Whether you are looking for homemade cleaning products for health reasons or to save money, you’re in luck. There are homemade alternatives for just about any cleaning chore you face in your home. The best part is, you can look forward to the same or better results that you would achieve with its commercial counterpart.
The following recipe for homemade laundry detergent has been making the rounds around the Internet for a while. There are variations, but the one I’m sharing with you now has been tried and tested by me. It’s currently my go-to laundry detergent. Why is it so great? It’s inexpensive, lasts a long time, and actually works. Note: If you can’t find the ingredients at your supermarket, head to the cleaning aisle of your local hardware store.
- ½ cup Washing Soda
- ½ cup Borax
- 1/3 bar Fels-Naptha soap
Grate the Fels-Naptha soap using your kitchen box grater. Fill a stock pot with six cups of water. Add the Fels-Naptha and bring to a boil. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t boil over. Add the Borax and the washing soda to the water and mix with a spoon. Pour the water into a large bucket. Add a gallon and a half of tap water to the bucket and stir. Allow to sit undisturbed overnight. In the morning, you’ll find that it has set into a gelatinous consistency. Use as you would any commercial brand laundry detergent.
Fabric Softener Crystals
You’re probably familiar with those awesome new fabric softener crystals that add fragrance and softness to your laundry load. Unfortunately, they also lighten your wallet with their exorbitant cost. Now you can make a version yourself for pennies.
- 4 cups Epsom salt
- 8-10 drops fragrant oil
Just mix the two ingredients together into a bowl and mix well. Use about 1/8 of a cup per wash load. If you desire a stronger fragrance, add a few extra drops of fragrant oil.
Fabric Dryer Sheets
Fabric dryer sheets add a clean fragrance to your laundry during the dryer stage. They are inexpensive, but if you dislike throwing these sheets into the landfill each time, try this homemade, reusable version.
- Fabric wash cloths
- Fragrant oil
Gather a few clean and dry wash cloths and place them into a plastic shoe box. Drop about 2-3 drops of fragrant oil onto each cloth. Seal the box tightly. The fragrance will intensify since the lid is sealed. Add one wash cloth to each dryer load.
That big blue spray bottle of window cleaner works great, but it can be pricey. Especially since you probably use it to clean mirrors, windows and faucets. You can make a homemade version that is just as effective, though. Save your spray bottle and use it for this recipe:
- Distilled water (to fill)
- 2 Tablespoons of Ammonia
- Drop of dish detergent
Put the ammonia into the spray bottle first, and fill it with distilled water. Add a drop of dish detergent last. (If you put the detergent in first, you’ll get too many bubbles to fill your spray bottle with water.) Use just as you would commercial window cleaner.
A lot of the commercial brands of furniture polish leave a waxy film on your furniture. Over time, that film turns yellow, leaving your furniture looking dull and dingy. You can’t use straight water on your furniture, because wood doesn’t like water. If you don’t soak up all the water, you can end up with unsightly watermarks or cracked, dried-out wood.
One of the best ways to clean your furniture is to use a vacuum attachment to remove the dust. To polish your furniture to a high sheen, though, try this:
Use a microfiber cloth, which attracts and retains all those tiny dust particles. Spritz with a little bit of mineral oil and buff the furniture. The wood will soak up the oil, keeping it lustrous and shiny looking for years to come.
Bathroom and Kitchen Disinfectant
Kirstie Alley once went on the Oprah show and talked about how she uses vodka to disinfect her bathroom and kitchen. She’s not nuts. Vodka’s high alcohol content makes it an effective germ killer, and since it evaporates quickly, it will leave your bathroom and kitchen fixtures sparkling.
If you prefer to drink your vodka, though, here’s an alternative:
Fill a spray bottle with water and ¼ cup of white vinegar. The white vinegar works as a natural germ killer, and it will bring back the shine to water-splattered fixtures in the bathroom and kitchen. If you dislike the lingering odor of the vinegar, try adding a few drops of fragrant oil.
Making your own homemade cleaning products does save you money. But the biggest benefit is more of a health related one. So many chemicals these days have been linked to asthma, and other chronic health conditions that it makes good sense to avoid their use whenever possible.