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The Home Cleaning Product DIY Recipe Book

Updated on September 9, 2015

Why should you make your own cleaning supplies?

Part of being a grown up is having to pay bills. Whether it’s your housing, your food, your clothes, or your utilities you can quickly see your monthly income dwindle down to almost nothing once you’ve paid for the essentials. There are many ways to cut back on your monthly bills, such as reducing your energy usage or bringing your credit card balance back to zero. However, one of the often overlooked necessities, you’re household cleaning supplies, can be cut back drastically as well.

In 2009 the average household of 2-4 people spent $779-$803 on cleaning supplies according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means that on average a family can be expected to spend up to $67 a month on cleaning supplies alone. I don’t know about you, but if I had an extra $67 I would put it towards something else, perhaps even something fun. In fact, there are dozens of household products that you can learn how to make yourself for significantly less than you would spend buying it from the store.


Laundry detergent

Let’s be honest, nobody likes laundry day and laundry detergent is not cheap. If you stick with a name brand such as Tide you can expect to pay at least $8. Even if you opt for the off-brand you’re still going to wind up paying close to $5 for the same size. If you have to buy detergent every month you’re looking at close to $60 a year just on laundry soap.

One of the easiest ways to reduce your laundry detergent bill is to form good habits. Over-dosing laundry is one of the most common mistakes people make when they wash their clothes. Not only does this waste expensive detergent, it can actually cause your clothes to become dirtier. Laundry detergents are becoming more concentrated, so adding too much detergent can lead to soapy buildup on your laundry which will actually attract more dirt to stick to your clothing.

Clearly there are ways to improve your overall fabric softener consumption. However, clothes need to be washed and they do require soap. The truth is name brands and off brands are awfully similar in their ingredients so you’re better off to go with the cheaper brand (unless you get some killer coupons). However, what I have found to be the most cost effective is to simply make my own laundry soap. The bonus to this is that your detergent is chemical free – a must if you have sensitive skin.

While there are dozens of recipes out there, I prefer to make powdered detergent. It’s simpler, requires less effort, and stores better than homemade liquid laundry detergent in my humble opinion. There are essentially 3 ingredients to making laundry detergent: bar soap, baking soda, and borax.

The first thing you need to do is grate your bar soap (I prefer Ivory). You can use a cheap cheese grater from the dollar store if you don’t want your good cheese grater to become coated in soapy residue. Once that’s done add a cup of borax and a cup of baking soda, mix it together, and pour it into whatever container you prefer. I recommend using some type of glass container, particularly if you want to add essential oils for scent.

It’s honestly that simple to make your own laundry detergent. Use a tablespoon per load (add half a tablespoon for larger loads or very dirty clothes) and you’re all set. A pro-tip is to make one very large batch of soap that will last you a year. I usually make 6 batches at a time so I’m not constantly grating soap bars.

Watch the experts at DIY laundry detergent!

Fabric Softener

Fabric softener serves to reduce the overall static in your clothing. You can use several different methods to achieve this. The first one is to use wool balls which will decrease drying time and reduce static. These tend to cost somewhere around $20 for 6 but they can last you several months, if not years. However, if that’s too rich for you, you can wade up some balls of tinfoil and toss them in with your damp clothes. The tinfoil attracts the static energy so it doesn’t build up in your clothes, and chances are you already have it in your cupboards.

Now, some people prefer to use fabric softener during the washing cycle and not during the drying cycle. There are really two main types of fabric softeners that you can use in the washing machine. The first is crystals and the second is liquid softener. If you thought that making laundry detergent was easy, you’re going to be amazed at how simple it is to make your own fabric softener.

Fabric Softener Crystals

All you need to make fabric softener crystals is Epsom salt and your favorite scent of essential oil. For this all you need to do is pour the Epsom salt into your storage container and add a few drops of essential oil. The ratio of salt to oil is really more of a preference than a science. I tend to add 20 drops for a pint of salt, but I like my softener to be strongly scented. After adding the oil, mix it up well, and bam! That’s literally all you need to do. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load.

Liquid Fabric Softener

The recipe I prefer involves the previously explained fabric softener crystals. In addition to that you’ll need baking soda and white vinegar. Using a large mixing bowl mix 6 cups of white vinegar with 1 cup of baking soda SLOWLY. Notice the emphasis on slowly? If you pour the entire cup of baking soda directly into the vinegar you’re going to end up with a 6th grade science project volcano, so do a couple scoops at a time and allow the fizzing to mellow before adding a few more scoops.

If you choose to make this in bulk be forewarned that the Epsom salt tends to crystallize in the vinegar after a few months. I recommend making this as needed and not in bulk like the laundry detergent.

Happy Cleaning!

Enjoy the fresh scent of homemade laundry soap!
Enjoy the fresh scent of homemade laundry soap! | Source

Household Cleaning

If you’re trying to save money or just looking to use less chemical products to clean your home, you’re going to need a few basic supplies. White vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, washing soda, and castile soap are all staples to have in your cleaning cabinet. Another key ingredient to keep on hand is essential oils which add the benefit of nice scents as well as various other properties, such as anti-anxiety properties of lavender. Just be sure that you double check any ingredients that you mix together first, most are fine but some combinations can be bad such as castile soap and vinegar. Find a list of household products you should not mix together here.

Disinfectant wipes

If you have a mess that needs to be cleaned up quickly and conveniently than disinfectant wipes are a must. Use an old baby wipe container to store them and keep them moist. You can use disposable paper towels (thick ones that won’t rip easily such as Bounty) or cut up an old tee-shirt (clean, obviously). I prefer using cloth so that I can wash and reuse them. In a mixing bowl add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to 1 cup of water. You can add a drop or two of dish soap; I prefer 7th generation because it is eco-friendly.

Simply dip the cloth squares into the mixture and then let it absorb for 1-3 minutes. Once the clothes are moist put them in the baby wipe container for storage.

Toilet cleaner

Easily the least likeable cleaning task, toilet bowl cleaner can be one of the most chemical filled products in your house. A cheap way to save money on this is to pour in a half cup of baking soda, a quarter cup of vinegar, and (optional) a few drops of tea tree essential oils. The fizzy reaction caused by the baking soda and vinegar will help scrub away the grime in your toilet bowl and provide a sparkling clean.

Other alternative toilet bowl cleaners are simply vinegar with essential oils in a spray bottle.

Tub/Shower/Counter-top/All purpose cleaner

While straight white vinegar is a great cheap cleaner that will do the job, it can have an offensive odor. Alleviate the smell by mixing 1 part vinegar and 1 part water with your favorite essential oil to mask the scent of the vinegar. You can mix it in a jar or put it in a spray bottle for easier use.

Another recipe for all purpose hard surfaces cleaner is to mix baking soda with a small amount of liquid castile soap. If you’ve ever had a red ring on your counter from juice, this will get rid of it like magic! The texture of baking soda mixed with water or castile soap will help with any hard gunky areas.

Almost any mess can be tackled with these two simple recipes.

Pan degreaser

The easiest solution for greasy dishes is to simply combine salt with some elbow grease, no expensive bottle of cleaner required.

Furniture Polish

Forget paying $4 a bottle of Pledge, all you need to make your furniture shine is this easy and affordable recipe. Mix together a quarter cup of vinegar with a three-fourths cup of olive oil and rub onto your furniture with a soft washcloth or rag.

If you’re just trying to clean without so much polish, consider lessening the amount of olive oil and adding water to the mixture. Pour it into a spray bottle and you have ready to go wood cleaner.

Baking Soda & Vinegar Reaction

This is what mixing your baking soda into your vinegar will look like, which is why it's important to do it slowly.
This is what mixing your baking soda into your vinegar will look like, which is why it's important to do it slowly. | Source

Keep it clean!

While there are dozens upon dozens of various DIY home cleaning recipes, I’ve found that these cover just about every need in my home. So stock up on white vinegar, baking soda, essential oils, and castile soap and you’ll never find yourself short on cleaning supplies again. Just don’t forget the spray bottles (remember to use glass if you’re using recipes with essential oils)!

Let me know what you do!

Do you make your own cleaning supplies

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    • vhayward profile imageAUTHOR

      Valerie Hayward 

      3 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks c Marie, I love making my own cleaning products as well :)

    • C_MarieWeber profile image


      3 years ago from Wichita

      Great article! I make quite a few of my own cleaning products.


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