6 DIY Household Cleaners

6 DIY Household Cleaners© Jupiterimages/Comstock/Thinkstock

1. Super Window and Glass Cleaner

Forget all about store-bought window cleaners. Your windows can get a professional shine for just pennies. The alcohol in this formula helps prevent streaking.

  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 clean 32-ounce spray bottle

1. Mix all the ingredients in the spray bottle. Shake well before using.

2. Spray on dirty windowpane or other glass surface.

3. Dry with crumpled newspaper.

2. Citrus Disinfectant
If you like pricey commercial orange cleaners, you’ll love this fresh citrus-scented vinegar spray that is easy to make and costs less than a dollar. You can also deodorize a room by setting out a small bowl of citrus vinegar.

  • Peel from 1 orange, grapefruit, lemon, or lime
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1 clean quart jar with lid
  • 1 clean 32-ounce spray bottle

1. Combine the citrus peel and vinegar in the quart jar. Fasten the lid on the jar and store the mixture in a cupboard for two weeks, giving it an occasional shake.

2. Remove the peel from the jar, strain the vinegar, and return it to the jar.

3. To use as a spray cleaner, pour 1 cup of citrus vinegar in the spray bottle and fill with water.

4.To clean linoleum floors, add 1 cup citrus vinegar to 2 gallons water.

3. Tough Multipurpose Cleaner
When it comes to cleaning non-wood surfaces around your home, this cleaner is tough to beat — you might even say it’s “fantastic.” And it costs only pennies.

  • 1 1/2 pints water
  • 1/3 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 teaspoon clear household ammonia
  • 1 teaspoon mild dishwashing liquid
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 clean 32-ounce spray bottle

1. Combine the ingredients in the spray bottle and shake well before each use.

2. Spray on countertops, kitchen appliances and fixtures, and tile or painted surfaces.

3. Wipe down with a clean cloth or damp sponge.

4. Nontoxic Bathroom Cleaner
This is a terrific deep-cleaning cleanser for any bathroom surface. It cuts through soap scum and mildew as well as any commercial bathroom product and costs just pennies.

  • 1 2/3 cups baking soda
  • 1/2 cup liquid soap
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 clean 16-ounce squirt bottle with closing cap

1. Mix baking soda and liquid soap in a bowl. Dilute with water and add the vinegar. Stir the mixture with a fork until any lumps have been dissolved. Pour the liquid into the bottle. Shake well before using.

2. Squirt on area to be cleaned. Scrub with a nylon-backed sponge. Rinse off with water. Keep cap on between uses.

5. Multipurpose Bathroom Disinfectant Cleaner
Here’s a good all-purpose disinfectant that is as easy to use and effective as any commercial bathroom cleaner but much less expensive.

  • 2 teaspoons borax
  • 1/2 teaspoon washing soda
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3 cups very hot water
  • 1 clean 24-ounce spray bottle

1. Combine the borax, washing soda, lemon juice, and vinegar in the spray bottle.

2. Slowly add the hot water, then vigorously shake the bottle until the powdered ingredients have dissolved. Shake the bottle before each use.

3. Spray on tile and ceramic surfaces and wipe with a damp, clean cloth.

6. Eucalyptus Tile Cleaner
This fresh, tangy powder will leave your kitchen and bathroom tiles as shiny and clean as any commercial cleaner and for less than half the price.

  • 1/2 cup soap flakes
  • 1 cup chalk or diatomaceous earth
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon essential oil of eucalyptus
  • 1 clean recycled 16-ounce jar with metal top

1. To make the soap flakes, lightly grate a bar of pure soap, such as Ivory, on a coarse kitchen grater. Then, in a small bowl, crush the soap flakes with the back of a spoon until powdered (or whirl them in a blender).

2. Mix in the chalk or diatomaceous earth and the baking soda, breaking up any lumps.

3. Sprinkle the essential oil over the surface of the powdered mixture and stir it with the spoon. Continue stirring for several minutes to disperse the oil throughout the mixture, then spoon the mixture into a screw-top jar or can with several holes punched in the lid.

4. Cover the holes with masking tape to keep the powder dry between uses. Let the mixture sit a week before using to be sure the essential oil has been thoroughly absorbed. Sprinkle surface with powder, scrub with a damp sponge, and rinse with clear water. Dry with soft towel.

Plus: 5 Best Baking Soda and Vinegar Cleaning Solutions

Become more interesting every week!

The Reader's Digest "Read Up" Newsletter

We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.