I discovered a few years ago that I can clean my house – almost top to bottom – with 2 very simple and very inexpensive ingredients. They are not hard to find and you can buy them in large or small quantities. They are also non toxic and child and pet safe so there’s no need to worry about ventilating for fumes, or rinsing once you are done cleaning.
The two ingredients that you want to get to know the benefits of? Baking soda & vinegar. There are other things you can add in, like essential oils, to enhance the cleaning or disinfecting power, or make the cleaners smell good, but you don’t really need them. When I mention vinegar in recipes below, I am referring to distilled white vinegar (think of what you dye Easter eggs with!)
What can baking soda do? This is almost more a question of what can’t baking soda do! Sign up for Arm & Hammer coupons to make your cleaning supplies even more affordable!! I buy 2 large bags of it 1-2 times per year at BJ’s using a coupon and literally pay just a few dollars to clean almost my entire house. I think a 5 lb bag was $5.99 last time we bought this, less the coupon !!
What does vinegar do? It kills mold, bacteria and germs, because of its acidic properties. Its safe for kids and pets! (Get money saving coupons for Heinz vinegar on their site!) Buying vinegar in gallon sized containers (or larger from a warehouse club for about $6) is only a few dollars and will make most of your cleaning recipes dozens of times over!
Soft Scrub: Make a paste with baking soda & water. Put a bit of baking soda into your hand or a dish, add water to make a paste, and voila. Works the same as softscrub, it isn’t abrasive, and will clean just the same.
Coffee maker: Run 1cup of vinegar through your coffee maker to clean the machine. Run plain water through (a full pot worth) twice to rinse afterwards. Use what goes into the pot while hot to kill weeds in your driveway or front walk
Carpet freshener: sprinkle baking soda on your rug or carpet and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Vaccuum.
Toilet Bowl: Pour 3 cups vinegar into toilet. Let sit at least 30 minutes (I usually do this right before I head to bed so it can sit overnight) — this doesn’t replace scrubbing the toilet but it keeps it disinfected!
Wallpaper Removal : Mix equal parts vinegar with hot water. Use as you would any remover.
Clean your microwave (this is one of my favorites!!) Mix 1 cup vinegar with 1 cup water. Put in microwave safe bowl and cook in microwave for 5 minutes. Let this sit after the time ends for 5-10 minutes, open the door and wipe clean.
You can also clean your microwave with 1/2 c baking soda and 2 c water, again in a microwave safe bowl- repeat as with vinegar. So easy, no scrubbing, and totally food safe- no risk of chemicals in your food!
Fabric Softener: 1/2 c distilled white vinegar in the wash eliminates lint and static without chemicals. Also refreshes fabrics like towels that may have a musty smell.
Floors: 1/2 cup vinegar to 1 gallon water to clean hardwood floors (works beautifully and the kids can help!)
I love fresh scents in my house- so I usually add some drops of essential oils (including strawberry or green apple which technically aren’t true essential oils but I love the smell so I add drops of them to cleaners quite often. I just ordered some of each of these 2 scents from an Etsy seller this morning- about $4.99 for a 5ml bottle of each scent. You can find essential oils in a range of prices at health food stores and online- many have naturally disinfecting properties (like Tea Tree Oil which is included in almost every single cleaning recipe I make but not necessary)
Other great items to keep in the house for cleaning: Castille soap and Borax (The 20 mule team borax, like mom used to buy…)
I’m not going to share all of my cleaning recipes- they are quite easy to find with a quick search online, and there are countless books you can find on homemade cleaners. I just wanted to share some of my favorites and illustrate just a little bit how inexpensive and effective homemade cleaners can be!!