6 Homemade Cleaning Products

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Keeping your house clean for cheap can be difficult if you’re always buying commercial cleaning products. These 6 homemade cleaning products use simple ingredients that have been proven to work over time. They’re not always as effective as the commercial products, but they’ll get the job done most of the time.

All-Purpose Cleaner

Homemade Cleaning SuppliesAmmonia has been used as an effective cleaner for years. It’s not something you’d want to drink, but it’s cheap and it works. Soapy ammonia is especially useful as a cleaning agent. You can use it for most of your kitchen and bathroom cleaning jobs. You can buy it as a pre-mixed cleaner in many stores (dilute according to directions). Or you can make your own. Simple mix about 1/3 cup of ammonia with 2/3 cup of water and add a squirt of dish detergent.

Floor Wax Stripper

By mixing 1/2 cup of powdered floor cleaner with 2 cups ammonia and 1 gallon of cold water, you can make your own floor wax stripper. Rub it on the floor with a fine steel wool pad and get ready for a lot of scrubbing! You can make the formula a little bit better by mixing in a little rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol).

Furniture Cleaner

You don’t need any fancy anti-static spray to clean the furniture in your house. Some plain water and a little bit of mild liquid detergent will clean furniture with a sealed finish just fine. Mix it up in a spray bottle for easy application. Just spray some on the furniture, wipe with a damp cloth, then follow it up with a dry, lint-free cloth to finish drying.

Silver Tarnish Cleaner

This solution will strip all the tarnish off a piece of silver, so don’t use it on an antique or something with a detailed pattern. Take a piece of aluminum foil and put it in the bottom of a plastic or glass container. Lay your tarnished silver on top and sprinkle it with 1 to 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Then pour about 2 quarts of very hot water (just under boiling) over it all. Let it sit until the bubbles stop. Then you can rinse it and polish it with a soft cloth.

This works by breaking down the silver sulfide (that’s what tarnish is) and transfers it to the aluminum foil. Then you just throw out the foil. You can also clean large pieces this way by using the sink with more hot water and baking soda.

Wall Cleaner

With a solution of 1 cup chlorine bleach, 3 cups water, and 2 teaspoons of trisodium phosphate (TSP), you’ll have an effective wall cleaner that can cut through mildew and grime. You should test your paint or wallpaper in an inconspicuous area before using this or any other liquid based wall cleaner.

Apply this solution with a sponge or soft brush and work from the bottom up. Let it sit a few minutes to break down any grime, then rinse it with a damp cloth. Be sure you don’t dump any of this solution down the drain as trisodium phosphate isn’t good for the environment. But using it this way you won’t need to worry about environmental effects. It’s also non-toxic so no need to worry about that.

You can usually find trisodium phosphate in hardware stores with the paint supplies. (In higher concentrations it’s a great prep for repainting as it deglosses shiny surfaces so the next layer of paint will stick better.)

What Homemade Cleaning Products Do You Use?

Do you have a favorite homemade cleaning product you like to use to cut costs? Let us know the details in the comments below! I’ll start. We also like to use vinegar solutions for a variety of things. Anyone else use vinegar as a cleaning product?

photo credit: (Anne Hornyak on Flickr)


  1. says

    I’ve used both salt and baking soda in lieu of toothpaste.

    Not necessarily cleaning, but a solution of 1/3 water and 2/3 fabric softener will dissolve the glue on wall paper and uses the same solvent that commercial wall paper removal uses. Also using half warm water and half vinigar works about as well for that job. I have noticed a recipe using amonia on-line, but haven’t tried it. Can you guess what my most recent project has been?

  2. says

    Thanks for sharing your ideas, Art! Did you use salt by itself for toothpaste? I’m just thinking about the taste…and sodium intake. :)

    I know removing wallpaper can be a pain – especially when it’s been on there for years. Glad to hear you found some homemade solutions that work!

  3. says

    I like your suggestions very much. I have never heard of the wall cleaner before and I can not wait to try it. I like to use olive oil and lemon juice for my furniture polish. It also, works well for making your shoes and tires on your car to shine. For cleaning the ring out of my toilet, I use baking soda and lemon juice. Before you go to bed at night, sprinkle baking soda and lemon juice on the ring and let it sit while you sleep. In the morning rinse or clean like normal and the ring will be gone.

  4. says

    Thanks for sharing your suggestions, Jill! Baking soda has a lot of uses as well. One of the best I’ve heard is using it to clean out a scorched pan. Fill the pan with water, sprinkle in some baking soda, bring it to a boil for about 5-10 minutes, and then let it sit overnight. The next day the scorched parts will come right out as you wash it!

  5. says

    I have ALWAYS wanted to try these. The other day in the grocery store I saw some new multi-purpose vinegar cleaning sprays, I wonder if these are cheaper than making your own.

  6. says

    When I used salt in lieu of tooth paste, restricting sodium wasn’t on anybody’s radar:-(.
    Of course you try not to swallow any. Like Buckleys, it tastes awful, but it works. Who knows what damage it might do to the enamel on teeth, but it will take off what tooth paste leaves behind. Still, I like tooth paste better!

  7. says

    @Lauren: Based on what I’ve read about cleaning with vinegar, you’re probably just as well off making your own solutions. My guess is they’d be just as good and probably cheaper.

    @Art: I’ll have to ask my dentist about salt as a last resort toothpaste. I would think it could possibly do some damage to your tooth enamel. I think I’ll stick to toothpaste or baking soda if I can though!

  8. Rachel says

    In my family, we are eliminating all chemicals from our home and that includes all of our cleaning products. We have found pure essential oils to be a great addition to our recipes. Here are a few we love…not only do they smell great, but you can be assured that your family can safely handle and breathe them.

    Glass Window Cleaner
    2 cups water
    ΒΌ cup vinegar
    3-4 drops Lemon Essentail Oil
    Put into spray bottle and shake to blend.

    Air freshener
    6 drops Lavender Essential Oil
    6 Drops Lemon Essential Oil
    3 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
    Mix with pure water in a spray bottle.

  9. says

    Thanks for sharing, Rachel! I haven’t tried essential oils, but I’m sure they smell great. Does the glass cleaner leave any oily residue? I wouldn’t think so since it’s so little oil.

  10. says

    You need my OxyClean recipe.
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup baking soda (or washing soda for really bad stains)
    1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide
    You can find washing soda at your local hardware store. Arm & Hammer makes some.

    You can find out what’s in the commercial stuff at my post called “5 Dumb Ideas That Made Millions”. It’s on the list.

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