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Green Tip #17 - Recipes and Remedies for Everyday Living - Homemade Household Cleaners

Updated on December 29, 2014
bravewarrior profile image

Shauna believes that we can all take steps to bring ourselves and the environment back to good health using items you have in your pantry.

Household items cost less and perform better than commercial cleaners.
Household items cost less and perform better than commercial cleaners. | Source
Organic cleaners don't harm pets.
Organic cleaners don't harm pets. | Source
Bathroom tile grout cleaned with baking soda and water.
Bathroom tile grout cleaned with baking soda and water. | Source
Shower grout cleaned with baking soda and water.  (forgive the lack of symmetry - I replaced the tile myself!)
Shower grout cleaned with baking soda and water. (forgive the lack of symmetry - I replaced the tile myself!) | Source

Do you make homemade cleaners?

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Howdy All!

Boy, all this rain and humidity really puts on a sweat, huh? Not very lady like to say the least! We’re not alone in the after effects of dampness. Your tile and grout sweat, too– in the form of mold and mildew. Not only is it ugly, but very unhealthy for we humans to ingest. Consequently, so are most commercial cleaners on the market, targeted to ridding these surfaces of mold, mildew, soap scum and hard water deposits. So, today I’ll give you some alternative cleaning methods that will save you money and the danger of inhaling the fumes of commercial cleaners,bleach or ammonia.

Green Tip #17– Recipes and Remedies for Everyday Living– Homemade Household Cleaners

With a few ingredients you already have in your home, you should never have to buy commercial cleaners again. One of the most versatile and safe is baking soda. After all, if you can brush your teeth with it, it can do no harm elsewhere!

To clean grout, pour some baking soda in a bowl. Add enough water to make a paste. Take an old toothbrush and evenly spread the paste in the grout lines. Scrub it a bit and let is sit for a minute or two, then rinse and voila! - clean grout with no harsh chemicals to inhale or compromise its constitution!

You can also use this solution to scrub your tile floors, especially those with a rough texture of which the characteristic nooks and crannies are susceptible to mildew and/or discoloration. Simply spread it on, rub with a scrub brush and let it dry. Wipe clean with a soft cloth and water or a damp mop.

Baking soda also works great on the metal rings in your sinks. Sprinkle some on the ring, let it sit for a few minutes, wipe with a sponge or cloth and rinse. What a sparkle! Really, try it, you’ll see!

It works great on the ugly deposits that build up under the toilet seat lip, as well.

For cleaning porcelain tile, spray straight white vinegar on the surface, let it sit for a bit, then wipe with a dry soft cloth (you might need a little elbow grease or baking soda, depending on the extent of the build up). Rinse. Again, voila! It can also be used on windows and mirrors for a streak free shine.

Vinegar works wonders as a stain pre-treatment for your laundry. It’s cheaper, safer and will reduce the amount of laundry soap you need to use, reduces lint formation, brightens colors and keeps them from running and keeps the washing machine clean at the same time! Wow! And you thought vinegar was just for salads! OK, maybe not, but you catch my drift…..

Get this… you can use vinegar as a rinse after washing your hair! Mix ½ cup warm water with ½ cup vinegar and apply to your hair after shampooing, as you would conditioner. It will remove any shampoo (soap) buildup and will leave your hair shiny!

Use vinegar in your dishwasher instead of the commercial rinse aid products.Most new dishwashers, especially the Energy Star brands,recommend using a rinse aid for top performance. I bought a new dishwasher about two years ago. I found if you don’t use the rinse aid, the dishes don’t dry! Obviously a conspiracy, but what can you do? Ah, but what can you do?? You can thwart the conspiracy by adding vinegar rather than buy the manufacturer’s recommended product, that’s what! Your glasses will be spotless! (What’s in those rinse aids, anyway??)

Use vinegar as an all purpose cleaner by adding 1 part water to 2 parts vinegar. It can be used on almost anything but marble.

As a floor cleaner, brew one cup peppermint tea, squeeze in juice of half a lemon and add 1 cup vinegar (double or triple the recipe depending on the square footage you need to clean). The vinegar disinfects, the tea has antibacterial properties and removes marks and the lemon freshens and reinforces the vinegar as a disinfectant.

And lastly (for today, anyway!) make your own furniture polish. This is my mother’s recipe; she’s been using it for as long as I can remember. She and I both have an affinity for antiques, with their exquisite detail, history, character and workmanship. Not to mention they are made of real wood! So, here’s Mom’s furniture polish recipe:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon white vinegar

1 Quart warm water

Mix well. Store it in a bottle, with or without a spray attachment– your choice. It works best when warm. You can heat it up in a pan of hot water before each use. Spray on your furniture and rub dry with a soft cloth. This will wash off dirt and dust and leave a light, conditioning oil film to protect the wood from drying out.

That’s it for this week, folks. My lawn is beckoning a trim before the storm!

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you next week!

Shauna L Bowling

Refining, Defining or Rhyming

All Rights Reserved

© 2012 Shauna L Bowling


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    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Careermommy, I have many more green tips posted here. You can find them on my profile page. Each one has been featured. Thanx for the pin!

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Rose, thanx for stopping by and voting up. Every little bit helps!

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Kathryn, I'm so glad you found this useful. Making your own cleaners saves money and the environment. It especially makes sense if you have young children and/or pets in the house. Nothing toxic to be aborbed by the skin.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      I love green tips! These are wonderful tips that I will try. I'm definitely pinning this!

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      This is a great article on making your own cleaning products! You have offered some excellent tips. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image


      6 years ago from Windsor, Connecticut

      I love making my own cleaning products. I just got started doing it this past year. You have provided so many useful tips, and I am bookmarking this.

      The furniture polish is what I have never heard of! That is very useful. I always have those ingredients on hand, so I will be able to try it out.

      Thanks for sharing this with us, and have a wonderful day!

      Voted up and sharing.

      ~ Kathryn

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Thanx for stopping by, IslandBites. I'm glad you found this useful.

    • IslandBites profile image


      6 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Nice hub! Great ideas.

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Suzi, I'd be honored to have you link to this. You're the Queen of DIY! :-)

      Rebecca, my mom has been using that concoction for polishing furniture as long as I can remember. You know what they say, "mother knows best"!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Great hub! I like the furniture polish with olive oil idea!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      6 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Sha,

      Great tips and ideas, definitely linking this to mine if that's okay? Baking soda and vinegar are so darn useful, why we use commercial stuff is beyond me! Thanks for these great suggestions, up +++++shared!

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Good for you, ananceleste! Every little bit helps!

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Vinegar is good for all kinds of things, Jennzie. I just may have to some more R & D on this topic. Thanx for sharing!

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Thank you Janine and thanx for the follow!

    • ananceleste profile image

      Anan Celeste 

      7 years ago from California

      I love this! I am trying to eliminate all chemicals from my home. I will try all of them. thanks.

    • jennzie profile image


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Very useful information! I also didn't know that vinegar is beneficial for hair. Great hub- voted up and shared!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      7 years ago from New York, New York

      Would never have thought to use vinegar as conditioner for your hair. That said very informative hub and am sharing and voting up too.

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Ah, bless you my sweet! I was just ready to go to bed and I saw you responded to one of my hubs! Gotta make time for Spy!

      I'm glad you enjoy them. I've posted #18 over the weekend if you'd like to check it out!

      Good night, my Lady! Sweet dreams!

    • unknown spy profile image

      Life Under Construction 

      7 years ago from Neverland

      Brave, your Green tips hubs are really amazing, informative and useful. I love it! shared!

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      I love ya, Beck! My aspiration now is to be a writer. If I could afford to quit my job and design AND write, I'd be a very happy little girl. I appreciate your vote of confidence, more than I can express in words. I will take your suggestions to heart and do some real thinking. I'd love to quit my job and do what's in my heart! I'm finding it harder and harder every day to get up and go to work. It's totally interfering with my dream.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Schooling sschmoooling .... you don't need that. Many people would hire you based ona fine portfolio. Takes some creative pictures of your own home designs as well as your friends. The bigger the portfolio the better. They won't even consider the schooling part. I'm telling have an opportunity to make some money doing something you enjoy as well as something you're damned good at. I'd hire ya and I wouldn't care what schooling background you came from.

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Hey, Beckie! My favorite color is purple, but I think that'd be a but much in the home. Ha ha! I'm glad you like my décor. I actually lean towards Victorian. I have lots of color in my house and several antiques. I'll consider your idea regarding home décor hubs. My neighbor actually had me decorate her living room several years ago. I placed furniture at angles, hung pictures on wall spaces where not many people would think to do, etc. She's gotten rave reviews over my design. I actually considered becoming an interior decorator after that 'cuz I LOVE to decorate, but found out it takes schooling. Being in my 50's, I really don't want to go back to school!

      I have fun with thrift store/Salvation Army/yard sale finds. I also have some family heirlooms throughout the house.

      Thanx for your comment. You've given me serious food for thought!

      It's raining here today. Good excuse to do nothing but catch up on Hubmail!

      Love Ya!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      7 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Shauna - I love your taste! My favorite color has always been pink. Any shade of pink, mauve, rose....Your tile selection is gorgeous and so original!!! Beautiful home and beautiful décor. Wonderful floridian style done to perfection. I could also reach through the photgraph and squeeze those darling kitties all day!!!

      Oh - the tips were awesome too!

      P.S. - You really should consider doing some articles on home décor tips. i.e. accent walls, vibrant colored paints .....

      We have had no rain in almost two weeks. Thunderstorms are expected today!

      Hugs and warm fuzzies, XXOO

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Also try pouring white vinegar on the grass and weeds that grow in the concrete/driveway cracks. It kills them within a day!

    • Collisa profile image

      Columba Smith 

      7 years ago from California

      Wonderful tips! I use white vinegar a lot for cleaning around here.

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Cool, TT. That's the point.

      You still haven't told me what VUMS means. BTW, how are you coming on chapter 2? ha ha. I pray I don't get tagged!!!!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      7 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Excellent hub, brave, very useful info. I have most of that stuff on hand anyway. VUMS.

    • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Nothing, starstream. I, too have color treated hair. However, I would recommend going heavier on the water ratio. Vinegar doesn't bleach, but it can kill grass growing in sidewalk cracks, so I'd be frugal with the vinegar. Most everything with homemade remedies is trial and error until you find the right mix. Since our heads are visible, I'd start shy at first.

      I'm ticked pink - not only are you my first commenter, but I've gained a follower! Thank you!

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 

      7 years ago from Northern California

      Interesting and helpful hub for avoiding cleaning chemicals in the home. My question is this: What would your vinegar recipe rinse do to color treated hair? Thanks.


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