Two women, different locations, same accident. Both, while using an ordinary commercial toilet bowl cleaner, were not satisfied with the way it was not removing stains. Each added household chlorine bleach and stirred with a brush. One died quickly, the other spent a long time in the hospital.
Whenever chlorine bleach comes into contact with acid or an acid-producing substance like toilet bowl cleaner or vinegar, there is a sudden release of chlorine gas. This is not a good thing! A similar result occurs when chlorine bleach is mixed with ammonia, lye, or just about anything other than ordinary soap and water. Chlorine gas is lethal.
Now that I have your attention let me assure you: If you stay clear of chlorine bleach as an ingredient, you have nothing to fear by making your own cleaning products. But, you may be wondering, why should you even consider making your own cleaning products? The cost, for starters.
You know that blue window cleaner sitting on your counter, right? You paid about 32 cents an ounce for it and it’s 95% water!
Your own products will cost only pennies and will not contain toxic chemicals that could be harmful to your family and the environment. Homemade cleaning products just make sense, don’t they?
Glass, Mirror, and Window Cleaners
Club soda straight up
For a light-duty glass cleaner, just pour club soda (less than 2 cents an ounce) into a spray bottle and you have a very effective, non-toxic glass cleaner. How simple and cheap is that?
Vinegar and water
Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a spray bottle. If glass is particularly dirty, wash with warm soapy water first.
Ammonia and rubbing alcohol
This is a heavy-duty formula for super dirty, challenging situations. Mix household ammonia and rubbing alcohol together in equal proportions in a spray bottle. Label and keep out of reach of children. This is strong stuff and powerful, too!
- MORE: How to Get Your Windows Sparkling Clean—Cheaper, Better, Faster!
Combine 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 1/4 cup baking soda into a gallon of warm water. Mix well.
Copycat Soft Scrub
This is a terrific homemade version of Soft Scrub. Make sure you measure the ingredients exactly: In a small bowl mix together 1 2/3 cups baking soda with 1/2 cup of liquid soap (not detergent). Dilute with 1/2 cup water and add 2 tablespoons white vinegar. Stir with a fork until smooth and all the lumps are gone. Pour into a 16-ounce squeeze container with a squirt flip-top cap (like a ketchup bottle or similar). Shake well before each use. Keep tightly capped between uses. Hint: Rinse the flip-top cap after each use so that it won’t get clogged.
Regular cleaning with plain soap and hot water will kill some bacteria.
Borax (Twenty-Mule Team is one brand of borax) has excellent disinfectant and deodorizing properties. Mix 1/2 cup borax (available in the supermarket laundry aisle) into one-gallon hot water and mix thoroughly.
Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
This is an excellent disinfectant—either 70% or 91%. Sponge or spray it on and allow to dry. It must dry to do its job. Use in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves.
Toilet Bowl Cleaners
Baking soda and vinegar
Sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, then drizzle with vinegar and scour with a toilet brush. This combination both cleans and deodorizes.
Borax and lemon juice
For removing a stubborn stain or ring, mix enough borax and lemon juice to form a paste. Apply the paste to the ring, allow to sit for two hours, and scrub thoroughly.
- Always test any product you’ve not tried before in an inconspicuous spot so you’ll know how it reacts.
- Always clearly label any kind of cleaning product, even if you’re sure you’ll remember what it is and what it contains. Someone else in the household might not be as knowledgeable.
- Always keep cleaning products of any kind out of the reach of kids and pets.
Question: What is your favorite cheap homemade cleaning product or solution? Please use the comments area below to tell us about that!
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