Forums » Self-sufficient Living

The Natural House: Making Your Own Cleaners

    • 3563 posts
    May 27, 2014 5:13 PM PDT

    This is my list of favorite solutions for cleaning. Post and share your own natural and frugal solutions.


    Please note that I use the words, "several drops" for measurements on the essential oils. One can use less or more depending on how strong you prefer it. I go by scent when adding oils as I like the additional benefit of a fresh or pleasant scent in a room or in the laundry.

    Another note is that essential oils may seem expensive. They go a long way however and will last quite awhile. I buy two bottles of tea tree oil a year on average but a bottle of lavendar lasts me a couple of years.

    Some believe that certain brands are superior to cheaper ones. I have seen no difference in the tea tree oil I buy at Wal-mart from a more expensive brand except that I pay less for the one at Wal-mart.

    These are the items I use consistently for my cleaners and other solutions that include essential oils:

    • Baking soda
    • Vinegar
    • Soap
    • Borax
    • Tea tree oil
    • Lemon oil
    • Lavender oil

    Pine oil is another good choice but I have not purchased any lately.

    My favorite solutions using these items:

    Anti-bacterial All Purpose Cleaner:

    • 1 tsp. Borax
    • 1/2 tsp. dish liquid
    • 1/4 cup vinegar
    • 2 cups hot water
    • Several drops of tea tree or pine oil 

    Mix ingredients in a spray bottle and shake. Spray onto surface and wipe clean with wet cleaning rag.

    Good for bathroom and kitchen counters, bathtub or toilet.

    All Purpose Cleaners: Cleaner 1:

    • 1 part vinegar
    • 1 part water
    • Several drops of tea tree, lemon or pine oil

    Mix ingredients in a spray bottle and shake. Spray onto surface and wipe clean with wet cleaning rag.Good for daily wiping of counters, outside of appliances, some walls and stove hoods.

    Cleaner 2

    • Warm water
    • 1/2 tablespoon of liquid soap
    • Several drops of tea tree, lemon, lavendar or pine oil

    Fill spray bottle with water leaving enough room to add soap and oils then shake. Spray onto surface and wipe clean. Good for cleaning plastics and other objects and surfaces in the home.

    Floor Cleaners:

    Vinyl Floor Cleaner

    • 1 gallon water
    • 1/4 cup of vinegar
    • A couple of drops of lemon, tea tree or pine oil

    Mop floor with solution

    Vinyl and some Stone Floor Cleaner

    • 1 gallon water
    • 1/2 tablespoon of liquid soap
    • A couple of drops of lemon, tea tree or pine oil

    Mop floor with solution then mop again with clear water to rinse off soap.

    • 3563 posts
    May 27, 2014 5:14 PM PDT

    Here are some more of my cleaning tips:

    The best thing I have ever found for microwave cleaning is to mix lemon juice and water (equal parts) in a bowl and heat it in the microwave. When it's cool enough to work with, I use a towel to wipe the inside with that solution. If you have food cooked in or whatever, use less water.

    The inside of a fridge or freezer can be easily cleaned by cutting a lemon in half and then sprinkling baking soda on it. Use the lemon to scrub the insides of those appliances. I am experimenting with whether using a rinse wipe after is good or not.

    • 3563 posts
    May 27, 2014 5:14 PM PDT

    And a solution from the web for cleaning windows

    • 79 posts
    May 28, 2014 10:38 PM PDT

    I just learned a great one for cleaning the tub: take one of those dish-scrubbing wands and fill it with half dish soap and half vinegar. (The tip I read said the dish soap had to be "original blue Dawn," but I tried it with the store brand and it seems to work just fine.) I've tried just about everything for cleaning my tub (powders, liquids, and sprays; rags, sponges, and various scouring pads) and this is the only thing I've found that really gets the soap scum off. I keep the scrubber right there in the tub, so I can clean it right after I finish my shower; this is a lot more convenient for me than having to change into old clothes in the middle of the day. And once the tub has been cleaned, cleaning the rest of the bathroom later on seems like much less of a chore.

    • 73 posts
    May 29, 2014 12:28 AM PDT

     I have just about used up all the store bought cleaners that I had on had so I have started making my own.  We did our spring deep cleaning last week and I used this cleaner in my kitchen on the walls, counters and cabinets.  It is FANTASTIC and you don't have any fumes overwhelming you while you clean.

    Wall and Cabinet cleaner

    1 cup clear ammonia (I know, but it really cuts the grease in the kitchen)

    1 cup white vinegar

    1/4 cup baking soda

    1 gallon warm water.

    Combine first 3 ingredients in a bucket (at least 1 gallon size) add water and gently stir.  Use a sponge or rag to wash walls, cabinets or floors.  Allow to dry, no rinsing needed.


    I also use keep this multi purpose disinfectant cleaner on hand all the time.  I use it everywhere.

    2 teaspoons borax

    1/2 teaspoon washing soda

    2 Tablespoons lemon juice

    4 Tablespoons white vinegar

    2-3 drops of tea tree OR eucuplytus essential oil

    3 cups HOT water

    32 ounce spray bottle.

    I always mx borax, washing soda, lemon juice and vinegar in a bowl so that I can make sure the powdered ingredients get dissolved.  Then using a funnel add this mixture to your spray bottle.  Add the hot water and essential oil. Shake to combine ingredients.  Spray on and wipe with a damp rag or sponge, no rinsing needed.  Just remember to give it a good shake each time you use it. 


    • 3563 posts
    June 3, 2014 12:15 PM PDT


    It always does seem easier to do light cleaning as we go instead of a day of deep cleaning when it builds up.

    Great tip!

    • 1471 posts
    June 8, 2014 10:04 PM PDT

    i havent had much luck with homemade cleaners ...  but borax  and washing soda and welcome here .


    • 3563 posts
    June 17, 2014 7:30 AM PDT

    Bumping this up and asking if anyone else has more solutions to add.


    • 1182 posts
    July 1, 2014 10:17 PM PDT

    Where does one find essential oils at Walmart? Thanks so much!!



    • 3563 posts
    July 3, 2014 5:54 PM PDT


    The best place to find essential oils are at a local natural food store. You can also find them on the internet and sometimes those can be cheaper.



    This post was edited by Brandy at July 3, 2014 5:56 PM PDT
    • 360 posts
    July 7, 2014 7:03 PM PDT

    I just got beet juice stains out of our carpet with 1 part dish soap and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide.  Just mix it up, spray it on the carpet, and sponge away.  GONE!

    • 7 posts
    November 15, 2016 10:05 PM PST

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