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Guest Post: Making Your Own Homemade Cleaners

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photo by Brittney Bush

Guest Post by Heidi from Frugal Girls

One way I've found to save our family a lot of money is to make our own cleaners. It took me awhile before I was willing to try this, but after I did a quick analysis of how much money I could save, I knew it was time to start making up some frugal cleaning solutions of my own! 

These solutions literally cost approximately $0.40 to make, as opposed to the $3 or $4 price tag you’ll often see on cleaners at the store. Here are two of my favorite tried and true “recipes” for homemade cleaning solutions:

Homemade 409
2 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon Borax
1/8 cup Dawn dish soap
1 cup hot water

Pour vinegar, borax, and hot water into spray bottle. Then continue filling spray bottle with cool water.
Add dish soap last. There is no need to shake. 

Homemade Laundry Stain Remover
1/3 cup Dawn dish soap
1/3 cup ammonia
3 Tablespoon baking soda
1 cup water

Mix all ingredients together and store in an empty spray bottle. I was skeptical of this one at first, but since I have two boys
who are dirt and grass-stain magnets I gave it a try and I've found
that it has never let me down!

If you haven’t tried making your own cleaning solutions, I’d highly encourage you to try! You just need a few simple ingredients and you’re on your way to some effective and thrifty solutions. It’s easy to do, and you might be amazed at how much money you’ll save!

Frugal Girls is a positive and fun site dedicated to helping you save money and stretch your dollars by finding the best bargains, hottest coupons, thrifty meals, and outrageous deals!

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21 Comments

  • mistyG says:

    i found a recipe for a bathtub/shower cleaner on another blog. 1 cup borax, 1 cup iodized salt and 1 cup baking soda. it works great, you just have to rinse a bit more. it is a great alternative to comit.

  • Olivia @Independent Beginnings says:

    Nice post! I have been curious about home-made cleaners and other household items for a while. This one seems easy enough I might actually try it!

  • Carrie says:

    I agree! I have been making my own Laundry Soap and Fabric Softener. I love them. I will never depend on store bought cleaners again! I also have a wonderful window cleaner recipe. You can see my recipes on my blog~http://www.farmingonfaith.blogspot.com/
    Blessings~
    Carrie

  • MissAmy says:

    The last all-purpose cleaner I got the recipe for called for Castille soap which I am still looking for. I believe I already have all the ingredients for the your homemade 409. Thank you thank you thank you!

  • tish says:

    i have been using straight baking soda for my shower lately (though I had some of those clorox cleaning wand refills that I had here with it) it works so well, though I do wonder what happens when i run out of cleaning pads?? I think i just need to see the suds to feel like it’s getting clean?? I have heard that baking soda does not scratch, while borax may.

    I’d love to find a nice recipe for an after shower spray.. i had used a vinegar/water/tea tree oil recipe once, but i wasn’t crazy about it.. left a kind of waxy residue and made my tub hold onto the grime even more. perhaps just the vinegar/water?

  • Julie says:

    I’ve posted directions and pictures of how the ladies in our church have begun making our own laundry soap. Rave reviews so far, even by the husbands! Here’s the link:

    http://luv2bfrugal.blogspot.com/2009/05/frugal-solution-to-expensive-laundry.html

  • Emily says:

    MissAmy – Castille soap is ‘old fashioned’ soap made from olive oil and lye. The term is loosely applied to include all soaps that are made by saponifying oil with lye. The most popular brand (and you can find it in Target and some Walgreens) is Dr. Bronners but I can find (Mikes?) castille soap in my laundry aisle right next to the Fels Naptha. Of course, you can find castille soap at natural stores. You could definitely substitute liquid castille soap for Dawn.

    We also make our own dishwashing detergent from a 1:1 ratio of Borax and SuperWashing Soda. I also put vinegar in the rinse cup. It works just as good as the other kinds and it’s dirt cheap.

    Cheers, Em

  • Amanda says:

    I love using vinegar and baking soda to clean the toilet. You can use vinegar or baking soda to clean almost anything!

  • Jenney says:

    I keep a spray bottle of 1/2 water, 1/2 vinegar, a few drops of tea tree oil and a couple drops of peppermint essential oil on my kitchen counter. Works and smells great. I am going to try out the 409 recipe tomorrow!

    I make laundry soap too. I blogged about it last December.
    http://snacksbabiesandlaundry.blogspot.com/2008/12/homemade-laundry-soap.html

  • Jan says:

    here’s some ideas for make your own natural weed and pest sprays
    http://theworkingmomblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/wfmw-control-garden-pests-and-weeds.html

  • Steph says:

    Is there any worry about the ammonia damaging the color of the clothing?

  • Heather says:

    Is Dawn dishwashing soap an absolute must for effectiveness or can it be another brand like Ajax?

    When you mix your ingredients do you have separate containers for mixing- one for laundry detergent, one for 409, etc- or do you just rinse one out every time you make a new cleaning product?

    Thanks for your help!

  • Sara says:

    Where can I find ammonia for the stain remover? With two little ones and one more on the way, I’m tired of buying the expensive stain removers, and have been wanting to try something for a while! Thanks!

  • Bethany says:

    I’ve been using an all purpose disinfectant cleaner for a few years, and love it.

    1/4 cup isopropyl alcohol
    1/4 cup white vinegar
    Fill remainder of quart spray bottle with water

    This cleans counters, appliances, windows, and bathrooms great! The alcohol provides the disinfectant.

    For less than $3.00 you can buy 2-16 oz isopropyl and 1- 32 oz vinegar, and have enough to make 8 bottles of cleaner! Each bottles lasts 3-4 weeks, YMMV ( I have a really small kitchen and bathroom 🙂

  • Melissa Pratt says:

    Once you make the cleaners how long do they last? In otherwords can you make it up once a month or so and use it as you need it or do you have to use it up all at once? Thanks

  • Clair at Mummy Deals says:

    I love these ideas! I’ve got a cheap window cleaner and cheap baby wipes recipe here – http://www.mummydeals.org/2009/05/cheap-cleaners.html

  • Felicia says:

    Here is another awesome link to homemade household cleaners!!! She even makes her own labels!

    http://www.jollymom.com/2009/01/make-something-monday.html

  • Leah says:

    i use just 50/50 – water/vinegar in a spray bottle for just about all surface cleaning, even glass.

    My mother recently performed a miracle on a seemingly stained old shower n tub with cream of tarter and hair conditioner!

  • Lauren says:

    Hardwood Floor Cleaner:
    1 cup white vinegar in 1 gallon hot water
    Works way better than bought cleaner- Not sticky and no water spots!!

    Window Cleaner:
    1/4 cup white vinegar in 4 cups water
    (not as good as windex because it doesn’t dry very quickly but has no streaks and kids can still lick the windows.)

  • Faiza says:

    Oprah.com has some great recipes for making your own homemade cleaners. Here is the link.

    http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahshow/20090422-tows-green-cleaner-recipe

  • Faiza says:

    Can someone post a recipe for a really good homemade dishwasher detergent?

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