat will cause the vinegar to extract the acid and oils from the citrus peels much faster, meaning you don’t have to wait nearly as long.
You can then use the liquid to clean just about anything – and due to the infused citrus peels, the vinegar smell will be minimal.
Tip: You can use the full-strength solution for the toughest cleaning jobs, but for general cleaning, you can dilute 1:1 with water.
4. Tile cleaner
This environmentally-friendly tile cleaner is one of the few recipes that doesn’t contain vinegar – but it does contain baking soda, that other miracle ingredient that is so common in homemade cleaners.
This cleaner is perfect for cleaning tiled floors or tiles in the bathroom – and since it uses ecological soap, it doesn’t contain any of the harmful substances found in regular store-bought products.
Simply mix it up, spray it on and scrub as vigorously as necessary with a cloth or sponge for great results.
- 3 cups baking soda
- ½ cup environmentally-friendly liquid soap
- 10 drops essential oil, for example, tea tree, lavender or lemon oil
Combine the baking soda and the soap and mix well. Because the soap is thicker than water or vinegar, it is important to make sure you work the mixture into an even paste. Once you have mixed the baking soda and the soap, add the oil and continue to mix in well. Store in an airtight container and use as required.
Tip: If the mixture begins to dry out with time, you can “reactivate” it by mixing in a little water – it will still be just as effective.
5. Heavy-duty homemade cleaner
Sometimes the toughest stains require something a bit stronger than just a vinegar-based cleaner and you need to turn to some readily available household chemicals.
If you have access to hydrogen peroxide along with the standard ingredient of baking soda, you can concoct your own homemade cleaner that will help you deal with even the most encrusted stains on baking trays or in your pots and pans.
It’s easy to make, inexpensive and can deal with the kind of jobs that other homemade recipes can’t manage.
Here’s how to make it.
- Hydrogen peroxide
- ¼ cup baking soda
Put the baking soda in a bowl and slowly add the hydrogen peroxide, mixing as you go until you end up with a paste – keep adding the hydrogen peroxide until you achieve the desired consistency.
When the baking soda and the hydrogen peroxide have formed a paste, spoon it out and rub it into the stain you want to remove. Once applied, leave it for a few minutes to let it take effect and then wipe or scrub it off. You will find that this mixture is far more effective than most products you can buy in a store.
It’s ideal for removing baked-in stains from cooking trays, dealing with burnt stains in pots and pans and also cleaning utensils that have been marked by minerals in hard water areas. It can also be used to give bathrooms a new sparkle.
6. Bathtub and shower cleaner
Another problem that is all too familiar in hard water areas is when bathtubs and showers develop stains from the combination of hard water and soap scum.
These types of stain can be a real pain to remove and often require lots of scrubbing. However, by making your own homemade cleaner, you can get rid of these stains for much less money – and in many cases, much more effectively than using store-bought products.
It couldn’t be easier to make, and by using natural dishwashing liquid, you can ensure it is free of any potentially harmful chemicals that you really don’t want to be using.
- White vinegar
- Natural dishwashing liquid
Measure out equal quantities of white vinegar and natural dishwashing liquid. Put the vinegar in a saucepan and warm it on the stove. Heat it up but make sure it doesn’t boil – it doesn’t need to be heated this much.
Turn off the heat and slowly add the dishwashing liquid, stirring it in as you go to make sure the two are well combined.
When you have added all the dishwashing liquid, leave to cool a little if necessary and then pour into a spray bottle.
You can then use it to spray onto any stubborn stains on your bathtub, shower or washbasin. Leave it to act for 45 minutes or so and then come back to scrub the stains off – you will find it requires much less effort than usual!
Tip: This mixture has a strong and pungent smell so make sure you open any windows and doors to allow good ventilation when using it. Setting up an electric fan to help with ventilation might be a good option.
7. The simplest cleaner
If you want to make a solution that is both highly effective and utterly simple, all you need is warm water and baking soda. You can use this mixture to give a shine to metal bathroom fittings and it can also be used to clean just about anything else.
- 4 tbsp baking soda
- 1 quart warm water
This is about as easy as it gets. Just mix the ingredients together in a bowl and use the solution to wipe clean all kinds of kitchen or bathroom appliances.
This is also an excellent choice for freshening up the inside of a refrigerator – not only will it clean all the surfaces, but it will also help remove any pungent refrigerator odors.
8. Homemade drain cleaner
Every homeowner is familiar with this problem – blocked drains, sinks or bathroom basins that prevent the water from escaping and end up causing some nasty unpleasant odors.
Sometimes you can have some success by going at it with a plunger but other times, the blockage needs a bit of help to shift. There are many chemical-based products available, but there is also a highly effective homemade version you can try first – and once again, it’s those two magic ingredients: baking soda and vinegar.
- ½ cup baking soda
- ¼ cup white vinegar
Pour the baking soda into the blocked drain and then pour the vinegar in after it. The two will react by bubbling and frothing. Leave the mixture in the blocked drain to do their thing, then wash out with boiling water.
Tip: This might not clear the blockage first time – in which case, simply repeat two or three times more until it has the desired effect.
9. Brass cleaner
When you have guests over for dinner, you always want to create the best impression – and making sure your brassware is clean and shining will give you just the effect you’re looking for.
You can have beautiful shiny brass with just a little effort along with the right kind of homemade cleaner – and since all you’ll need are vinegar and salt, you won’t need to spend any money buying expensive cleaning products to do it.
- White vinegar
Wet a cloth or sponge with the vinegar and sprinkle the salt on. Then you just need to use the cloth or sponge to rub the brass to give it a good shine. Keep adding more vinegar and salt as required.
Since the salt will have an abrasive effect, be careful not to use this on any softer metals, wooden surfaces or anything else that can scratch. Otherwise, you will end up scraping the surface off with the dirt.
Tip: You can replace the vinegar with fresh lemon juice – it has the same acidic properties but doesn’t have the strong smell of vinegar.
10. Cleaning solution for dusting
Dust can build up quickly if you don’t keep it under control, and many people are sensitive to excessive dust in the air. By mixing up your own inexpensive and chemical-free dusting solution, you can keep your home dust-free without needing to buy expensive and potentially harmful cleaning products.
The olive oil is an especially useful ingredient as it will leave your wood surfaces with an attractive sheen.
- Fresh juice from 1 lemon
- 5 tsp olive oil
- 10 drops lemon essential oil
This one is very easy to make. Simply mix the ingredients together in a spray bottle and shake before applying onto any surfaces you need to dust – then wipe clean with a cloth.
Tip: Since the ingredients will separate if left to stand, give it a good shake each time before you use it again.
11. Window and glass cleaner
Cleaning windows can be a pain. You think you’ve done a good job, but as soon as the light hits them at a certain angle, all kinds of smudges and smears are revealed.
The secret to clean and perfectly transparent windows is using a suitable cleaning product, and the good news is, you can make one at home that is at least as effective as anything you can buy in a store.
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- A few drops of natural liquid soap
- 10 drops orange essential oil
- 2 cups water
This is another easy one – all you need to do is put all the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake to combine.
To use, spray onto your windows and then wipe off with a cloth. For best results, wipe a second time with a clean cloth for perfect clean windows.
The perfect solution for home cleaning
Making your own home cleaning products can save you money while at the same time helping to keep you and your family healthy. With this in mind, maybe the only question left to ask is, why wouldn’t you want to use your own effective and inexpensive homemade cleaners?
Hello, I’m Rita! Editor of Home/Made. We began this blog as a passion project geared toward sharing our love of all things home related. From DIY to cleaning tips, homemade wares to home living guides, We have truly found our proverbial muse in everything that goes into making a living space into a home.