Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

Making your own cleaning products is a lot simpler than you my think. One of my favorite ingredients for cleaning is apple cider vinegar (or just plain white in a pinch).

The recipe below makes for a great all purpose cleaner. I use it in the kitchen, the bathroom, on windows and the likes. You can also use the same mixture and pour it into a bucket filled with warm water to mop the floors.

All Purpose Cleaner Recipe
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 15 drops lemon oil (optional)
  1. I pour the water and vinegar into a 2 cup measuring cup (with a spout and handle). Add the essential lemon oil and mix it all up.
  2. Pour into a spray bottle and use as usual.
  3. Give the bottle a good shake if you haven't used the cleaner in a while.


A simple recipe for a homemade all purpose cleaner

A few readers have asked me where to find essential oils to add to this cleaner (and others). I have a hard time finding them locally. I order them from Amazon.com. Here’s my favorite Lemon Essential oil:

Homemade Febreeze

Hey, I am a frugal reader on a welfare budget. I found several recipes for homemade cleaners, and the one I use the most is homemade febreeze. Super easy too!
Get fabric softer at the store….I like downey April fresh, but you can use any that the ingredients say Ionic or cationic on the label…this is the smell remover active ingredient…
I usually get the small bottles, because they are the cheapest. You only use a tablespoon of fabric softener to a spray bottle filled the rest of the way up with plain water. Shake well. spray whatever you need to. Removes all odoors and leaves a pleasant fresh smell.
This costs about a nickel to make up, lasts a really long time, and is easy to keep on hand: I keep a bottle in the car, as I have a small child that occaisionally throws up in there, and a large dog that makes the car smell like wet dog in the winter rainey season. This works great to make the car smell good again.
Way better than spending $6 a bottle for a pretty label that does the same thing!!!

Homemade Shampoo

Benefits of each essential oil for this shampoo:

Rosemary– Hair loss preventative
Thyme– Antiseptic{prevents the growth of disease-causing microorganisms}
and disinfectant{destroys bacteria}
Lavender–Heals skin
Tea Tree–Dandruff control

I was inspired to make my own shampoo after reading 1001 Natural Remedies. I took a couple of her hair shampoo recipes and came up with this.

1 part shredded soap (I used 1 bar)
3 parts water (For each cup of shredded soap, I tripled the water)
Essential Oils (For each 12 ounces, I used 45 drops of Rosemary, 30 drops of Thyme,
30 drops of Lavender, and 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil)


Bring water to a boil. Turn off the heat, but keep the pot on the burner. Add the shredded soap, and let set until melted and cooled.

Stir in essential oils.

Pour into containers.

Store extras in a cool, dry place(refrigerator may be best!). This is not the normal consistency of shampoo, so be careful. It’s runny like water. 😉

As always, remember, I am not licensed to give you dosage information or advice. I am simply sharing what has worked for me and my family.

Please see my Disclosure Policy and research for yourself to find what is safe and appropriate for your family:


Homemade Dishwasher Powder and How To Clean Dishwasher

This recipe is a mix of various ones I’ve found online, and the one that has held up against my testing. It works much better than the ‘green’ ones I’ve tried, and as well or nearly as well as various standard ones. To ensure you don’t need to rewash, scrape scraps off of plates and rinse dishes (not too excessively) before putting them in the machine.

The recipe is a ‘ratio’ recipe, so feel free to double, or make in bulk.
You will need a water proof container, and a 1/4 cup scoop (an old laundry one will be perfect.)
Or, you can refill a store-bought dishwashing powder container.

  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • 1/2 cup table salt (nothing too coarse)
  • 1/2 cup Citric Acid (You can find this in baking sections, or bulk online or at home-brew suppliers or bulk stores)*

Mix well, ensuring that you do not get the mixture wet – citric acid will clump and completely ruin your mix if it gets wet.
Store in container of choice.
Use about 1/4 cup per load, or fill the soap tray almost full.
If you wish, you can add a few drops of Orange or Lemon oil per load for fragrance (which really just helps the machine to stop getting food odours.)
Use white vinegar in the rinse aid, cleaning grade vinegar is better (it’s just stronger) but plain edible white vinegar will do fine.

*I’ve read that you can also use LEMON flavoured kool-aid or similar, as it has the citric acid – be wary of colourants, as they can stain.

How to Clean Dishwasher

I do this about once a month, to ensure you my machine doesn’t get clogged with soap scum, or get smelly. It takes the time of a little more than one wash, and will save you money in the long run, by lessening the chance of a breakdown and making the machine run more efficiently. You can also do this with washing machines.
First of all, clean your filter. If you threw away your manual, look it up online – almost every machine has an online manual that some kind soul has shared.
It’s usually accessible if you remove the bottom rack, and generally you just need to turn something and it comes out. Be warned, if you’ve never done this – it will be gross and you will be shocked.
Firstly, mix a good squirt of dishsoap and vinegar with warm water. With a gentle but scrubby cloth (an old towel is good) clean the outside of the machine, as well as all the seals and bits that grime can get stuck in. Unscrew the arms and give them a good clean, as well as cleaning the bit they screw into. Clean the cutlery basket.
Now, in an empty machine (with the filter back in, leaving the racks in and putting the arms and cutlery basket back in), you can give it a wash cycle.
Sprinkle one cup of the dishwashing mix over the bottom of the machine, and fill a shallow bowl with one cup of the mix, plus 1/2 cup of Washing Soda (sodium carbonate – used in homemade laundry liquid/powder, available at the supermarket – get the powder, NOT the crystals). Add any scented oils you like – Orange or lemon are good.
Put the machine on a regular wash; choose hot if your machine has the choice.

For a washing machine: use the same soapy vinegar mix to clean the seals, soap/fabric softener trays and filter and put back in Fill the inside (not the soap tray) with one cup of the dishwashing powder, plus 1/2 cup washing soda. Add scented oils of preference – Tea Tree, Lavender or Eucalyptus are good. Run on a regular, hot wash.

Frugal Homemade Silver Polish

Aluminum Foil and Baking Soda Silver PolishI inherited some very old real silverware which has been bundled up and stored away for many many years.

When I finally decided to bring them out and use them, I knew I needed a safe (and frugal!) method to polish the pieces and remove the tarnish.

This is the very best method I’ve found. It’s safe for the silver because it uses a chemical reaction to actually turn the silver sulfide (the black stuff you see) back into silver, rather than stripping a layer of silver away with an abrasive polish.

Give this a try, but be sure to do it in a well ventilated area as it can get smelly when the science happens!

You need:

  • baking pan
  • aluminum foil
  • boiling water
  • baking soda

The amounts will vary depending on how big a baking pan you have and how big or how many pieces you are doing at once. I used a 9×13 baking pan, about 2 quarts of water, and 1/4 cup of baking soda.

Line a baking pan with aluminum foil, and lay silver on top, making sure each piece is on the foil, not overlapping or piled up.
Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Set the pot of hot water in the sink and add baking soda (It will foam up so be careful.)
Pour the water into the baking pan over the silver. (You’ll quickly see the tarnish start to turn silver again. Remember, it gets smelly, so hold your breath if you’re going to watch work.)


Homemade Glass And Tile Cleaner

I hated buying glass cleaner so I came up with my own solution:

1 part alcohol or water;
1 part white vinegar;
3 drops dish washing liquid. ( I like Dawn)

note: my 'parts' are 1 cup

I use the alcohol version for cleaning windows outside, it dries faster.

Inside I use the water version to clean anything glass, counter tops…,even use this solution to clean up after my doxies when they have an accident on the tile floor. The vinegar prevents the urine and poop from staining the grout as well as helps clear the odor. The water version is also good as windshield washer fluid.

Homemade Carpet Cleaner

If you have kids and/or pets, carpet stains are nothing new for you. Over the years I’ve tried all sorts of different cleaning products. Here are my favorite homemade carpet cleaner recipes. One of the things I like best about these is that they do not contain a bunch of chemicals. We do a lot of playing and just hanging out on the living room floor, so this is the perfect solution. It keeps my carpet clean and me worry free.

Homemade Carpet Cleaner Recipe

This is a great spot cleaner. Mix one cup white vinegar and one cup warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture  directly on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Use a damp cloth to rub out the stain and the vinegar.

If that doesn’t get the stain out, try this:

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup borax
  • 1/4 cup vinegar

Mix everything to make a paste . Use your fingertips to rub it into carpet and leave for a few hours. Vacuum over it several times to get everything up.

Homemade Steam Carpet Cleaner Solution

When you are ready to give your carpets a good steam cleaning, try this solution.

  • 1/4 cup lemon-scented ammonia
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons dish washing soap
  • a little less than 1 gallon hot water

Mix everything in a large bucket. Pour it into your steam cleaner and then follow the regular directions of use.

Further Reading – Keeping It Clean

This is a 3 ebook series that will help you spend less time and money on your laundry. Tawra and Jill from Living On A Dime share their best frugal laundry, cleaning and home organization tips.

Grab your copy today at http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/laundry

Homemade Glass Cleaner

One of the things I like best about my kitchen is the big mirror backsplash behind my stove. It works great and is easy to clean, but I do use glass cleaner on a daily basis on it. It’s not very expensive when you get the store brand version, but I can not stand the smell of regular glass cleaner. It makes me nauseous and when I don’t walk away quickly enough, I get a headache.

I was excited when I came across this homemade glass cleaner recipe. It’s made from things I keep in my pantry anyway and just smells like vinegar (which doesn’t give me a headache – yippy!)

Homemade Glass Cleaner

  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Mix everything together and pour it into a clean spray bottle. Use like you would any regular glass cleaner.

The alcohol in the cleaner helps it evaporate quickly giving you that streak-free shine.

Further Reading – Keeping It Clean

This is a 3 ebook series that will help you spend less time and money on your laundry. Tawra and Jill from Living On A Dime share their best frugal laundry, cleaning and home organization tips.

Grab your copy today at http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/laundry

Homemade Drain Cleaner

Over the years we’ve spent a small fortune on drain cleaner products. I had no idea it was so easy to make homemade drain cleaner or that it worked so well.

Homemade Drain Cleaner Recipe

  • 1 box of baking soda
  • vinegar

Get a small box of baking soda and pour about half of it down the clogged drain. Top it off with just enough vinegar to really get it foaming.

Wait for the foam to settle, then repeat with the other half of the baking soda, followed again by vinegar.

Let the mixture sit in your drain for at least an hour, longer if you can, then rinse it with plenty of hot water.

Further Reading – Keeping It Clean

This is a 3 ebook series that will help you spend less time and money on your laundry. Tawra and Jill from Living On A Dime share their best frugal laundry, cleaning and home organization tips.

Grab your copy today at http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/laundry

Homemade Mildew Cleaner

We all have to deal with mildew of some sort in the bathroom. Instead of using a commercial product that contains plenty of harsh chemicals that aren’t good for your lungs, they one of these two homemade mildew cleaners instead. As an added bonus they are also a lot less expensive than the stuff you buy at the store

Homemade Mildew Cleaner #1 – Vinegar Based

Mix equal parts of plain white vinegar and water and fill it into a clean spray bottle. Spray it on bathroom appliances, shower curtains, tiles etc.

Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe the counters etc. with a clean wet rag. In cases of really bad mold you may want to use a stronger vinegar solution.

Homemade Mildew Cleaner # 2 – Bleach Based

Mix 3/4 cup chlorine bleach in 1 gal of water. Put some of this mixture into a spray bottle and use like you would a normal bathroom cleaner. A little elbow grease and some soaking will help remove tough stains.

Remember this is bleach you are using and it will leave spots on your clothes. Wear an old t-shirt and shorts when using this bleach based mildew cleaner.

If mildew is an on-going problem in your home, it may be due to excess humidity. If this is the cause, you can regulate humidity with a home dehumidifier.

Further Reading – Keeping It Clean

This is a 3 ebook series that will help you spend less time and money on your laundry. Tawra and Jill from Living On A Dime share their best frugal laundry, cleaning and home organization tips.

Grab your copy today at http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/laundry

Homemade Fabric Softener

There is no need to spend a bunch of money at the store on regular fabric softener. All you need is a bit of baking soda and vinegar. In fact, vinegar is the perfect homemade fabric softener.

Use plain white vinegar and add 1/4 cup to the final rinse of your laundry. By the time your clothes are dry the vinegar smell will be gone.

To make everything even softer, add about 2 tbsp of baking soda to your laundry when you first put it in the washer, then use the vinegar in the rinse as mentioned above.

If you are a little worried about the smell, use this simple recipe instead:

Homemade Fabric Softener

  • 2 cups cheap hair conditioner
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 6 cups warm water

Pour everything into an old fabric softener bottle or other container and mix well. If you are using a bottle, just give it a few good shakes.

Recipe for inexpensive homemade fabric softener

Homemade Silver Cleaner

Here’s a quick and easy way to clean any and all silver items (silverware, jewelry etc. )

Homemade Silver Cleaner

Get out a pan and line it with aluminum foil. I usually use my 9×13 cake pan for this. Make sure the shiny side of the foil is up. Now arrange your silver items on top of the foil

Pour plenty of boiling water over the silverware making sure everything is submerged.

Get your baking soda out and sprinkle it all over the pan. Then just walk away for 15 -20 minutes.

Use some tongs to remove the silver pieces and drop them in some soapy water. Give them a quick wash and then lay them out to dry. You can polish them a bit with a soft cloth.

Further Reading – Keeping It Clean

This is a 3 ebook series that will help you spend less time and money on your laundry. Tawra and Jill from Living On A Dime share their best frugal laundry, cleaning and home organization tips.

Grab your copy today at http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/laundry