February 5, 2020

Make your Own Cleaning Supplies

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

In an effort to become more self-sufficient, I decided to try making my own cleaning supplies.  Keep in mind, I am used to having multiple cleaning products under the sink:  grease cutter, glass cleaner, floor cleaner, air freshener, etc.  If it wasn’t a known name brand I avoided it.

THE PLAN:  Use only home made cleaners for one week, no harsh detergents and see if there are any notable differences.

PROCEDURE:   I acquired the following:

Clean spray bottles

White vinegar

Baking soda

Dishwashing liquid


All purpose kitchen cleaner:

1/8 cup dishwashing liquid

1 cup of water

Add dishwashing liquid to the squirt bottle, add water and shake well.  Spray on surfaces and wipe down with rags.  Rinse with plain water if necessary.

Scouring Powder

Use plain baking soda as a scouring powder.   Just scrub with a sponge instead of Ajax or other cleanser and rinse with plain water.

Disinfecting spray

1 tablespoon plain bleach

1 gallon of water

Mix the bleach and water and spray on surfaces to disinfect.  This mixture will keep its potency for 24 hours.   You will need to make a new batch for the next cleanup.

Bathroom Cleaner

Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup of water.  Spray on glass,  tub, tile and sink surfaces.  Spray on mirror and use crumpled newspaper to wipe down.


Surprisingly, the home made cleaners worked well.  The dishwashing liquid/water mixture was actually pretty effective in cleaning greasy stove and counter tops. Scrubbing with baking soda and a scouring pad took out pan crud. One trick that really works is to leave the pans soaking in with warm soapy water before you start scrubbing. (Note: DO NOT use soap on your cast iron pots.)

The vinegar was effective in cleaning the bathroom. I did get a few complaints from the family about the vinegar smell, but they conceded it went away after an hour or so. I used to be really skeptical about using newspaper to clean mirrors, but my mom convinced me to try it. It actually works. It took a bit of elbow grease to make the mirror shine but it did not leave streaks.

I was able to keep the house clean without using commercial brands and harsh detergents.  It took a bit more scrubbing to get rid of certain types of dirt, but everything was just as clean.  I also noticed less sneezing and skin allergies on my part.  Best of all, I saved a few bucks.  Overall, I would call this experiment a success.  I may never go back to buying commercial cleaners again.  Next time, when I am feeling even more ambitious, I will try making home made detergent.

© Apartment Prepper 2016


16 Comments on Make your Own Cleaning Supplies

  1. This reminds me of a story from this weekend. Well, my pipes are frozen so I am using a lot of paper goods, but I had to do some dishes. I’ve been using a little bleach in my rinse water to ensure that things are actually clean. I ran out of bleach and didn’t have any in my closet. I didn’t want to go to the store as it’s about 30 below ambient temp. Anyway, I called my sister who uses all natural clearnsers and asked what I should use to disenfect my dishes, I was thinking maybe vinegar, but I didn’t want vinegar taste on my utensiles. So, anyway, she reminded my that my folks gave us all 100 packets of Sani Sure. A powdered kitchen cleaner. One packet makes a gallon of cleaner. This is a great solution I think for prepardness minded indivduals who want to have a clearner that sterilizes. It is shelf stable and you just mix it up as you need it.


    • Hi countrygirl, That is a good idea, sounds like you can make a lot with just 1 packet. I will have to try Sani-Sure. Thanks

  2. I have been using home-made cleaners for years and cannot even remember the last time I purchased a bottled cleaner. That said, I would like to offer a few hints for those getting started.

    I have found that using dishwashing soap in a cleaner leaves a film unless there is only one of two drops per spray bottle. The bad thing is that this film builds up over time and can make your surfaces look dull. To mitigate this problem, I make my cleaners using a combination of alcohol and water, vinegar and water or pine cleaner and water. The basic ratio is ¼ cup of the cleaning agent per spray bottle that is topped off with water. I will add one or two drops (tiny drops) of dishwashing soap to the alcohol solution and use this in my granite surfaces. They truly sparkle.

    The other thing I would recommend is that you stock up on the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers when they are on sale. Those, in combination with your cleaners, are, well, truly magic LOL.

    For the toilets I use a combination of vinegar and baking soda. Same thing for clogged drains. The two react with each other in such a way that the cleaning power is accelerated. And please do not discount pine cleaner. Get the regular kind – very cheap – not the fancy scented versions which are adulterated and not always true pine oil.

    With the combination of ingredients mentioned you can clean almost everything, from kitchen surfaces, to floors, to spots on the upholstery (vinegar and water). You total investment for a year’s worth of supplies is about $10. Oh yes, one other thing. I have used $5 spray bottles and $1 spray bottles Eventually they all fail. I think it has something to do with the spring in the trigger. Whenever I am in the city, I go to the dollar store and pick up a bunch of the $1 bottles. This is one area where I don’t feel the extra price is warranted. This is my opinion, anyway.


    • Thanks for these tips Gaye. I will add pine cleaner and Mr Clean magic erasers to my list. I’ve had spray bottle nozzles fail on me as well, I thought I was being too vigorous with them lol. I think I also need a visit to the dollary store.

  3. Making homemade laundry detergent is super-easy and it works really well. The recipe I use is: 1 bar of soap that you grate up with any cheese grater (I use Fels Naptha or Yardley’s, you can also use Ivory or any other real soap), 4 cups borax, 4 cups washing soda (not baking soda!). Mix all together (I use a wooden spoon because it helps smash out the lumps that tend to occur in the washing soda) & store in an airtight container. Use about 1/4 cup per washload in a front-loading HE machine or large-capacity top-loading machine, or a little less in a standard-sized top-loader. It makes very little suds and works great in cold water. I’ve been using it happily for several months and will never go back to paying a fortune for laundry detergent!

    • Jeanne – I have been hesitant to try a homemade laundry detergent but now you have given me the inspiration. Dumb question but what exactly is “washing soda”? Do you have a brand name? Also, I love the Yardley rose scented soap. Will that work?


  4. I love the ideas here, I have also made the homemade detergent with the recipe almost the same as that above. The washing soda is a arm and hammer brand “washing soda”. It is in the laundry soap isle. My sister uses the same recipe but mixes it with water to make a liquied laundry detergent. Not sure how much water, you’d have to look for that on the internet. The bar soap adds a scent. I like Fels naptha, but you could use other scented hard bar soaps in this.

  5. Hey Ladies

    I have an all natural cleaning service in Copperhill, TN. I am posting some of my tried and true (for me) cleaning recipes that are incredibly easy to make. I also post tips on my facebook and twitter. You can find the links at http:www.mountain-maids.com

    Homemade Cleaning Recipes by Mountain Maids

    My all around cleaner!

    1 cup White Vinegar
    1 cup Water
    a squirt of Dish Detergent
    Optional two tablespoons Lemon Juice to neutralize the vinegar odor!

    Homemade Laundry Detergent

    2 bars of grated Ivory Soap
    2 cups Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
    2 cups of Borax
    Optional but will boost the cleaning power
    ½ cup Oxi-Clean
    1 cup powdered all fabric bleach
    Store in an airtight container or bag.
    I use 1/4 cup per large load!

    Quick Drying Glass Cleaner
    1 cup rubbing alcohol
    1 cup water
    1 tablespoon white vinegar

    Mix together in spray bottle and use on glass, chrome, hard tiles and more!

    Homemade Fabric and Air Freshener

    3 cups water
    3 tablespoons fabric softener
    3 tablespoons rubbing alcohol

    Mix together in spray bottle and spray away!

    Homemade Furniture Polish
    Furniture Polish
    1/4 cup olive oil, baby oil or vegetable oil
    1 cup white distilled vinegar

    …20-30 drops lemon essential oil or lemon juice

    Shake often during use

  6. Thanks for the great challenge idea. I have the recipe for homemade laundry detergent but haven’t gotten around to getting the ingredients and making it. I have stored extra cleaners in my food storage plan and have lots of vinegar for cleaning but I really need to get more organized in this area.

  7. In my experience making home-made cleaners is a bit of a try it and see how it works adventure. I know my most recent experiment with laundry detergents has been interesting to say the least. Anyway, kudos to you for giving it a whirl.

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