DIY Cleaning Products Tips and Tricks


Have you checked the list of ingredients on those bottles of cleaning products under the sink? Can you even pronounce them? Yikes! I can tell you that a product name containing “petro” belongs at the gas station, not used to clean your home.

Girl Cleaning Lady sponge spray cleaner vinegar

Today I want to share with you a list of squeaky-clean, toxin-free cleaning tips using the three items very likely found in your kitchen at this moment—baking soda, white vinegar and lemons.

Clean up the coffee maker. Get your coffee maker back into new condition by running a cycle using white vinegar in place of water. The vinegar will break up mineral build-up and deodorize the machine at the same time. Be sure to rinse out every trace of vinegar before brewing up your next pot, by running plain water through it a few times.

Vacuum up pet dander and odor. If you have pets, you have no idea what is lurking in your carpeting. We’re talking dander and hairballs, and other things not so lovely. So do this: Sprinkle a little baking soda across your carpet and wait 15 minutes while it works its magic. Next, vacuum (you remember my favorite vacuum, right?) the areas where you’ve sprinkled the baking soda. You’ll be shocked and amazed at how much more pet dander is pulled out of the carpet and how fresh your home smells afterward. Unless you’re getting rid of the pets anytime soon, you’ll want to do this vacuuming trick often.

Wash out the washing machine. Get rid of the musty smell in your washing machine by using white vinegar to a load of wash. It will pull that stinky smell right out. Added bonus: vinegar also acts as a wonderful and completely natural fabric softener.

Deodorize the disposal. If your stinky disposal is setting of odor alarms in your kitchen, toss a handful or two of ice down the the disposal, throw in a couple of lemon wedges and turn it on. The ice chunks will clear out any gunk hanging around and the lemon will deodorize and clean.

Nuke the microwave. Deodorize and clean your microwave with nothing more than two tablespoons of baking soda and a cup of water. Combine the two in a bowl, microwave for 3 minutes on full power. Remove the bowl (it will be hot so be careful!) and wipe out the interior. Done. Clean!

Clean the toilet. This is so easy. Toss a cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl. Let it soak for an hour. Next add one cup of white vinegar. Wait 10 more minutes. Flush. Toilet clean without scrubbing! Hint: Use a toilet brush for an occasional scrub of the spots under the rim.

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10 replies
  1. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    leaving the washing machine door open, if possible, will also keep it from smelling musty. I use baking soda and vinegar in drains to keep them fresh and sanitized.

  2. Anne Michelle Larr
    Anne Michelle Larr says:

    This year for her science fair project, my daughter tested various home made cleaners against ecoli. Bleach water obviously killed all bacteria, but so did straight vinegar!! Lysol cleaner and tea tree oil and castile soap mixtures did not kill the e coli and introduced new bacteria into the mixture.

  3. Phyllis
    Phyllis says:

    After I’ve juiced lemons, I cut the rinds into quarters and toss them into a plastic freezer bag. When my garbage disposal gets nasty, I throw in a couple of the frozen rinds, run cold water, and turn on the disposal. This cleans the blades and freshens the disposal, and it recycles the rinds.

  4. ABC
    ABC says:

    I use the vinegar as fabric softener, and, as Mary says, it does work well. Keeps the washer from being stinky at the same time! I also use Mary’s laundry detergent formula, which works just fine.
    For bathtub soap scum, I use the formula Mary suggested in another column….equal parts Dawn and vinegar. Works great!
    I also use a concoction of vinegar, alcohol, and water for glass cleaning. It works great also. Found the “recipe” on the internet.
    The only thing I’ve tried that didn’t work was some suggestion on the internet to use some sort of alternative cleaning agent in the dishwasher, can’t remember what it was, maybe just plain baking soda….that did not work, still sticking with the “boughten” kind. But I do put vinegar in the place where you would normally put the rinse agent (Jet-Dry? Been so long I can hardly remember what it’s called.) I figure that will get off any of the chemicals left on the dishes in the wash cycle and not add any more, like Jet-Dry would.

  5. J. R.
    J. R. says:

    I read the tip for vinegar in the washing machine from another source. The suggested amount was half a cup in the rinse cycle.

  6. Cleaner upper
    Cleaner upper says:

    Did you mean to suggest an amount of vinegar in this sentence? “Wash out the washing machine. Get rid of the musty smell in your washing machine by using XX white vinegar to a load of wash.”

  7. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    Thanks for these handy tips. It will be good to be rid of chemicals in bathroom and kitchen. I like using borax and washing soda (with gloves) for tough jobs around the house.


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