Does your cleaning closet or cabinet seem like it is overflowing with products, half of which you have no idea what they do? Cleaning is a task that most people do not enjoy, and an overwhelming amount of cleaning solutions only gets you one step closer to a migraine. Not to mention that half of the ingredients in commercial cleaners are hazardous for your health! Well, I’m going to tell you how you can clean 90% of your home with just 4 ingredients.
First, let me introduce to you the four cleaning super ingredients (pictured from left to right).
Vinegar: White vinegar is a slightly acidic liquid that is made by distilling and fermenting corn. It dries quickly and does not leave behind any smell once dry. Plus, at less than five cents per fluid ounce, it’s probably the cheapest cleaning product you’ve ever bought!
Dish soap: Did you know that dish soap has so many more uses than washing dishes? Gentle enough to remove oil from baby birds’ feathers, it can be used on most hard surfaces in your house.
Rubbing alcohol: Exposure to rubbing alcohol stops bacteria and viruses right in their tracks. For sanitizing purposes, stick with a bottle that is at least 70% alcohol. The one I used is 90% because I can always dilute it with water if it is too strong.
Baking soda: A white fine powder, baking soda is one of the most versatile household products. Keep an open box of it in your fridge to prevent nasty odors. Sprinkle some in your garbage can or sink disposable when it starts smelling bad. Freshen up your carpet by dusting it with baking soda, let it sit for 1 hour, and then vacuum it up.
Bonus – essential oils: Make cleaning a little more enjoyable by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils to one of the DIY cleaning recipes listed below. Lavender oil has stress relieving properties and orange citrus is a natural anti-bacterial.
Okay, let’s get onto the DIY cleaning solution recipes! Before you start, you will need access to water and several small squirt bottles. Use different colors and shapes for your cleaning spray bottles so that you can easily tell them apart. To save money, you can reuse old cleaning spray bottles so long as your rinse them out well. You may also want a measuring cup if you don’t like to estimate your liquid proportions.
- All-purpose cleaner
- The recipe – 1 part dish soap to 20 parts water
- That’s it! Use it to clean kitchen counters, tables, highchairs, and any other non-porous surface. Replace half of the water with vinegar to give it an extra cleaning kick. It’s important to clean a surface and get off any grime before sanitizing it. More on this in a little bit.
- Disinfectant spray
- The recipe – 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 3/4 cup water
- Disinfecting/sanitizing is different than cleaning. Cleaning physically removes dirt and grime from a surface while sanitizing it kills the microorganisms left behind. Even products that claim to do both usually require you to apply it twice: once to clean and once to disinfect. To use this disinfectant spray, apply to the area you want to disinfectant (for example the toilet or kitchen sink), leave it for 5-15 minutes, then wipe clean.
- Glass cleaner
- The recipe – 1 part vinegar, 1 part water
- This works just like Windex. Use it to clean mirrors and windows, or use it as a mild disinfectant.
- Tub and Tile spray
- The recipe – 1 part dish soap to 1 part vinegar
- This formula clings to shower walls to cut through grime and mildew. Spray it on your bathtub and shower walls and leave it for 10 minutes while it does its thing. Then, come back and wipe it away with a wet sponge. This spray works best when used regularly to prevent serious mildew buildup. When using it on the bathroom sink and countertops, apply 1-2 sprays directly to your sponge and then wipe the bathroom surfaces. This formula is strong so it doesn’t take much to get your porcelain sparkling again.
- Floor cleaner
- For tile and laminate floors: Mix 2 parts vinegar with 1 part water.
- For hardwood floors, use 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water.
- This cleaning solution can be used several different ways. Mix it in a bucket to use with a regular mop, wet a microfiber cloth to use it with a swifter, or spray it on the floor directly before wiping with a clean cloth. For a little extra cleaning power, you can add a few squirts of dish soap. I personally prefer to just use the vinegar.
Now that you have your DIY cleaning solutions all made up, let’s make sure they stay organized. Use labels on your spray bottles to distinguish between them. Write the name of the solution as wells as the ingredients and their concentrations. This makes it super easy to mix up more cleaning solution when your bottle runs empty. Your labels can be as simple as sharpie on painters tape or made with a label maker. My favorite way to store my spray bottles is on a tension rod above the sink or in the cabinet under the sink. You could also place them in a caddy along with some microfiber towels to take with you from room to room. One last tip: I like to buy my cleaning ingredients in bulk and keep them all together in a dry cabinet.
So there you have it! Follow these recipes and tips to simplify your cleaning arsenal and avoid using harmful chemical around your home and family.