I’m Cleaning Out My Cleaning Supplies!

posted by Andrea | 03/22/2011

If you’ve been following along for the past couple months, you know that I have experimented with a few different types of natural cleaning and beauty products. And since it’s official spring cleaning season, I thought it might be nice to compile all these posts into one location so you can see what I’ve been up to.

So far, I’ve tried:

1. Homemade window/glass cleaner

2. Homemade face-wash

3. Homemade fabric softener / static cling remover

4. Homemade drain cleaner

5. Using vinegar for whole bunch of household purposes

6. Using Prairieland Herbs organic toiletries

7. Turning old t-shirts into homemade rags


I’ve been really impressed with how well these natural, organic, and homemade products are working — SO impressed that I actually decided to get rid of most of my store-bought products!

These are the items I purged:

{I got almost everything for free, and I was able to donate all the unopened bottles to the thrift store.}

And THESE are the products I’m using now:

I know they are not ALL natural, organic, or homemade…but that’s not really my goal.

My goal is to use products I love, that I can get for a reasonable price, that help me to simplify my cleaning routine, and that I feel good about using. So all the above products fit my criteria for cleaning supplies.

Here’s a quick list:

I’ve included an Amazon.com link for many of the products, so if you’re interested, you can purchase them online…or in most grocery stores.

{starting from the back left corner}

Mrs. Meyers counter spray — seriously, this smells SO good!

Mrs. Meyers laundry detergent

Vinegar/water spray bottle — for bathrooms and kitchen surfaces

Vinegar — I buy the biggest container I can find and use it for everything

My basket of homemade rags and microfiber cloths

{second row}

Safety pinsto reduce static cling

Baking soda — for drain cleaner, facial scrub, surface scrub, and more

Guardsman wood cleaner and furniture polish — I love this stuff so it’s not going anywhere!

Cornstarch — for  window cleaner

Rubbing Alcohol — for window cleaner

Swiffer dry cloths — these work great for all our wood floors

{front row}

Fels Naptha bar soap — for laundry stain removal

Window/glass cleaning spray bottlethis is the best “recipe” I’ve found so far

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser — these things are amazing!

{I buy  most of these products from Amazon.com using points I get from Swagbucks so I essentially get them for free}


I LOVE how simple and organized my cleaning cabinet is now. It’s actually kind of fun to pull out my small basket of supplies and start cleaning…almost!

However, I am still looking for a few additional products to add to my natural, organic, and/or homemade list of cleaning supplies.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions for…

1. Toilet bowl cleaner

2. Dish soap

3. De-greaser

What are your favorite natural or homemade cleaning products??

Do you use the same products as me…or do you have better ideas?



Filed under: OrganizingPurging

Leave a comment


  1. Cindy Goller


    I’m intrigued by the recipe for window cleaner. I read all of the comments & replies in that window cleaner post, and I have the same question, “What is the deal with the corn starch? Wouldn’t that leave a cloudy film?” I can’t find the answer & I really want to know why cornstarch is included. What difference does it make? I’d love to know! Thanks.
    – Cindy
    P.S. I grew up in GR and love your references to the area!

    Original content


    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Cindy,
    I honestly can’t answer your question! I did my “research” on window cleaners so many years ago that I don’t even remember why the cornstarch was in the cleaner. All I know is it works really well!


  2. Susan


    I also use newspaper to clean my windows and glass not towels papwr towels ect ect … that is what my grandmother used and there are no streaks … just ball it up spray the window and wipe it down …


  3. Susan


    I clean my house kitchen and bathroom with bleach and water i use white vinager for my tile floors and ammonia and water for my windows and glass the only thing i buy is fabreeze and wood cleaner. In which i want to look up home made ways for that..


  4. Shell


    I was wondering: if you use the vinegar spray for your bathroom and kitchen surfaces, when do you use the Mrs. Meyers spray?


    Andrea Reply:

    The Mrs. Meyers products were a gift so I actually didn’t buy it 🙂 I actually don’t use it a lot, just once in a while when I want a really nice smell!


  5. Saydi


    Found online for the Toilet, sprinkle baking soda in the bowl then spray vinegar {white is cheaper} let bubble for 5 min then brush.


  6. Crista


    I love the look of your simplified cleaning cabinet! Did you find a substitute for Febreeze/Lysol for odors? I’m thinking about the diaper pail or garbage that sometimes just needs a quick”freshening” up.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Crista, baking soda works well for diapers. However, we’ve just started putting the stinky diapers directly into the outside garbage because nothing could contain that odor!


  7. Emily


    I grew up using Castile Soap. My mom taught me how to clean the house at a young age. She had me use Castile Soap and baking soda for the bath tub, toilet, and sink. You can also use Castile Soap for laundry with 1/4cup per load or 1/3cup based on the hardness of your water and adding baking soda makes it even better. There are even more ways to use Castile Soap just google.


  8. heather petty


    Take a chunk of a magic eraser leave in the toilet overnight then flush. Also you can put a container of vinegar in the tank. It helps clean daily and help cut down in the cost it takes to feel up your tank
    Read this stuff on the internet somewhere


  9. Ainsley


    I know this post is a bit old, but I thought I’d pass on that you can buy melamine foam on Amazon for a fraction of the price than you’d pay for Magic Erasers. Exact same thing, just without the branding!


  10. Easy, Homemade Green Cleaners | Green Your Way


    […] at Simple Organized Living shared her favorite natural cleaners a few weeks ago as well, and her list also includes drain cleaner, face wash and […]

  11. Bobbi


    For the shower I have a bottle that is 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 dishsoap spray on and let stand for about 5 minutes very little scrubbing needs then the water just runs of of the shower walls for a while also use that on my glass top stove … Make my own window cleaner .. that I also use on the counters 1 cup rubbing alcohol 1 c water 1 tbs vinegar 1 drop dish detergent and you can put corn starch in there for a extra shine… Make my own laundry detergent and fabric softner I use the foil in the dryer for the static…
    I have gotten to the point that I do not want to spend the extra money on all the cleaners… and if I have everything in the house I just make my own stuff I also take old towels and then take a old puff and make my own scrub pads … I just sew the puff to the old towels in the sizes i need.. I use vineager in the dishwaher as a rinse agent and make my own soap for that also.. The toilet one is a mystery to me we have extremely hard water here and everything I have tried so far hasn’t worked that well..


  12. WestCoastAtHome


    I use methyl hydrate to degrease. I get it at the hardware store. It’s just really really strong alcohol. Cleans mirrors, stainless steel, a stove top, glass vases, even flat screens in seconds. It’s obviously drying to your skin, but it sterilizes, leaves no residue, and although I wouldn’t drink it, it not technically poisonous. Plus, it’s CHEAP!


  13. Debbie


    Andrea, the best all natural toilet bowl cleaner I’ve found has been from Watkins…their Natural Home Care Lemon Toilet Bowl Cleaner. It’s cedar oil based and really shines the bowl and is non-toxic 🙂 http://www.watkinsonline.com


  14. Candi May


    I simply use a few pumps of my antibacterial hand soap off of my sink onto the toilet brush (of course I don’t touch the dispenser to the brush) and use that every day or two. By ‘swishing’ (as Flylady calls it) every day or so, I don’t have any nasty build up to clean. Stays sparklingly pristine! =)


  15. Amy S.


    I would like a replacement for Febreze and other air freshners. Any suggestions?? Thanks!


  16. Melanie


    I started using Seventh Generation toilet bowl cleaner, and I LOVE IT! (Never thought I could love cleaning products :)) In my opinion, it works a lot better than the “normal” toilet bowl cleaner, and it lasts a long time too! The only downside is it’s a little hard to find, but I found mine at Target, and I know that they sell it on Amazon 🙂


  17. stephanie


    Hey, been reading your site for a while now and have really enjoyed your many tips and tricks!
    One thing I have heard for de-greasing, particularly ovens, is ash. Like, ash from your wood fireplace. Mix with water to form a paste, apply and let sit for a while and then just wipe away! I personally have not tried this yet, but my husband’s aunt (who lives next door to us) is the most natural (and inspirational) person I know! She uses up everything – literally nothing is wasted in her home!
    Another product to try is Norwex (but I’m not sure if that’s Canadian or American or both). Their “magic erasers” work BETTER than Mr.Clean’s, but without all the harsh chemicals!
    Thanks for all the info! And congrats on your baby girl!


  18. Ashley


    I LOVE Mrs. Meyer’s. I caught the dish soap (normally 2.98) with a coupon for a dollar off around the neck. I could easily justify buying it then. 😀 The lemon verbena multi-purpose cleaner is awesome too!


  19. Jessica


    I’ve been slowly changing over our cleaning habits too. Using up what we currently had and then replacing it with homemade when it’s gone. I’ve made all purpose cleaner, window cleaner, dusting spray, and laundry detergent.

    All Purpose Cleaner:

    Make this in a large pail you can seal
    1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
    2 tsp lemon juice
    5 drops tea tree oil (antibacterial)
    Fill the rest with water.

    It smells great, disinfects, and leaves everything smelling wonderful.

    Window Cleaner:

    Equal parts distilled white vinegar and water.
    Mix it into a spray bottle and use on your mirrors or windows for streak free cleaning.

    Dusting Spray:

    2 tsp olive oil
    10 drops lemon juice or lemon essential oil
    1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

    Mix ingredients together in a 16 – 24 oz spray bottle fill to the top with water, shake well between each use. Works great.

    Laundry Detergent:

    1 bar grated ivory soap
    2 cups baking soda
    50 drops tea tree oil
    2 gallons hot water

    Grate soap into a large sauce pan, cover with enough water to immerse all the soap, cook on medium heat stirring frequently until all the soap is melted.
    Add to a pail of HOT HOT water, pour in 2 cups of baking soda and tea tree oil, mix well. You can add essential oils if you want like lavender but the tea tree oil works great, it also gives extra antiseptic power.
    Use 1/2 cup per regular load, and 1 cup for heavily soiled load. It costs $1 for 64 loads. =]


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for these “recipes” Jessica. I’ll have to try them out!!


  20. Michelle


    Have your site bookmarked and I’m still exploring it. Thought I’d share how I’ve used Fels Naptha as a pre-treat/stain remover for years. I put the entire bar of Fels Naptha in an old pitcher and cover it with 2 cups or so HOT water. This sits on my laundry shelf and the water turns into a thick slime. When I encounter a stain I “slime” it with Fels Naptha, scrub it in a little and toss it into the washer as usual. when you start to run low on slime, cover the lump with hot water again. Eventually you add another bar to the pitcher and keep doing it the same way. This slime has even removed greasy spots that ran through the dryer before I noticed it. Another tip I learned was to tie a loose knot in the stained garment when you take it off. When you find a “knot” of clothing on laundry day you automatically start looking for the stain to treat.


  21. Living So Abundantly


    I found your site through Money Saving Mom. I was so excited about your face wash cleansing method, I went out today and bought the oils and can’t wait to try it! I really enjoy your site!


  22. Jamie


    I am looking for a “recipe” for laundry stain remover. What do you use?


    Andrea Reply:

    Jamie, I currently don’t have a great homemade recipe for stain remover — I just use the Fels Naptha bar soap and that seems to work well for me.


    Moni Reply:

    Depends on the stain.
    Blood – spray peroxide on it
    grass, dirt etc – Sal’s Suds & Water or wet a Fel’s Naptha bar and rub the stain.
    sweat, or other body fluids – baking soda & water paste or baking soda and vinegar.

    Most importantly do not wash the item in hot water until you know the stain is gone.


    Lisa Reply:

    I’ve been using Dawn “blue” Original dishwashing soap for years.

    Pour on right over the stain. Rub the fabric together, then let sit or toss right into the washing machine. Works like a charm!!


  23. Peggy Ann


    Thanks for the safety pin tip to control laundry static. It has made a huge difference and my husband is using less of the stinky static control spray.

    Similarly to your tee shirts, I converted old baby bibs into kitchen rags. They are great for spills. I also use them for drying off washed fruits and veggies. I am using a lot less paper towels.

    And the Fels Naptha soap is something my grandmother swore by.


    Andrea Reply:

    yay — so happy you’re using the safety pins too. I can’t believe it took me so long to figure this out! I’m never going to back to traditional fabric softener again!

    Oh, and thanks for the baby bib tip. We don’t have any of those around our house, but some day I suspect we will — and I’ll remember your tip 🙂


    Tammy Reply:

    What do you do with the safety pin? Also, Norwex has an AMAZING wimdow cloth.You need no other product except water. My windows have never been clearer and takes seconds to clean! MUST try they are AWESOME!!!


    Andrea Reply:

    Tammy, just pin the safety pin(s) on a rag or any article of clothing after you take it out of the washing machine and before you put it in the dryer. The safety pins act as a fabric softener!


  24. Kalyn


    I tried borax and lemon juice for toilet bowl cleaner. Although it smelled nice, I didn’t feel like it was clean enough!


    Andrea Reply:

    Good to know — thanks Kalyn


  25. Silverlotus


    I’ve just started to switch over all of my cleaning products too. I find that I’m breathing a lot easier (literally) on cleaning days now.

    I’ve found a lot of inspiration in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Cleaning. (Although, the author is a bit too gung ho for my tastes.)

    I’m so glad you asked about alternatives for toilet bowl cleaner and dish soap. Those are exactly the next things on my list to replace.


  26. Taletha


    For the toilet I use 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar. Pour them in the toilet basin and let sit for 15 min and then scrub and rinse.

    For dish soap I use 2 cups of Castile soap, 1 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar, and 1/2 cup of warm water. Pour all ingredients into a cleaned out old dish soap bottle and shake until well combined. Give it another good shake before each use. The lemon juice or vinegar helps cut through the grease on your dishes. I do keep a bottle of Seventh Generation dish soap on hand too for the really tough messes.


    Andrea Reply:

    OK, I’m definitely going to try these out — thanks for the “recipes” 🙂


    Debbie Reply:

    Does anyone know if the baking soda/vinegar solution is safe for septic tanks?


    Andrea Reply:

    Hmmm, I’m not sure about this one. We have city water/sewer so I never really thought about this. Maybe you could contact a company who specializes in septic systems and ask them.


    Rachel Reply:

    Debbie, did you ever find out your answer if certain products are safe for septic tanks?


    Jana Reply:

    If the septic systems can handle the harsh chemicals in commercial cleaners, I doubt vinegar or baking soda would be a problem. I’ve used straight vinegar to clean toilets for years. I use baking soda and vinegar followed by very hot water to deodorize my kitchen sinks. I’ve never had a problem with it. Besides it would be become very diluted by the time it reached the septic system.

    Andrea, I use Seventh Generation dish soap and dishwasher liquid. I can’t tell the difference at all. Cleans dishes very well.


  27. Amy


    I use a baking soda/vinegar mix to clean the toilet. You just sprinkle in about a half cup of baking soda ( i make sure to sprinkle it all around the sides of the bowl, but some people just dump it straight in), then use your vinegar/water spray to spray down the inside of the toilet. Then just start scrubbing with the toilet brush! I haven’t found it any harder to get the toilet bowl sparkling clean than I did when I was using the nasty lysol or clorox cleaners.


  28. Amy K


    I’ve been using Biokleen Oxygen Bleach for toilet cleaner (and tub cleaner) and Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds for degreaser. I’m still looking for a dish soap, too…


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Amy…I’ll look into those products.


    Moni Reply:

    For dishes I use a spray bottle of 24oz of filtered water + 1tsb of Sal’s Suds to wash your dishes with. Give it a quick shake and you are good to go. Just spray your dishes or pour 1tsp in a sink full of hot water.

    You already know how strong the Sal’s Suds is.


    Rebecca Reply:

    Which version of Sal Suds do you use? I see a few different formulas on Amazon, but they all say Sal Suds…