6 Reasons Why My Cleaning Solutions Are TOTALLY BOSS

Or, 6 Reasons Why These Magic Mixes Will Cause You To So Deeply Regret All Those Years and Dollars You Wasted On Commercial Products That You May Need Grief Counseling

1. They are homemade.

As Pinterest users can testify, anything DIY is automatically more awesome than the alternative. Which makes you cooler than other people who don’t make their own stuff. You can feel a little smug in your heart when you see people grabbing crap from the cleaning aisle, cause you don’t need some giant corporation to make your products for you. You’re self-reliant! You’re like a freaking pioneer in the wilderness! Before you know it, you’ll be growing your own wheat, constructing a water mill to grind it, and then baking homemade bread over a fire. That’s right. A fire built with wood you chopped.

[SIDE BONUS: The more stuff you make at home, the more prepared you are for the zombie apocalypse.]

2. They have simple, easy-to-find ingredients.

Everything you need to mix your own cleaning solutions can be found at your local supermarkets, and you probably already have a lot of this stuff at home. It’s best to buy these in bulk sizes if possible—that usually gives you a better value. Like the 32oz Dr. Bronner’s soap instead of the 16oz, and a gallon of vinegar instead of a small bottle. One exception is olive oil: I buy a cheap little bottle instead of using the kind I cook with. You’re not concerned about quality or taste–just its, well, oiliness. Here’s what you need:

Easy enough, right?

*I can usually find these for cheaper on Amazon than in a store. If you have a Prime membership (so worth it OMG), you can have them shipped super fast for free!

3. They smell ridiculous.

Before you mix up your solutions (recipes below), you have the exciting task of deciding which scent combinations to use. Dr. Bronner’s liquid Castile soap comes in a variety of ridiculous scents which are also based on essential oils, so you can combine different soaps with the oil of your choice for a knock-your-socks-off aroma. For instance, I made my first batch of cleaners with peppermint soap and lavender oil. For my next trick, I will be using citrus soap with thyme oil. Or you could try lavender soap with eucalyptus oil, or eucalyptus soap with tea-tree oil, or—well, the mind reels! And I think you will find that these heavenly smells actually make cleaning pleasant. I myself often feel compelled to burst into cheery song and let a little birdie alight on my finger.

4. They are effective.

I just recently became aware of the cleaning power of essential oils. I’d been using some boring vinegar-and-water mixes with a little baking soda here and there, but boy do these oils pack an extra wallop. They cut through grease better, they leave surfaces more resistant to grime, and they have natural disinfectant properties. I mean, seriously, it’s like cleaning with fairy dust.

5. They are environmentally friendly.

No nasty man-made chemicals or pollutants here. Safe for humans, safe for pets, and safe going down the drain into our lakes and rivers. In fact, not only are these cleaners not bad for you–they are very likely beneficial. Essential oils are known to have very positive effects on mood and overall wellbeing. Aromatherapy FTW! Of course, it’s important to remember that Borax and essential oils can be toxic in high quantities, but these solutions are so diluted there’s little risk of danger. Just don’t, you know, drink them or anything.

6. They are cheap.

Ok, I sat down, screwed my courage to the sticking place, and did some math. It was very complicated and I had to retire with a cold compress and hot tea afterward, so I hope you’re properly grateful. Anyway, if you follow the recipes below, you will need to mix more of the solutions around every six weeks or so. And remember that a little goes a looooong way (time to break that Lysol-spray-induced habit of sloshing gallons of cleaner around). With this in mind, I figure these solutions will ultimately cost you around 10 bucks a month. Basically, that’s six different solutions for $1.67 a piece. Remember how much you paid for the aforementioned Lysol? Mmm-hmm. You’re welcome. Please send all cards and flowers to my secretary.

Homemade = cool


I make multiples of some bottles so I can keep one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom and so forth. You need some empty spray bottles and some condiment squeeze bottles. Reuse old ones or get them cheap from the dollar store or Wal-Mart or something like that. And yes, I count the drops of essential oil.

All-purpose cleaner – makes 2 medium bottles
Use on all surfaces except maybe granite, wood furniture, and food areas like cutting boards.
2 cups hot water
2 tbsp Borax (dissolve)
1/4 cup vinegar*
1/2 cup Castile soap*
40 drops essential oil 

Disinfectant – makes 1 medium bottle
Safe for use on granite, great for killing germs anywhere.
3 tbsp Castile soap
30 drops essential oil
Enough water to fill bottle

Glass cleaner – makes 2 medium bottles
Shake often to keep mixed.
4 cups hot water
2 tbsp cornstarch (dissolve)
1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
1/2 cup vinegar

Furniture polish – makes 2 small bottles
This one separates super fast, so shake every other spray or so. Goes a REALLY long way.
1 cup olive oil
1 cup vinegar
60 drops (about 3ml) essential oil

Shower spray – makes 1 bottle
Lightly mist walls and tub after you shower—no more evil soap scum!
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar*
2 tbsp Castile soap*
10 drops essential oil

Soft scrub – makes 2 squeeze bottles (mix in individual bottles!)

Scrub into tubs, sinks, and toilets—let sit, then rinse.
1/2 cup baking soda per bottle (1 cup total)
1/2  cup Borax per bottle (1 cup total)
1/2 cup Castile soap per bottle (1 cup total)
15 drops essential oil per bottle (30 total)
Splash or two of water per bottle (get it to the consistency you want)

UPDATE 8/11/12
Shower spray: Guys, I had to tell you, I’ve just started putting this solution in a sponge brush with a fillable handle, thanks to a hot tip I found on Pinterest (unfortunately I can’t credit the originator, as the pin didn’t lead to the right place). AHHHHMAZING!
Soft scrub: So if I, erm, don’t use the soft scrub solution very frequently, I find that it begins to harden in the bottle. If you’re a slacker busy person like me who can’t always regularly clean your sinks & tubs, you might consider making the scrub in smaller batches instead so it stays fresh. If you do get some hardening, a little sploosh of water and a stir should also do the trick. Just a heads up, y’all. 

*UPDATE 10/6/12
Some readers have reported that combining vinegar and Castile soap creates a clumpy unblended mixture, so I recommend using either vinegar or Castile soap in these recipes, depending on your preference and desired effect! For myself, I’ll probably use vinegar in both. 

Tagged , ,

182 thoughts on “6 Reasons Why My Cleaning Solutions Are TOTALLY BOSS

  1. Kendra says:

    I love tips like these. Thanks:)

  2. Wendy says:

    I must have saved a ton of $$ over the years. Baking soda with borax straight up on just about anything that needs a scrub. Essential oils favs – lemon, bergamot, eucalyptus & lavender. For my windows just vinegar & water. Love the Dr Bonner’s & I need to get me some more often. And you’re right about keeping them handy – one for the kitchen & every bathroom along with a cleaning rag.

    For my hardwood floors, just a fine mist of plain ole water and wipe. Never underestimate the power of water for cleaning. Let it soak for a few minutes on anything that wants to cling on.

  3. Cherie Noell says:

    Does anyone have a great recipe for liquid dish soap? Not dishwasher soap, I don’t have one.

    • autumnlists says:

      You know, that’s one I really haven’t seen. In fact, many recipes I find involve dish detergent as one of the base ingredients. But I bet you could use Castile soap as a substitute–it’s pretty much magical in every way.

  4. Tina Taylor says:

    Here is a recipe for liquid dish soap:

    2/3 cup liquid Castile soap
    3 tbsp. vegetable glycerin
    5 drops tea-tree essential oil
    20 drops lemon essential oil
    1 1/3 cups water

  5. shelia says:

    Do you have a recipe for cleaning hardwood floors?

    • autumnlists says:

      You know, I always just used hot water for wood floors, and spot cleaned any spills. Then again, I was living in a 600 sq ft apartment then, so it wasn’t a big job. Maybe some other readers can share their recipes?

    • SKetch says:

      I hear via Pinterest that plain black tea is amazing…

    • ladycaren says:

      I was given this recipe for cleaning polished wooden floors (jarrah) which also works well on floors that have been ‘estapoled’ you know 2 part epoxy resin varnish….
      so ..
      1 bucket of hot water
      1/4 cup of methylated spirits..
      cleans the floors like a dream , removes oily film…looks like new!

  6. You may want to add cream of tartar on that list of amazing cleaners! It zaps hard water spots like nothing else.

    • autumnlists says:

      Wow, Janice, I had no idea! Have you used it on shower doors? Do you dissolve it in water or just use it straight? I may give that a try.

    • Cathi says:

      Do you just add the cream of tartar to the shower spray mixer or doing something else with it? I can’t get the water stains off and don’t know what to do!!!!

  7. Paige Fair Munday says:

    Your all purpose cleaner id fine in food areas but for the granite. Vinegar is a disinfectant. Just FYI.

  8. Senae says:

    I never, EVER comment…but OMG! I love your writing style, and the amazing solutions….They WORK! Thank you for taking the time to write this up for us!
    Senae (Mom of 3 boys!)

  9. Danielle says:

    Which Castile soap are y’all using? I’m about to order it online and I’m assuming it’s the liquid version, right? Thanks!!

  10. Natali says:

    I love the way you wright! You actually made me laugh out loud:) thanks!

  11. Teresa says:

    Love these ideas, wondering where is best place to buy the essential oils?

    • autumnlists says:

      I get mine from Amazon, Teresa. I find the prices are better there than what I see at the local health food stores or even Meijer. But that’s just based on my own little area–you might be able to find local suppliers where you live with even better prices.

  12. Jenny says:

    For the baking soda soft scrub – I’ve been cleaning my shower & tub this way for years. Just sprinkle baking soda liberally onto the tub, and perhaps up the surround a little, then take dish soap and squirt a little around (less than you’d think, or it gets all goopy, and you can always add more). Take a dripping wet washcloth, and go to town. If you need more grit, sprinkle more baking soda, if you need more suds, squeeze more soap! It sure beats the actual Soft Scrub. 🙂 Love these solutions, I’m gonna have to make a trip up to wally-world for some cheap spray bottles. …Sorry for the long comment, but I’ve gotta say: use baking soda instead of shampoo and half vinegar / half water for a rinse. I swear to you, it’s better than any shampoo & conditioner I’ve ever used. I keep the baking soda in a jar with a little water (to make a paste) and the vinegar+water in a spray bottle. I didn’t think it would work, but dang, people. You gotta try it. 🙂 Just leave the baking soda on your hair/scalp while you soap up the rest, then rinse, spray on the vinegar, and rinse that. (and I promise, you won’t smell like vinegar.) 🙂

    • I found large-ish spray bottles at Home Depot for $.97 each, and they have measurements on the side. Love them!

    • autumnlists says:

      Isn’t it weird how vinegar smells like a punch in the nose for a minute but then the odor completely goes away? I’m not surprised baking soda and vinegar work on hair. I’m going to give this a try one day, although I have about eight bottles of shampoo in my coupon stash at the moment. This would be a good once-a-week routine though, maybe strip away buildup and stuff from commercial products!

      • Lisa says:

        You can strip your hair with baking soda and your shampoo. Wet hair get a hand full of soda and work into hair add enough shampoo to make a paste. Let set while you shower and rinse out. shampoo again. You should not do this more than once a week, as it will dry your hair out. I’m a hairdresser and this works great.

        • It actually works really well as a basic, non toxic shampoo. You have to follow it up with an apple cider vinegar rinse though to tone the baking soda. The ACV conditions amazingly. With the baking soda shampoo just make a creamy paste, apply to the scalp, let it soak, rinse and then do your ACV. I use this all the time and my hair looks and feels amazing

      • Annette says:

        I use baking soda all around the house. I do use it in my hair. It is great for cutting through all the hair products like hair spray and gels and really getting your hair clean. Just be careful if you color your hair as the baking soda can fade it pretty fast. I only use it once a month right before I have my hair colored then I don’t have to worry about it and my hair gets a fantastic clean.

    • Chasity says:

      what about conditioner?

  13. Melissa says:

    Do you have something that will work on soap scum on shower doors?

    • autumnlists says:

      Melissa, I’ve just been using the shower spray recipe. In my experience it may not immediately remove all the soap scum, but if you use it regularly it will eventually remove the residue plus prevent more from forming. We have very icky hard water too, which makes me nutso cause it leaves pink gunk around the drains.

    • HJ says:

      I have been using a squeegee on my shower doors for about a year now and it seems to help keep scum from building up. I hung a 3M Command hook in my shower and I hang the plastic squeegee to make it handy. I use it after every shower on the door and it helps keep the water spots at a minimum as well. Get a lightweight squeegee so in case you drop it, it won’t ding your tub. Yes, you guessed it, I learned by experience. lol Thanks for all the good tips on here.

      • autumnlists says:

        Oh man, you’re one of the good ones. I had a squeegee for a while but I never used it because I’m too lazy. For a while I was just spraying everything. Now I’m using a sponge thingy, which somehow is still easier than using a squeegee. I applaud you for your dedication!

      • I use a squeegee too. Keeping the shower walls dry is key to avoid mildew buildup. It only takes 15 seconds or so (but I have a small shower) & saves a lot of scrubbing. I hate to clean & have arthritis in hands, so must curb hand use. Hate to clean, but like to have a clean house!

    • Ev says:

      Use a drier sheet that is dry. Rub it on the doors and/or shower walls, rinse it off and dry. Works great! Doesn’t have to be done every time you use the shower?!

      • autumnlists says:

        You know, I have tried this a few times with my glass shower doors and it doesn’t seem to remove the most stubborn scum. Of course, we have really hard water, so I think we’re a special case.

    • Carol Morris says:

      Clean them first then wipe down with WD40 on a rag. WD40 has no harmful ingredients, can be eaten!

    • Grandma says:

      I use a squeege on my doors and they are about 10 yrs. old. I have also found if you clean them with vinegar first and maybe a little pledge the water beads off. Keep a squeege in the shower.

  14. If you buy the scented Castile Soap (I chose peppermint), do you still need the essential oil, or is it in the soap? Also, any suggestions for essential oil scents that will go well with the peppermint soap? Thanks!

    • autumnlists says:

      You know, you probably could get by on just the Castile soap if you wanted to shave even a little more off the cost of these solutions. I actually used vinegar/water mixes for years with moderate success, but I do notice that when I use essential oils, tough messes clean up easier and surfaces especially seem to stay cleaner a bit longer. I think the oils just add a little extra oomph to the whole mixture. Plus the fragrance combos are truly out of this world–I love to combine peppermint soap and lavender oil.

  15. lourdes silva says:

    Estoy fascinada con todas las resetas ahorro de dinero y excelentes resiltados. Gracias

  16. lourdes silva says:

    Todo los consejos excelentes. Gracias.

  17. I always get the biggest tea tree oil I can find since it is such a great anti-bacterial, anti-fungal essential oil. Great ideas here! I’ve tried making my own dishwasher detergent (no success). I DO make my own powdered laundry soap – and it’s just as good as Tide, and CHEAP to boot.
    Tonight (cuz I rock) I made my own toothpaste. My teeth are squeaky clean. It tastes great and is way cheaper than the Tom’s of Maine All Natural toothpaste I’ve been buying. I’m going to give it a full week to see if I like the results. So far, so good! I just luv making my own stuff and getting in touch with my inner hippie. 🙂

    • autumnlists says:

      Wow. That is some straight up dedication. I am impressed. I never even though to make my own toothpaste, though I have ventured into making bath salts and a few other little cosmetic things.

    • Eileen Gibson says:

      I love that you referred to you inner hippie!!!!!

    • What did you use to make your own toothpaste? We use the Tom’s all natural, fluoride free toothpaste but if I can MAKE it I would be sooo stoked!

    • Sheila Barnes says:

      I’d love to know how you made your toothpaste.

    • Katrhy says:

      How do you make the powdered laundry soap?

    • I use this recipe for dish washer and love it. 1 teaspoon oxygen bleach, 1/2 teaspoon Dawn (blue one), 1/2 cup vinegar poured into a cup or bowel and set it on top rack so when water hits it it will splash on the dishes.

    • I make my own laundry detergent too and find it works as well as store bought. The only thing different I do than the basic mix is add a box of colorfast bleach (about a dollar at Dollar Stores) I make my own liquid fabric softner and its better than any you could buy. It also smells better. You need 2 cups of the cheapest hair conditioner on the shelf. (usually a dollar or under) and 4 cups white vinegar. Mix and pour into a gallon jug–fill remaining space with hot water. Shake to mix. Use as you would use Downy–I like a laundry ball–use any scent you like. It smells great–it works beautifully and it drops wrinkles.

    • Tiffany says:

      You can just use dishsoap in your dishwasher but not too much. A few drops goes a long way. And to save even more in the dishwasher, use vinegar for your rinse aid instead of expensive things like jet-dry.
      I am curious what ingredients you use for your toothpaste. I have been meaning to make my own but just haven’t got to it ( I make my own laundry detergent and deodorant) and am always looking for more homemade things to do.

  18. Steph says:

    Where is a good place to get essential oils?

  19. rachel says:

    I’ve always heard that you should not combine vinegar and soap (like Castille) together in a cleaner because the soap is a base and the vinegar is an acid and they basically cancel each other out. Do you know if this is true? I know a lot of people who use homemade soaps like these, but almost all the recipes I see have vinegar and soap together so I haven’t tried them.

    • rachel says:

      http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=292 This website goes into more detail on the vinegar and soap issue. But, I know a lot of people swear by it. It is so confusing…

      • autumnlists says:

        Well damn! I have never heard this before. Although to be fair, my recipes have been tinkered with so much I can’t tell you what the original ones were–whether they originally combined vinegar and soap or whether that was my own doing.

        I can tell you I haven’t noticed any curdling in my bottles of cleaner or shower spray, although that could just be because I use them too quickly and the amounts of vinegar and soap aren’t enough to make that reaction happen right away.

        If you were to leave one or the other out, I’d say remove the vinegar rather than the Castile soap from the all-purpose cleaner, but vice-versa for the shower spray. In the cleaner, the Borax is already a fairly powerful cleaning agent, so the vinegar isn’t crucial. In the shower spray, though, you’d probably want some acidity to cut the soap scum.

        • Wendy says:

          A great shower soap scum remover is
          1/2 Cup laundry detergent,
          1/2 cup vinegar and
          3 cups of water.

          I thought my shower and door were clean until I started spraying with this!! Soap scum was running and setting up half way down the shower!! So at first I sprayed after every shower till I was done the first batch. You leave it on.

          Now I spray once a week and it sparkles. Black tile and glass door.
          Also found if any mold was in there just scrubbed a little with the solution and it was gone in a couple days.

  20. Wendy Lewis says:

    For more info check out Ecoholic. This book has graced my home for a couple of years. Awesome reference.

  21. Priscilla says:

    Thanks for the great tips. I would love know how you make the bath salts. Maybe I could put some in cute jars for small gifts.

  22. arzea says:

    Thank you!! This is osm!

  23. […] on their clothes or on their skin. If you’re interested in learning more about these recipes, go here. The post is really informative! Thanks for […]

  24. I would like a receipe for liquid laundry soap. I have made the powder detergent in the past and found that it did not dissolve completely. I mainly wash laundry in cold water.

    • autumnlists says:

      I’ve seen tons of those around the web, Lita, though I haven’t ventured to try any myself. Liquid laundry detergent is one of the things I can easily get super cheap through couponing, so I’ve never gotten motivated to make my own. My suggestion–search Pinterest!

      • Jamie says:

        Thanks for all these great ideas! I use a few of these recipes and even make my own baby wipe solution (using vinegar, olive oil, dr. Bronner’s, essential oils, and water). Leave out the oil, and make disposable disinfectact wipes that are safe for cleaning and hands and faces too! I will have to try your others. We make our liquid laundry soap ALL the time. Even when I’m coupon shopping, I can’t get cheaper than $0.02/load. You can you what you already have too (just add washing soda)! We use Zote soap (you can use felz nappa, both found in the laundry isle). Cut your 7oz bar in half and grate. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and then dissolve 1/2 cup borax & 1/2 cup washing soda. Once dissolved, add grated soap and dissolve. Add solution to a 1 gallon container and fill slowly with water. Let sit for 24 hours undisturbed. Ready to use (just shake well before each use). I use 1/4 cup for regular sized loads and a bit more for bigger loads or very dirty loads. I also vinegar as a fabric softener I add it to the softener container with a few drops of essential oil for scent and disinfectant. Vinegar can also be used as a rinse aid in your dishwasher. With same ingredients you can also make dishwasher detergent (just need some citric acid). Sorry to take over, just love to share ways to help save money and have a cleaner, safer home for our families.

        • autumnlists says:

          Jamie, you have found out the source of my laziness–I can’t STAND grating soap. I just can’t even deal. But I admire those of you who take time to do it. These are excellent tips–thanks for sharing 🙂

          • Sarah says:

            I use my food processor to grate the soap, then run the processor parts through the dishwasher.

          • autumnlists says:

            Ohhh, interesting. That could be a game changer.

          • mama bear says:

            We use the grater attachment on our kitchenaid mixer, then set the soap shavings out in the sun for a day to dry out. Super easy!

          • Tina says:

            I don’t know if anyone will see this but I have seen on the internet where some have cup up the bar of in to chunks put in microwave and it puffs up to 2 to 3 x’s its size, let cool then just crush with your hands. It works really well, you will have more of a powder like substance. I just made my second batch of laundry soap this was a lot easier to me.

    • Victoria says:

      Try putting powder in first before clothes, start washer on warm for 1-2 minutes and then switch back to cold, then add clothes. That should dissolve your powder detergent if the cold water is not doing the trick!

  25. Megan Hubbard says:

    I made the all purpose spray and disinfectant without essential oil. I found it was a little soapy as I started t scrub. Am I doing something wrong? Maybe I need to add more water or less of something? Or is this the way it is supposed to be? Thanks!

    • autumnlists says:

      Hm. I’m wondering if the essential oil somehow balances out the soapiness? (I say that like I know something about chemistry, haha.) Since you aren’t using oils, maybe dilute your solutions as you mention–see if that works. I’ve also found that adding the soap LAST to all the other stuff makes for a less sudsy mix, so that might help too.

  26. Barbara says:

    What is good to clean shower heads? The holes seem to clog up.

    • autumnlists says:

      I just saw a post about this on Pinterest the other day–fill a plastic baggie with vinegar/water or diluted borax (I think there are a few different iterations of this, but you want something pretty strong, as opposed to the recipes I have here that are for more gentle regular cleaning) and tie the baggie onto your shower head with a twist tie or what have you. Your solution should dissolve all that gunk. I’ve been meaning to try this myself cause we have hard water that leaves nasty pink buildup on everything. Definitely do a search on Pinterest and see what you turn up!

      • HJ says:

        My husband used the vinegar and water solution in a baggie on his shower head. He left it overnight and it helped so much. Good luck! I’m too short (vertically challenged) to reach it. lol

  27. Cathie Greer says:

    Saw this Pin on Pinterest. Having been very interested in healthy products for 20 years, I had made some products similar to yours, but it’s always fun to see the little tricks others use.
    I don’t use any wood alcohol as it acts like poison, particularly to the brain, when absorbed.
    And unfortunately, we do absorb topically.
    I use one of those high proof cheap vodkas for the alcohol instead. Same benefit, just safer for the body.
    Although my husband, a minister, tells me it’s purchase is one errand he won’t run for me!

    Thanks for your blog and interest in healthy products!

  28. Keri says:

    do you have anything for inside the toilet bowl?

    • Kelly says:

      I’ve heard tell a 2 liter bottle of coca-cola that you let sit and scrub will take most any stain away. As for replacing that bottle of blue gel…dunno. I like this web site too, lots of different eco-friendly recipes.

    • Beth says:

      My grandmother taught me to use hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Sprinkle the soda in, then add about a cup or 2 of the peroxide. Let sit. The soda acts as a scrubber and the peroxide as the cleaner. Then use a cloth or brush to scrub.

  29. Bette says:

    I have been using regular Isopropal Alcohol for stains in my carpet forever. Works great, gets most stains out and is dry in no time.

  30. I am soooo glad I found this page!

  31. […] a certain type of content from me. This is probably frustrating for people who, say, happen upon my post about cleaning solutions and want more, only to find cranky rants about Joe Paterno and pictures of my bike. Like the good […]

  32. Laura says:

    Wow! I started using water/vinegar/alcohol for my floors and windows a few weeks back. Fell in love with this homemade cleaner and THEN, I saw this pin on pinterest!

    OMG! I love the soft scrub! Just made bottles of glass cleaner, disenfectant and all purpose, can’t wait to start using them!

    I live in canada, near montreal and had a hard time finding castile soap. The shiping costs are ridiculous on ebay and amazon doesnt ship here! but I finally found a health store that had them on sale for 8$ a bottle (472 ml). I got 3 and just finished mixing everything. Eucalyptus is my fav so far!

    For the glass shower doors (We squeegee every day and still have nasty soap scum). I read that half a lemon and kosher salt works… Has anyone tried it?

  33. Melinda says:

    hi, km new to using anhthkng but expensive harsh cleaners so im really loving this. Question: is the Borax soap a brand? I’m hoping to find the oils at a health food store in town. where can i find recipes so i know how to mix. km looking for good bathroom cleaning and disinfecting. i get horrible migraines and would love good smelling cleaning products that are also natural. im doing the happy dance finding this!!!!!!

    • Tina S says:

      I’ve just been reading this entire blog and love the posts. As for your question Melinda, Borax is the name of the item…brand names will vary (I use 20 Mule Team brand) If you can’t find it in the laundry aisle, try the cleaning aisle near the oxy clean (that’s where our Wal-Mart has it set up) Pretty much any grocery store should have it though, it comes in a box. As for the recipes…scroll up 🙂

      I started making our own laundry soap and fabric softener and love it! Since I don’t like the smell of vinegar I let it sit in a mason jar for a couple of weeks with orange peels (smells like oranges)

      • Jill G says:

        i tried the home made fabric softener using hair conditioner 2 cups vinegat and 6 cups water. it works to make things soft but not very strong scented. try using a grapefruit peel with your vinegar. so far it is my favorite.

  34. E. Murray says:

    so wish someone new the ingrediant makeup of mrs meyers pet clean! If you have pets it was the only thing I have ever used that totally removed all smell and stain!! And what did they do stopped makeing it!! uuugghhh

  35. jessica says:

    I was wondering if you can give me the recipe for laundry detergent with the quantities. Thank you very much!!!

    • Jill G says:

      I use 20 mule borax and arm and hammer washing soda and felps napha soap. 1 cup of each powder and then 1 bar of soap. you can use almost any bar soap. i have heard that ivory works well but i haven’t tried it yet. hope this helps. the soap is $.97 at walmart and the other 2 are roughly $4 each. it costs me $.04 per load. depending on how much i use. i love the stuff. gets the clothes very clean.

      • BJ says:

        I’ve been using this powdered laundry soap for a couple of weeks now – LOVE IT! Wash cold water & clothes look great.

  36. Carolyn says:

    I don’t know what happened but my mix for the shower, Vinegar, water, Castile Soap, did not blend and I have clumps. Smells bad too. Used Dr. Bronners Magic Hemp Lavender Castile Soap. and Tea Tree oil. Any suggestions?

    • autumnlists says:

      Oh dear, Carolyn, it sounds like earlier commenter Rachel was correct about combining soap and vinegar: http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=292. I have not had this happen myself, but that is perhaps because I have been making pretty small batches of the shower spray to fit in the handle of the soap-dispensing scrubbie I started using in the shower a few months ago. So I think my suggestion would be to leave out either the soap or the vinegar–depending on what your water residue is like where you live and which mix is most effective. I think for myself I’d leave out the Castile soap, since vinegar does such a great job of cutting through soap scum. I will also put a note about this on the recipe!

      • Elizabeck says:

        The clumping could be caused by the order of ingredients combined. When I worked in a kitchen that made pies, we would add a little vinegar to the pumpkin pies for a longer shelf life. If you added the vinegar at the same time as the milk, the pies got lumpy and would boil as they baked. Adding the vinegar to the solid pumpkin and mixing thoroughly before adding the milk took care of this problem.

  37. Christina says:

    Great recipes! Thank you so much for sharing.

  38. Stephanie says:

    I love this website!! Can anyone help with the black/orange stains in the cracks of the shower? I have one stubborn corner where this is and I have tried EVERYTHING!!

    • Cindy says:

      1tbsp bleach, 1tbsp vinegar, 1/2cup water in a spray bottle will kill the black fungi that infect shower grout. This solution will also kill Anthrax (should that ever be necessary, lol). It only lasts about a day before the vinegar dechlorinates the bleach, so mix only what you need for the job at hand. Not as green as the other awesome recipes, which I love, but sometimes bleach is a necessary evil. =)

  39. Jill G says:

    I make my own laundry soap using my magic bullet. if you cut your soap up into 6 pieces and then put in on a paper plate and microwave for a minute it will puff and become dry. just make sure not to over heat it because it will burn. then i put a few pieces with my borax and washing soda in the bullet and make a very fine powder. continue doing all of the pieces until it is all done. put it in a bowl and stir and then i put it into old sour cream container. i use 1 tbsp per load. it is magic. even gets red clay and grass stains out of my sons white baseball pants. i have also been soaking my citrus peels in vinegar in a glass container with a lid. after a few weeks you will have a very fresh smelling vinegar. I use that mixed with 1/3 water and use it everywhere. works wonders on baseboards. i have also tried the baking soda for shampoo and didn’t like it. maybe i didn’t use enough. i do use the apple cider vinegar and water as a rinse. no more conditioner. shampoo mixed with water is also a great bathtub cleaner. it will get all the residue off your tub. i love making my own products. black tea also works wonders on hard wood. i add a little vinegar to it for a greater shine and no streaks.

  40. Janette says:

    Just wondering if anyone knows what the purpose of the corn starch in the glass cleaner is?

  41. Jen S says:

    Omg!!!! I am SO in love with these cleaners!!!!! They are boss!!!! Found your pin on Pinterest and I will NEVER buy commercial cleaners again! Like wow!! I’ve never even heard of Castille soap before I can’t believe it! My house smells like peppermint and lavender! LOVE!!! Thanks so much for the BEST post ever!!!! Even newbies can do it!!!!

  42. Kat says:

    Do you have one that will treat laundry or upholstery?

    • autumnlists says:

      Kat, I’m still on a quest for that one. A half-and-half mix of vinegar and water works somewhat well, but I still have stubborn stains on my carpet that I’m not sure how to treat. If anyone else has any suggestions…? HALP!

  43. Yoda says:

    For cleaning the shower head I simply put vinegar in a large plastic bag, wrap it around the shower head so that the vinegar is soaking into all parts of the nozzle, and use a pipe cleaner to tiethe bag on up higher where the pipe is skinnier. Just vinegar – that’s all you need. Love your posts, everyone.

  44. Stephanie says:

    I love this post! And mostly because I hate (h.a.t.e. HATE) the smell of bathroom cleaner, and with several (gross) boys in the house, I clean them OFTEN.

  45. Nova says:

    “have reported that combining vinegar and Castile soap creates a clumpy unblended mixture”

    So, do you not test your instructions? If you did, you would have known that would happen.

    • autumnlists says:

      I do test everything, which is why I was quite confused that this didn’t happen to my mixes, especially since I’d been using them for three or four months before I posted this. I can’t say for sure since I used it up a while back, but I suspect that the jug of vinegar I was using for my first half-dozen or so batches was very diluted. When we moved into our condo last year I was using vinegar mixtures to clean the carpet, and I had five or six jugs of various strengths sitting around. I thought I was using a new 100% jug to make my cleaning solutions, but I’m guessing I mixed up containers without noticing. That’s the only thing that could explain it. I did a test mix with full-strength vinegar a few weeks ago and got the same clumpy results this time.

      I don’t post recipes or recommendations or anything that I haven’t tried first myself, but alas, I am not a scientist in a lab. Like many bloggers, I’m a well-meaning but sometimes busy or absent-minded soul. When I make mistakes I update with correct information as soon as possible and hope readers understand.

    • Lu says:

      The tone of your comment is totally unnecessary. If you don’t like the article don’t read it. You do not need to be unpleasent. If you can’t say anything nice dint say anything at all.

  46. Linda Helsing says:

    I am grateful, at last an alternative that doesn’t involve protective glasses and gloves… And I loved the reading.

  47. Dawn says:

    hard water (probably soap scum) can be removed by mixing 2 cups vinegar, 1 cup lemon juice and a squirt or two of dish soap. Put in a spray bottle — works better than CLR, Lime Away or even straight vinegar.

    Note: I now soak lemon peels in vinegar for 2 weeks and use the lemon infused vinegar (someone gave us 40 pounds of lemons and I had to find a use for them) you can use orange peels as well.

  48. gypsyintent says:

    CAT OWNERS Many essential oils are highly toxic to cats and have been known to cause liver failure. Tea tree oil for instance is one that is known to be toxic for cats. If you have cats, please do your own research on specific oils before adding an essential oil to your household. Hydrosols are recommended rather than essential oils for homes with cats and even then, certain types may not be good for your animal to be breathing.

  49. Monica says:

    You are hilarious! Thanks for the awesome hints!

  50. Bonnie Barlow-Lanier says:

    Where do you get the liquid Castile soap?

  51. […] more at AutomnLists for six reasons why homemade cleaning solutions are the way to go.  Here is their […]

  52. Nancy says:

    Please be very careful when using borax around animals and small children as it is highly toxic to pets and should not be used around food.

  53. Lisa says:

    Can you recommend anything for pet stains/smells?

    • autumnlists says:

      Vinegar and baking soda have worked best for me. I’ll use a little of both on the spot and then let it dry, then vacuum. Works pretty well, sometime perfectly depending on the stain.

      • BJ says:

        I haven’t been having any luck with that combo – on a runner in my hallway – darn puppies! It still smells. Any other suggestions?

  54. Leah says:

    You are hilarious! I came for the cleaning recipes but stayed for your wit and humor. Thanks for the extra smiles!

  55. Hi, I’m excited about these recipes. I found you on Pinterest and I blog about things I use or make from Pinterest. I made the All-purpouse cleaner and I was wondering what you consider a medium bottle. When I made this it didn’t quite fill a windex bottle, so is that about the right amount?

  56. songgirl222 says:

    Howdy, I have been making my own cleansers with Dr. B’s and vinegar and E-oils (for a long while) and have had absolutely no challenges with my mixtures. A vigorous shake of the spray bottles ensures that the bottles are mixed. And man, are they inexpensive and they simply work so beautifully. I get a great feeling about not handing over bags of cash to corporations who insist that chemicals are the only things that can really clean…
    I also began making my own laundry soap (not a fan of liquid versions) and do the borax/baking soda/washing soda/Fels Naptha mixtures AND my husband grated all of the soap! (ha!)
    But, to my problem: We have amazingly minerally well water (red, North Carolina clay is all over) and while we filter it to drink (it’s safe and all), but my poor tiles and bathtub present THE biggest cleaning challenge and I get so frustrated with what looks like rust but isn’t. Scrubbing with baking soda and peroxide just isn’t cutting it, esp at the drain areas and tile grout. I end up using Barkeeper’s Friend and getting all grumpy because that really doesn’t work either. Any suggestions?
    Love your columns (wicked sense of humor), btw — where did you want those flowers sent?
    Allison Jordan

    • songgirl222 says:

      Oh, rest assured, the water isn’t** red or anything, but there is residue, and the water is also chock full of minerals…

      • autumnlists says:

        Oh Allison, how well do I know this red clay you speak of. It’s some really stubborn stuff.

        As much as I hate using it (the smell, oh lawd!), I wonder if a little ammonia would do the trick? You could also try half a lemon dipped in salt. I’ve rubbed that on tough bathtub stains and had some success. In fact, I think someone mentioned this in the comments somewhere.

        I hope one of these works for you, and I’m so glad you like the other solutions. Thanks for the kind words 🙂

        • songgirl222 says:

          I will consider these. I am wary of ammonia (seems super toxic) but besides that I am a horrible klutz (belt loops catching on drawer pulls, tripping over my own feet, etc) and well, the possibilities are staggeringly fraught with danger (I am joking but really I made my husband pour the bleach in the laundry spout when we used it (way back when) because I was so afraid of spilling it). At any rate lemons and salt will be my first try. Safer at least! Great idea! Thanks! Be well.

  57. la says:

    Your post is helpful and funny…enjoyed it.

  58. JBinDE says:

    Love all the read advice. I made a homemade cleaner recently and the borax stayed clumpy(only made one bottle to try) So I think I will try some of yours.

    • JBinDE says:

      Wow…multi tasking, two thoughts trying to type
      … Love the great advice! I read about other cleaners as well these seem to be general consensus thanks for sharing.

  59. cconnors330 says:

    I was wondering, does the essential oils and the plastic containers react or seep? I had made a mixture for “Beach Sexy Hair” I found on a blog, and decided after a week that it wasn’t for me, so tried to reuse the spray bottle for just water and now it has a nasty smell which I can only think it is from the Lavendar EO I used, even after washing it thoroughly it still has an odor. Do you notice this with your plastic containers? Also, we have hard water as well, so when you add water to your recipes, do you just use tap water or distilled?
    I love your recipes, in fact, I had to write them all out as our printer is down. I also love your blog, (just started to follow), I love that you tested your recipes out first, I don’t know how many ‘Pin-fails’ I have experienced, lol.

    • autumnlists says:

      Hmmm. I haven’t noticed this BUT I haven’t tried to reuse my bottles for anything else either. I have changed up my fragrance combinations between batches (right now I’m on a sweet orange kick) and have noticed hints of lingering lavender, but it wasn’t a bad smell. And as for water, I just use tap cause I’m too cheap for anything else 🙂 Thanks for the kind words btw!

  60. Kim says:

    These all sound great. I just wanted to caution folks to tread lightly with tea tree oil. It’s definitely a powerful medicinal. It is toxic to pets . Also, I have read that it messes somehow with estrogen in our bodies and can lead to breasts sprouting in boys . So use caution around pets and kiddos!

    • Terry Peters says:

      Now Ia a confused… Is Tea Tree oil harmful to pets if they take it internally or even if it gets to pets topically? My pet store had me buy a shampoo with Tea Tree oil for my ShihTzus because their hair gets so oily between baths. Should I stop using this immediately? I’d hate to cause harm to my pets!!

      • Nancy says:

        Yes, as with ANY essential oil we need to use utmost caution- and of course as our furbabies are sooo very much smaller than we are we need to take extreme care not to poison them. I always use Bonner’s unscented when I can find it. Further, be sure to avoid using borax or any such derivative. Good luck with you babies.

        • autumnlists says:

          You know, my old vet told me it was perfectly safe to use such diluted amounts as these. I have four cats and have been using Dr. Bronner’s and essential oils and Borax for about two years now. I haven’t noticed any adverse effects. However, I’ve been using lavender, peppermint, and various citrus oils–no tea tree.

          • Cathryn says:

            I appreciate your work at clean products!
            I just had an unfortunate and dangerous situation with essential oils.
            I do have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and MCS, along with some genetic detoxing issues.

            I had begun using essential oils (the expense ive, pure ones) @ 6 mo ago. Apparently, it was just too much- even after study and caution. I have become very very sick, and have much hard work ahead of me.
            They ARE very powerful (as I’ve seen you mention).
            Just thought this worthy to pass on

          • autumnlists says:

            That’s a good point Cathryn–essential oils could have an impact on people’s health as well as pets. That’s an important thing to look into if you have a medical condition. Thanks for the heads up–and many warm thoughts for your recovery.

  61. Sconsin Patriot says:

    This is sooo great. Just this weekend was talking about how I make my own laundry detergent etc. to some friends who came over… they were sort of chuckling at me, you know… the rolling eyes about the “pioneer woman” ! But in my mind….knew how much I was saving money wise and healthwise! And hubby backed me up 🙂 WOOHOO!

  62. Tammie says:

    On the Shower doors, I found on Pinterest the BESTEST solution. I have struggled with soap scum on my shower doors for years and have tried just about everything. Now try this! Heat 2 cups vinegar, add 2 cups Dawn dishwashing detergent. I put in a spray bottle and sprayed on my doors. Shazam! After sitting about 5 mins, I just wiped away the scum. I couldn’t believe it! Love it! Thanks for all your recipes. Making my shopping list now.

  63. Tonya says:

    Love Love Love THIS! I am currently at work and printing off these fabulous recipes! Thank you!

  64. Julie says:

    A stray cat sprayed urine on my patio chair cushions any suggestions of home remedies to take the smell out or just buy new cushions

  65. Tiffany says:

    Hello! I’m new to green cleaning, and found your site on Pinterest. I’m very excited to start using these recipes, but I did do some research and found an article that may help explain the clumping you spoke of in your update when using Castile soap and vinegar. Apparently, Castile soap is a base and when mixed with an acid, such as vinegar, it causes a chemical reaction that can not only cause the clumping, but the two can actually cancel out the cleaning power of each! I’ve really only seen two articles about this, as opposed to the number of recipes that call for adding the two together, so it is a common mistake. The article I read actually recommended using the soap first, then use the vinegar as a rinse for amazing cleaning power. I didn’t read all the comments, so sorry if this is not “news.” But I thought I would mention it since it doesn’t seem to be widely known.

    Here is the article for further information: http://lisa.drbronner.com/?p=292

    • autumnlists says:

      Thanks for the info, Tiffany! Some other readers figured this out as well, so I amended my recipes. Turns out I didn’t get this reaction with my original mixes because I was using what I *thought* was vinegar but what was actually a vinegar/water solution I had mixed up earlier for another project. Eeeep.

  66. Maisie says:

    How do you make ‘healthy’ toothpaste. Seen it mentioned but no recipes yet

  67. stephanie says:

    Hey I love your recipes and have been making my own cleaners for about a year and live them. One thing that most DIY sites over look though is when recommending a shower cleaner they always suggest vinegar. If you have a tile shower this will actually deteriorate the sealant on your grout. Could cause it to fail altogether or a the least accept new stains. Just thought I’d let ya know

  68. […] 4 cups hot water + 2 tbsp dissolved cornstarch + ½ cup vinegar + ½ rubbing alcohol = glass cleaner […]

  69. Marie says:

    Hey Autumn! I have just discovered your blog of wonderlists and have love and gratitude for the above recipes. I wandered around on the rest of your posts and found those entertaining too. Hope you begin adding to the blog again as I will be clicking the box below. Tell the cats to behave

  70. ashley says:

    Just to let all know, you should never use plastic to hold essential oils. The oils dissolve the plastic and it leaks toxins. Always use dark colored glass

  71. […]  Cleaning Solutions […]

  72. Anna says:

    Tea Tree Oil can be toxic to cats, so please read up on it folks.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: