Cynthia is a digital marketer, writer, and artist. She writes about a variety of topics, especially languages, art and culture.
Make your own cleaning products!
Over the years, I have acquired quite a few recipes for cleaning products. Some come from www.eartheasy.com, others have come from friends, and still others I made up myself.
What was the motivation?
First, years ago, we found out that the graywater from our house didn't filter out very well and goes into the stream in front of our house. We were quite alarmed and until we could afford to fix that, we wanted to be as benign to the stream as possible.
Then, I kept reading about how chemicals in commercial cleaning products were contributing to health hazards such as asthma and allergies, and that the inside of the typical home was more toxic than going out and breathing the air outside.
Often, the solution was to make the cleaning products ourselves.
Third, I liked the idea that making my own products was safer for the environment, for the planet and for my family in general.
The only downside? The time required to make some of these products myself. Realistically, it probably takes about ten minutes to make something that will last several months. Other times I make a product on the spot and use it, such as furniture polish.
These recipes use some very common ingredients: white vinegar, baking soda, water, lemon and its juice, and olive oil.
Recipe for All-Purpose Cleaner
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon essential oil (tea tree, lavender, or lemon)
Mix these three ingredients first. After the fizzing has stopped, fill a 1/2 gallon container. It's a good idea to label the container so that you know what's really in it. Store in cool, dark place.
My favorite essential oil to use is tea tree. It is naturally anti-fungal and fights bacteria. I use lavender when I want a more subtle scent.
Remember, though: a little bit of essential oil goes a long way - less is often more. If you like a lemon scent and don't have oil, you can try putting in 1/4 tsp. of powdered lemon rind.
Below are some of my favorite and most common recipes that I use:
For glass, mirrors, faucets, and metal sinks, I like to use a solution of 1 part white distilled vinegar to 1 part water. Spray on and wipe off. It will smell like vinegar while drying, but once dried, it leaves no smell at all - just a freshly clean surface.
Furniture polish/Leather cleaner
I get a cloth and dampen it just a bit. Then I take a dab of lemon juice and a dab of olive oil and put on the cloth. Then I start dusting. I also use this same method to clean my leather couches, refreshing the rag when I've used up the lemon juice and oil.
You may want to test a small spot before cleaning the leather with this solution, but I've used it on my leather couches and leather jacket. When I'm finished (either with the furniture or the leather) I wipe up any excess oil with a clean rag and that helps to really polish things up. :)
I live in a pretty moist part of the country (in the Appalachian mountains) and regularly battle mold. My husband is allergic to it, so I try to get at it pretty quickly as soon as I see it.
I have two methods for attacking mold:
1. I make a solution of 2 tsp tea tree oil - remember, it's got antifungal properties - and 2 cups of water and put in a spray bottle. I spray directly on moldy spots and do not rinse. The scent of the tea tree is so soothing and mint-y.
2. I use distilled white vinegar straight from the bottle. I spray the area and do not rinse. The smell dissipates in a few hours (I like it, though - it makes everything seem really clean).
Toilet bowl cleaner
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup baking soda
Dump vinegar into commode and swish with toilet brush. Then dump in baking soda and swish with brush. It will start fizzing. Let sit for 15 minutes and flush.
These are my favorite remedies that I use at home. I feel so clean using them and "green" at the same time. I hope they are useful for you.
© 2011 Cynthia Calhoun
Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on October 18, 2017:
Awesome, Randall. :) Add some lemon essential oil, too, for a great scent.
Randall coleman from Douglasville, ga on October 16, 2017:
I have a residential gutter cleaning service. I have been wanting to try for a long time to make bio friendly cleaner for the outside of gutters. You have given me the courage to try it. For done reason I always thought that I would not be able to make it strong enough. I will try. Thank you for this article.
Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on September 17, 2012:
Mrshoki - I hear you about the mold ones. I live in a really humid area and it's a daily battle with mold. Yes, that's a great idea! Test on a small area and if it works, then you can try a bigger area. I have a feeling it'll work only because these ingredients are essentially non-toxic when used correctly. :)
mrshoki from New Zealand on September 17, 2012:
Thanks for the great ideas. I particularly want to try the mold ones, but am worried about using on painted surfaces. We rent our place and not sure if any of these options will be ok in the bathroom on the painted walls and ceiling. May try out on a small area first for least amount of paint removal. Hoping it all works though as sounds good. Thanks again, voted up.
Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 10, 2012:
stricktlydating - I hadn't heard of oil of clove, but since you mentioned it, I'm going to have to try it. :)
StrictlyQuotes from Australia on April 10, 2012:
Great ideas. Oil of clove is also brilliant at killing mould inside the home.
Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on March 24, 2012:
Global-chica, aw, thank you for the link. I love using my non-toxic cleaners. I didn't know that trick about mayonnaise. I'll have to file that one in my head (hopefully my swiss-cheese memory won't forget, lol). Thanks for stopping by! (HUGS)
Anna from New York, NY on March 24, 2012:
I'm so glad I came across this hub! I'm switching from toxic store bought house cleaning products to natural products and you provide some fantastic recipes for making your own cleaning products. If you don't mind, I'd like to link this article to one I recently wrote about eco-friendly alternatives to the products we use to make a difference.
I recently learned that mayonnaise is great for removing crayon marks from furniture. My friend which a child who doodled on the table loved that one!
Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on February 09, 2012:
B. Leekley - thank for stopping by! I'm glad you liked this hub. :)
Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on February 08, 2012:
I bookmarked this very useful hub.
Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on January 28, 2012:
Melovy - I love tea tree! I also use it on my hair - it makes the scalp tingle and keeps it healthy. Thanks for stopping by! :)
Yvonne Spence from UK on January 28, 2012:
Very useful hub. I’ve used vinegar before for household cleaning, but usually keep tea tree oil for cuts and spots. So thanks for pointing out a great new use for it.
Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 23, 2011:
Oooh! Thanks mOrdOr. I drink about 10 cups of tea a day. Cleaning with tea won't be a problem. Haha. Thanks for reading.
Stoill Barzakov from Sofia, Bulgaria on December 23, 2011:
Very useful, thanks. Voted up.
I can add a contribution to your experience - all polished wood can be cleaned with cold tea from yesterday. The tea plant is a miracle, well worth its world renown.
Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on December 06, 2011:
Thanks, klurbauer. You're right - I think once we make "habits" of things, they're easier. If you're not in the habit of making stuff, I think it does 'loom large'. :) Thanks for the vote.
mljdgulley354, thanks for your kind words. :)
mljdgulley354 on December 06, 2011:
Great hub. I like using non-toxic products too
klurbauer from Brink of Insanity ;) on December 06, 2011:
Nice hub. I think you did a great job giving people several basic recipe for home cleaning products. And isn't it true about it being hard to get yourself to make up the new supplies sometimes? It's silly b/c really it's so fast, like you say. Sometimes those little jobs just loom large our minds though I guess. Anyway, good job. Voted up!