The average home contains up to 25 gallons of toxic chemicals, many of which are in store-bought cleaners. If you have kids, pets or an eco-friendly attitude, this might make you nervous. Good news: by making your own household cleaning products, you can break free from those chemical bonds, save money and keep your house squeaky clean.
With a few simple ingredients that you probably already own—such as baking soda, white vinegar and lemon juice—it’s easy to substitute many store-bought cleaners with safe, eco-friendly options.
Ingredients: 1 bar of laundry soap (available at your local hardware store), 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda
Nice and simple. Use a cheese grater to grate the bar of laundry soap into a bowl. Add the borax and baking soda and mix together. Use one tablespoon of the mixture for each load of laundry, and keep the rest in an easy-to-access jar.
Ingredients: 5 cups of grated castile soap (this is any soap made entirely from vegetable oil), ½ cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon of borax, 6 cups of hot peppermint tea, 1 teaspoon eucalyptus oil
Add the castile soap and hot mint tea to a three-quart saucepan. Simmer for about 15 minutes and then add the rest of your ingredients to the pan. Remove the mixture from heat, let it cool, then add it to a squirt bottle or other plastic container.
Note: This is a particularly useful DIY cleaner if you have kids because the leading cause of poisonings in the home for children under the age of six is liquid dish soap containing chemicals like formaldehyde and ammonia.
Ingredients: ¾ cup baking soda, ¼ cup salt, ¼ cup water
Wet all surfaces of your oven with a sponge or cloth. Mix all ingredients together so they form a paste and then spread throughout the interior while avoiding vent openings. Let the paste sit overnight, scrape off in the morning and remove all remnants with a wet sponge or cloth.
Ingredients: vegetable oil, vinegar
Mix a solution of equal parts vegetable oil and vinegar. That’s it! Apply a thin coat to any wood that needs a buff.
A few more secret cleaning powers of common household items: