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!
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
- Leave opened box of baking soda in room.
- Add cloves & cinnamon to boiling water and let simmer.
- Use fresh flowers and herbs.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Combine baking soda and salt to scrub stainless steel.
- Polish leather with the inside of a banana peel, then buff.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.