10 DIY Cleaners That Will Turn You Into a Green Machine
We all love our homes smelling fresh and clean, but you don’t have to rely on store-bought cleaners to do the job. These do-it-yourself cleaners contain only a few simple ingredients and can be put into recycled containers you already have around the house. Simply mix the listed ingredients together, make sure they’re blended well, and you’re ready to go. Remember, though, it’s a good idea to first test these cleaners in an inconspicuous area to make sure they don’t damage or cause discoloration to the items you’re cleaning.
1. General Surface Cleaner
- 2 cups white distilled vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 10-12 drops essential oil (optional)
Pour the vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and shake to mix, says BobVila.com. You can also add 10-12 drops of essential oils — even combining up to three complementary scents. Use on any surface you would use a multipurpose cleaner (after you’ve spot-tested, of course.)
Keep in mind that essential oils may be dangerous to animals if they are ingested or inhaled, according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. If you have pets, check with your veterinarian before using essential oils in your home and keep them securely away from your pets.
2. Glass and Window Cleaner
- ½ cup white or cider vinegar
- ¼ cup rubbing alcohol (70 percent concentrated)
- 2 cups water
- 1-2 drops orange essential oil (optional)
Spray the solution on a dry cloth or paper towel before spraying on the glass, says Good Housekeeping. To help avoid streaking, don’t use this solution on a hot or very sunny day. And, remember to check with your pet’s veterinarian before using essential oils in your home.
3. Laundry & Stain Remover
- Combine equal parts:
- Warm water
- Baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide (3 percent solution)
Apply the mixture, suggested by Puracy.com, directly to the stain before washing. Rub the solution into the stain and let it sit for a half an hour — loosen it with a soft brush, such as a toothbrush, and wash as usual. (This laundry treatment can be particularly helpful for those stubborn sweat stains, says Puracy.com.)
Make sure to test a small area of the fabric, to confirm the stain remover won’t discolor it, and do not use on any clothing that is dry-clean-only. You may also want to wear gloves when mixing and using this one, as hydrogen peroxide can be harsh on skin.
4. Dishwasher Tablets
- 1 cup Borax
- 1 cup washing soda (Also called sodium carbonate, soda ash or soda crystals, this can usually be found in the laundry aisle at grocery, big-box or hardware stores, according to The Spruce.)
- ½ cup kosher salt
- 5 packets unsweetened lemonade mix
Add this to the dishwasher compartment that holds detergent, and watch your dishes come out sparkling, says HouseLogic.com.
5. Toilet Cleaner
- ½ cup vinegar
- ½ cup Borax
Pour a half-cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl, says MarthaStewart.com, and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, scrub the sides the same way you would with the store-bought stuff. You may want to let the vinegar sit for a little longer if you have hard water. For stain removal, MarthaStewart.com recommends adding a half-cup of Borax, brushing it onto the sides of the bowl and letting it sit overnight.
6. Grout Cleaner
- 1 part water
- 1 part vinegar
Fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and vinegar, spray it on your grout and let it soak in for five minutes, says BobVila.com. Then use a cleaning brush or sponge to scrub away grime. For an even deeper clean, spread a paste of equal parts baking soda and water on your grout and spray the water and vinegar solution over the paste. Wait for it to stop foaming, says BobVila.com, and then scrub and rinse the grout clean.
7. Carpet Deodorizer
Shake a thin layer of cornstarch over the entire surface of your carpet, and let it sit for 15 minutes before vacuuming it up, suggests The Spruce.
8. Furniture Polish
- 1 cup olive oil
- ¼ cup white vinegar
Once you mix this up, put it in a spray bottle and use it to polish your wood furniture, DIY Network says. Spray it onto a soft cloth, then rub down the furniture to give it a sparkling shine.
9. Stainless Steel Cleaner
- Baking soda
- Liquid dish soap
If your stainless steel sink or appliances have stubborn stains, BobVila.com suggests mixing baking soda and liquid dish soap into a paste. Gently scrub it into the grain of the steel, rinse it off and wipe dry.
10. Fabric Softener
- 1 gallon white vinegar
- 30-40 drops of your favorite scent of essential oils (optional)
Vinegar is a natural softener and can also help remove residue from your washer, says DIYNatural.com. If you premix the vinegar and essential oils, be sure to shake well before adding it to the laundry. Add a half-cup of the solution during the rinse cycle for an average size load, or just a quarter cup if you have a high-efficiency washing machine. Or The Spruce, who has a similar fabric softener recipe, says you can add the solution into your machine’s fabric softener dispenser. And don’t worry — if you use the suggested amount, your clothes should come out smelling vinegar-free.
Get those mason jars and spray bottles ready — these 10 cleaners will help keep your house clean and green.
Originally published on June 24, 2014.