Monday, September 28, 2009

Homespun Cleaning

Some of you know I make my own soap. I love doing it, it’s incredibly cheap, and it means it’s all natural. Explaining that would take a fairly long blog, and it’s going to have to wait until I get a new camera anyway, because pictures are incredibly helpful to the process.
After I had been doing that a while, I started wondering what else I could make homemade. Since I am a research fanatic that’s what I did, and I started realizing that if you have the time to invest you can make darn near anything yourself. Time, however, is a precious commodity, so here are a few things you can make with a minimum of time, effort, and out of ingredients that are easy to find.
These are the time tested recipes that I have found to be truly cost effective, so easy it’s almost laughable, and coolest of all, it means no nasty chemicals. You know how everybody wants to go green, but then you walk down the cleaning aisle and see how expensive those eco-friendly products are? Heck, even the bad old chemical cleaners are pretty steep. Well guess what… these are the same, only affordable.
I really hope you give them a chance. They really work, and there’s not a lot of things more satisfying then saying “I made my own laundry soap today.”
Have fun!

Homemade Laundry Soap
This isn’t grocery store laundry soap, it’s much better. And at about $0.05 per load, it’s worth it. It gels as it cools, and becomes slightly lumpy, but dissolves nicely in the washing machine. Just use a plastic measuring cup to scoop it and go. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to make it smell nice, but I personally like the pure soap smell just fine.

4 bars Ivory (or any unscented pure soap), grated.
4 C Borax
4 C Washing Soda (yes washing soda, not baking soda. It works better, trust me. You can find it in the laundry aisle of most grocery stores)
3½ gallons water

Using large enamel or stainless steel canning kettle, heat the water to almost boiling. Add grated soap and stir until melted. Add washing soda & borax, stirring until well mixed. Remove from heat & cool. Pour into a container(a paint bucket with a lid works great). Makes 4 gallons. Use ¼ C per load.
To make a stain spray, fill a spray bottle about ½ full of the laundry soap, then add another ¼ worth of white vinegar. Wait for it to stop foaming, then shake until well mixed.

Note: I make this much at a time, but it’s easy to cut this recipe in half, or even quarter it. Not everybody has giant canning kettles!

Lemon Furniture Polish
This furniture polish makes wood shine and protects it. Pretty cool.

1 C. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Lemon essential oil

Mix together and use the same way you use liquid gold, e.g. wipe it on with a soft rag, wipe dry with another one. That’s it. Simple, isn’t it?

“Not-Allowed-To-Use-That-Other-Name” Window Wash
Seriously, this works just as good. Try it. I add a little blue food coloring in order to distinguish it from other stuff. Why not?

¼ C. White Vinegar
1 tbsp. Cornstarch
2 C. Warm water

Mix together in a spray bottle, shaking really well to dissolve cornstarch. Now use just like the commercial stuff.

I have tons of these, but so far have not been able to find an acceptable (in other words, working) dishwasher soap recipe. If anyone knows one, I’d love to have it!


  1. wow, I feel so undomesticated because I didn't even know you could make cleaning products from stuff at home. Great Job! :)

  2. Thanks Kristy! These are wayyyy simpler than people think. Try it and tell people what a domestic goddess you are!

  3. A tip from the audience, with the window wash use crumpled newspaper instead of paper towels. It cleans even better (not sure I understand why)

  4. I totally agree! For some reason people are opposed to this though :(

  5. Great recipes! I have been using homemade laundry soap for about a month now and am very thrilled with it. I may try your other recipes here, too.

    I have a recipe for dishwasher soap on my blog here: I gave this a really good try, but was never quite satisfied with the results. Here is a follow up post: I am currently using store-bought soap for my dishwasher (Sam's Club brand).

  6. Lovely recipes for a clean and shiny home.The window spray is unique and a must try so is the wood polish tip.It's worth visiting your blog.
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  7. This is really an interesting cleaning recipe. Thank you for sharing this idea!

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  10. This post has some great ideas - I like to use products that have less harsh chemicals whenever possible also. But, when there is a tough stain that would normally require say using bleach in the laundry, such as blood, red wine, paint, etc. I use 1000plus stain remover - gentle, safe and great for those really tough stains! A safe alternative to using harsh chemicals! - check it out!

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  13. Baking Soda is a hidden gem! We have a blog post about it to. Great alternative to abrasive and dangerous chemicals and it absorbs odors. Wowee!

  14. Great recepie thanks for sharing this recepie its very useful for me… Actually I like to clean my home and I was looking those blogs which providing me a good advice for cleaning. Your blog really inspired me.I look around above your blog. I really impressed definitely i used your effective recepie...
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  15. Nowadays many of people try to avoid toxic products which are available in the market. I am also trying to make my own homemade laundry soap and I like your recipe as well as your lemon furniture polish. I’ll surely try it out. Thanks for you information!!
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