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What Simple Cleaning Substitutes Can You Make From Home?

Updated on March 15, 2015
donotfear profile image

Annette Sharp holds a BAAS in Behavioral Science from Texas A&M. She is a counselor and motivator with an empathetic heart.

Cheap Fixes For Cleaning!

I never thought I'd be writing this article because I hate to clean. It's tedious and boring. But I felt inspired and I've been in a Hubbin' frenzy, so I wanted to share some quick fixes that help me at home and are good for the pocket book, too.  Also want to urge you to GO GENERIC!

You may already know about these remedies, though I hope you find it helpful.


Okay, I know it's not "green", but it's cheap and readily available at the store. Makes a great over-all cleaner to attain a fresh, clean scent. You don't have to buy the 'name brands' to get the effect you need. You may use a generic. Here's what I discovered:

Mix 1 part bleach to 3 parts water in a sprayer bottle for a general cleaning solution for countertops.

NOTE: I just discovered this fix - Use the same solution above and add about a Tablespoon or a little more of Pine Sol to the mixture. Yes, you can use a cheaper generic. This is an excellent cleaner and disinfectant! Best of all, it has the most WONDERFUL scent. Refreshing. I just used this to clean my bathroom mirror. I wasn't sure it would work, I was afraid of streaking. But it came out perfect!

P.S. I also use a stronger mixture of bleach and water to treat thrush in my horses's hooves. It seems to kill off the bacteria. Spray on the area and it usually clears up within a week or so.


Well, you'd never believe it, but using newspaper to clean glass is the way to go. An auto-body man told me about this. It's what they use to clean up the windows after a paint job. I've been doing this for years. I used newspaper as a wipe when I cleaned the bathroom mirror with the bleach/pine sol mixture. Streak free! Don't know if it was the newspaper or the mixture that did it but it works, for sure! So save a bit of that old newspaper before recycling and use it to clean glass, chrome, and mirrors.

Baking Soda & Vinegar

Yeah, yeah, I know everyone knows about this. When I was a kid, my Mom used to let us use it to make a volcano in the sand pile. We'd sprinkle some baking soda in a little cup that was embedded in the top of the "volcano top", then add the vinegar. Whoosh!! Out boils hot lava! But did you know it's a great way to clean you drains? Same thing.....Oh! You CAN use generic baking soda and vinegar! It doesn't have to be a name brand and costs less!

Dump a little baking soda down the drain, then pour in the vinegar....Whoosh! Out boils the hot lava! My grandson loves to help me clean the drains. We make a game out of it and it's very effective. Also brings up any crud in the drain.

I sometimes use vinegar & water to clean my ceramic tile floor. One thing you need to be careful of when cleaning ceramic tile with this mixture is DON'T get the vinegar part too strong. Here's why: vinegar is an acidic, natural product, right? Any acidic liquid can discolor your grout if used in a strong dose. I worked in the ceramic tile business for 9 years and learned this from many tile setters.

Concerning tile cleaning, vinegar OR baking soda is also used as a neutralizing solution to actually NEUTRALIZE the acidic content after unsealed brick tile pavers are cleaned with an acid wash. What happens is that the acid wash that is used to remove the grout residue immediately after tile installation remains on the porous paving tile. If a sealer is applied without neutralizing the surface, then it will turn the paver tiles a pale whitish color. The sealer chemically reacts with strong acid cleaners like Sureklean 600, So a neutralizing rinse is applied and washed off before sealing the paver tiles.

One more mention on the vinegar: A solution of 2/3 vinegar, 1/3 water, 1 cup of salt, and 1 tsp dishwashing liquid will kill poison ivy! Yep, sure will. Put it in a sprayer bottle and let 'er rip! You can adjust the dosage at your discretion, but it works, for sure.


All right, now here's another one that you 'green folks' are gonna bash me for. But ammonia's tough (and generic!)

Ammonia/Water: 1 part ammonia to 3 parts water makes another general, all purpose cleaner for just about anything. I use it as a substitute for window cleaners like Windex. It can also be substituted for Tilex, but you may have to mix a little stronger. I find the best use for this mixture on the stove top. It seems to cut the grease better than anything else. In addition, it works as a chrome cleaner, as well. Makes things 'very shiny, very sparkly'! Just be careful inhaling the fumes, they're lethal!

I also use it to clean the wire racks in the oven/toaster oven. What I do is this: Get a plastic bag, place the metal racks inside, add full strength ammonia to soak the inside of the bag, then put it outside in a safe place for 24 hours. After a day, I take out the metal racks and scrub them well. It usually obliterates the black build-up pretty well. I keep the solution handy at all times.


Used Dryer Sheets

Don't throw them away! They work wonders and have a long life-span. Use as a dust catcher (use at the base of the toilet, in floor corners, window sills) ,dryer filter cleaner (when you clean out the filter in the dryer, use one of these to collect the fuzz) , t.v. screen cleaner (wipe 'er down) , keyboard cleaner (swipe 'er down) or inside purse cleaner (wipe out the inside of your purse with helps catch all the dust and fuzz balls). All in all, the key purpose of a used dryer sheet is an over-all dust gatherer and duster.

You can also use them as a deodorizer. Simply spray with your favorite perfume, body spray, or room deodorizer. Then stuff into your purse, drawer, suitcase, or in the car. Works nicely and beats paying for those expensive fresheners.

Another really good use for used dryer sheets is to substitute them for Swiffer Sweeping Cloths, used with the Swiffer Sweeper. If you suddenly find yourself OUT of Sweeping Cloths, simply grab several used dryer sheets and attach to the Swiffer Sweeper as you would the regular cloths. It does the same thing! No joke. I have a bunch of these babies stuffed in the empty dryer sheet box to use at my fingertips.

Let's Hear Some Feedback!

I hope you find some of these Homemade Household Cleaners useful. Maybe you just discovered an idea you didn't already know about! I know there's a ton of information out there on this, but I wanted to share my discoveries with you in hopes of helping you unearth an unknown remedy.

Feel free to comment and add any tips you may have.


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    • profile image

      kitchensister 7 years ago

      Never mix ammonia and bleach - creates toxic fumes. Check on ol' pine sol, I think ammonia is a key ingredient.

    • profile image

      Leah 8 years ago

      Just a quick tip!

      Dryer sheets work wonderfully on soap scum in the bathtub. Grab a used sheet, get it wet, and scrub away. Works well for scuff marks too, use a dry one though ;)

    • stricktlydating profile image

      StricktlyDating 8 years ago from Australia

      Hi donotfear, I find it useful using a vinegar & baking soda mix to remove soap scum from my bath. I also put a little baking soda into my washing machine when I'm washing towels and sheets as it makes them fluffy!

    • donotfear profile image

      donotfear 8 years ago from The Boondocks

      sabbath1: You'll have to ask Mikethesalesman about it and read his hub... Thanks for your comment.!

    • sabbatha1 profile image

      sabbatha1 8 years ago from

      I really liked your hub. Thank You for all the great tips!

      How can we change algea into something useful?

    • donotfear profile image

      donotfear 8 years ago from The Boondocks

      Gee, Mikey...I don't know what to say. You're all right!! How can we convert algae into energy?

    • Mike the salesman profile image

      Mike the salesman 8 years ago from birmingham alabama/sherwood oregon

      Some good tips! Help me make some Algae to run our cars on now! Another great article, and yet another cute pic! lol Thanks, Mike

    • magdielqr profile image

      magdielqr 8 years ago

      Very good review.

    • donotfear profile image

      donotfear 8 years ago from The Boondocks

      Wow, thanks for the tip, Bryguy!!!

    • bryguy1 profile image

      bryguy1 8 years ago

      Very useful tips donotfear. Thank you for sharing. Here's a bonus for getting those dreadful red stains out of carpet or material. Take sudzy ammonia, work it into the stain. Next, take a damp cloth or towel place it over the stain. Then, take a steam iron and watch as the stain absorbs into the towel or cloth. Repeat if necessary. Thanks again donotfear. God Bless.

    • Godslittlechild profile image

      Godslittlechild 8 years ago

      I really like this hub. Gotta try these.

    • shruthi5515 profile image

      shruthi5515 8 years ago

      good.. nice hub

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 8 years ago from Georgia

      I love alternative cleaning solutions to what's already out there on the market. I'm a huge fan of bakingsoda, hydrogen peroxide (a great disinfectant) borax lauundry booster (which is great for cleaning your tubs) lemon juice and mineral oil (great for polishing your wood furniture and leaves a great smell), and vinegar (great for cleaning around the knobs of your sink and giving them a nice shine). It saves you money since these items come in bulk. Your other suggestions are great as well - happy cleaning!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for all theses advises. You will be not only run out of town but out of the country, ruining all their fat profits.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      Thank you, great practical smart advice.