Here’s an assortment of recipes for homemade cleaners, degreasers and disinfectants you can make that I’ve pulled from my notes.
You’ll find a few that are environmentally friendly using gentle ingredients (such as essential oils, herbs and baking soda) while others take advantage of the power of liquid bleach, TSP and household ammonia.
2 1/2 cups water
1 handful thyme (fresh or dried)
Liquid castille soap (squirt)
- Boil water, add thyme. Simmer for several hours over medium-low heat, covered. Cool, then strain. Pour the water into a spray bottle, top with white vinegar and squirt of soap. Use as needed.
This spray disinfects surfaces, kills mold, and discourages its return. Eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree are all known for their antimicrobial properties.
1 tsp. sodium lauryl sulfate
1 tsp. borax
2 Tbs. white vinegar
2 cups hot water
1/4 tsp. eucalyptus essential oil
1/4 tsp. lavender essential oil
3 drops tea tree essential oil
- Mix all ingredients together and stir until dry ingredients dissolve. Pour into spray bottle. To use, spray as needed on any surface except glass. Scrub and rinse with damp cloth.
*Source: The Herb Companion, September 1999
Herbal All Purpose
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
2 tsp liquid castille soap
25 drops essential oil of thyme, eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, sandalwood, lemon, orange
- Add all ingredients to a large spray bottle (about 22 ounces) and shake before using. This formula disinfects and can be used on any washable surface in your home. Naturally antiviral and antifungal.
*Source: The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier
Mold & Mildew
Test area first to ensure paint, aluminum, vinyl or material isn’t damaged by solution.
3 cups water
1 cup bleach
2/3 cups TSP (Trisodium Phosphate)
1/3 cup Tide (or other laundry detergent–nothing with ammonia)
- Keep skin covered when using this (rubber gloves for sure). If you’re reaching up to wipe, wear goggles. Also keep nose and mouth covered with a mask, this is strong stuff.
- Scrub problem area with a bristle brush. May have to let solution soak on problem area for a minute or two.
- Once the washing up is done, rinse area very well with water.
Can be used to scrub exterior siding (test first), but be careful of shrubbery.
You can also apply this with a hose sprayer attachment.
Tip: For a job that requires something safer around plants and shrubbery, look for a commercial product to use like Jomax.
2 ounces borax
I tsp ammonia
2 quarts water
Simply mix and dissolve the ammonia and borax with the water in a bucket.
- Scrub dirty walls from the bottom up. This helps prevent hard to remove water streaks that happen as the water runs down the dirty walls when you wash from the top down.
- For using on textured walls, try using old rags or old socks–using a sponge just produces little annoying bits and chunks of sponge as it pulls apart.
- Wrap a small hand towel or washcloth around your wrist and hold it in place with a rubber band. This stops water from running down your arm as you reach up to scrub.
Careful when using ammonia and wear rubber gloves.
1/4 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
1 cup ammonia
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 gallon warm water
- Mix ingredients and store in tightly-capped container.
- Can be used on counter tops, appliances, tile flooring, etc.
1/2 cup ammonia
1 gallon warm water
- Simply mix together in a bucket.
2 TBSP liquid bleach
1 quart cold water
- Mix bleach and water together in a bucket.
- Moisten cloth first, then wipe on surface.
- Let stand for 2 minutes then rinse well.
Here’s a kickin mix, wear rubber gloves when using this and don’t inhale this stuff since the ammonia is pretty strong.
Lemon scented ammonia
Dawn dishwashing liquid
- Fill an empty liquid dish detergent bottle half full with the ammonia, then top with hot water. Add a few squirts of dawn. Put cap back on and shake to mix, squirt where needed.
This works great for washing the ornaments and dishes on display in the kitchen (the grease collectors ;)).
Kitchen Cabinet Degreaser
1 gallon hot water
1 cup ammonia
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup baking soda
- Mix ingredients well in a large bucket, ensure the baking soda is dissolved completely. Soak a sponge in the solution and then apply to surface of cabinet. For hard to remove grease spots, hold sponge firmly on spot for several seconds and then try wiping clean.
- Extra tough grease spots: Sprinkle damp sponge lightly with baking soda, gently scrub grease to break it up and then apply solution.
- Rinse cabinets well with hot water then dry with a towel.
- Can be used on painted cabinets, but test area first to test there’s no discoloration or damage.
- Wear rubber gloves and make sure not to mix this with bleach or any soap/detergent containing bleach.