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I’m an avid fan of homemade household cleaners for two main reasons. I like knowing exactly what’s in the cleaning products I’m using and knowing how safe they are. The financial savings is another huge reason I make all of my own household cleaning products. You can cut down on your cleaning costs big time by following DIY cleaner recipes.
If you’re a little overwhelmed at the thought of brewing up your own cleaning concoctions, I understand. It can seem very intimidating at first! But once you learn a little about DIY cleaners, you’ll quickly feel confident about making them. Below you’ll find eight different simple DIY cleaner recipes. In some cases, you only need one ingredient! Read on to see how easy it is to make your own cleaners.
1. DIY All-Purpose Cleaner
The following recipe is the DIY all-purpose cleaner recipe that I use in my own home. The ingredients are simple things that many people have on hand. I primarily use it in my kitchen and bathroom, but it’s truly an all-in-one formula. For this cleaner, you’ll need:
- ¾ cup rubbing alcohol
- 1 cup white vinegar
- A few drops of dish soap
- One tablespoon of lemon juice
- A 32-ounce spray bottle
- Essential oils (optional)
Simply combine rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, dish soap, and lemon juice in the spray bottle. Add water until the contents reach the fill line. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils, and you’re all set!
This cleaner is primarily powered by the germ-properties in white vinegar and the antiseptic properties of rubbing alcohol. I use lemon juice and lemon dish soap to help cut through grease and deep clean. The water dilutes the formula so it isn’t too strong. Essential oils help cut down on the harsh vinegar and alcohol scent. This cleaner costs pennies to make, and it really gets the job done.
2. DIY Glass Cleaner
When it comes to DIY glass cleaner, you have a few different options to consider. Some people swear by one ingredient, but others prefer another. Below I’ll list a few of the popular choices for glass and window cleaner. Again, you’ll need a 32-ounce bottle for whichever option you choose. You can try:
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar + ½ cup rubbing alcohol + ½ cup water (my preferred method)
- white vinegar only
- 2 cups warm water + 1 tablespoon cornstarch + ¼ cup rubbing alcohol + ¼ cup white vinegar + a few drops of dish soap (full recipe and directions here)
When I’ve used plain white vinegar, I’ve gotten the least effective results. It’s good for light cleaning but may not pick up stubborn residue. A mixture of rubbing alcohol and vinegar really seems to get the job done for me. The last recipe is one I haven’t tried, but it looks very effective.
Lastly, skip the paper towels when you’re cleaning glass; they often leave behind lint or streaks. Some people use newspaper, but I swear by these microfiber glass cleaning cloths. They eliminate streaks, they’re reusable, and they make any glass surface look perfectly polished. Plus, you reduce the amount of waste you create, so they’re eco-friendly and a frugal choice.
3. DIY Bathtub/Shower Cleaner
I’m admittedly a little obsessive about having a clean tub and shower. Before I found a DIY cleaner, I tried so many different headache-inducing store bought options. One day, a Facebook friend posted a Pinterest ‘recipe’ for cleaning a bathtub and shower. She posted her own before and after photos, and I was sold. Lo and behold, this game-changing cleaning method worked wonders for me. All you need is:
- 1-2 cups baking soda
- 1-2 cups white vinegar
Start by taking all of your toiletries out of your tub and shower. Using the shower head or a spray bottle, rinse all surfaces lightly with warm water. This gives the baking soda a surface to adhere to. Depending on the size of your tub and shower, sprinkle 1-2 cups of plain baking soda on all surfaces that need cleaning. Use a spray bottle to apply an equal amount of white vinegar.
It will immediately bubble up; let it set for about 15-20 minutes. Wipe stains, soap scum, and all other surfaces with a microfiber cloth or soft sponge. The stains and gunk should come right out! Rinse your tub and shower thoroughly with warm water once you’re done.
As mentioned above, white vinegar is effective at killing bacteria and germs. The baking soda is a very gentle abrasive. It helps remove stains and scum without damaging the surface of your tub. It also deodorizes and brightens surfaces. When these two powerful ingredients are combined, they work better than any pre-made shower cleaner I’ve ever used.
4. DIY Stain Remover
DIY stain removers are a little bit more tricky than other DIY cleaner recipes. That’s because different ingredients work to remove different types of stains. Fortunately, there’s something for every stain imaginable. I’ve compiled a list below of A) stain removers I use and B) DIY stain removers that are popular and successful. Check out these homemade stain-busting options
- Remove red wine stains: salt + boiling water (full instructions here)
- Remove wet blood stains: hydrogen peroxide + bar soap (I use this method on light fabrics only, a full instructional guide is found here.)
- all-purpose stain remover: blue Dawn dish soap + baking soda + hydrogen peroxide (full instructions here – this method is a favorite of mine!)
While I haven’t used the red wine stain remover, it seems to be pretty effective. I use the other two methods regular – having a toddler means lots of stains to clean! They’re very simple, inexpensive, and effective. Additionally, they’re less harsh than stain removing formulas I’ve purchased at the store, but they work just the same.
5. DIY Carpet Cleaner
Carpet stains are undoubtedly frustrating. Unless you have white carpets, you have to avoid using any bleaching agents to remove stains. Carpet stains also seep into the fabric, so they can be very stubborn. The list below details a few carpet cleaning methods, including some of the ones that I use in my home. For these recipes, you’ll need a spray bottle, clean sponges, and cleaning cloths:
- 1 teaspoon dish soap + 1 tablespoon white vinegar + 1 cup warm water + 1 teaspoon baking soda (full instructions here)
- The all-purpose stain remover listed under “DIY Stain Remover” above.
- 1 tablespoon dish soap + 2 ounces warm water (I like this one when I’m in a hurry and need a simple solution.)
- Club soda
There are a few simple rules of thumb to follow no matter which of these recipes you choose. First, scrape up any excess dirt or residue from the spill/stained area.
Dab up excess liquid with a damp cloth. After that, spray the DIY cleaner into the carpet. Let it set for a few minutes, then work the formula in by dabbing with a wet sponge. Dab with a clean cloth and repeat until the stain is gone. I’ve tried the last three of the four recipes listed above, and I find them all to be effective.
6. DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner
If you use makeup brushes and sponges, it’s crucial to clean them on a regular basis. Bacteria, dead skin cells, dirt, and other impurities quickly dirty up brushes.
There are several different brands of makeup brush cleaner, but I’m a fan of DIY methods. The results are the same – if not better – and it’s much cheaper. I’ve noted my method of cleaning makeup brushes below and added a few methods that seem very popular:
- 1 tablespoon Aussie Moist Shampoo + 1 tablespoon antibacterial hand soap + warm water + coconut oil as needed (this is my personal method, and I’ve provided instructions below)
- 2 parts antibacterial soap + 1 part extra virgin olive oil (full details and instructions here)
- 1 tablespoon baby shampoo + warm water
- rubbing alcohol + small spray bottle (I use this method for sanitizing my brushes; simply spray brushes with a bit of rubbing alcohol and let them air dry.)
Shampoo is an excellent makeup brush cleaner because it’s gentle but effectively removes all excess makeup, dirt, and debris. I found that most DIY makeup brush cleaner recipes contained shampoo for these reasons.
For the first method, I combine one tablespoon of Aussie shampoo, one tablespoon of antibacterial hand soap, and about 12 ounces of warm water in a glass measuring cup. I let my brushes soak for five minutes, then wash each one individually with a bit of shampoo. After rinsing each one thoroughly, I lay them flat on a clean towel to air dry.
I occasionally add coconut oil into the mix for a few reasons. Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and it also conditions my makeup brush bristles. Additionally, I find that it’s very effective at removing all traces of stubborn makeup from my makeup sponges.
7. DIY Drain Cleaner
Dealing with a clogged drain is such a hassle. There are tons of over-the-counter drain cleaning products, but they can cause significant damage to your pipes and septic system. In my last apartment, we dealt with a clogged kitchen drain numerous times. We spent too much money on chemical-filled products that barely helped, so we explored DIY options instead. Below I’ve listed the method I use along with a few others:
- ½ cup baking soda + ½ cup white vinegar + boiling water + plunger, if needed (full instructions here)
- two cups boiling water (In my experience, this works best for quick routine drain cleaning)
- one part salt + one part baking soda + warm white vinegar + boiling water (full instructions here)
- ¼ cup salt + ¼ cup Borax powder + ½ cup vinegar (source)
I use the first method listed above for drain clogs. I added in the use of a plunger as a personal preference; it works well for very stubborn clogs. This method worked better than Draino for me, and it eliminates those unpleasant chemical side effects.
Preventative drain cleaning is an ideal way to avoid drain clogs altogether. Every few weeks, I’ll pour about two cups of boiling water down my kitchen drain. This seems to help break down debris and move it along when I run the garbage disposal.
8. DIY Odor Remover
No matter how clean you keep your home or car, unpleasant odors are bound to pop up now and then. Instead of stocking up on Febreze or other odor eliminators, consider making your own. It’s inexpensive, easy, and you can customize them to suit your needs. Here are a few options for DIY odor removers:
- pet stain and odor removal: 2 cups white vinegar + 2 cups warm water + 4 tablespoons baking soda + spray bottle (full instructions here)
- air and fabric freshener spray: spray bottle + 2 cups distilled water + 1 tablespoon baking soda + 10 drops essential oils (full instructions here – I love and use this method and chose lavender essential oil for it)
- air freshener in a jar: 8 ounce mason jar + ½ cup baking soda + 8 to 12 drops essential oil + scrapbook paper + scissors + pen + needle (full tutorial here)
As you can see, these methods are pretty diverse. From cleaning up pet odors to creating cute air freshener jars, you have several options to consider. Baking soda is a natural odor neutralizer, which is why it’s so common in DIY odor remover recipes. Essential oils allow you to customize your creation with scents that you love.
Cut Cleaning Costs With Your Own DIY Cleaners
And there you have it! Eight unique and affordable options for homemade cleaners. From DIY brush cleaner to DIY drain cleaner, you really can make pretty much anything. In addition to being very frugal, you can feel content knowing precisely what’s in each cleaner you make. Saving money and using safe products – it doesn’t get much better than that.
If you found this article informative, you may enjoy reading 8 DIY Beauty Products For Frugal Pampering. It’s another do-it-yourself article about homemade spa-like treatments that allow you to cut costs while enjoying yourself. You’ll find even more posts like this under the Save Money tab at Frugal For Less!