All Purpose Homemade Cleaners

Learn how to make homemade cleaners from everyday products you probably already have around the house. I was skeptical at first, but was surprised when they actually worked.

homemade cleaners

Cheap, Safe Homemade Cleaners for Everyday Use

In this article you’ll learn:

  • how to make an all-purpose streak-free glass and mirror cleaner (it also works great on floors and counter tops)

  • a great orange cleaner for tougher jobs like cleaning soap scum and greasy messes

  • an effective grout cleaner that leaves no residue

All of these cleaners can be made at a fraction of the cost of store-bought cleaners. And with the exception of the glass cleaner, all the ingredients are safe to use around kids and pets (not to mention you).

Homemade Tub & Shower Cleaner

Our kids play outside all the time and consequently bring in lots of dirt. Daily baths make ring around the tub a real problem.

So the hardest cleaning job, hands down, in our house is soap scum. If not cleaned regularly, it can be nearly impossible to remove from easily scratched surfaces like fiberglass without resorting to commercially-produced foaming cleansers.

Tip: To reduce the amount of actual cleaning you have to do, keep a squeegee handy to wipe down the shower after each use. We do this every day - it takes less than a minute and saves a lot of scrubbing later on.

In addition to applications in the bathroom, this cleaner works well in the kitchen on stubborn, greasy messes.

Materials and Ingredients

  • 32 oz. spray bottle
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. dish soap
  • 1 tsp. orange oil
  • Water

Directions

Combine the vinegar and oil in the bottle and fill nearly to the top with water. Then add the dish soap. This prevents creating excess suds. Top off with water if needed.

Screw on the sprayer cap and tip upside down a couple times to mix the solution.

To use, spray directly on the surface or paper towel and wipe immediately. I’ve found that letting it sit doesn’t make cleaning any easier.

For tougher jobs, you’ll need to use some elbow grease and change paper towels often for best results.

Additional Benefit: This cleaner also makes an effective insecticidal soap for natural pest control in your garden. You’ll need to apply frequently, every few days, for best results. Just be sure to rinse your veggies thoroughly before eating.

Homemade Streak-Free Glass & Mirror Cleaner

Ammonia has been used in commercial glass and mirror cleaners for years and for good reason. It cleans well without leaving a residue.

However, instead of buying a bottle of Windex, just make your own. It doesn’t get much simpler than this.

Materials and Ingredients

  • 32 oz. spray bottle
  • ¼ cup ammonia
  • Water

Directions

The recipe for glass cleaner on the jug of ammonia recommends using a ½ cup per gallon of water. Scaled back, that works out to 1/8 cup per quart (32 oz.).

However, I’ve found this to be a little weak. A ¼ cup offers better cleaning power without getting too heavy on the fumes. 

Simply add the ammonia to the spray bottle and fill to the top with water. This mixes it, making it ready for immediate use.

To use, spray directly on the surface and wipe down. This is an all-purpose cleaner, ideal for floors, counter tops, woodwork, walls, appliances, and of course, windows and mirrors.

Tip: If you want a more eco-friendly alternative, you can substitute 1 cup of vinegar for the ¼ cup of ammonia. I’ve tried both methods and found lemon-scented ammonia gives better results and provides a crisp, clean scent my wife prefers. But the ability to use a non-toxic method will be worth the extra scrubbing to more than a few folks, I’m sure.

Homemade Grout Cleaner

Cleaning unsealed grout can be a pain. Grout (any type of masonry, really) is essentially like a really hard sponge. There are millions of tiny nooks and crannies where dirt can hide, safe from brooms and mops.

However, with just vinegar, you can renew your grout to its original color easily and safely.

Materials and Ingredients

  • White vinegar (as needed)
  • Nylon bristle brush

Commercial concrete and masonry cleaners often use an acid, like muriatic acid, to “etch” the surface in order to prepare it for painting, staining, etc. Essentially what it does is eat into the concrete or masonry, opening the pores in order to remove the maximum amount of dirt.

Believe it or not, vinegar, though safe to consume, performs this same function, but on a much smaller scale. It gets under the dirt without damaging the surface of the grout or leaving a cloudy film like other floor cleaners.

homemade cleaners - grout cleaner - beforeBefore
homemade cleaners - grout cleaner - afterAfter

To use, pour undiluted vinegar directly on the grout and scrub with the nylon bristle brush. After a few passes the dirt will lift, allowing you to wipe it clean with paper towel.

The process does require some time and elbow grease, but your reward is clean grout without inhaling noxious fumes.

Tip: To ensure your grout stays cleaner longer, seal the grout with a quality acrylic sealer. This way you’ll only have to scrub the grout clean every year or two.

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