My Favorite DIY Cleaners

posted by Andrea | 05/8/2014

diy cleaners

Several weeks ago, I mentioned that I wouldn’t be doing much spring cleaning this year. In fact, I rarely go crazy “spring cleaning” in the spring. Instead, as I mentioned in this post, I do my deep cleaning chores throughout the year as necessary and as I have time.

I try to do most of them during the long, cold winter months when I don’t mind staying inside cleaning — this way, I’m free to work on yard projects and enjoy the outdoors when the weather finally warms up again.

However, for those of you who like doing a big deep-clean in the Spring (or for those of you who don’t necessarily “like” it but do it anyway) here are a few of my favorite homemade DIY cleaners.

They are all super easy to make using simple ingredients you most likely have in your cabinets right now.

1. All-Purpose Cleaner

This one-ingredient all-purpose cleaner couldn’t be simpler… and it’s extremely frugal too.

It’s the cleaner I use for almost everything — tables, high chair, toys, bathrooms, wood floors, tile floors, and almost any other hard surface. I have one bottle mixed up under our kitchen sink and then another one mixed up in our Bathroom Cleaning Bucket.

Here’s the basic recipe:

  • Create a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle
  • Use to clean and wipe down almost any hard surface.

NOTE: The vinegar smell goes away in less than 5 minutes, so it’s really not that bad :)

2. Window/Glass Cleaner

After trying a few recipes for homemade glass and window cleaners, I wasn’t satisfied because all of them left streaks. Finally, I found this recipe a few years ago and have never looked back!

Here’s the basic recipe:

  • Mix 1 c. water, 2 T. vinegar, 2 T. rubbing alcohol, and 1.5 t. cornstarch in a small spray bottle.
  • Shake well
  • Spray on windows, mirrors, or any other glass surface
  • Wipe with a soft cloth or paper towel

Read more details about this cleaning method here.

3. Shower Cleaner

I was skeptical about this shower cleaner, but it really does work well. I’ve had some people tell me it doesn’t work for them; but I’ve had nothing but great results with this cleaner.

Here’s the basic recipe:

  • Pour about 1 c. of white vinegar into a plastic spray bottle.
  • Heat it up in the microwave until very warm.
  • Pour 1 T. of Dawn dish soap into the spray bottle.
  • Put the top of the spray bottle on and gently shake until they are combined.

Read more details about this cleaning method here.

4. Chrome Cleaner

Seriously, this “cleaner” works miracles on my chrome shower fixtures — and it takes me all of 3 minutes to complete. Simply cut open a lemon and rub it on your chrome. Done!

Read more details about this cleaning method here.

5. Granite Counter Cleaner

When we had granite counters installed in our new kitchen, we were told we shouldn’t use a vinegar based DIY cleaner as the vinegar could eat away at the granite. So I set out to find another homemade cleaner that would be suitable for my new counters. It didn’t’ take long for me to find one that worked really well. I’ve been faithfully using this recipe ever since.

Here’s the basic recipe:

  • Mix 1/4 c. rubbing alcohol and 3-4 drops of dish soap in a 16 oz. spray bottle
  • Fill the bottle the rest of the way with water
  • Use to clean any granite surface. 

Read more details about this cleaning method here.

6. Stainless Steel Cleaner

Along with our granite counters, we also installed all stainless steel appliances in our kitchen. I was originally hesitant to get stainless steel because I hate all the finger prints. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how low maintenance our appliances are. That said, I still need to clean them sometimes — but I’m happy to say I found 4 super simple DIY cleaners for our stainless steal.

One of my favorite methods is just using water and a microfiber cloth. You can also use the 50/50 vinegar/water mixture I referred to in my all-purpose cleaner above.

Read more about my favorite Stainless Steel cleaners here.

7. Drain Cleaner

I’ve been using this method of cleaning my drains for years and years — even before I had my own house. It’s so fast and effective, and really really frugal compared to the expensive (and super smelly) drain cleaners you can buy in the stores.

Here’s the basic recipe:

  • Pour 1/2 c. of baking soda and salt into the drain
  • Pour 1 cup of vinegar into the drain (it will bubble and foam up)
  • Slowly pour an entire kettle of boiling water into the drain
  • Use a plunger to push water through if necessary

Read more details about this cleaning method here.

8. Fabric Softener

Our house gets very dry in the winter months, so since we purchased our home in December, I immediately realized that I needed to find a solution to our SERIOUS static cling problem — because fabric softener and dryer sheets just weren’t cutting it.

Thankfully, with a little research, I found 10 different ideas that all work really well!

Read my 10 DIY methods of reducing static cling.

 

I realize there are tons of DIY cleaning products out there today — but in my opinion, some of them are WAY too much work when you look at how little money is saved. I’ve also tried a few that just don’t clean well at all (and who wants to clean with products that don’t work?)

All the DIY cleaners referenced above are ones I’ve personally been using for years and would highly recommend. They are simple, frugal, quick to mix up, and they really do work!

A few more cleaning resources:

Here’s a link to my favorite cleaning-related posts from the past 3.5 years of blogging

I mentioned that I loved using vinegar to clean… so if you’re looking for more uses for vinegar, here are 101 different ideas!

For those of you who don’t want to spend money on rags — try my DIY t-shirt rags. They’re super soft, they’re free, and they don’t leave any lint behind!

My blogging friend Becky (a.k.a. Clean Mama) just recently came out with a new book “The Organically Clean Home”. It has 150 different “recipes” for chemical-free, all-natural cleaning products you can easily make yourself right at home!

Ok, so I think that should be enough to get you started!

What are your favorite DIY cleaners?

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15 comments

  1. Lydia @ Five4FiveMeals

    05/08/2014

    Love it! I really like using homemade cleaners because when you have little ones that put EVERYTHING in their mouths you don’t want cleaners “harmful to humans and domestic animals.”

    I have used your degreaser cleaner for years, but I cannot get over the vinegar smell. I still gag. But at least my counter tops are clean.

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  2. Jen

    05/08/2014

    I use a vinegar and water mixture for my all-purpose cleaner, too. I also add 20-30 drops each of lemon and tea tree essential oils, which are both antiseptic. But we have laminate counter tops, so I can use it on them. I use the same spray for mirrors, our dining table, and the bathroom sinks, too.

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  3. ShellyL

    05/08/2014

    Awesome! Love this one. I used to use natural cleaners but when I got into couponing, I began using coupons to get the chemical stuff again. After reading this, I think I may switch back. Even with coupons, this must be cheaper or at least equally cheap. Also, I like the idea of non-toxic healthy cleaner. Thanks for these recipes!

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  4. Jen

    05/08/2014

    I have switched almost my entire cleaning arsenal to DIY / natural products and haven’t looked back. I use the vinegar and water mix that you mentioned to clean just about everything. To clean our toilets, I just sprinkle baking soda around the bowl and spray it down with white vinegar. LEt it sit for a few minutes and then scrub with a toilet brush. Works great and it’s very cost effective!

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  5. lyss

    05/08/2014

    So…silly questions about your shower cleaner. Do you rinse the cleaner off?
    And, does it work on preventing and/or removing mildew? I hate tile for that reason. I can’t get the black mildew off of white grout, and I refuse to use tilex.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, rinse it off — I usually spray it on before I get in the shower, then scrub and rinse while I’m in the shower. It works well for us, but I do have to scrub the grout :)

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  6. Karen @ Abundance on a Dime

    05/08/2014

    Andrea, I love using vinegar for cleaning, too! To make it smell more pleasant I make citrus vinegar, which involves nothing more than throwing your lemon rinds in vinegar and letting them steep for a while – more detailed instructions here: http://abundanceonadime.blogspot.ca/2012/09/a-re-use-it-project-citrus-vinegar.html Since I would have just pitched the lemon rinds in the compost bucket, it doesn’t cost any more and smells a lot nicer :)

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    Andrea Reply:

    Sounds like pretty simple solution!

    For some reason, I dont’ mind the smell at all so I’ve never bothered with essential oils or any other scents. I know, I’m weird!

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  7. Shantel

    05/08/2014

    Does anyone have a great place to find spray bottles? Sounds like a silly question, but Walmart and Target have ones that are HUGE and (1) seem top heavy if they weren’t completely full I would be knocking them over all the time, and (2) the trigger is too wide for my hands to comfortably grab. I bought some smaller ones (only 8 oz) from the travel section but they are breaking on me after about a month – not good! Thanks for any help!

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    Rebecca Reply:

    There are several choices of spray bottles on Amazon.com.

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  8. Julia K

    05/09/2014

    I have been using the following all purpose cleaner for years. I mix it up in an empty 2 or 3 litre milk bottle and then decant into a spray bottle as needed.

    40ml dishwashing liquid
    40ml eucalyptus oil
    2 dessertspoons washing soda
    200ml vinegar
    1 litre water

    I put this in a spray bottle to use for all those “spray and wipe” situations – countertops, marks on walls, toilets etc. I pour a splash into a bucket of super hot water and use to mop floors etc. I hope you can buy Eucalyptus Oil there in the US – but it is a great natural disinfectant and cuts through the vinegar smell.
    Another thing I do to save dollars is that I use the “two bucket” method when mopping floors. I fill one bucket with hot water and my home made cleaner – the second bucket with plain hot water only. After I mop a stretch, I rinse the mop in the clean water bucket before dipping in the cleaning solution bucket to mop the next stretch. This keeps the cleaning solution water a bit cleaner. If I am doing loads of mopping, I can empty and refill the rinse bucket several times saving the need to tip out my cleaning solution water all the time.
    Every little bit helps.
    Cloudy Ammonia is another gem – it is a brilliant grease cutter. Great for cleaning ovens and when my husband wore greasy overalls (coveralls in the US ?) I used to add a cup of Cloudy Ammonia to the wash and ran the machine on the soak cycle – saved a fortune compared to all those expensive spray pre-washes.

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  9. Brenda

    05/09/2014

    Hi, Does anyone have anything that works good for dirt/grass stains? My sons play baseball and all their white pants have stains from the brown sand/dirt they use in the infield. I have tried lots of different store bought stain removers, soaking in bleach, and scrubbing with my homemade laundry soap double strength- all with little success.

    Also, chocolate, the boys love it and all their shirts have stains.

    Help! :~)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Brenda,
    I’m personally a fan of Oxi Clean — but I know that’s not “homemade”. I posted your question on my Facebook wall and you can read any responses here :)

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    Christina Reply:

    I would suggest brown shirts!!! :)

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  10. Evie Dawson @ Defense Soap

    08/04/2014

    The good news is that adding just few drops of natural remedies are best (Tea tree oil) to prevent and treat common skin infections.. Thanks for sharing

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