I buy cleaning supplies about every 3 months or more and have decided that this next trip to the store is going to be stocking up on items to make my own cleaning supplies for use in the kitchen and bathroom. I like knowing the ingredients are simple and easy to understand and that I had a hand in making the cleaning solution work for me.

Because I am not fully certain that all cleaning solutions will work, my back up plan is to buy some 7th generation products, with their coupons, if something fails to work - But I hope all goes well.

Grocery List
I need spray bottles for liquid solutions I make as I don't have any leftover bottles around the house I feel comfortable using and I need a container for shaking out the powder solution made as well.

Before I figure out how many containers to buy, I need to figure out what ingredients are used that I may need to buy:
Baking soda - deodorizes, scours surfaces, and is a natural cleaning agent
Vinegar - kills most mold, bacteria, and germs
Salt - scours, cleans, and deodorizes 
Borax/Washing soda - water softener and sanitizer and makes an excellent freshener when added to laundry and an all-around deodorizer (use gloves)
Hydrogen Peroxide - kills bacteria and mold
Ammonia - general purpose cleaner for many surfaces (never use in combination w/bleach) 
Lemon juice - has antibacterial and antiseptic qualities, is a natural bleach, and it controls odors 


Toilet - Vinegar straight or used in combo with baking soda or borax.  Alternatives: couple of denture cleaning tablets, coca-cola or a pumice stone for stains

Bathtub - A powder mix of baking soda w/ salt or bar soap, add a little vinegar after for tougher stains. A liquid cleaning mix of lemon juice and vinegar. Also pour warm vinegar in a sandwich bag and rubber-band to shower-head for an hour to clean. Alternatives: left over shampoo

Sink/Counter - A mix of baking soda w/ salt or bar soap or 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar, and 3 to 4 cups hot water in a spray bottle.


Counter-tops - All purpose spray: Equal parts vinegar and water with a few drops of lemon juice.

Oven - A pan of ammonia left in the oven for a few hours if no one else is in the house and it is well ventilated. Otherwise a paste of three parts baking soda, one part salt, and one part water spread all over the inside of the oven and let sit overnight. Alternatives: Lay down aluminum foil on the bottom to cut down on cleanup, use cookie sheets under dishes in the oven

Microwave oven - Heat up a bowl of vinegar in the microwave to steaming and wipe off with warm rag.

Refrigerator/Freezer - For manual defrost freezers and refrigerators the use of hot water with a cup of vinegar helps clean it out quickly.

Cutting boards - Clean with vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, but not together, one after the other in any order.

Over-all Cleaning:

Dusting - Mix olive oil and vinegar in a one-to-one ratio and polish with a soft cloth.

Drains - Pour Baking soda and vinegar down the drain and let bubble and sit. Then follow with Hot water.

Moldy Grout - Mix a half a cup of hydrogen peroxide with one cup of water. Spray on and let sit for an hour. For colored grout, mix a paste of baking soda and water. Lemon Juice can be tried as well, testing a small area.

Carpet Deodorizing - Sprinkle corn starch or baking soda on carpet and vacuum up to freshen carpet. For stains, mix equal parts borax or baking soda, salt, and white vinegar. Apply the paste to the stain and let dry, then vacuum.

Carpet Steam Cleaning - Double check your manual, but most will accept 4-6 ounces of vinegar with the hot water in place of the steam cleaning products

Overall it appears that Vinegar, Baking soda, Hydrogen Peroxide and Lemon Juice are the top used items. Salt, Borax and Ammonia seem to be the runner's up.

What things have you found that help with the above cleaning items?


  1. Hollis // Wednesday, April 07, 2010 9:49:00 AM  

    Your homemade cleansers are brillant and the info is very useful. I have to make the time to approach cleaning in the right way, not just do it the easiest way. I also wanted to thank you for having excellent links on your site. I belong to a young women's networking group and at the last meeting the members were trying to find ways to contribute to projects that women in need around the world. Your Rice project and Global Giving sites are exactly what the group needs. It will give each member an opportunity to contribute to something worthwhile. If it's a small amount of money,or free they can feel a sense of accomplishment. Thanks, again.

  2. Dawn // Wednesday, April 07, 2010 10:05:00 AM  

    Thank you... I'm glad to hear your group found some ways they can contribure to worthwhile causes.

  3. Jill // Wednesday, April 07, 2010 10:20:00 AM  

    Thanks! I do most of these but will try the carpet stain remover. I didn't know that one and live in a trailer with some frightening stains on the carpet from previous occupants.

  4. Dawn // Wednesday, April 07, 2010 10:27:00 AM  

    Oh, please let us know how that works! I haven't tried it yet - still have some doggy stain remover stuff left.

  5. The Grouch // Wednesday, April 07, 2010 2:54:00 PM  

    Thanks for the tips. Vinegar seems work a lot of magic when it comes to cheap cleaning.

  6. ParisGirl111 // Thursday, April 08, 2010 7:09:00 AM  

    I have made homemade drano before using vinegar and baking soda. It works great..in fact, I would say probably as good as Drano!

  7. Dawn // Thursday, April 08, 2010 8:57:00 AM  

    Vinegar is the perfect place to start and then branch out from there.

    I haven't used Drano in years myself.

  8. Daphne // Thursday, April 08, 2010 9:33:00 AM  

    I use baking soda ALL the time, as well as vinegar. Ammonia, while stinky and kind of toxic, is the ONLY thing that cleans floors as thoroughly as i like (it beats all other commercial cleaners as well). Dilute with water, and use a rag over a mop head. Works really well. I go over areas once, lightly, let sit a few seconds, then wipe up. It's like magic.

  9. Create in me a clean heart O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 // Thursday, April 08, 2010 9:50:00 AM  

    I only use homemade natural cleaners that are safe to use. My favorite dusting "spray" is to combine 1 cup of Murphy's Oil Soap in a spray bottle and top it off with water. Shake and then spray!

  10. Dawn // Thursday, April 08, 2010 9:53:00 AM  

    @Daphne and Create
    Thanks for the tips!

  11. Regina // Thursday, April 08, 2010 2:23:00 PM  

    Dawn, how is the job/job hunt going?


  12. Dawn // Thursday, April 08, 2010 2:34:00 PM  

    Thinks are still hopeful... I will have an update next week. Thanks for asking.

  13. Jerry // Friday, April 09, 2010 5:10:00 PM  

    My wife has been doing it for years. We try to be frugal and it also happens to be some insurance for the environment. Now, that's a win-win. Thanks for the new tips. It will lead to some more savings for us.

  14. Cara // Saturday, April 10, 2010 1:43:00 AM  

    A better-smelling microwave cleaner is a whole lemon, sliced thickly, placed in a container of water and boiled for 5 minutes on High. Doesn't create the fumes that irritate sensitive eyes/noses like vinegar does, and actually bleaches any stains better than vinegar does.

    As for cleaning, bicarb worked in with a cloth moistened with vinegar will clean any hard surface without scratching, dulling, or altering any colours.

    Bicarb can be used in the dishwasher in place of expensive detergents, and has the added benefit of keeping the dishwasher sparkling clean as well. Dishwasher rinse aid can be replaced with vinegar for sparkling glasses and a wonderfully clean dishwasher that never needs any other cleaning.

    Bicarb is also amazing on cooked-on grease on white enamel cooktops/hobs - got mine cleaner than any commercial cleaner.

    Also, cut a lemon in half, sprinkle some coarse salt onto a stained chopping board and then rub the cut lemon over the board in a circular motion. Will generally remove most stains and all smells - including garlic and onion.

    Love your blog - I look forward to my RSS feed all the time. Thank you :)

  15. Dawn // Saturday, April 10, 2010 2:14:00 PM  

    Thanks for the Lemon tip - I will try that!
    I haven't heard of Bicarb so I will look that up and see what I can find.

  16. Jessica // Friday, April 16, 2010 9:16:00 AM  

    Wow, great post! I just made a resolution to do this exact same thing. I want to use up all the current cleaners, so these are great tips as I prepare for going all natural.

    We use peroxide to soak our toothbrushes - keeps 'em clean and then we use them longer. I also use it as a mouthwash, and I soak the bath toys in a bucket with water and peroxide every few weeks.

  17. Dawn // Friday, April 16, 2010 9:58:00 AM  

    Forgot about the peroxide for toothbrushes (teethbrushes?) - thanks for the reminder :D

  18. Jill // Friday, May 07, 2010 7:33:00 AM  

    Great post! I'm a little late on commenting, but a free and effective container I use for shaking out baking powder is an old parmesan cheese shaker.

  19. Dawn // Friday, May 07, 2010 8:36:00 AM  

    Never too late to comment, I still see them at least. Great idea on the shaker!

  20. Anonymous // Monday, September 20, 2010 2:35:00 PM  

    wrap oven shelves and stove burner racks in an old towel and put in a large sealable plastic bag; pour some ammonia (2 - 3 cups) onto towel, seal back and leave overnite. smell is pretty well dissapated and 'gunk' rolls off with ease.