15 Natural Cleaning Products You Can Make at Home

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My parents and I immigrated to the U.S. when I was young, and money was tight. My dad worked long hours, while my stay-at-home mom focused on saving as much as possible.

My parents shared a car, which meant that my mom couldn't drive to the store whenever she needed to grab an item. She had to creatively deal with stains and messes at home. I remember spilling something on the carpet once. My mom tried to clean it out with dish soap and warm water, which was all she had around the house.

Times have changed: thanks to the internet, now we can look up natural cleaning product recipes online. My mom, it turns out, would have had an easier time getting that stain out of the carpet if she'd combined this with a little vinegar.

Whether you want to save money, live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, or use products that are more safe and natural (or all three), there are plenty of ways you can use every household items to make your own cleaning products. Here are 15 of our favorites.

1. All-Purpose Cleaner
  • 4 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 quart warm water
Combine ingredients in a bottle, pour solution onto a clean sponge or cloth and wipe surface clean. Can be used on kitchen and bathroom countertops, appliances and more. Not a disinfectant.

2. Glass Cleaner
  • ½ cup white or cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup rubbing alcohol (70 percent concentration)
  • 1-2 drops of essential oil like orange or lemon verbena for scent (optional)
  • 2 cups water
Combine in a spray bottle and spray onto a soft, clean cloth or paper towel.

3. Heavy-Duty Scrub
  • ½ a lemon
  • ½ cup borax
Dip lemon into borax and scrub directly onto surface. This can be used for rust stains on porcelain and enamel sinks and tubs.

4. Grease Cleaner
  • ½ cup sudsy ammonia
  • 1 gallon water
Dip sponge or mop into solution and wipe over greasy surface. Rinse clean with clear water.

5. Oven Cleaner
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • few tablespoons water
  • small amount of white vinegar

Remove oven racks and clean separately. Combine baking soda and water into a paste and spread paste over interior of oven (avoiding heating elements). Allow paste to sit overnight. Wipe away as much as you can with a damp cloth and use a spatula to scrape away harder parts. Place vinegar in a spray bottle and spray over any remaining baking soda residue. Wipe down with dampened cloth until interior is shiny. Replace oven racks.

6. Disinfectant Solution

  • 2 teaspoons borax
  • 4 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 cups hot water
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid castile soap (optional-for stronger solution)
Combine in spray bottle and spray onto surface. Wipe with dampened cloth.

7. Toilet Bowl Cleaner and Deodorizer
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon tea tree essential oil
Combine vinegar and tea tree oil in a spray bottle and spray inside toilet bowl and on toilet lid, seat and handle. Allow solution to sit for several minutes, then sprinkle baking soda inside toilet bowl, scrub and flush. Wipe off the lid, seat and handle with a clean dry cloth.

8. Tile Grout Cleaner
  • 1 part hydrogen peroxide
  • 2 parts water
Combine in a spray bottle and spray solution on grout. Allow solution to sit for an hour, then wipe clean with a damp sponge.

9. Furniture Polish
  • ¼ cup white vinegar or ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¾ cup olive oil
Combine in a spray bottle and spray a small amount of solution onto furniture. Rub solution into furniture with a clean cloth. Wipe dry with a second clean cloth.

10. All-Purpose Floor Cleaner
  • A few drops dish soap
  • 1 gallon warm water
Combine in a bucket and mop well. Dampen mop with clean water and mop again to rinse. Not recommended for wood floors.

11. Wood Floor Cleaner
  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 1 part water
Combine in a bucket and mop well. Dampen mop with clean water and mop again to rinse. Wipe the floors well with a dry cloth.

12. Carpet Stain Remover
  • 1 part vinegar
  • 1 part water
  • 1-2 drops dishwashing liquid (optional-for tougher stains)
Combine in a spray bottle and spray onto stain. Let solution sit for 5 minutes and then scrub with a soft brush.

13. Dishwasher Liquid
  • ½ cup liquid castile soap
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 drops tea tree extract
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup water
Combine water and soap first, then add in remaining ingredients and stir until blended. Store in a squeeze bottle and use 2 tablespoons per load of dishes.

14. Laundry Detergent
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) bar of shaved soap
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
Combine all ingredients and stir for five minutes, then store in a sealed container with a small scoop. Use 1 tablespoon per load of laundry (or 2 to 3 tablespoons for heavily soiled loads).

15. Air Freshener
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 cups hot water
  • ½ teaspoon essential oil in a fragrance of your choice
Combine mixture in a spray bottle and spray into the air as needed.

Paula Pant is an entrepreneur and real estate investor who has traveled to 32 countries. Her blog Afford Anything is not the same tired, stodgy, uninspired financial advice that you'll find on other websites. Afford Anything shows you how to crush limits, create wealth and maximize life.
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