Mamma's Little Helpers: Homemade Cleaning Supplies

I've seen articles about homemade cleaning supplies more and more over the last few years, but was never really interested. I mean, who wants their house to smell like vinegar? Yuck.

Well, I was reminded of the praises of homemade cleaning supplies when I saw this´╗┐´╗┐ on Pinterest. Those cleaners sounded so simple, didn't have a ton of vinegar, and had a relatively cheap initial cost on ingredients that could last a long time! (I spent about $35, including some Borax for experimenting with dishwasher powders.) The discovery couldn't have come at a better time, too, because I was out of 409—and kindof sick of the lightheaded feeling after I cleaned the toilet.

I made the All Purpose Cleaner, the Degreaser, and the Bath, Sink, and Tile Cleaner. Unfortunately, the cheapy bottles I bought from Walmart weren't good enough for the thick BST, so I'm going to have to find another vehicle for it… But the other two are fantastic. Seriously, I talk about them every time the subject comes up, and I made them a couple weeks ago!

The All-Purpose is great for wiping down the counters, bathroom sink, disinfecting cat-yack spots on the hardwood, and you will not believe how effective the degreaser is! We got our stove with the house, and, to be honest, it's always been gross. Even when we hired cleaners to come in, they can't get all the nasty off the back part. And, since we have a gas stove, the gas bits are always coated in this hard black grime that you have to scrub really hard to get off. It's seriously awful. I usually spray 409, let it sit a while, and then attack. I sprayed the degreaser, and I kid you not, the liquid that came right off was dark gray. It's not perfect (I could probably get really close if I used a scrub brush, but I don't like how brushes flick dirtiness everywhere) but it's still awesome!

I figured that the only way you would really believe me is if I showed you how well these work. I don't have my video camera (and it's a pain getting files off that anyway!) but I took pictures as I cleaned my stove this evening.

Here is our nasty stove.

Here is a closeup of a particularly nasty part of our stove.

This is cooked-on something, after I sprayed it with degreaser. You can see how the liquid pooled behind it, and it's a yellowish color.

One swipe of the paper towel. Not even kidding. One swipe, folks!

If you'll notice the time, it took me less than 10 minutes to get all that caked-on grossness off the white parts of the stove, as well as an attempt at the burner parts and the grease on the backsplash bit. That's less than 10 minutes, most of which was taking pictures and popping into the other room to watch a movie with Sarah.

I know it looks like there's still black specks all over the stove, but that's actually where the enamel chipped off, and is showing the metal underneath. Yuck.

So, have I convinced you to give it a shot? If you don't want to click over to the other page, here's a list of the ingredients I used in these two cleaners, and the approximate price I paid for them:

  • Squirt bottles: $1 each at Walmart.
  • Vinegar: I think you can get it for $1 a gallon at Walmart? We already had some.
  • Washing soda: About $3 for a large box, in the fabric softener area of Walmart.
  • Castile soap: $8 for 16oz, and you use a few tablespoons per recipe. I bought the citrus scent because I think citrus = clean. I had to get this, and the oil, at the Whole Foods/Good Earth/whatever store.
  • Lavender oil: $11 for a little vial, but you only use 10 drops. If you really don't want to get this, I'm sure you could use the lavender-scented castile soap. I think that would work equally well.
  • I also bought Tea Tree Oil (about $4 for the vial) because I planned on making the BST cleaner. Plus, I added it to the degreaser, because I thought it smelled nice.

You could try out one or two of the recipes for about $15, or the cost of a few bottles of 409… And then have enough ingredients left over to make more than a few more bottles! I also used the castile soap to refill my foaming soap dispenser in the kitchen—1 part soap to 4 parts water—and I think it works great. Husband thinks the citrus scent is to strong, but I honestly can barely smell it, so he may be making it up.

If you know me, you know I'm not the crunchy, sustainable-living, no-chemical type of person. Hey, if a chemical can do the job, great! I'll pay for it! But, in my opinion, these work better than the chemical cleaners, and I don't risk getting dizzy or lightheaded from fumes (which has happened in the past). So when I recommend doing something like this, you know I mean it!

Next project: Get rid of all the gross open leftovers that get shoved in the fridge. We never had this problem until about a week ago!

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I'm a working, crafting, loving, baking, home improving Mamma, trying to make my corner of the world better. I also happen to write a lot about my little boy, because I think he's fantastically hilarious!

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