52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Homemade Cleaners {Week 5}

At the beginning of every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.

One of the easiest ways to cut your spending is to stop buying stuff you usually buy.

Let that brilliant {ahem!} remark sink in for a moment.

While it might seem like it’s the most basic of basic statements — and it is! — we sometimes forget to apply it. Or, as is often the case, we don’t even consider an alternative to paying for what we normally buy.

Homemade cleaners are one such example. None of us wants to live in a dirty home (or, at least I certainly hope none of us do!). Because of this, we buy cleaners because, well, that’s what everyone else does.

Here’s the thing: commercial cleaners are often pricey. And the manufacturers are smart. They play on our desire to have clean homes in the most efficient manner so they create products for every single cleaning project known to man.

Whenever possible, they make super slick gadgets that require refills so that you have to constantly be spending even more money to purchasing refills so you can keep cleaning your house. Before you know it, you are literally washing hundreds of dollars down the drain each and every year.

This is why I’m a fan of homemade cleaners. Unless I can get some amazingly sweet deal on a cleaner by paring a coupon code with a sale, I just plain don’t buy commercial cleaners. In fact, after making many of my own cleaners, I’ve come to believe that almost every commercial cleaner on the market is a rip-off.

Baking Soda & Vinegar Are Your Best Friend

Instead of spending tens of dollars each month on special cleaners that are designed for one specific job, go to the dollar store or Aldi and buy some vinegar, baking soda, and spray bottles. These are just about all you’ll need to clean almost every item in your home. Seriously.

You can get a little fancier and make actual homemade cleaner recipes if you’d like. But you don’t have to. You can just spray on vinegar and water and wipe off or scrub most tough stains with a little baking soda and elbow grease.

Earth Easy has a long list of how to clean your house using just baking soda, vinegar, soap, borax, washing soda, alcohol, and cornstarch. You might have to make a trip to Walmart to pick up a box of washing soda or borax, but I bet you already have all of the other items on hand already.

How Much Can You Really Save By Making Homemade Cleaners?

How much you can save by making your own cleaners is going to vary widely, depending upon which cleaners you make, how much you usually spend on cleaners, and how many people you are cleaning up after!

But let’s say you have an initial upfront investment of $30 to purchase the supplies listed above and let’s estimate that these supplies last you for 12 months. That’s like paying around $2.50 per month for all of your cleaners. If you only use baking soda and vinegar, it’s going to be significantly less than this.

If you typically buy commercial cleaners on sale, I’d say there’s a good chance you are purchasing an average of 4 cleaners of some sort each month, at around $2-3 per cleaner. At this rate, you could easily save $100+ per year.

Now obviously, your situation might be completely different. If you’re typically only buying cleaners for pennies each by pairing coupons with sales, it might not save you any money at all to make your own cleaners. However, you will for sure be using fewer chemicals in your home and you will also not have to worry about chasing down deals and pairing them with sales.

But Doesn’t It Take a Lot Of Time to Make Homemade Cleaners?

Actually, most homemade cleaners can be made in less than a minute. And if they save you $1-$2 per minute of time invested to make them, that’s like making an hourly wage of $60 to $120 — and it’s tax-free money.

In my book, that’s definitely worth the return on investment. And some cleaners don’t even require that much time because you just spray the vinegar on or dump some baking soda on and scrub. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Where To Find Good Recipes

I’ve linked to a number of homemade cleaner recipes below, but the internet is truly a goldmine of homemade cleaner recipes. Honestly, you can find a recipe for just about any and every cleaner you usually use.

Just Google it or type it into the search engine on Pinterest. Now, I can’t guarantee that the first recipe you try will be a home run success. But if you keep experimenting, I bet you’ll find a good homemade recipe to replace just about every one of your favorite cleaners — all for pennies on the dollar!

Recipes: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Here are links to homemade cleaning recipes I have tried or want to try. My honest reviews are alongside those I’ve tried. Not all homemade cleaners are all they are supposedly cracked up to be, so I hope to save you some effort by letting you know which ones I didn’t find to work well.

If you have amazing recipes for some of the ones I found to be “meh”, I’d love to have you link them in the comments!

Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner — This looks like it would work well!

Homemade Window Cleaner — This one works really well.

Homemade Shower Cleaner — I’ve heard rave reviews on this one and hope to try it soon.

Homemade Scrubbing Bubbles — I found out after I made this that the two ingredients cancel each other out so it wasn’t really effective at all.

Homemade Dishwashing Detergent — This was was okay. Not stellar. Just okay.

Homemade Laundry Soap — This one worked decently, though I found that I had to wash my clothes in hot water for them to get clean and, even then, some of the stains didn’t come out.

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap — This is the easiest recipe ever and works SO well!

Homemade Oxiclean — This one worked alright but didn’t work quite as well as Shout.

Homemade Miracle Kitchen Cleaner — I can’t wait to try this!

Have you made your own homemade cleaners before? What are your favorite recipes? Share the links or details in the comments.

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Other posts in the 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year series

  1. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 This Year: Bake Your Own Bread (Week #1)
  2. 52 Ways to Save at Least $100 This Year: Make Your Own Coffee at Home (Week #2)
  3. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Ditch Your Cable Package {Week 3}
  4. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Order Prescription Glasses Online {Week 4}
  5. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Homemade Cleaners {Week 5}
  6. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Homemade Mixes {Week 6}
  7. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Become a One-Car Family {Week 7}
  8. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Surround Yourself With Frugal Friends {Week 8}
  9. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 a Year: Eliminate Disposable Products {Week 9}
  10. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 a Year: Cut Your Own Hair {Week 10}
  11. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Use Cloth Diapers {Week 11}
  12. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Become Best Friends With Your Freezer {Week 12}
  13. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Rent Movies for FREE {Week 13}
  14. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Ask for a Discount {Week 14}
  15. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Cancel Your Gym Membership {Week 15}
  16. 52 Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Get the Best Bang for Your Buck at Yard Sales {Week 16}
  17. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Grow Some Of Your Food {Week 17}
  18. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Cut Back on the Soda Pop Habit {Week 18}
  19. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Buy in Bulk {Week 19}
  20. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Price-Match at Walmart {Week 20}
  21. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Ditch Your Landline {Week 21}
  22. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Refinance Your Mortgage {Week 22}
  23. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Follow a Local Deal Blogger {Week 23}
  24. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Use a Coupon Database {Week 24}
  25. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Plan a Weekly Menu {Week 25}
  26. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Strategically Use Daily Deal Sites {Week 26}
  27. 52 Different Ways to Save At Least $100 Per Year: Shop at Aldi {Week 27}
  28. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Buy Used Books {Week 28)
  29. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Buy Used Clothing {Week 29}
  30. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Shop With Cash {Week 30}
  31. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat Less Meat {Week 31}
  32. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Is this really a good deal? {Week 32}
  33. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: 3 Ways to Save on Online Orders {Week 33}
  34. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Turn Your Clutter Into Cash {Week 34}
  35. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Get Organized {Week 35}
  36. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Have an All-Cash Christmas {Week 36}
  37. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Sign Up for Swagbucks {Week 37}
  38. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Cut Your Fuel Costs {Week 38}
  39. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Frequent the Library {Week 39}
  40. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Simplify Birthday Parties {Week 40}
  41. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Brown Bag It {Week 41}
  42. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Snacks {Week 42}
  43. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Use a Programmable Thermostat {Week 43}
  44. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Limit Eating Out {Week 44}
  45. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Get a Bang for Your Buck on Travel Expenses {Week 45}
  46. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Don't Pay For Pre-Made Baby Food {Week 46}
  47. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat More Beans {Week 47}
  48. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Homemade Cards {Week 48}
  49. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Shop At More Than One Store {Week 49}
  50. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat From the Pantry {Week 50}
  51. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Stay Home More {Week 51}
  52. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Develop Contentment {Week 52}

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Comments

  1. Jennifer M. says

    I use homemade laundry detergent and it works great! It is a liquid detergent, that includes borax, Super Washing Bakind Soda, Fels Napa soap bar, and water. I got the recipe from the Duggar family website. It is great. Sometimes I will add a little powder oxy powder to help loosen stains or just do my regular routine of soaking the stained outfit overnight in oxy powder/water. It saves us so much more and is better for my son who has kidney disease.

  2. Alison S. says

    Any suggestions for cleaning granite? I know that viengar will eat away at any kind of natural stone so I’ve avoided using it.

  3. Sandy says

    I’ve used diluted windshield solvent for years instead of Windex. I can buy a gallon of windshield solvent for around $2 and diluting it half and half gives me 2 gallons for $2. Not sure if the homemade recipe is less expensive than what I use but, I do like the idea of a non-chemical alternative.

  4. says

    We love our home-made laundry detergent. I just do about equal parts washing soda, baking soda, and borax. Works great, I like the smell and I can use it on our cloth diapers too :)

    • Jenny says

      You’re not finding you’re having any repelling issues with the homemade detergent? How long have you been using it and what type of diapers are you using?

      Thanks!

  5. Jen says

    Wow, I guess I need to clean more. I buy cleaners (on sale with a coupon) but there’s no way I’m buying 4 per month!! So not sure if this is going to be big savings for me unless I turn into a crazy cleaning woman!

    • says

      For some families, that would include laundry soap & dish soap & hand soap, if you’re making all of those yourself… so it could basically cover all cleaners you’d use in any shape in your home.

  6. M says

    Everybody raves about vinegar and seems to think it cleans everything. I’m a little skeptical. My husband volunteered for a science fair a few years ago and one student experimented with several different cleaners. He divided some counter space into several sections using tape and rubbed a chicken breast all over it. Then he tried different cleaners and had a way to test how much bacteria was left on each one. Guess what? The section where he used vinegar had more bacteria than it started with. And it makes sense considering how they make vinegar. I really think we need to look into this more. I think for me, even if it was an effective cleaner, I would only save a dollar or two per year making my own.

  7. Traci says

    The liquid laundry detergent I made actually cleans better than tide and costs about $2 for a 3 month supply and requires no effort to make

  8. Jeanine says

    Crystal, what do you use to clean your kitchen after you have handled raw meat (especially chicken)? The only thing that is stopping me from making my own cleaners is the fear of not cleaning well enough after working with raw chicken.

    • Debbie says

      You can use vinegar or high proof grain alcohol to kill the bacteria left behind from raw meat. If you have stone countertops such as granite, do NOT use vinegar. It will etch the countertop surface.

  9. Jill says

    I use vinegar, baking soda, HomeSoap ( similar to castile soap ) and thieves oil to clean and disinfect our home. Simple ingredients that are cheap, clean great and disinfect at the same time! The only cleaner I buy is Barkeepers Friend to clean my stainless steel pots and pans when they need a good shining. If you need to clean and shine copper pots, sprinkle the surface with kosher salt, then pour vinegar on it and scrub gently. All dirt and residue will be gone and your copper will shine! Love it!!!

  10. Wynn Przybycien says

    I love your blog, it’s one of my favorites. I wanted to share the recipe I use for laundry. We have hard water, very high iron content and I have 3 kids; 6, 4 and 2 1/2 yrs old (messy ones ;-) ) This has been working great and it’s affordable. I didn’t use fabric softener in mine (allergies) and I used 3 bars of Fels Naptha; it cost $20 total. We’ve been using it since December and the big bucket is still more than 2/3 full. I do about 15 loads of wash a week. I have been washing stuffed toys and they look new again. I still add oxiclean to things that have large food stains but everything seem cleaner than before. Keep up the awesome help and advice. Thank you!
    http://www.howdoesshe.com/cheaper-and-better-diy-laundry-detergent/

  11. crystal says

    I need to share experience with the homemade laundry soap. We used this for 2 years and loved it. About 2 months into it in started to develop red itchy bumps on my back. The itch was so bad at times I ripped them off with my finger nails. More and more came until I had a cluster of 5 of them. One doctor diagnosed me with shingles and I took their awful medicine (later causing me to have a hysterectomy), and I was later told, since the bumps were still there, that it was never shingles. Seeing a dermatologist, I was informed of having a reaction to something and needed to start weeding through my soap products. By chance, I ran out of my laundry soap and the stuff to make it, so in just used a cheap store version I had on hand. Within a week, the bumps were going away. It has been six months and they are completely gone. And very recently found an article about Borax. It is a pesticide!!! And has been known to cause cancer – including in children. I used this on my children’s laundry for two years!!!! I will post a link to the article. Reading it made my blood run cold….. just be careful and do research on these products….

  12. Debbie says

    Love this post! Other than vinegar, baking soda, and castile soap, the only manufactured cleaning products I buy are laundry liquid and dishwasher liquid. I have used soap nuts in the past, but I am not confident in the amount of soap they contain after 1 use, so now I just buy soap nuts-based laundry & dishwasher liquid for those 2 machines. They are a bit spendy but I save so much money not buying all those other separate cleaners by just using vinegar and baking soda that I am still spending less on everything combined.

    My tip for glass and mirrors: Spray straight white vinegar onto the surface then wet and wring out 1 paper towel and use that to clean the surface. Now take 1 dry paper towel and wipe the surface until completely dry. At some point you’ll see the surface start to cloud up and the paper towel will drag. Keep going because in a few seconds all will be crystal clear!

  13. Kelli says

    Hi Crystal, great post! I read your post on the homemade Oxy-clean and I was wondering if you have used it in your dishwasher to clean the dishwasher OR if you have a great tip for getting glasses sparkling in the dishwasher. It seems no matter what I’ve used either commercial (lemi-shine or any other sheeting action product) or homemade (ie a cup of vinegar in the top rack ) , my glasses still have a cloudy look to them. Any ideas?

    Thanks,
    Kelli

  14. Dana says

    I’ve been using this recipe as a scouring powder for years when I found that baking soda alone just wasn’t cutting it. It works great on tubs, toilets, and sinks, plus it’s so easy! Just mix equal parts of baking soda, salt, and borax. Sprinkle on your surface and scrub as usual. Happy scrubbing!

  15. Amanda says

    Homemade laminate wood floor cleaner:

    1/3 water
    1/3 rubbing alcohol
    1/3 white vinegar
    3 drops dish soap

    I use this in my Rubbermaid spray mop with the washable microfiber pads. It dries quickly, sanitizes and makes the floor shine

  16. Mer says

    I’ve made the shower cleaner before and it works really well. In fact, I actually use it to clean a lot more than the shower!! It does really get the hard water and soap scum off the shower doors. Also cleans the chrome really well too.

  17. crystal says

    Borax is a pesticide and should not be used to wash clothes!!

    http://www.enviroblog.org/2011/02/borax-not-the-green-alternative-its-cracked-up-to-be.html

    http://www.magicalchildhood.com/articles/borax.htm

    http://www.ehow.com/list_6022301_borax-health-effects.html

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/136160-borax-health-effects/

    The material safety data sheet on borax indicates it should not come into contact with your skin, that all contaminated clothing should be washed before wearing again.

  18. Julie says

    So appreciate your website by the way. I’ve never commented on any of your posts, but they are very helpful, encouraging and practical. Just wanted to say a warm thank-you for all the time and energy you put into this website for the benefit of others!!! I know me and my family have benefited greatly!!!! THANKS!!!

    I’ve gotten a bunch of homemade cleaning recipes from Andrea Fabry’s website- Mom’s Aware. She has a bunch of how to videos and recipes. Most of them are simple and very safe (non-toxic). I’ve listed the link to the bathroom cleaners, but she has tabs for cleaners for the kitchen, etc. This website if wonderful!

    http://momsaware.org/bathroom.html