Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Make Your Own Cleaning Products

Little People Wealth wrote an article called 97 Ways to Save Money. It's a comprehensive list of money-saving tips. She very kindly asked me to elaborate on one of the tips.

I've been using all-natural cleaners for years, both as a way to save money and a way to avoid the toxic chemicals of store-bought cleaners. Making your own cleaning products is simple, inexpensive and non-toxic. Here are my favorite homemade cleaning products.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is quite possibly the best all-purpose, inexpensive, cleaning product there is. It's a streak-free glass cleaner, it deodorizes and disinfects. I fill a spray bottle with half water and half white vinegar to use to on counters, tabletops, sinks, the bathtub and the floor. We use it as a spot cleaner on the rugs and as a dusting spray on the wood furniture.

Many people are put off by the vinegar odor and hesitate to use it for cleaning. But, I assure you, the odor is temporary. By the time the vinegar is dry, the odor has usually dissipated. If it hasn't, it will soon.

White vinegar also makes a great air freshener. Simply fill several dishes with white vinegar, leave in a room overnight, remove the vinegar in the morning and the room will smell fresh and clean. My husband and I moved into an apartment several years ago that was previously inhabited by a smoker. The apartment smelled awful. We started setting out bowls of white vinegar every night and, within about three days, the apartment had no remaining cigarette odor.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a fantastic, all-natural scouring powder. Use it on it's own to clean sinks, toilets and tubs. I also use it to help scrub pots and pans that have baked-on grease and food. If I happen to be out of baking soda, I've been known to use table salt. It works just as well.

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

Kris, a Cleaning Up the Clutter reader, e-mailed this recipe to me awhile ago. I tried it recently and loved it! It worked great on my kitchen floor. As Kris said, it's very concentrated and should be used sparingly. It kills germs, doesn't need to be rinsed and cleans all those tough spots that don't want to come up, like dog slobber.

4 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp Borax
up to 1/4 cup liquid castile soap
3-4 cups hot water

Mix vinegar & Borax. Add water. Shake to dissolve Borax. Add the liquid castile soap.

Homemade cleaners are practical for so many reasons. They are a simple, non-toxic, cost-effective way to clean your home and save your budget.

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