These Homemade Cleaners Are Easy to DIY — And Really Work

Skip the cleaning-supply aisle and save some cash by making your own — you probably already have many of the ingredients.

Photo By: Evi Abeler

Photo By: Evi Abeler

Photo By: Evi Abeler

Photo By: Evi Abeler

Cleaners Don't Have to Be Complicated

The most powerful ingredients can also be the simplest, and these four DIY cleaner recipes prove it. They rely on common household items and merely tap water. Make big batches and store in labeled spray bottles or plastic containers. For those that call for essential oil, have fun and play with different scents. First time making your own cleaners? For peace of mind, you can always clean a small area first, just to make sure there are no funky reactions.

Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner

Vinegar is magic. It can clean just about anything and a large jug of the white distilled kind can practically be bought with the change under your couch cushions. The only downside with this cleaning powerhouse, is that it can leave behind a harsh smell. We added some citrus peels for an air freshener bonus.

Soak 2 cups white distilled vinegar and about 2 cups washed citrus peels in a plastic or glass container for 3 to 5 days. Strain the vinegar into a bowl and discard the peels. Funnel the vinegar and 2 cups water into a quart-sized spray bottle and affix a label. Shake to combine. Use on any surface you would a store-bought all-purpose cleaner. To get cleaning quicker: Skip the step of infusing the vinegar with the citrus peels and add 1 to 2 drops of essential citrus oil instead.

Vinegar Glass Cleaner

Just because your folks always used blue-tinted glass cleaner doesn’t mean you have to, too. Funnel 3 cups water and 1 cup white distilled vinegar into a spray bottle and affix a label. Shake to combine. Spray and wipe down glass windows and surfaces as you would normally. For best results, use a microfiber cloth or newsprint (skip paper towels, which can leave a lint residue). To tackle extra grime, add 1/2 teaspoon of liquid dish soap to the mix.

Stainless Steel Cleaner

No, you're not making a vinaigrette, but the main ingredients of salad dressing do make a great two-step stainless steel cleaner. Combine 2 cups white distilled vinegar and 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Spritz your stainless-steel appliances and surfaces and use a microfiber cloth to rub away the cleaner while following the grain of the steel. Then, pour a little olive oil onto a microfiber cloth and polish the appliance by rubbing with the grain. Finally, use a microfiber cloth to buff, removing some of the oil but leaving a thin protective film to prevent greasy fingerprints.

Lavender Floor Cleaner

Castile soap is vegetable-based and non-toxic and combined with warm water makes a great, inexpensive alternative floor cleaner. Funnel 4 cups warm water into a spray bottle. Add 1 tablespoon castile soap and 1-2 drops lavender essential oil (or your favorite scent) and affix a label. Shake to combine. Spritz on any floor surface except waxed hardwood floors (the soap could breakdown the coating) and wipe up with a dry microfiber mop. To make a bigger batch for wet mopping, combine 2 gallons warm water, 1/2 cup castile soap and a few drops of essential oil in a mop bucket and swab with a conventional mop. Let the floors air dry.