Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Conversion to Homemade Household Cleaners

Homemade spray cleaners are super cheap and much 
easier to make than you might think.
Photo by Ambro.

This is something I’ve pondered for a while, but never had the guts to actually try.  Could I really save money doing this?  Was it worth the extra effort?  What is the benefit… really?

Looking for more ways to cut our grocery budget down finally inspired me to give it a whirl.  I had noticed that Gav had added “spray cleaner” to a recent grocery list.  We were running low on our usual cleaner, a Seventh Generation product I liked.  It smelled nice (thyme and lemongrass!), didn’t have freaky ingredients and cleaned well. It’s pretty pricey though (we had purchased it with a coupon on a half-off sale) so it wouldn’t be practical to keep purchasing it.  Store-brand cleaners usually aren’t that awesome, so I figured now would be the time to give this experiment a go.

I researched cleaners on the internet, found one that looked easy and cheap to make and I had all the ingredients except one.  So I put Borax on the list and went for it.  At the store, I was astonished at how cheap the Borax was!  Only $3 for this huge box – and I only needed 2 teaspoons for the cleaner I was making!  So for less than the price of my normal cleaner, I would get… well, I’m not going to do the math, but suffice to say, it’s a LOT.

So the Borax sat up on the shelf in the laundry area for a week or so until we actually ran out of cleaner.  Today was the big day.  We’ve got company coming over and I needed to clean the bathroom.  I rinsed out the old bottle (hey look, reusing plastic bottles too!  Shouldn’t that be worth bonus points or something?) and mixed up a batch:

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

In a 26-oz spray bottle combine

4 Tbsp. vinegar
2 tsp. Borax
Hot water until almost full.  Gently swish to combine and dissolve the Borax.

Add a few drops of mild dishwashing detergent, and about 10 drops of your favorite essential oil.  You could leave out the essential oil if you don’t care about whether it smells nice or you don’t have any on hand.  I had lavender on hand so in it went.


IT WORKED.  Like a charm.  It cleaned the toilet nicely, along with the counters, the light switch plate and the cupboard doors.  And it smelled really nice.  My son has toilet issues, so our bathroom can sometimes get icky, but this stuff cleaned it all.  Plus, the vinegar is a natural disinfectant, so I don’t have to worry about germs.  

When we run out of laundry soap, I’m planning to try making my own batch.  Since I already have the Borax, all I’ll need is some washing soda and Fels Naphtha.  It only takes a couple minutes to mix up and it’s a huge savings.   I can't wait to see what else I can make! I confess -- I’m converted!


  1. YAY!! :D My recipe uses just baking soda and vinegar, but I LOVE it. The best part? The kids can help without me worrying about them getting it on their skin or breathing in weird fumes!! I need to get some essential oils, though--it'd be nice to have the scent. I'm excited you're going to do the laundry soap--it's crazy-amazing how long it lasts.

  2. I'm so excited about this! lol We still have quite a bit of laundry soap in storage (we bought a ton when we found a good sale and had a couple coupons, haha) so I haven't gotten to the laundry soap yet, but I'll be posting about it when I do!