Friday, July 23, 2010

My favorite homemade cleaning products

I've blogged a lot about homemade products I use on my hair and skin, but very little about homemade cleaning products. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that finding commercial products that worked for my hair and skin without causing reactions was such a challenge, and so homemade, natural personal care products have been a godsend to me. I just can't get as excited about stuff for cleaning. Plus, there are plenty of natural cleaning products on the market that work well and are reasonably priced, so I don't feel as much of a need to make my own. Planet dish detergent, Trader Joe's laundry powder, and Seventh Generation all-purpose cleaner are some that I use, just to name a few.

Nevertheless, I do make a few of my own cleaning products, and here are some that I like the best:

Bathtub scrub: in a bowl, stir together a lot of baking soda, a little liquid soap and a little more hydrogen peroxide until the mixture reaches a Soft Scrub or toothpaste-like consistency. Spread all over your tub and let it sit for a half hour. For tough stains, cover with a towel (hydrogen peroxide's power breaks down in light). Scrub with a scrub brush and rinse well. Your tub will be shining without any leftover grit. This formula also works well with stains on your kitchen sink.

Carpet and shoe freshener: I've been using this one since my daughter was a crawling baby. Mix together equal parts baking soda and corn starch (say, 1/2 cup each), and add about 15-20 drops essential oil. I add about 10 drops each of my favorites, sweet orange oil and peppermint oil. Stir well, add to a jar (ideally one that has a shaker top, but any jar will do), and cover. This last point is very important! Let the mixture sit for about 24 hours before use. If you use it too soon before the essential oils are dry, the stuff will stick to your socks, feet, or carpet and you'll end up with white dust footprints all over your house.

Once the mixture has dried, sprinkle on your carpet or in your shoes as needed. After about a half hour on the carpet, you can vacuum it up easily. When the smell in your shoes is gone, shake out the excess. How long it takes depends on the stinkiness of your shoes. :)

Deodorizer: Vinegar, vinegar, and more vinegar! I have found that nothing works quite like white vinegar to get rid of strong odors. I just love the stuff. I used to boil bathroom and kitchen sponges (laundering didn't work very well, since I wash in cold water), add baking soda, etc., and they still smelled like mildew. Now I soak them in white vinegar and pop them in the microwave for two minutes and the smell is gone! Add vinegar to a spray bottle and spray your smelly garbage can. Put vinegar in a bowl in your car overnight to get rid of musty smells in your car. The uses are endless.

You might object that vinegar itself has a strong, and to some people, unpleasant odor. Yes, it does. But here is the miracle of vinegar: once it dries or dissipates (usually after about a half hour), you can't smell the vinegar anymore and it takes the stinky odors with it.


  1. Amy, thanks for the tips. You ever consider adding the Blogger buttons that allow for easy sharing of your posts?

  2. Love your try to "green" clean too..thanks for the tips.

  3. Thanks, Lita! I appreciate many of the tips on your blog also.

  4. My mother always tells me that kitchen things can do a lot in the entire household. Like me, you use baking soda for cleaning your carpet. My mom does too, and sometimes she uses vinegar for carpet cleaning. Sugar Land, TX, is a land of knowledge when it comes to green cleaning methods. I actually love staying there and what I love the most is breathing fresh clean air which is the result of green framing and green living.

  5. Very nice post with a ton of informative information. vancouver gutter cleaning I really appreciate the fact that you approach these topics from a stand point of knowledge and information.

  6. Speaking of cleaning, some of my favorites are baking soda and vinegar. These are the cleaning products that I use even up to now that I am a father. Anyway, these are the best in terms of carpet cleaning. Naperville's family values lead us not to depend on the overused existing products. Though we still use it, still the natural products lay as first choice.

    Up to now, I still use these things for my carpet cleaning. Naperville Illinois is a place where you can learn old yet good things. And so as for you, just look around, look back and you'll find something useful.