Housekeeping 101: Your Guide to Making Your Own Household Cleaning Products

For those who love providing a comfortable, clean home, but hate purchasing an array of expensive products for every cleaning need, this article is for you.

Instead of dropping everything that you’re doing in the middle of your Saturday morning cleaning routine to run to the store because you just realized that you’re out of 409, read this guide to learn how to manufacture your own cleaning products. With the use of a few basic household items, these recipes will save you both time and money, and you’ll always be able to whip up a quick batch of your favorite product.

Dusting

Instead of purchasing an expensive and transitory feather duster, use an old sock to pick up dust particles around the house. You may also use fabric softener sheets for a quick duster.

Furniture Polish/Wood Cleaner (also great for polishing wood floors)

For an effective and fresh-smelling polish, mix one cup olive oil and one-half cup lemon juice together in a spray bottle. To use, shake before each application (the olive oil settles in the bottle pretty quickly). Apply a small portion to your cleaning cloth. Spread the polish over the furniture, trying to polish evenly, and polishing in a circular motion. Use another clean cloth to polish the surface dry. Be sure not to use too much of the wood cleaner or you will be wiping away the excess for hours. Less is more.

To Clean Linoleum or Tile Floors

A simple combination of two cups of vinegar with six cups of warm water will make a great floor cleaner. For an added freshener, add two tablespoons of lemon juice.

To Get Rid of Grease

Rub greasy spots with a mild or moderate abrasive, such as fine steel wool, and a dish detergent until they disappear.

To Clean Glass (i.e. windows or tables)

There are several ways to create an effective glass cleaner. Here are your options:

1) Combine 1/2 cup vinegar to one gallon of water (or 2 tablespoons per quart)

2) Mix 1/2 cup sudsy ammonia to one gallon water (or 2 tablespoons per quart) OR

3) Combine 1/2 cup sudsy ammonia, two cups rubbing alcohol, one teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent and one gallon water (this one is less likely to freeze in cold weather).

For Soap Scum

For an easy, but effective cleaner, apply baking soda dry or as a thick paste. Rub vigorously with a wet sponge, then rinse.

Carpet Freshener

We all know how floor coverings can hold odors. For like-new carpets, combine 3/4 cup baking soda, two tablespoons corn starch, and 1/4 cup perfumed talcum powder. Sprinkle on dry carpet, let stand 5 to 15 minutes, and then vacuum.

Another option is to sprinkle non-scented or scented baking soda on the carpet and let sit for 15 minutes (or longer depending on the level of dirt). Vacuum the area as usual. If your carpet is dull, sprinkle table salt on the carpet and let sit for 15 minutes, and vacuum.

To Clean Mold or Mildew

Dilute 3/4 cup chlorine bleach in one gallon of water. This solution can be applied to tile and grout (scrub thoroughly) or used in shower stall (and on the curtain). Repeat cleaning as necessary and be sure to rinse well.

To Get Rid of Rust

Apply full-strength vinegar or lemon juice and let stand until spot disappears, then rinse.

To Clean, Disinfect, and Freshen the Toilet

Pour 1/4 cup full strength chlorine bleach OR 1/2 cup full strength ammonia into bowl. BE SURE NOT USE BOTH-this is a toxic combination! Clean with a bowl brush and flush.

To Clean Stainless Steel

Dissolve two tablespoons baking soda in one quart of water. Apply to your stainless steel appliances and fixtures, then wipe clean with a soft cloth.

Another option is to fill a spray bottle with undiluted white vinegar. Spray on all of your stainless steel surfaces, and wipe dry with a soft cleaning cloth. Both ways are simple and effective!

With these recipes, you’ll have a clean, sparkly, fresh-smelling home without the extra expense of too many store-bought products!

Happy cleaning!

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