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Save money at the store and make your own natural cleaning products with a few simple, budget-friendly ingredients. I cover everything you need to pull together a DIY cleaning toolkit. Homemade cleaners are easy to make and work just as well as anything you would buy at the store.
Making your own cleaning products is easier than you may think and can have a have a huge impact on your family budget. We spend quite a bit on everything from all-purpose cleaner to toilet bowl cleaner, glass cleaner, and so on, but there are simple and effective recipes for all of these. If you invest in a few items, you can build a cleaning toolkit that will help you create products that are inexpensive and toxin-free.
We include all cleaning products into our grocery budget for easy tracking, so this is a great way to save some money and make more room for food!
I get the majority of these products from Thrive Market, which is essentially an online health food store. Think Costco meets Whole Foods. They carry almost all of the natural products and organic pantry staples that we use for 25-50% less than traditional retail store.
You can use my link to try Thrive Market for 30 days PLUS get an additional 25% off your first order. Stock up on all of your DIY cleaning needs and see if Thrive Market could work for your family.
Once you have made the initial investment into these ingredients, you will be able to make homemade cleaners for pennies.
1. BAKING SODA:
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is used in cleaning products to fight dirt, grease, and odor. I prefer to use Bob’s Red Mill baking soda for cooking, but when I’m making cleaning products, I just buy the biggest bag of Arm & Hammer baking soda.
Vinegar is 5% acetic acid, which makes it useful for fighting bacteria. Though vinegar is versatile, it cannot be used on surfaces like marble and granite. The smell of vinegar can be strong, so I love to add essential oils to freshen up the scent.
Ingredient Note: Never combine vinegar with castile soap or hydrogen peroxide. Vinegar is best mixed with distilled water.
3. DISTILLED WATER:
When making homemade cleaning products, clean tap water can be used for temporary storage or when the cleaner will be used quickly. For long-term storage, it is best to use distilled water or boiled and then cooled water to limit the possibility of bacteria growth.
4. COCONUT OR OLIVE OIL:
5. CASTILE SOAP:
Castile soap is one of my favorite ingredients to have on hand for DIY cleaning. Castile soap is a vegetable-based soap made of all non-toxic ingredients. It is gentle enough to be used on skin, but it is tough enough to fight dirt, grease, and germs.
Castile soap really is one of the most versatile non-toxic cleaning ingredients. It can be used on everything: your new baby, your toilet, or your face.
Ingredient Note: Do not mix with vinegar.
6. HYDROGEN PEROXIDE:
When I think about hydrogen peroxide, I always remember my mom using it to clean our cuts and scrapes when we had a bad fall. I’ve also poured some in my ears before when I have an ear ache to help prevent the onset of an ear infection. You hear that fizz in your ear and just know it has to be doing something!
The reason hydrogen peroxide is so amazing for everything from cuts and scrapes to laundry is its amazing disinfecting abilities. I don’t use hydrogen peroxide often, but it’s amazing to have on hand when you need it.
Ingredient Note: You NEVER want to combine hydrogen peroxide with vinegar when making homemade cleaning recipes. You will create peracetic acid, which can be irritating and corrosive. Also, make sure to store hydrogen peroxide in a dark container or space in your home as it is sensitive to light.
7. SAL SUDS:
Sal Suds is Dr. Bronner’s version of soap, but it’s chemical make-up makes it better classified as a detergent. Sal Suds was formulated for tougher cleaning project such as grease and more stubborn dirt. Many people in the non-toxic cleaning and natural community debate over the use of Sal Suds due to Sodium Laurel Sulfate in the ingredients list.
Some people use it while others choose to stay away. I encourage you to do your own personal research and make a decision for yourself. My decision to use it was based on these trustworthy resources:
- Sal Suds received an A rating on the Environmental Working Group website
- Lisa Bronner gives her take on Sal Suds
8. ALCOHOL (VODKA AND/OR RUBBING ALCOHOL):
Vodka’s high alcohol count makes it perfect for killing germs, mold, and mildew. Vodka is also amazing for killing odors and freshening fabrics.
Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, is considered an anti-septic. It’s anti-septic qualities make great for killing germs in homemade cleaners. Vodka and rubbing alcohol can be used interchangeably in cleaning recipes depending on what you have on hand.
9. ESSENTIAL OILS:
Essential oils may appear to be a new trend, but they’ve actually been used by generations before us. It’s only in the last couple of generations that we’ve transitioned over to more conventional store-bought products and over-the-counter medications.
Essential oils are the volatile fluid inside of aromatic plants. Some experts consider them the lift-or essence- of the plant. It’s what gives plants their fragrances and many studies have shown that the essential oil is a significant support int he healthy of the plant. Among other things, essential oils help the plant heal itself, repair damaged tissue, and rid itself of toxic substances and free radicals.
A few of my favorite essential oils for cleaning include: Lemon, Orange, Pine, Tea Tree, Lavender, and Thieves.
DIY Cleaning Recipes to Get Started
Here are some of my favorite homemade cleaning recipes to get you started. It only takes a few minutes to make these recipes, and most of them will last you several months.
- Homemade Natural All-Purpose Cleaner
- DIY Streak-free Glass and Window Cleaner
- Homemade Sink and Bath Scrub (like Soft Scrub)
- Homemade Produce Wash
If you want to use safer products but aren’t much of a DIY-er, I wrote a post on how to find the safest natural store-bought products.
What cleaning product are you going to try first? Have you been making your own cleaners already?