These days more and more homeowners are ditching their harsh store-bought chemical cleansers for cheaper and safer homemade alternatives. The motivation to make the change is often health-related, such as when a child or other family member develops allergies or other negative reactions to chemical cleaners. But it’s also a great money-saving swap in a time when most of us don’t have extra cash to spare on fancy cleaning agents. Whatever your reason, switching out harmful and expensive chemical cleaners for gentler mixes using ingredients that you already have in your home is a beneficial move to make. Here are some great uses of everyday items that can be used as do-it-yourself cleaners:
- Vinegar – Don’t get turned off from DIY cleansers just yet. Though vinegar has a notoriously stinky odor, it fades very quickly. And the benefit definitely outweighs the cost when it comes to vinegar because it’s a very versatile ingredient. When mixed with equal parts water, vinegar can be used to clean just about anything. Use it in your kitchen to wipe down your countertops or kitchen cabinets. It’s even great for cleaning the grout between your tiles in your backsplash. Use it on your stainless steel oven and other appliances to get rid of those pesky fingerprint stains. Or use it to eliminate odors by leaving a small bowl of the solution by the stove when cooking those particularly odorous meals. It’s also great when used in the bathroom to get rid of soap scum. The DIY Network suggests doing the following to help combat stubborn bathroom stains: “For tough surfaces, like shower walls, boost the cleaning power by heating the vinegar solution in the microwave until barely hot. Spray the warmed solution generously; allow to stand for 10 to15 minutes, then scrub and rinse.”
- Baking Soda – You’re probably more familiar with the deodorizing properties of baking soda, as it’s often used in refrigerators to combat odors. What you may not know is that baking soda has a slight abrasive property, which makes it great for scrubbing tough stains. The powder is also great at absorbing grease. This makes it a great alternative to harsh powder cleansers. Use baking soda just as you’d use other scouring cleansers to get rid of tough food stains in your kitchen sink, or dirt rings around your bathtub. Baking soda also has a number of lesser-known uses that are actually quite convenient. Mix three parts baking soda and one part water to create a paste which can be used as silverware polish. Simply rub your flatware using the solution and a clean cloth and rinse once you’re done. You can also clean stuck-on food from the bottom of your pots and pans by sprinkling baking soda in the pan, adding hot water, and allowing it to sit overnight.
- Lemon – The acidity of lemons make it a great disinfectant and stain remover. Place half a lemon in a bowl of water and microwave for 45 seconds. This should loosen any tough grease stains in your microwave, allowing you to easily wipe it clean. In your bathroom, wipe your faucets with slices of lemon and leave to sit overnight. Rinse in the morning to help prevent lime build-up. Diluted lemon juice is also a great alternative to conventional glass cleaners. Combine four tablespoons of lemon juice and a 1/2 gallon of water. Pour into a spray bottle and use as you would normally use glass cleaners. You can also use lemon juice as furniture polish. Simply mix one teaspoon of lemon juice with a pint of vegetable or mineral oil.
Other great household items that can double as cleansers are rubbing alcohol, vodka, salt, olive oil and even cornstarch. Websites such as Pinterest are also great resources for finding simple, cheap, and safe alternatives to conventional cleaners. If you’re looking to get rid of toxic chemical cleaners, or if you’re just looking to save a few bucks, making DIY household products is a great way to start.