I pretty much hate to buy things I know I can make for less money and the time required to find them in a store. Take cleaning products for example. Knowing I can make specific cleaners for pennies that cost dollars in a store just makes me happy. It’s a no-brainer.
Here are my top five homemade cleaner recipes to help you get started saving all that money you’ve been spending on cleaning products.
Homemade Eyeglasses Cleaning Solution
Fill a spray bottle of any size 3/4 full of 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol (91% of 99% are fine to use here, but more costly and not necessary). Add 2 drops mild dishwashing liquid (Blue Dawn is ideal), and fill the rest of the bottle with distilled water*. Gently shake or roll the bottle to mix, so as to not create a lot of bubbles. To use: Spray both sides of your lenses and gently rub them clean with a microfiber cloth.
Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid
Pour 3 cups rubbing alcohol, 1 tablespoon Blue Dawn and 10 cups distilled water* into a one-gallon-size plastic jug. Shake thoroughly to mix. Use in place of commercial windshield washer fluid in your car’s windshield washer reservoir. Always shake prior to adding to the reservoir. The alcohol cleans well because it is a solvent, speeds the drying time, and keeps the fluid from freezing in winter.
Homemade Kitchen Counter Cleaner
Countertops made of granite, marble, and stone are tricky because these materials are porous and stain easily. You never want to clean them with anything acidic, which means vinegar and lemon juice are both out.
Here is a homemade countertop cleaner that will not stain nor is it acidic. It works like a champ to clean and shine ALL types of counters—granite, marble, stone, quartzite, quartz, and Formica, too.
Pour 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol into a 16-oz. spray bottle. Add 3 drops (only 3) Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent, 5 to 10 drop essential oil (this is optional, but will add a nice fragrance) plus enough distilled water* to fill the bottle. Apply the spray top and shake to mix. You can use this cleaner to clean and shine your appliances, too. Be sure to label this product clearly.
Homemade Hardwood and Laminate Floor Cleaner
One part rubbing alcohol to four parts distilled water (example: 1 cup alcohol, 4 cups distilled water or multiples thereof) plus 3 or 4 drops blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. Mix this up in a spray bottle each time you clean the floors. Or if you make it up ahead, be sure to label it well and keep it out of the reach of children.
To use: Sweep or vacuum the floor. Spray the cleaner in a small area, scrub well with a cloth or sponge and immediately wipe the area dry with a microfiber cloth. The secret is to spray, scrub and wipe dry immediately. If you do not want to do this on your hands and knees, I recommend this Hardwood Floor Spray Mop for both wood and laminate floors. It sprays the cleaner from its removable bottle that lets you make your own. This mop is fabulous because it has a large surface with an even bigger detachable microfiber cleaning pad that swivels for really easy handling. It makes scrubbing wood and laminate floors a breeze.
I just got a message from my dear reader Cliff who wrote, “About a year ago I clipped your column from the local newspaper as I was interested in your distilled water, alcohol, and Blue Dawn recipe for cleaning hardwood floors. Recently I tried it and it’s great. Far better than anything I have ever used.”
Homemade Carpet Shampoo Cleaner
This is an ideal shampoo to be used in your Hoover SteamVac or other carpet cleaning machine. Into the cleaner’s reservoir, pour 1 cup Febreze, 1 cup liquid OxiClean Laundry Stain Remover and 1 cup white vinegar. Add hot water to the fill line. This is the solution I use in my Hoover SteamVac for challenging situations, like my office that gets a lot of traffic. Once I’ve cleaned the carpet thoroughly I fill Hoover with clear hot water and go over the carpets again to rinse.
This homemade solution should not leave a sticky residue on your carpet fibers (I rinse just because I’m especially paranoid about removing all residue) and will not cost a fortune to shampoo the whole house. Commercial carpet cleaning solutions can be expensive. A small bottle that normally cleans one to two rooms is approximately $15 to $20. Making this recipe should cut that cost down to $5 or less if you get the ingredients on sale.
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*Distilled water is not mandatory in any of these recipes, but a good idea for this reason: Tap water can leave hard water marks on eyeglasses, floors, windshields, and countertops. Distilled water will not. You can buy distilled water in any supermarket or discount department store. It’s cheap.
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