3 Simple Ways To Start Using Homemade Cleaners

Three simple ways to make your own cleaners - Easy substitutions you can make with common grocery store items that are natural and save money too!

Have you thought about making your own cleaners?  Maybe you’d like to make your own cleaners to save money or perhaps you like the idea of natural alternatives to harsh chemicals.  Maybe you’ve even done a little research on the subject already.

If you’ve done some looking around for homemade cleaning recipes, you’ve discovered there are LOTS of recipes out there to investigate.  It’s a little overwhelming!  It can be hard to decide where to begin especially when you come across unfamiliar ingredients like borax or essential oils that you’ve never purchased before.

Five years ago when I got started with homemade cleaners there weren’t quite as many recipes to choose from (we didn’t even have Pinterest yet!).  What I found helped me the most in transitioning to homemade cleaners was beginning with small and simple changes that used common ingredients.  When those small beginning changes went well, I was more ready to branch out and try new recipes and new ingredients.

However, you may find that these simple changes outlined here are all you ever need!  They cover a lot of basic cleaning and are VERY easy to do.

Let’s take a look:

Easy Change #1

Use Vinegar and Water as an All Purpose Cleaner

homemade cleaner made with vinegar and water

Every home needs a good all purpose spray cleaner for cleaning the hard surfaces, which often times is the majority of the cleaning. If you’ve been using something like 409 or Lysol cleaner, one of the first easy homemade changes you can make is to simply start using a homemade spray of vinegar and water instead.  Just combine equal amounts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle.

(You can read my more complete article here:  My Favorite All Purpose Cleaner)

Vinegar is an ingredient that is cheap and super easy to find in any grocery store.  Yes, you will have some smell of vinegar as you clean, but it fades really quickly.  Most of the time I add an essential oil for fragrance to my vinegar/water mixture (I like Lemon Essential Oil or Lavender Essential Oil) but if you are just beginning, you can wait and try that later.

I’ve been consistently impressed at how well this simple mixture performs and it’s become a dependable cleaner in my household.  In fact, I wrote in this post about some of my strategies for when I feel too busy for homemade, that I make a gallon of this mixture at a time and then I can refill my spray bottle easily for many months.

Ready for more?  Try infusing your vinegar with fruit peelings for fragrance.


Easy Change #2

Use Club Soda as a Window Cleaner

Homemade Window Cleaner

Another very easy change you can make to get started with homemade cleaners is to switch out a store bought window cleaner like Windex and start using club soda instead.  Club soda can be found on the beverage aisle of most grocery stores and is fairly cheap.

(You can read my more complete article here: The Best And Easiest Homemade Window Cleaner)

Once again, I’ve been very happy with the cleaning results I get from using club soda as a cleaner for glass and mirrors.  You don’t have any yucky smells and it doesn’t streak.   It’s a very easy change you can make to a more natural cleaner.

Ready for more?  This water and rubbing alcohol glass cleaner is very easy to make too.


Easy Change #3

Use Baking Soda as a Scouring Powder

Use baking soda as a natural substitute for scouring powders

Finally, another simple change you can make is to eliminate a scouring powder like Comet and replace it with baking soda instead.  You get a good amount of scrubbing power from the natural abrasive quality of baking soda and it’s something most of us have in the house already.  Once again, it’s an inexpensive product that can be found in grocery stores with no difficulty.

(You can read my more complete article here: Scented Baking Soda Sink Scrub)

I put my baking soda in a repurposed parmesan cheese container which works great for being able to shake some baking soda around my kitchen sink when it’s time to clean. Sometimes I add some essential oil to the baking soda for fragrance, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have any essential oils around.

I’ve been very happy with this change in our household too and use it almost all the time. {Almost}  I wrote about the three store bought cleaners I can’t give up and admitted to my love of Bar Keepers Friend as a scouring powder that I still always keep on hand too.

Ready for more?  Try adding dish soap to your baking soda for a homemade soft scrub.  You can also use your baking soda to clean your smooth stovetop.


So those are three very painless ways to give homemade cleaners a try in your household that don’t take much effort or any special recipes or searching for unfamiliar ingredients.

Stop using 409 . . . and try vinegar and water instead.

Stop using Windex . . . and try club soda instead.

Stop using Comet . . . and try baking soda instead.

If you don’t like the results, you haven’t lost much in trying.  They’re all products that you can just plunk in the grocery cart as you do your regular shopping and that don’t cost much money either.

I’m guessing though that if you have any interest or desire at all for making the switch to homemade cleaners that these changes will be satisfying for you and you’ll have plenty of motivation to continue on.

If you’re hoping to save money, you’ll certainly be pleased with these inexpensive changes.

If you’re hoping to go natural, all these changes are great substitutions.

And best of all – they work!  I think you’ll be very happy with your cleaning results too.


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  1. Thank you for this terrific post! You have convinced me to switch my all purpose cleaner.

    Per your previous articles, I tried using club soda to clean my mirrors, but it didn’t work that well for me. Specifically, I had trouble with streaking. Do you think the brand of club soda makes a difference? Would your second recipe using rubbing alcohol work better?

    Thanks for your help.

    1. Perhaps there is a slight difference in brands of club soda as I haven’t had any streaking problem with the one I’m using. Sorry it didn’t give you the same results. I think the rubbing alcohol glass cleaner would certainly be worth trying. Because rubbing alcohol evaporates very quickly, it’s sometimes easier to get wiped off the surface you are cleaning.