No more dirty looks….

Ok so our week of cleaning is over, and we have a brand new topic now! But to finish up the week, I’m pasting in this huge chunk I got in an email group about 3 or 4 years ago that has been really helpful to me! Hope it will help some of you!

Natural Cleaners

Ammonia – cuts grease and strips wax; also a great window cleaner. DO NOT MIX WITH BLEACH.

Bleach – great for whitening, removing mold and mildew, and most general cleaning. Best used diluted with water. DO NOT MIX BLEACH WITH AMMONIA, VINEGAR, OR TOILET BOWL CLEANER.

Baking Soda – Baking soda is a great all-purpose, non-toxic cleaner. It cleans, deodorizes, scours, polishes and removes stains. (Note – There’s a great article on this site about baking soda, “The Manifold Magic of Baking Soda“)

Borax – It deodorizes, removes stains and boosts the cleaning power of soap. It also prevents mold and odors. Great alternative for those who do not want to use bleach.

Cornstarch – cleans and deodorizes carpets and rugs, and can be used in place of baby powder.

Ketchup -cleans copper.

Lemon juice – great for whitening items and removing grease and stains on aluminum and porcelain.

Pure Soap – cleans almost anything and is mild.

Salt – regular table salt makes an abrasive, but gentle, scouring powder.

Washing Soda – Cuts grease and disinfects.

White Vinegar -great for whitening, cleaning hard surfaces and windows, and shining metal surfaces. Also removes mildew, stains, grease and wax buildup.

Forumlas and Solutions

Air Freshener

– Leave opened box of baking soda in room.

– Add cloves & cinnamon to boiling water and let simmer.

– Use fresh flowers and herbs.

Carpet Cleaners

– For deoderizing: sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on carpet, using about 1 cup per medium sized room. Vacuum after 30 minutes.

– For deoderizing: mix two parts cornmeal with one part borax; sprinkle liberally, leave for one hour, then vacuum.

– To soak up big spills: dump cornmeal on the spill; after 5-15 minutes, sweep into a dustpan, then vacuum.

– Put 1/4 cup liquid soap or detergent in the blender with 1/3 cup water. Blend until foamy. Use this to clean spots on the carpet, then rinse with vinegar.

Copper Cleaner

– Pour vinegar and salt over copper and rub.


– 2 cups water, 3 tablespoons liquid soap, 20-30 drops Tea Tree Oil; Mix well in (a spray bottle will work well) and squirt on everything from baby’s bottom to the cutting board.

Drain Opener

– Prevent clogging by using drain strainer.

– Pour 1/2 cup washing soda into drain followed by 2 cups boiling water.

– Flush drain weekly with boiling water for prevention.

– Pour 1/4 cup baking soda down the drain. Follow with 1/2 cup vinegar and cover drain tightly until finished fizzing. Flush with one gallon boiling water.

Furniture Polish

– Mix 3 parts olive oil with 1 part vinegar. Use a soft cloth.

– Mix 2 parts olive oil to 1 part lemon juice. Use a soft cloth.

General Cleaners (Porcelain, counter tops, etc.)

– Mix baking soda with a small amount of water.

– For stained areas, use paste of baking soda & water, let set a while, then scrub off.

– Mix 3 TBSP washing soda into one quart warm water.

Glass and Window Cleaner

– 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 cup household ammonia, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 gallon warm water; Mix the ingredients in a bucket and use to scrub windows.

Laundry Detergent

– Use washing soda or soap in place of detergent.

– Mix detergent half & half with baking soda (use 1/2 the recommended amount of detergent).

– Make a paste of washing soda and water for dirty spots.

– POWDER DETERGENT- basic recipe- 5 cups soap flakes, 7 cups of Borax; you can store this in an old laundry detergent box or a plastic container, and to wash, use only 1/2 cup at a time- make sure to shake it to mix up the soda and borax with the flakes. (for hard water, add 3.5 cups of washing soda to mixture)

– GEL LAUNDRY DETERGENT- 1/2 bar grated soap (Fels Naptha, Ivory or castille bar soap),
2 cups borax, 1 gallon rubbermaid or other plastic container with pour spout; fill the gallon container 1/4 full with water. add grated soap and soak over night (to speed up this process, you may melt grated soap in water by cooking on low heat); add washing soda and borax, add water to fill container; shake well before using; use only 3/4 cup per load; a gallon of this detergent can cost as little as 75 cents! (for hard water, add 1/2 cup of washing soda to borax mixture)

Linoleum Floor Cleaner / Wax

– Mop with 1 cup white vinegar in 2 gallons water to remove dull greasy film.

– Polish with club soda.

– Adding sour milk or skim milk to rinse water will shine the floor without polishing.

Metal polish

– 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon salt, I tablespoon white vinegar; Combine salt and flour in small bowl and stir until blended. Add the vinegar and mix into paste. Smear on the paste with a damp sponge or cloth and rub gently. Let the polish dry for about an hour. Rinse well with warm water, buff dry with a soft cloth. (for brass, bronze, copper and pewter; DO NOT use on silver, silver plate or jewelry)

Microwave Cleaner

– Heat 1 c. vinegar in a microwavable bowl for 1-2 minutes (should steam and loosen food inside of the microwave). Wipe out with a washcloth and warm soapy water.

Mosquito Repellant

– Oil of citronella can be burned in candles outdoors. It has a scent pleasing to people but not to mosquitos!

– Plant sweet basil around the patio and house to repel mosquitoes.

Multipurpose Cleaner (Tile and linoleum floors, formica counter-tops, appliances, etc.)

– 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 cup household ammonia, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 gallon warm water; Mix ingredients and store in tightly-capped container.

Oven Cleaner

– Sprinkle salt on spills when they are warm and scrub.

– Mix 3 TBSP washing soda with one quart warm water.

– Use oven liners (trays) to catch spills and prevent a messy oven.

– Rub gently with steel wool.

– 1/4 cup ammonia, 2 cups of warm water; Pour ammonia and warm water in a glass baking dish and leave in a warm oven overnight. This will loosen the grime. Scrub with baking soda in the morning.

Silver Cleaner

– aluminum foil, baking soda, salt, very hot water; Combine the above ingredients in a clean kitchen sink. Put your tarnished silver and silver-plated items into the sink and let sit for a few minutes. The tarnish will disappear from the silver and reappear on the foil.

Silver Polish

– Rub article with toothpaste and soft cloth. Rinse with warm water & dry.

– Place cut-up aluminum foil in jar with water, add about 1 TBSP salt, mix. Place article in solution for 5-15 minutes. Remove and rub with soft cloth.

Sink Cleaner

– Combine baking soda and salt to scrub stainless steel.

Shoe Polish

– Polish leather with the inside of a banana peel, then buff.

Spot Remover

– Remove spots as soon as they happen.

– Blood stain – gently sponge with cold water, dry with towel. Repeat until stain is gone.

– Red wine – on rugs, dab out moisture with absorbant cloth. Cover stain with salt. Let sit for several hours. Vacuum when dry.

– Ink stains – soak in cold water, then wash as usual. If stain is on white fabric, wet fabric with cold water & apply a paste of cream of tartar & lemon juice, let sit for 1 hour. Wash as usual.

– Perspiration stains – sponge stain with weak solution of white vinegar & water or lemon juice & water.

Upholstery & Rug Cleaner

– Clean stains immediately with club soda.

Wall cleaner

– 2 ounces borax, 1 teaspoon ammonia, 2 quarts water; Dissolve the borax and ammonia in a big bucketful of water. Scrub a really dirty wall from the bottom up. if you scrub from the top down, the dirty water will run down over the dry, soiled wall leaving hard-to-remove streaks.

Window Cleaner

– 1/2 cup white vinegar to one gallon warm water. Just mix and scrub.

– Use straight lemon juice, dry with soft cloth.

– Use plain Club Soda and scrub with old newspaper.

Wood Floor Wax / Cleaner

– Equal portions of oil & vinegar. Apply in thin coat and rub in well.

– Painted wooden floors can be washed with 1 TSP washing soda per gallon hot water.

– Rinse with clear water.

Note: You can find more cleaning receipes at

Making / Recycling your own cleaning tools

* Socks – good for cleaning walls, especially textured ones (sponges break off little pieces when you try to scrub textured walls).

* Scrubbers – cut up pieces of mesh potato bags and tie into a small ball – works great for scouring dishes!

* Sponges – throw your dirty sponge in the dishwasher or boil it with a bit of baking soda on the stove to make it look like new again.

* Towels – cut up old towels instead of throwing them away and use them for dish clothes or in the garage.

* Toothbrushes – save that old toothbrush! You can use it to scrub floors, stains on clothing, and more!

* Mop – to make a new mop head, try cutting up strips of old towels, shirts or socks. Rubberband or tie the top ends of the strips together, then secure to the mop stick.

* Window Cleaner – I’ve heard that newspaper works well to clean windows. You can also try old cloth diapers.

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