Homemade household cleaners


I’m surveying the dirty dishes on the kitchen counter and the dust on our bookshelves – that means cleaning is on my mind. Where we live, everything is expensive, including cleaners. To save money, and heck – why not the environment while I’m at it, I’m a big fan of homemade cleaners. I love the fact that I can clean right next to my kiddos and not worry about fumes getting in their systems or chemicals on their skin, especially my daughter’s, who loves to clean with me.

Here are the latest recipes I’ve discovered:

all-purpose cleaner

  • 1 tsp. liquid soap
  • 1 qt warm water
  • few tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar

glass cleaner (and I use newspaper to wipe off – it eliminates streaks)

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white or cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 to 2 drops of essential oil (optional)

dishwashing detergent

laundry detergent – several recipes, along with FAQs

veggie wash

even homemade febreeze!

I wrote this post awhile back with some recipes, but I’ve since decided I like the above recipes better.

There are scads of recipes to be discovered on the internet – if you find one that works for you, please pass it along! Be sure to check out more frugal tips on saving money here.

Happy cleaning.

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. What a great resource! Thanks for all the good “recipes”!

  2. I love the glass cleaner recipe! I am notorious for using baking soda to clean almost anything– and then vinegar for the rest, but my glass always looks not-so-clean. I have to try this. Thanks!

    Tori’s last blog post…Fall Bridal Shower

  3. I notice a lot of recipes call for borax-I thought I read that borax should be avoided. Any knowledge on its safety?

  4. Hey Lisa,

    Actually TSH recommending Borax for ingredients is quite safe. You can check out the health hazards of any household product by going to Toxnet or googling for the Household Products database.

    We use Borax, sodium borate in our natural cleaner. Soda Ash or sodium carbonate is also an excellent grease cutter.

    Take a few shavings using a cheese shredder off a bar of soap, about 4 tsp, 1tsp Borax and 4tsp soda ash and 1 liter of water. In a pot, heat the water until it’s simmering. Add the soda ash, stir well. Add the soap, and borax, stir well.
    It will thicken like gravy. Pour into a cereal bowl and let cool.

    This gel paste will clean most anything including grease, ovens, scuff marks, crayon, grout, etc.

  5. Hi Tsh! I am away from home and wanted to look up your glass cleaner recipe from your book. I noticed in this recipe from a few years ago, you included rubbing alcohol, but I don’t remember that being listed in “Organized Simplicity.” Any particular reason for the switch? (By the way, I LOVE your book – it has helped me tremendously! Thank you!!)