Let’s make this whole house cleaning thing simple, shall we? When it comes to homemade cleaners, there are DOZENS of recipes out there. The ones I use meet my three criteria: 1) they’re cheap, 2) they’re EASY PEASY to make, and 3) they actually WORK. And I love that only four of them will do every cleaning job in my home.
The original recipes are not mine; I found them here. But I did tweak them a bit to make them easier and even cheaper. You’ll have to be the judge of which you think you will like better.
**Note: I do not do fancy bottles; since I am all about easy and cheap, I mostly use what I have on hand. If I go buy a container, it is usually the least expensive thing I can find, regardless of looks. You’ll see that in the pictures… so yea.
1) Super De-Grease and De-Scum Homemade Cleaner:
(The original recipe calls for equal parts of Dawn and vinegar. I think that’s a bit of overkill on the Dawn — I don’t want to be rinsing for five hours after I have cleaned. It also calls for 1 tsp. liquid laundry detergent, for scent. Frankly, I don’t think it makes enough of a difference to compensate for the hassle of having to buy laundry detergent, since I make my own powdered laundry soap. But that’s just me.)
This stuff is AMAZING, y’all. I use it to clean the bathroom — counter, toilet, and shower or tub. A little bit goes a long way, and it cuts through soap scum really well — especially when paired with a sponge that has baking soda sprinkled on it. Then you really have a superpower soap-scum-eating duo.
It’s also great on my ceramic stovetop. I just spray it on the baked-on crud and grease, sprinkle it with baking soda, and let it sit for a little bit. Then I scrub with the scratchy part of a scratchless sponge (if you know what I mean). It does take a little elbow grease, but no more than that pricey stovetop cleanser I used to buy.
And if you’re REALLY looking for efficiency, work on the stove and the kitchen sink at the same time. Take the sponge you just scrubbed the stovetop off with and WITHOUT RINSING, start scrubbing the sink. The cleanser and the baking soda are still in the sponge and still capable of cleaning. When both the stovetop and the sink are clean, then you can rinse the sponge and wipe the extra suds from both places. Pretty nifty, huh? :-)
2) All-Purpose Cleanser:
I marked a line on my bottle to show where 24 oz. is; that way I don’t need to measure the water, I just fill it to the line.
(Again, the original recipe calls for 1 tsp. liquid laundry detergent and also 2 drops of essential oil — but I say, why make things more complicated than they need to be? But then, I sorta like the smell of ammonia. Call me crazy.)
This is the BEST tile floor cleaner I have ever experienced! It cuts through all of your typical kitchen and bathroom floor grime really well. Spray some on and wipe it off with a microfiber cloth — it’s really almost like magic. I scrub much less with this stuff than I did with the Simple Green whose bottle I put it in. (And I used to be a BIG fan of Simple Green.)
It can also be used as just a general spray-and-wipe cleaner for appliances and doorknobs and light fixtures and things like that.
3) Glass Cleaner:
(Ditto the liquid laundry detergent from the other two cleaners.)
This glass cleaner has that yummy squeakiness that means it doesn’t leave streaks. It’s cheap and easy, just the way I like it. It made sense to me to put it in an old glass cleaner bottle; that way my middle-aged brain doesn’t get confused.
4) Non-Abrasive Cleanser:
This works everywhere you would use any other abrasive cleanser. And it’s way cheaper and easier to keep on hand. I use my baking soda very liberally, so I refill the Parmesan cheese container fairly often. I just keep one of those big boxes of baking soda in the laundry room.
You might notice in the pictures that each of my bottles has the formula written on it in black sharpie. This way, when I need more, I don’t have to find a recipe or get onto my computer; all the information is right in front of me. You could do this with pretty labels; but for quick and easy, a sharpie is the way to go. This is one advantage of not being obsessed with decorative bottles. :-)
I store all four of these homemade cleaning products in an old ice-cream bucket (the plastic 1.5- or 2-gallon kind with a handle) under the kitchen sink. I also keep a regular scrub brush and an old toothbrush in that bucket, so that everything I need (except a clean cloth) for most cleaning jobs around the house is in there. When I am ready to clean somewhere away from the kitchen, it’s easy to just grab the handle and take it all with me. No need for a fancy cleaning caddy. I had one of those once and found it to be too cumbersome to store easily or want to carry around anywhere.
There ya go: four homemade cleaners, entire house shiny. No need to get complicated when it comes to making homemade cleaners. These work just as well as anything with umpteen difficult-to-find ingredients or expensive essential oils. And it only takes minutes to mix them up. That’s the way I like it! I’ve got more important stuff to do; don’t you? :-)