Store-bought cleaning products certainly do the job when it comes to handling the dirty work around the house, but some contain harmful chemicals and fragrances not suitable for those with allergies or sensitivities. Ditch the dilemma: Make your own DIY cleaning products that are not only healthier than most mass-produced brands, but cost a lot less, too. Congratulations, you’re winning at life.
Gleaming Glass Cleaner
Store-bought glass cleaners work well, but often contain harmful chemicals. Make your own extremely effective glass cleaner by mixing water and vinegar with two surprising ingredients: Rubbing alcohol and cornstarch. We’ve tested numerous cleaning recipes, as have other sites such as Crunchy Betty, and the cornstarch seems to be the secret.
Get things going: mix two tablespoons each of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar into 1.5 cups of water in a spray bottle (ideally, glass). Add one tablespoon cornstarch, replace the lid, then shake things up.
To use the cleaner: spray liberally on a mirror, glass dining table or directly on a soft cloth if dealing with a delicate framed piece or even a Fracture. Wipe the glass with a microfiber cloth.
The inside of the microwave is one of those “out of sight, out of mind” kitchen appliances. It magically accumulates glorious amounts of gunk while you’re not looking – especially if you’re not the only user of said microwave. Clean that stubborn splatter away by mixing equal parts water and white vinegar in a glass bowl or measuring cup, then microwaving the liquid until it boils gently. Leave the microwave door closed for about ten minutes to let the steam do its magic. Wet folded paper towels in the warm liquid afterwards – be careful, it’s hot – then wipe down the inside surface of the microwave. The vinegar solution is also great for cleaning the microwave’s window and exterior surfaces.
If you don’t care for the smell of vinegar, don’t worry, it fades fast. As an alternative, you could squeeze at least half a lemon into a glass bowl filled with water, then heat the water with the lemon rinds in it.
The refrigerator is another one of those places that seems clean until you start removing its contents, revealing seventeen levels of “yuck!” Deep-clean that dingy fridge by removing items one shelf at a time, then wiping it down with your own awesome fridge de-funker. Make this super cleaning spray by pouring one cup of white vinegar into a spray bottle, then adding two cups of hot tap water and two teaspoons of regular dish soap. Add a few squirts of lemon juice or your fave essential oil such, as a citrus blend. Then replace the lid and shake the bottle. Spritz the interior surfaces of the fridge, let it sit for a moment or two, then wipe things down with a sponge. For difficult debris, sprinkle a little baking soda on the damp sponge first. Rinse the sponge and wipe the surfaces down again to remove the baking soda.
Wood Furniture’s Friend
Some store-bought furniture polishes leave a waxy buildup on furniture that can make the wood look more dull and dingy. Give wooden tables and chairs a perky polish that smells great too. Mix 1/4 cup each of olive oil and white vinegar in a spray bottle, then add ten drops of your favorite citrus essential oil such as orange. To use: shake the bottle thoroughly, then spritz the liquid onto a microfiber cloth. Wipe the wood down with the cloth.
Put a Ring on it? No, Take the Ring Off!
Oops! Someone left a drink glass on the dining room table and now the table has a lovely white ring on it. This isn’t what Beyonce meant! The table isn’t ruined and you don’t need any special chemicals to get rid of the ring. First, try blowing hot air from a hair dryer over the spot for a minute or two. If that doesn’t work, apply a dab of olive oil, cooking oil or even mayonnaise over the spot, wiping it away with a microfiber cloth after a few minutes.
Carpet and Upholstery Refresher
Pets + carpet = funky smells emanating from the floor. Remove that foul odor from carpet, rugs and upholstery with your own carpet refresher made from baking soda and your favorite essential oils. Lavender essential oils offer a peaceful, calming scent. Or you could whip up your own scent blend with oil such as jasmine and orange. To make the carpet refresher, mix a cup of baking soda with about 15 drops of essential oil in a mason jar. Place the lid on the jar and shake to mix the oil in thoroughly. Add a shaker top (or make your own by replacing the flat lid piece with cardstock, punching holes in the cardstock before replacing the outer metal lid ring). Sprinkle liberally over the carpet or the couch, let sit for at least 15 minutes, then vacuum up the powder. Baking soda removes lingering odors while the essential oils leave behind a pleasant scent.
All-Purpose Bathroom Disinfectant
No matter how frequently you clean the bathroom, it’s always great if cleanup requires little effort and the bathroom smells great after. Whip up a batch of disinfectant cleaning spray to tackle just about every bathroom surface and freshen the air. To make the spray: pour 1/2 cup each of white vinegar and cheap vodka into a spray bottle. Add 1.5 cups of water, plus 10 drops each of lavender and lemon essential oils. Replace the bottle’s lid, shake things up, then spray surfaces such as the sink and tub and their fixtures. Wipe the surfaces down with a soft cloth after a few minutes. This spray also removes water spots from the faucet and handles and works well on kitchen appliances, too.