A clean home is a happy home, but getting it that way can cost you serious money. You don’t need to schedule a pricey cleaning service or stock up on a cupboard full of expensive cleaning products to create a sparkling clean space. A few easy-to-make homemade cleaners can serve you better than an overpriced bottle from the store.
Another bonus to using DIY cleaning products is that you know exactly what’s in them. Having complete control over the ingredients you use to make your own cleaning spray means you can guarantee its effectiveness, so no more time will be spent worrying if the cleaner actually, you know, cleans. You can also tailor cleaning products to your specific needs. If you can’t stand artificial scents or have sensitive skin, it’s a lot cheaper and easier to make your own cleaner than to hunt down a specialized product while shopping.
What is the best homemade cleaning solution you should make and use? Read on for six homemade DIY cleaners that are effective and will save you money.
1. DIY all-purpose cleaner and deodorizer
Fill a spray bottle with half water and half white distilled vinegar to make a useful, DIY all-purpose cleaning solution. If you wish, you can customize the scent to your preference by adding a slice of lemon or orange or throwing some rosemary or lavender sprigs into the bottle for a natural, fresh scent.
You can use this homemade spray in pretty much every room in your home. Use it directly on solid surfaces like countertops, painted walls and the inside of the refrigerator. It also works on windows, stainless steel and chrome fixtures, and uneven and sensitive surfaces like keyboards and remote controls. To get the best streak-free shine, spray the solution onto a lint-free cloth or paper towel, or use cotton balls or swabs to get into nooks and crannies to clean. Diluted vinegar also helps get rid of stubborn smells in lunch boxes and plastic containers, which means you can cross getting new ones off your shopping list.
2. Homemade glass cleaner
If you have kids or a pet, you know how dirty mirrors and windows can get. Mix together either two tablespoons of vinegar or one tablespoon of ammonia with a quart of water for an easy cleaning spray. Spray this solution onto a soft cloth or paper towel and then wipe the glass until clear. You can also use newspaper to achieve a truly streak-free shine. Another tip: Don’t clean your windows when the sun is on them, or the solution may dry too quickly and leave streaks.
Microfiber cleaning cloths are soft, lint-free and absorbent. For best results, wash them separately from other laundry and they’ll help you clean your home with fewer chemicals.
For an even cheaper glass cleaner, use plain hot water. Wet a cloth with the hottest water you can handle without burning yourself and give your mirror or window a few passes with it. If you have one, use a window or tub squeegee to remove the water. If not, simply catch the drips with a dry cloth. This DIY method has the bonus of helping to remove any old residue left behind by hairspray or previous cleaning sprays.
3. No-mix heavy duty cleansers
There are several household products that you can use as is, straight from the bottle, including vinegar and baking soda. These provide a deeper clean, and may not be needed every time you clean.
You can wipe greasy surfaces, like stove tops, oven doors, ceiling fans, and shower doors with undiluted white distilled vinegar for an easy clean. If you have a particularly stubborn spot of grease or dirt, saturate the area and then let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing with water. Vinegar will also act as a disinfectant, meaning that you can use it to help keep cutting boards and similar surfaces free from germs. We recommend first washing with soap and warm water, and then spraying the area with vinegar and allowing it to air dry.
To attack stains and other scum, turn to another pantry staple: baking soda. Sprinkle it on sinks, tile, stained mugs, pots and pans, or anywhere else you would use a cleaner, and then scrub with a wet sponge. For heavy dirt or grease, make a paste by mixing baking soda with a small amount of water. Let this mixture stand for 15 minutes before scrubbing. For small surface areas, like grout, try using an old toothbrush or another small brush to scrub. Once you’re done, rinse with water.
4. Simple DIY drain cleaner
Drains will inevitably start to smell or look questionable after a while. Skip the chemical-laden drain cleaners and instead use baking soda and white vinegar to freshen up your drains. Pour one cup of baking soda followed by one cup of hot white vinegar down your drain or garbage disposal. Wait five minutes to allow the mixture to work, and then run hot water down the drain. This clever cleaning solution works best as a monthly preventive measure. If your drain is already clogged or heading that way, this homemade cleaner may not be enough to clear it out.
5. Homemade bathroom disinfectant
The secret to a clean bathroom lies in a single product: Borax powder. Another great no-mix cleaning solution, you can sprinkle it straight from the can onto bathroom surfaces, such as counters, showers, bathtubs, and sinks. Scrub the surface using a wet brush or sponge, and then rinse with plain water.
To tackle cleaning your toilet bowl, you can use a half cup of Borax or combine one cup of vinegar with a quarter cup of baking soda. Sprinkle the solution in the bowl, and let stand for 15 minutes before you scrub and flush.
6. Emergency stain remover
Wearing a white piece of clothing is just tempting fate. You will inevitably spill something or stain your otherwise pristine garment. Luckily, there’s a way to get to get whites back to their original, untarnished state without investing in chemical stain remover. Pour a gallon of hot water into a stainless steel or plastic bowl, then add in one cup of dishwasher detergent (powdered is best) and one cup of regular liquid chlorine bleach. Give this DIY solution a good stir, then set your clothing in the bowl to soak for 15 to 20 minutes. If the stain hasn’t lifted by then, let it soak a little longer before washing it as usual.
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