Monday, March 4, 2013

The Only DIY Green Cleaner Post You'll Ever Need

Green cleaners are expensive. I want my household products to be environmentally friendly, but I also need them to be affordable. So are there such things as ecologically sound, frugal cleaners?

Yes. And the good news is you can replace fabric softener, toilet bowl cleaner, bathroom cleaner, floor cleaner, oven cleaner, countertop cleaner, et cetera with four super cheap products.

These prices are from Amazon, because its easier that way! Two gallons of white vinegar are only $5.91;a one pound box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda is also around five dollars; Amazon is selling Bon ami scrubbing powder for an INSANE amount of money, but I get it for about seventy cents; and Hydrogen Peroxide, which Amazon is selling for about $2. You'll also need dish soap. Dish soap is the one thing I spend a little extra on, because we don't have a dishwasher, and I need something to make the process bearable. I love Method Dish Soap Pump Refill in Clementine. Each refill bag is about $5. I love how it smells, that it works, that it's a decent choice for the environment, and that it doesn't destroy my hands.

Some people make their own dish soap. I don't. I'm considering it, along with making laundry detergent. I'll keep you updated.


Add about half a cup of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle of your wash. It removes ANY icky scents from your laundry, including mildew (J tends to put wet, disgusting dirty laundry in plastic bags (???) where they mildew). Vinegar slays even the grossest mildew stench. It also, somehow, makes towels more absorbent.

All Purpose Cleaner

Dilute vinegar with water, about half and half. Pour into spray bottle. That's all you need for a basic all purpose cleaner.

Now, I saw this pin on Pinterest (from this original source) about soaking citrus rinds in vinegar for a couple of weeks, then draining and using the vinegar as a cleaner.

I like this idea, but it was a little complicated for me. So I tried popping lemon peels straight into my spray bottle. It works! The vinegar is lemon scented, and it preserves the rind. When the vinegar/water solution runs low in my spray bottle I replace the citrus rinds.

Make Your Own Drano

Drano is FILLED with awful chemicals. Before resorting to such drastic measures, try Sandpaper and Glue's Stephanie's DIY Drano. It works on the same principle as your fifth grade volcano project. AND IT WORKS. I have ridiculously thick hair and old plumbing. I clog up drains with a quickness! This clears clogs quickly. Now I use it as a preventive measure about once a month to prevent clogs.

Oven Cleaner

When we moved in, our oven was disgusting. Absolutely gross. I googled around for a bit and landed on multiple ideas. Most of them involved ammonia or other heavy duty chemicals. I found this idea for using baking soda and vinegar from the Frugal Kiwi. However, in one of my old housekeeping manuals (everyone collects something strange, right?) I read about using steam.

So I put a large pan of water in the oven, turned it on 500 degrees, and let it steam up for awhile (don't let all the water steam out). Remove the pan. Use a scrub brush and scrub away. Then wipe down with a rag.

Next shake baking soda on the oven floor. Spray vinegar over the baking soda, and scrub again with your brush. Our ancient oven looks good as new!

Toilet Cleaner

I mentioned that for every day cleaning I pour a little white vinegar in the toilet bowl and scrub with the brush. Doing this a few times a week keeps your toilet nice and shiny clean.

Grout Cleaner

Mix up a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. It CLEANS the grossest grout. I apply, go do something else, forget I'm cleaning the bathroom, J yells why is there stuff all over the bathroom, I remember I started cleaning the bathroom...

Rinse with REALLY, REALLY hot water. It helps remove any stuck on nonsense.

Vinyl Floor Cleaner

Fill a bucket with hot water, a few good squirts of dish soap, and a couple of tablespoons of either Bon Ami or baking soda. Rinse with regular water.

Tile Floor Cleaner

HOT water, 1/2 a cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of vinegar. This is a green version of this pin.

Glass Cleaner

This is my favorite glass cleaning recipe. Mix a quarter cup of white vinegar with 1/2 a teaspoon of dish soap and water. It's a little sudsy, but leaves your glass sparkly clean.

Bathtub/Sink Cleaner

Mix up a paste of Bon Ami and dish soap. Apply to tub and scrub. This cleans the GROSSEST tubs. For regular cleaning, I use either my all purpose vinegar cleaner.

Soap Scum

Pour vinegar directly on the scum. Leave for a minute, then wipe away. The vinegar eats through the scum!

Metal Cleaning

This post on Apartment Therapy is full of simple, green, cheap ways to clean and polish all different sorts of metals.

 General Tips

  • Hot water is your friend. Sometimes I actually boil water to use in cleaning. 
  • Bon Ami is non-toxic and safe to use as a scrubber.
  • I have no experience with stone countertops, but here's a post with some ideas for making green cleaners for it.
  • Keep your cleaners where you use them! I keep a bottle of my all purpose cleaner in the kitchen AND in the bathroom. A mason jar holds straight vinegar for toilet cleaning right on the shelf above it. 
Now I want to hear about YOUR cleaning recipes and ideas!


  1. thanks for the link back! I'm slowly starting to switch over to all homemade stuff, once my laundry detergent runs out I'm going to try Liz Marie's recipe for DIY laundry soap... it seems pretty simple!

    1. That, and making my own furniture polish are my next projects.

  2. Thanks for this! I loaded up on windex and its kin when we were selling the old house, because I figured buyers would rather smell chemicals than vinegar...but I need to get back on the hippy cleaning wagon. I tried making laundry detergent worked fine for awhile and then things started to get...stinky.

    1. Do you smell the vinegar? I smell it initially, but it goes away after a few minutes. J swears he smells it 4EVAH, but I think he's crazy.

      DIY laundry detergent scares me a little.

  3. There are so many great recipes for green cleaning products. I have found that baking soda is one of my favorites. I'm still getting used to the vinegar smell. Sometimes I will add an essential oil, like lemon, to get rid of the smell.

  4. I used to make my own laundry soap. But I love the smell of Gain so I don't make it anymore. These are such useful tips. Thanks for sharing at Pinworthy Projects.

  5. I was looking for… this kind of post from long time. Thanks for sharing.
    Green Cleaners

  6. I like foaming glass cleaner but these new products sound great..!


Thanks for commenting (it makes me feel less like I am just over here, talking to myself!). Comments are approved as quickly as possible. Seriously, I am trying to teach Emily to approve comments.


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