Cheap Household Cleansers You Can Make in Minutes

It's easy (and cheap!) to clean your kitchen counter and floor with items in your pantry. Need a spot treatment for a spill or want to become more environmentally friendly? Follow these recipes for a quick solution.

Porcelain and Tile
Keep your bathrooms and kitchen tile spotless and hygienic with these natural cleansers:

  • Baking Soda and Water: Dust surfaces with baking soda, then scrub with a moist sponge or cloth. If you have tougher grime, sprinkle on some kosher salt, and work up some elbow grease.
  • Lemon Juice or Vinegar: Got stains, mildew or grease streaks? Spray or douse with lemon juice or vinegar. Let sit a few minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush.
  • Disinfectant: Instead of bleach, make your own disinfectant by mixing 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil. It's easy!
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Kitchen Counters
The room where food is prepared, stored and often enjoyed requires constant vigilance. Splatters, spills and errant crumbs can build up and collect out of sight, encouraging harmful bacteria.
  • Baking Soda and Water: Reclaim counters by sprinkling with baking soda, then scrubbing with a damp cloth or sponge. If you have stains, knead the baking soda and water into a paste and let set for a while before you remove. This method also works great for stainless steel sinks, cutting boards, containers, refrigerators, oven tops and more.
  • Kosher Salt and Water: If you need a tougher abrasive sprinkle on kosher salt, and scrub with a wet cloth or sponge.
  • Natural Disinfectant: To knock out germs without strong products, mix 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil. Spray or rub on countertops and other kitchen surfaces.
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Windows and Mirrors
Instead of those harsh-smelling sprays, try this highly effective, simple solution for windows and mirrors:
  • White Vinegar, Water and Newspaper: Mix 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with a gallon of water, and dispense into a used spray bottle. Squirt on, then scrub with newspaper, not paper towels, which cause streaking.
    If you're out of vinegar or don't like its smell, you can substitute undiluted lemon juice or club soda.
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Carpet and Rugs
Keeping carpets clean is less daunting than you might think, even after a season of tracked-in dirt and salt.
  • Beat Those Rugs: Take any removable rugs outside and beat the dust and hair out with a broom.
  • Club Soda: You've probably heard the old adage that club soda works well on carpet stains. But you have to attack the mess right away. Lift off any solids, then liberally pour on club soda. Blot with an old rag. The soda's carbonation brings the spill to the surface, and the salts in the soda thwart staining.
  • Cornmeal: For big spills, dump cornmeal on the mess, wait 5 to 15 minutes, and vacuum up the gunk.
  • Spot Cleaner: Make your own by mixing: 1/4 cup liquid soap or detergent in a blender with 1/3 cup water. Mix until foamy. Spray on, then rinse with vinegar.
  • To Deodorize: Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the carpet or rug, using about 1 cup per medium-sized room. Vacuum after 30 minutes.
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Have you tried homemade cleaners? Does the low cost and green impact make it worth the extra effort?

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.