It may not be worth it to spend a good chunk of change on cleaning products before considering homemade options. While some prefer to remain loyal to trusted brands of years past, many are finding the alternatives to be effective and a good value.
Here is the scoop on a few easy and affordable ways to make your own cleaners at home. An insider’s guide on what ingredients to look for, buy, and combine to help the environment while decreasing your spending.
DIY Detergent Style
Store-bought laundry detergent could be considered a luxury purchase, given that with just three items, and a budget of around $10, you could be saving up to $0.20 per load.
Here’s the ingredient breakdown:
- The Soap. Many types of bars would work, the most commonly used one being Fels Naptha. Ivory and Zote are also viable options.
- Washing Soda. Used for its ability to fight dirt and stains, this white powder is sodium carbonate or soda ash. Look for the Arm & Hammer brand (yes, some brand-name ingredients are allowed) in your local store’s laundry aisle.
- Borax. This natural mineral makes a great deodorizer, and should be found near the washing soda. If you can’t find this item, remember to ask an employee or look at options sold online.
- Over a saucepan, grate 1/3 of the soap bar, add 6 cups water and heat until melted.
- Next, add both the soda and borax to the mixture and blend until dissolved.
- Remove from heat.
- Pour 4 cups hot water in a large bucket.
- Add mixture and stir.
- Now add another gallon of water, and then another 6 cups, and stir.
- Let sit for 24 hours.
- Use 1/2 cup per load.
Mmmm… smell the freshness already? Oh, and the sweet smell of money saved of course!
Ditch the Fluoride, Saver the Freshness
You don’t have to continue spending your hard earned dollar on expensive, name brand toothpaste. Some homemade options have gained a wide respect among environmentalists for providing the same dental care through using natural, organic ingredients. Now before you disregard the idea for fear of taste or texture, take a look at one recipe designed to give you both.
- Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate). Acts as a mild abrasive and anti-bacterial.
- Hydrogen Peroxide. Any kind found in a grocery or drug store should work just fine. This solution helps break down bacteria through its foaming properties.
- Vegetable-based glycerin liquid. Though optional, this ingredient will help provide consistency and a pleasant taste.
- Other ingredients to help with taste include peppermint oil, tea tree oil, or even a few drops of cinnamon oil. And natural oils of your liking may also be used.
1 part glycerin liquid : 1 part hydrogen peroxide : 6 parts baking soda
Flavor to taste and get to brushing!
TLC Toilet Bowl Cleaner
While many of us may believe we need harsh chemicals to clean our home, legitimate toilet bowl cleaner can be made with ingredients straight from the kitchen! Non-toxic? No problem. Here is a simple recipe that is safe, money-saving, and effective.
- Baking Soda (yes, we use this for everything).
- White vinegar. A great product that can be used for floors, hard surfaces, as well as a disinfectant.
- Tea Tree oil.
- Lavendar essential oils. Or any different aroma you prefer.
- Combine 3/4 cup baking soda and 10 drops essential oils in a bowl.
- Right before cleaning, add 3/4 cup vinegar to the mixture.
I’ve never heard of a more simple and satisfying idea!
Window Cleaner that Wows
The next time you run out of a store bought window cleaner, consider whipping up some of your own. While Windex and other options can cost a few dollars, window cleaner can be made at home for just pennies!
Start by gathering:
- Spray Bottles
- 1/2 C. Rubbing Alcohol
- 1/2 Liter Water
- 1 T. Lemon Juice
- 3-4 T. Dish Detergent
- 1/2 C. Vinegar
- Food Coloring (if you want to get really fancy)
Combine, Shake, Spray, and Sparkle!
Dazzling Dish Soap
After experiencing the advantages of making your own laundry detergent, or window cleaner, what could stop you from moving on to homemade dishwasher soap. Using the borax and washing soda you already picked up at the store for previous projects, take…
- 2 cups Borax
- 2 cups Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
- 2 cups Unsweetened lemonade (or citric acid)
- 1 cups Kosher Salt
Combine all ingredients and use about 1 tablespoon with each load.
Cleaning better doesn’t have to take more time or money. Stock your cleaning tote with these easy recipes, and begin to experience the frugal alternative. Some good on-hand items to keep in your kitchen should include vinegar, borax, and baking soda. Research additional DIY ideas or come up with your own combinations. The options are endless!
George Gallagher is a home and garden writer. He is also actively involved in helping student and their private student loan consolidation questions and concerns.