Housecleaning on a Budget – Part 1

Welcome to my first post in the series on Natural Living on A Budget. I am learning so much in the process of thinking of creative frugality ideas in the home. Since this week, I have been pursuing making my home a haven and doing lots of cleaning around the house, I thought it might be fun to address housecleaning ideas on a budget. The cost of commercial, chemical-based cleaning products can be very high. Plus they promote a separate cleaning product for every project you have. One product to solve your floor stains, another to wash your windows with, and of course another than really does the disinfecting job well. In addition to this, these toxic cleaners can affect the long term health of you family and the environment is being polluted in the process of manufacturing these items.

The average American uses about 40 pounds of toxic household cleaning products each year. These cleaning products contain dangerous ingredients, including neurotoxins, carcinogens, allergens, central nervous system depressants, heavy metals, and other agents that cause or contribute to cancer, respiratory problems, reproductive abnormalities, allergic reactions, and behavioral problems, among other issues.

How can we solve these problems?

Make your own cleaning solutions!

Save on your housecleaning projects by making your own solutions and also protect your health and be a good steward of our environment at the same time!


A few spray bottles - these are available anywhere! I bought mine at Wal-Mart.Old t-shirts – no need for buying special cleaning rags. Grab an old t-shirt and cut it into separate rags. These work the best for deep cleaning, washing windows, and anything else. The thin fabric of t-shirts allows you to clean deep and in the crevasses really well.

Baking Soda
Lemon Juice
Old toothbrush –
so useful for getting in the groves around your sink or toilet


All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc. Can we used to clean stovetop, countertops, appliances, and the floor.

Carpet stains: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on stain, let sit for several minutes, and clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water.For a heavy duty carpet cleaner, mix 1/4 cup each of salt, borax and vinegar. Rub paste into carpet and leave for a few hours. Vacuum.

Disinfectant: Mix 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water. For stronger cleaning power add 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap.

Window Cleaner: Mix 2 teaspoons of white vinegar with 1 liter (qt) warm water. Use crumpled newspaper or cotton cloth to clean. Don’t clean windows if the sun is on them, or if they are warm, or streaks will show on drying. The All-Purpose Cleaner (above) also works well on windows.

Hardwood furniture: Mix 1 cup of olive oil with 1/2 cup lemon juice and you have a polish for your hardwood furniture.

A few final tips for the harder jobs

Use pure vinegar in the toilet bowl to get rid of rings. Flush the toilet to allow the water level to go down. Pour the undiluted vinegar around the inside of the rim. Scrub down the bowl.

Vinegar can be used as a natural fabric softener. This can be especially helpful for families with sensitive skin. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle in place of store bought fabric softener.Baking soda is great as a deodorizer. Place a box in the refrigerator and freezer to absorb odors. Put it anywhere you need deodorizing action.Lemon juice can be used to dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits.Put a whole lemon peel through the garbage disposal. It freshens the drain and the kitchen. Orange peels can be used for the same results.

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.

31 Responses to Housecleaning on a Budget – Part 1

  1. JZ May 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    Question: Don’t the baking soda and vinegar cancel each other out? (when you mix them together I mean)

  2. Kelli Bodey March 6, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    For the Window Cleaner, USE CORNSTARCH instead of Baking Soda, then finish with a chamois.
    My windows have NEVER been cleaner, even in my car! The kids have even stopped putting their fingerprints on them because they look so pretty!
    You have to shake up the mixture often, but MAN, is it worth it!
    I made a large batch and put it in a B I G plastic jar and filled it with torn cotton towels.
    When needed, reach in, squeeze one out and wipe! The glass will stay wet for a while, so you can do a good size window or a few smaller ones before switching to your chamois. A friend who is selling her home asked for this recipe so buyers might think her windows were brand new!

  3. Ryan January 23, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    does your baking soda dissolve in your recipes? i’ve tried using it several times before and it’s never dissolved…am i doing something wrong? please help! and thank you for all of your wonderful recipes!

  4. amy cook July 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Trying to switch over to many of these cleaners. I have 2 ?’s:
    1. What brand Baking Soda do you use – is it Soda or Powder that has aluminum in it?
    2. What about vinegar – do you use organic for cleaning, laundry & dishes?


  5. Lillie June 18, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    When making my own cleaners, I always add an essential oil to the mix. This counteracts the pungent nature of vinegar and adds a cozy feel to all the rooms that I use my homemade cleaners. Make sure you use food-grade (or perfume) essential oils, not the kind you would add to a diffuser. My personal favorite is lemongrass…lively, energetic, incredibly fresh. Also, if you add orange peels to a jar of vinegar and let it sit for a few weeks before using you will end up with two marvelous products: the orange peels then maintain the deodorizing properties of the vinegar with the bonus of citrus freshness…great for the garbage disposal. And the vinegar gets a bit of the citrus fragrance, although it will definitely still smell like vinegar.

  6. stace April 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    I found you homemade deoderante…I was wondering since coconut oil melts at about 76 degrees I was thinking can make your deoderante in liquid for then put it in the fridge to harden….do you think it will work the same?

    • Lindsay April 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm #


    • lindsey September 5, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

      I just make this deodorant, and I used backing coconut oil for high temps. The brand is Spectrum. It works wonderfully, no need to refrigerate, goes on smooth and didn’t come off on my clothes!

  7. Lisa October 2, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    I LOVE thrall purpose cleaner! If I didn’t know what was on it I would actually buy it in stores. Lol so I’m glad I know it only 3 cheep ingredients. I was wondering though, what makes the one in the picture green??? I put Rosemary in mine and it’s a lovely smell. I love how even before the Rosemary it didn’t smell like vinegar at all. Thanks for this. I can’t use it on my widows though it seems to leave streaks :( I’ll have to try the other one for glass.

  8. Carpet Cleaning Harrisburg PA June 24, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    I your blog – great !

  9. Lylah December 20, 2007 at 3:00 pm #

    hey beautiful lindsay…hope all is well….

    just an fyi:


  10. ~Babychaser~ December 15, 2007 at 6:59 am #

    Thanks for taking the time to do this series! I’m looking forward to even more! Right now my family purchases Meleluca products for cleaning (other than the few things we had in bulk before switching ~ we are phasing out things we already owned). They are healthy products using Meleluca oil as their base, but they aren’t cheap! I think I will see which of these ideas you gave we can slowly start implementing! :)

    • Chantal Moir January 24, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

      My parents used to sell for Melaleuca years ago, and we used a lot of their stuff. I remember my mom soaking fruits and vegetables in water and Tough and Tender after buying them (I think it was that–the blue stuff). She also would put a capful of Sol-U-Mel into the humidifier we used at night for health reasons.

  11. David and Amy Campsall December 13, 2007 at 2:57 am #

    I just found your list of cleaners and I’m excited to try them. I linked to it from my site hope you don’t mind. Thanks for sharing!

  12. amy best December 10, 2007 at 1:55 pm #

    Thanks for this, Lindsay!

  13. Lindsay Edmonds December 9, 2007 at 9:55 pm #

    I am glad to hear of all the interest and response to my post. Let’s clean our homes in a more natural way! As far as a more natural abrasive cleaner, I have discovered that salt and toothpaste are natural abrasives (toothpaste being more mild). You can add salt with the vinegar for the all-purpose cleanser. You can also just put either baking soda or salt on a sponge or on the surface and scour and rinse. Hope that helps!

  14. Mama Edmonds December 9, 2007 at 6:22 pm #

    Any thoughts on a natural abrasive?

    • Lillie June 18, 2011 at 10:49 am #

      Baking soda is an incredible natural abrasive. And for the jobs that baking soda can’t handle, try washing soda. It’s odorless, and natural…although while you’re actually using it you should wear gloves.

  15. Billie December 8, 2007 at 7:36 pm #

    Thanks! I’ve been thinking of making my own home cleaners…I’m just waiting for my other stuff to run out 1st! These seem like such simple basic ideas…thanks!

  16. Stephanie December 8, 2007 at 12:01 pm #

    So nice to see someone else posting on this same topic! I just finished a 3 part series on natural cleaning products over on my blog.

    I’ll have to try your ideas for carpet stain remover and furniture polish- I haven’t heard of those ones yet! Thanks for the great post!


  17. Headmistress, zookeeper December 8, 2007 at 11:20 am #

    These are great ideas. One thing that many people don’t know (and I learned from an artist who worked with natural textiles)- vinegar really isn’t good for natural fibers- wools and cottons. It will break down the fibers in the clothing much faster than if you don’t use it.

    I used to use vinegar with cloth diapers in the wash, and when I quite I found that they diapers really did last longer.

    It doesn’t seem to make much difference with synthetic fabrics.

  18. Mrs. Jo December 8, 2007 at 12:05 am #

    I’m a Lindsey too! I enjoy your posts. It’s funny you posted on this as my friend here in town recently wrote up a list exactly like this for me to encourage me and my friends in “natural cleaning.” I cleaned my whole bathroom with vinegar during that day of the Challenge.
    Thanks for the great post!

  19. Mrs. T December 7, 2007 at 11:42 pm #

    Great post :D I whole-heartedly endorse this post. LOL!!

  20. Lylah December 7, 2007 at 10:47 pm #

    LOVE THIS!…i’ll save this and post back to it…blessings…yes, i’m up too late…we just had a young couple over and they just left…:-)

  21. Abbi December 7, 2007 at 9:00 pm #

    Great ideas! I have usually used homemade or melelucca cleaners. I think I might try some of your recipes. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Steph Garvey December 7, 2007 at 4:26 pm #

    This is awesome!


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