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Keep These under Your Sink, White Vinegar, Bakind Soda, Borax and Bleach

Updated on February 5, 2010

These are Really All You Need to Clean Your Whole House

A cleaner for counter tops, a cleaner for floors, a cleaner for your bathroom and a cleaner for your toilets. Your under the sink storage is full of all types of cleaners. Some work, some don't but they are not cheap. And how do they affect the indoor air quality of your home, and what about your environment?

I can tell you I have tried them all. From the ones that tell you to wear rubber gloves to use them (how safe they must be) to environmentally friendly ones that tend to be pricey. That is one of the down side of trying to be green.

One day while having coffee with a friend of mine from Croatia, she mentioned that the only cleaning products that she used were baking soda and white vinegar. "No way", I said, "Yes way", she replied. "That's it baking soda and white vinegar".

Well although I am not from the "Show Me State", I had to find out for myself. Actually she was right. Along the way, I have added a couple of other products bringing the number up to 4.

The Fantastic Five

These are all the cleaners I keep under my sink.

  1. Baking soda, I buy it in the two pound box
  2. white vinegar, that I buy by the gallon
  3. 20 Mule Team Borax again, I keep it in the laundry room
  4. Dr. Bonner's liquid peppermint soap and or Murphy's Oil Soap
  5. bleach, again I buy it by the gallon but keep it on a shelf in the laundry room

Oh, and one more thing, I don't know how they work but Mr. Clean's Magic Erasers. I am not sure how natural they are but they clean like a dream with nothing but water.

Baking Soda

Baking soda can:

be added to the wash to soften the water and make your detergent work better.

Pour it down your garbage disposal, leave it overnight to absorb the odor.

Use in the litter box

I put it in a flour sifter (baking soda tends to get a little lumpy) to sprinkle it on my rugs.  Before I vacuum.  Helps get rid of the doggy smell.

Baking soda makes a gentle, yet effective scouring powder for sinks and bathtubs.

Put it in stinky tennis shoes to absorb the stink.

It will do the same in the wash for stinky gym socks or towels that got thrown in the cloths hamper wet.

If you burn a pot or pan really bad, fill the pan with water add a couple of good shakes of baking soda, bring the pot to a boil.  Watch the burned on stuff practically float off of the bottom.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is another product that I keep under the sink. It alone or in combination with baking soda is an awesome cleaning product.

White vinegar can be:

  1. Used as a fabric softener. Just add a cup to the second rinse or in your washer's fabric softener holder. It doesn't coat the fabric, which is what commercial fabric softener's do but rinses the detergant completely out of your laundry. It leaves no odor, Just really clean cloths. Now just dry them outside to give them a sunny outside smell. There is nothing better than getting between sheets that smell like sunshine.
  2. Can be used to decalcify bathroom fixtures. Unlike the very caustic commercial products, it is not hard on the skin. I will have to say that it is not as effective if you have a lot of build up but works well for the light build up.
  3. Put into a spray bottle, it makes a great glass cleaner, use one of those micro cleaning cloths and your windows and mirrors will shine.
  4. Cleans the coffee maker. Again the commercial cleaners are not only caustic but toxic as well.

The Dynamic Duo: Baking Soda and White Vinegar

Now when you combine baking soda and white vinegar, you have a combo that can not be beat.

  1. Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain or into your garbage disposal, follow it by a cup of white vinegar. It will foam up as it goes down the drain and then follow by a large pan of boiling water. Whoosh, a great way to clean the drains.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda in the toilet, follow with a few glugs of white vinegar, scrub. Clean toilet. To disinfect follow with a little bleach and all the germs are gone.
  3. Pet accidents? Just pour white vinegar to the stain, sprinkle on some baking soday, once it stop fizzing, just use your carpet shampooer filled with hot water and suck it up. Between the two, baking soda and vinegar, the odor should disappear.
  4. Dried on crusties on the table or counter top. First cover the crusty with a damp towel and let it soak a little. Now sprinkle on some baking soda followed with vinegar. It loosens the crusty and it comes right up.

Twenty Mule Team Borax: Is There Any Other Kind?

Borax can be used in similar fashion to baking soda, especially in the wash.  But it has another very important job.  When sprinkled on carpets and floors then left overnight, it makes a non toxic flea killer.  Borax is a mineral, it's sides are rough.  It cuts through the tough outer shell of fleas and other creepy crawlies and dries them right up.  I tried some commercial non-toxic flea killers but they where so highly scented with cinnamon and cloves, it was hard to stay in the same room. 

Borax is also an emulsifier.  It combines with grease and oils making them easier to wash away.

Dr. Bonner's Liquid Soap

Dr. Bonner's is a concentrated liquid soap that was once found only in health food stores.  I have now begun seeing it in my local supermarkets.  It is a little pricey at first glance but you diluet it 1:10 so it last forever.

  1. I like the peppermint smell. 
  2. It makes a great floor cleaner.  Mop the kitchen with it an your whole house will smell fresh and clean.
  3. put in a spray bottle with 1 oz of Dr. Bonner's and 9 ounces of water it cuts grease better than most commercial products and smell 10 times better.
  4. Diluted it also makes a refreshing bodywash.

Liquid Bleach, the Best Germ Fighter

Bleach is the best and least expensive sanitizer there is.  It is used in hospital laboratories throughout the United States.  All it takes is one ounce of bleach mixed with 9 ounces of water.  This solution will kill germs on all hard surfaces including children's toys. 

OOOH I Forgot. More Uses for Baking Soday

I just remembered another very important use for baking soda.  It is a superb deodorant. 
Use in in smell tennies, in the wash with after practice uniforms and even under your arms if you are in a pinch.  Oh and it's also makes a good toothpaste if you can stand the taste.  I haven't had any cavities since I started using it at age 13.


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    • Marina7 profile image


      5 years ago from Clarksville TN

      You are right plus Borax is the best carpet cleaner ever. I don't use bleach at all because it will tear up your washing machine and pipes.

    • reddog1027 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      So true!

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      5 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      We had what we needed all along. Companies started adding and creating other chemicals which were never really tested for long term effects so they could raise prices. They were selling brand name products which many people trust to this day. What this means is people were trusting that the brand owner was giving them the best product for their needs.

      Where we went through a period where people were living into their late nineties or early 100's we now have people not living until retirement age. This is because of what we eat as well as what we trust as safe to clean our houses.

    • reddog1027 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I am aware of the dangers of chlorine bleach but when it comes to an effective anti-microbial bleach in not only very effective but inexpensive as well. It is effective against the most resistant viruses and bacteria, including Hep B. That is because it kills by physically disrupting the outer membranes of both viruses and bacteria. Hospital labs use a 10% solution to clean the counter tops at the end of every shift.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Bleach is poisonous! Do not use bleach. People have to wake up. Bleach is a terrible thing and should be banned. Look up what bleach is and how it gives off chlorine gas. This gas is extremely harmful to you as well as the chlorine itself. When you use this poison you destroy the environment. If it is not safe for animals in nature it is not safe for you. Why do you think fish tanks have to have an additive put in the water to remove the chlorine? Because chlorine kills fish and it harms you.

      Look up chlorine in your drinking water and be ready to be amazed and devastated.

    • Sandyksk profile image

      Sandy Jauregui 

      9 years ago from Sanger

      I really need to 'spruce' up my cleaning supplies, I really try not to buy the commercial brands with all the toxic chemicals, but forget there are good alternatives...thanks for a good hub...definitely voted up, and useful! :)

    • suziecat7 profile image


      9 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Lots of great ideas here. I don't have Borax in the house but will get some. Thanks.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Often the old time remedies are the best. In this day and age of economizing, this is good advice. What you have suggested and written about are tried and true methods and eco friendly on top of that. Good hub!

    • Wealthmadehealthy profile image


      9 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

      LOL A woman after my own cleaning supplies!! The only thing I don't have under there which is mentioned is that team of mules....better get some of those too and hope they don't mess up the cabinet. LOL Great hub!! Have a blessed day!!

    • reddog1027 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Mulberry, glad you found the hub helpful. Thanks for the tip about where to get large quantities of baking soda! I will definitely be checking it out. I probably use a 2lb box a week. I use it in my laundry to take out the smell.

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 

      9 years ago

      I'm definitely trying the Baking Soda for cleaning out burned "gunk" from the bottom of a pan, no scrubbing is the best part! I was at Wal-Mart one day (should I admit that??) standing in the automotive dept. at the back door near the garage waiting on hubby. I saw a big bag of baking soda, intended for swimming pools I think. Anyway, it cost about 1/10 or less of buying those small boxes at the grocery. If you use large quantities of it, seems like the best way to buy it.

    • reddog1027 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks Knockout! I will add that to my easy, cheap collection of cleaning supplies. I love all the new ideas that come from other Hubbers.

    • profile image


      9 years ago from San Diego

      Try hydrogen peroxide, supermarket strength. It works great on tile,grout, synthetic fibers. It is self neutralizes, takes care of odors, and certain type of organic stains. Do not use on organic fibers like cotton, wool, or ourselves.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great hub. Don't forget, vinegar makes a great flea bath. Jut add it to bathwater.


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