Easy to Make Homemade Household Cleaners!

When the bathroom gets really gross, or the kitchen is covered in greasy grime, it can be comforting to use a harsh chemical to get rid of the mess. We’ve been conditioned to think the more toxic the chemical, the better it will clean.

However, harsh chemicals can be bad for the air inside the home. Studies have shown links between stay-at-home moms and higher cancer rates due to inhalation of toxic chemicals ( Also, dumping all those chemicals down the drain is terrible for the water supply. The toxic substances found in many household cleaners are not adequately removed by sewage treatment plants. Once the water leaves the plants, it is returned to the water supply.

All good reasons to ditch those chemicals, and start cleaning our homes like our grandmothers did. They really do work, and I promise your house will smell fresh and clean.

As with any cleaner, if something is precious to you, test a small spot before cleaning, so you don’t ruin you favorite things.

One more thing. Go buy yourself a stack of bar rags, or cut up some old clothes or tablecloths, and get rid of those paper towels. There’s really no need for them. A lot of natural resources goes into making those towels, and they don’t work any better than a plain old rag. When the rag gets gross, just throw it in the wash with the rest of the laundry. Not only will you be saving trees, you’ll be saving money too.

Four an all-purpose household cleaner, try one of these:

In a spray bottle add:

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup water

Just spray and wipe clean

For a more heavy duty cleaner:

2 tsp. Borax (found in the laundry detergent isle)

4 tbsp. white vinegar

1/4 tsp castile soap

3 cups hot water

Surface Cleaner:

1 1/2 cup baking soda

1/2 water

Mix in a jar to create a paste. Spread over the desired surface and clean with a sponge.

Disinfecting cutting boards

Rub a half lemon on the surface. For tough stains let the lemon juice sit for a while, or rub in a little salt.

Bathroom Mold Remover

1 part hydrogen peroxide

Two parts water

Spray on mold. Wait at least an hour before rinsing.


1 cup peroxide in the wash instead of bleach.

Fabric Softener: 1 cup vinegar to the laundry. Just add to rinse cycle, or in the fabric softener compartment.

Window Cleaners:

In a spray bottle add:

1 tbsp. lemon juice

2 cups water

Or 1/4 cup white vinegar

2 cups water

For an extra strength glass cleaner:

1 cup rubbing alcohol

1 cup water

1 tbsp ammonia (non-sudsing)

Wipe with a rag like you would for a store bought cleaner.

Floor cleaners

Vinyl and linoleum:

1 cup vinegar

A few drops baby oil

1 gallon warm water


Equal parts water and vinegar plus 15 drops pure peppermint oil.

Wood floor polish:

1 part vegetable oil

1 part vinegar

Rub in well

Brick and stone:

1 cup vinegar

1 gallon water

After washing rinse with water

Carpet cleaners

Use equal parts vinegar and water. Spray on the stain and let sit several minutes. Clean with brush or sponge and soapy water.

For greasy spots:

Sprinkle corn starch onto grease. Wait 15-30 minutes. Then vacuum.

For tough stains:

1/4 cup salt

1/4 cup borax

1/4 cup vinegar

Rub paste into carpet and leave for a few hours. Then vacuum.

Furniture polish

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup lemon juice

Shake well. Apply with a flannel rag. Spread evenly. Polish with a dry cloth.

Metal Polish

Aluminum: using a soft cloth, clean with a solution of cream of tartar and water.

Brass or bronze: polish with a soft cloth dipped in lemon and baking-soda solution, or vinegar and salt solution. Use a drop of ketchup on tarnished spots.

Chrome: polish with baby oil or vinegar.

Copper: soak a cotton rag in a pot of boiling water with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 cup white vinegar. Apply to copper while hot; let cool, then wipe clean. For tougher jobs, sprinkle baking soda or lemon juice on a soft cloth, then wipe. You could also apply a little ketchup on a soft cloth and rub over tarnished spots.

Silver: line a pan with aluminum foil. Add two tablespoons baking soda. Place silver in pan and fill with hot water. Let sit. For really tarnished pieces, buff with a cloth.

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Rachael Ray