Friday, March 11, 2011

Testing Homemade Cleaning Products that REALLY work!

 At times, I need some motivation to clean because it is not my favorite homemaking task.  I had been wanting to test some new homemade cleaning product recipes because I have been LOVING my homemade shower cleaner!  I use my shower cleaner as toilet bowl cleaner as well.  I just spray down the inside of my toilet and let it sit for a little while and then come back in about 30 minutes and clean it.  I also wanted very simple recipes that work and that don't require a lot of ingredients I don't keep on hand.  I have found them!

I guess I should note that I keep my baking soda in a glass jar in my fridge because I use it for baking as well and I buy a huge bag of it so this is easier than keeping the huge bag in my fridge.

Vinegar works really well, but I don't like the smell so I put several drops of essential oil in all of them.  I like fruity smells so I use orange or tangerine.  It really does work to cut the vinegar smell.

I have tried A LOT of different homemade glass cleaners and none of them worked really well.  I have also used all natural ones and also Shaklee's Basic H.  Yesterday I decided to to do a side by side test of the following Mirror Cleaner with Windex.  My husband loves Windex and so I keep it around for him so I made him come and try to figure out which side of the mirror I used the Windex on and which I used my mirror cleaner on and he couldn't tell!  It was that good.  Now I tried using cloth baby diapers, paper towels and coffee filters and by far, the coffee filters did THE BEST JOB of keeping the mirrors streak free and free of lint.

 Mirror Cleaner

1 1/2 cups of vinegar
1/2 cup water
8 drops of essential oil (I used tangerine)
Mix in a spray bottle.

Stephanie from Keeper of the Home actually just posted this recipe as an air freshener but I saw it listed somewhere else as a mirror cleaner - so I guess it could do both!  One last thing - it will look cloudy for a minute until it dries - but do not worry - it will dry very nice and clean!
Homemade Dusting Spray from Homemade Mothering
 1 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
3 cups water
8 drops of essential oil (again I used tangerine)

Pour all three ingredients into an empty spray bottle. Shake well and spritz on furniture. Wipe with an old cotton t-shirt. Done!

This homemade dusting spray is really good.  It also works really well.  I have also tried a few homemade dusting sprays and this is the best one I have tried.

Oven Cleaner

Baking Soda

I use a baking soda paste and then I pour a little vinegar on it.  It takes some elbow grease but works really, really well.  I find that if I leave it sit on there and walk away for a while it is much easier to scrub clean.

Before the cleaning
After - still has a few stains but MUCH better

Dishwasher Cleaner

Baking Soda

Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your dishwasher.  Fill a cup up with vinegar and put it on the top of the dishwasher.  Run a cycle.  My vinegar spilled a little before I started it but it came out very clean.

Finally, check out my homemade shower cleaner that I mentioned above and here is how I clean my shower head and it works every.single.time (thanks MJ for the reminder):

I just fill up a plastic baggie with vinegar and put it around my shower head and rubber band it and let it sit there for a few hours and I just rinse it.  If you have some hard water you can scrub it with a tooth brush (used for cleaning of course) but it will be gleaming!

Sink cleaner

I use a baking soda paste as my sink cleaner and I love it!  Just sprinkle baking soda and add a little water to it and rub it in with your rag.  Rinse well or you could have a white film from the baking soda - but if you rinse it well it will be very shiny!

Dishwasher Rinse Agent - I always just fill up my rinse agent resevoir with vinegar.

Fabric softener - I never use fabric softener or those dryer sheets but I do use vinegar as my fabric softener.  I don't always measure but usually I just use 1/2 cup (thanks for reminding me Katy).

Also, I use vinegar as my coffeemaker cleaner.  I just fill up my coffee container glass thing about half full with vinegar and water and pour it in and run it through.  Then I run two more cycles of just water and it works great!

One last tip - I recently bought a steam mop that only uses water so we don't even use anything else on our floors.  And we love it - even my husband likes to use it!

Please try these homemade cleaners and come back and comment and let me know how you like them or leave me a comment and tell me your favorite homemade cleaner!

Also, here is a great article about the disinfecting powers of bleach versus vinegar - so you can decide!


  1. These are some great items! I'm going to check tangerine because that's a scent I could really love! I've found some inspiration in books lately and I'm hoping to start expanding from cleaners to lotions and scrubs.

    It's amazing how frugal and healthy good products can be! :)


  2. I love your oven cleaner idea and the one for the shower head, too! I never clean our shower head...maybe I should give it a try!

    Great tips!

  3. I know you really like vinegar to clean with, and while it makes things look clean, it really does not disinfect. Niether does baking soda. I think it does kill some germs and bacteria, but not all. Probably okay for the shower, but probaly not the best cleanser for your toilets. As far as mirrors and windows go, your mixture is great, and coffee filters do work wonders. I also like to use blue dawn. You just mix about 1-2 tbsp (I don't know, I've never measured it) with about a half gallon of warm water. Use a dishcloth to clean the mirror/window, and then dry it with a towel. (I use a cheesecloth type towel so there's no towel residue left behind) this works great, and seems to keep my windows/mirrors clean for longer.

  4. Love the dusting spray recipe- will have to try it!

    Have you seen my cleaner recipe?
    After I zest and juice any citrus fruit, I steep it in vinegar for up to a month. Strain and dilute- great degreaser!

  5. Thank you for your comments! Sarah - you make good points and I still clean some kitchen messes with a water/Mr. Clean spray and I do wipe down my bathroom with disinfecting wipes.
    No, I haven't checked out your cleaner, but I will do so now - thank you!

  6. Thanks so much for your nice words about my homemade dusting spray! I love it, too :)

    I clean glass & mirrors with plain white vinegar. Might be worth a try for you?

  7. Adding oils to vinegar makes its disinfectant properties ineffective. You should probably try something else.

  8. @Anonymous
    I am wondering where you got your information from? Because it is my understanding that essential oils have their own disinfectant properties as well. Please share with me your source and I will look into this further.

  9. I always thought that oils had their own properties? I sometimes like to use vinegar alone first and then with the oils


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