Housecleaning on a Budget- Part 2

My desire through this Friday series (Natural Living on A Budget) is to provide you with ideas and resources to encourage you in more natural living but without paying the extravagant prices out there now a days for organic and natural products. As Christians, we are also responsible to be good stewards of the environment as well…this is not just something left for the world around us to be concerned about.

As far as housecleaning goes, there are many natural products available on the market today that are worthy of your support, but does it have to cost that much? No! Making your own products can serve the needs of your family and household far more naturally and cost effective. Check out Housecleaning on A Budget – part 1 for good recipes for making your own cleaners. Start simplifying your cupboards and your cleaning bucket today!

Here is an even simpler list of ingredients that are environmentally friendly alternatives that are inexpensive and readily available:

All-Purpose: 1/2 c. vinegar, 1/4 c. baking soda, 1/2 gal water
Window cleaner: vinegar, club soda, or the all-purpose cleaner
Disinfectant: 4 Tbls vinegar, 3 cups hot water
Scouring powder: baking soda
Natural Abrasive: salt & toothpaste, apply to scrubby or directly on surface
Dusting powder: vinegar, olive oil
Furniture polish: vinegar, food-grade lemon oil, or 1 c. olive oil and 1/2 c lemon juice
Fabric softener: vinegar
Silver polish: baking soda, salt, toothpaste
Mold/mildew: vinegar or lemon juice at full strength, with small amount of salt
Bleach replacement: spray one coat of vinegar, followed by one coat of hydrogen peroxide (these can not be mixed, so they have to be layered separately). Scrub and wash as desired. Works just as well as bleach without the chemicals.

You can add essential oils to all of these recipes for added scent, cleaning power, and to preserve them. For preservation purposes, try out citric acid, tea tree oil, rosemary oil/extract, and/or grapefruit seed extract.

Did you know you can even make a simple recipe for laundry soap and dishwasher soap?

Laundry Soap: See my homemade recipe here.

Dishwasher Soap: See my homemade recipe here.

Dishwashing Soap: Use baking soda and liquid soap, add 2-4 Tbls of vinegar to the warm, soapy water for though jobs. Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap diluted along with some vinegar and tea tree oil works as well.

Wow! Isn’t that easy. If you have vinegar, baking soda, and some essential oils you are pretty much set to go! You can buy 1 gallon of vinegar for around $4 (which is the price of one small container of all-purpose cleanser), which will extend very far for you.

Try using t-shirts or cloth diapers for all your cleaning needs! Eliminate the need for paper towels. I stopped using these a few months back and I have not missed them. I just have a pile of rags in the kitchen and in the closet at easy reach for any messes.

I just found this website recently which has a huge supply of more ideas for homemade cleaning products: Clean and Green.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

26 Responses to Housecleaning on a Budget- Part 2

  1. Glenda rogers August 22, 2011 at 4:39 am #

    Do you a recipe for woolite replace ement! I use it to keep my darks from fading! Do you think the homemade will do the same?

  2. Sally June 13, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    Hello! Was just wondering if you had an “exact” recipe for dishwashing soap. Dr. Bronner’s, vinegar, water and tea tree oil. How much of each? Thanks so much. Love your website and all the websites you recommend!

    • Lindsay June 14, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

      No, I don’t have an exact recipe. I used about 1/4 cup Dr Bronners in a 16 oz container and about 1 Tbsp vinegar with a dash of tea tree oil and then filled the rest of the spray bottle with water.

      • Sally June 14, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

        Thank you!

  3. Kim September 18, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    How do you feel about hydrogen peroxide?

  4. Laura ALice Sparks September 2, 2009 at 10:19 am #

    It is so easy making your own, I don’t know why I did not do this before. Thank You for all the info, It has been so helpful.
    Laura Alice

  5. Kristen March 10, 2009 at 1:34 pm #

    I found this recipe a while ago and have found it very useful. I used half bronner’s tea tree and half bronners peppermint because it’s what I had – since there was already teatree in my soap, I only added 1 drop of teatree oil… I didn’t use it right away and I shook it everytime I passed by it (it sat on the counter for a week…) and it seemed to change consistency as it got more mixed together. I definately recommend like a pop-top bottle (like bicycle water bottles…) and make SURE to shake because it seperates a little. But was gentler on the hands than regular dawn dishsoap and the glassware came out shinier (both in handwashing and the dishwasher).

    2 cups liquid castille soap
    1/2 cup water
    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    3 drops tea tree oil
    1/2 cup white vinegar


    stir all ingredients together until blended. Store in a squirt top bottle. Use 2 tablespoons per load of dishes, shake well before use.

  6. Felicia March 6, 2009 at 7:02 pm #

    Great website! This year I’m starting to switch our household to green/organic/sustainable living. This month’s adventure involves greening the cleaning…and we just ran out of dish washing liquid. I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s as a body wash and shampoo and just tried it as a hand dishwashing liquid based on the suggestion from the Dr. Bronner’s website. I can’t get the glasses to come clean though. I’ll try adding the baking soda as you suggested, but what ratio are you using to dilute the castile soap? Are you diluting it with water or vinegar and how much baking soda did you add? Thanks again!

    • Lindsay March 9, 2009 at 10:15 am #

      You can find my most recent dishwashing detergent recipe here. Citric acid is the solution for getting your glasses to come out clean. Try adding a Tablespoon or two to a batch of the recipe.

  7. Susanna February 9, 2009 at 3:21 pm #

    Just wondering if you’ve ever used the liquid castille soap from Mt Rose Herbs? I was wondering if I could use that in all the recipes that call for Dr. Bronners…

  8. Melissa February 9, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    Can you use the laundry soap in a he washer?
    For the Dishwasher detergent – my dishes are coming out with a white film and they look unclean! Maybe I should try the citric acid – where do I get this?

    • Lindsay February 9, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

      Yes, I have a HE washer and use the detergent without any problems. For the dishwasher detergent, you can try citric acid or use non-chlorine bleach powder to replace the borax. This is what I have been experimenting with lately, and with surprisingly good results. You can find citric acid online.

      • M.I.A in Minnesota March 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm #

        Thanks for that tip. When I tried the dishwasher detergent, my kept coming out scummy too. I’ll try the non-chlorine bleach powder. I’ve been trying the laundry detergent just as the recipe says, and I’ve had nothing but good results. I haven’t tried it on kids clothes though…that might be the TRUE test! :) .

  9. M.I.A in Minnesota November 2, 2008 at 8:06 pm #

    With the dishwasher detergent, do you fill the compartment up as usual? How little of salt do you use with the mildew remover? I’m trying the laundry detergent right now! I’m really hoping it works for us. Doesn’t it feel weird to only add 2T? :)

    • Lindsay November 3, 2008 at 3:20 pm #

      I use about 1 Tbsp per load for the dishwasher detergent. It has been recommended to me to add a bit of citric acid to the mix to eliminate scum on dishes. As to the mildew remover, it is just about a dash or two. No exact measurement is necessary. It is pretty crazy that you only need 2 Tbsp per load for laundry! I have been amazed!

      • kate January 7, 2009 at 10:48 am #

        Thanks for these tips- fantastic! Where do you add the citric acid to the dish wash? On it’s own or mix it in?

  10. Missy January 13, 2008 at 7:21 pm #

    Where do you buy washing soda?

    • Tia January 14, 2008 at 1:40 am #

      I’ve seen it at my local grocery store. In the laundry aisle.

    • Lindsay January 14, 2008 at 9:13 am #

      Yes, we just get it at my local Fred Meyer’s. It is available at pretty much any supermarket.

  11. Kathleen December 17, 2007 at 4:23 pm #

    Ooh! Excellent! Thanks, Lindsay!

  12. Stephanie December 16, 2007 at 8:08 am #

    Those recipes are great! I’m eager to try Borax in my dishwasher. My mother-i-law just recently told me that it has been working well for her, too!

    I totally agree about needing to do what we can for the environment. I think it is very unfortunate that many Christians are unwilling to take responsibility in this area, or to see it as a part of good stewardship and bringing glory to God. We’ve been given the great responsibility of having dominion over the earth, and our job is to continue to care for what we’ve been given!

    Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home

  13. Donna December 14, 2007 at 4:36 pm #

    Great post, I had heard of some of these but had forgotton about them.

    Just for kicks–you can use Borax to make Flubber–I know your little one is not quite ready for fun stuff like that, but the days wil be here before you know it!

    I have other recipes too for fun gooey kids stuff made from homemade ingredients on my site The Helpful homemaker
    For those with older kids you may want to check them out!

  14. Amy December 14, 2007 at 9:56 am #

    That’s a great list of “recipes”! Thanks so much for sharing!


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