Easy Cheap DIY Home Cleaning Formulas

Buying a different product for every cleaning task isn’t always necessary, many jobs around the house call for common household items as cleaners. Polish your silver by boiling it in water with a little aluminum foil and baking soda, or get rid of mold in tile grout with hydrogen peroxide. Eartheasy has lots of alternatives to expensive cleaning products. You’ll save money, and help the planet too. Example:

All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc.
Another alternative is microfiber cloths which lift off dirt, grease and dust without the need for cleaning chemicals, because they are formulated to penetrate and trap dirt. There are a number of different brands. A good quality cloth can last for several years.

And there are tons more like this. We really had no idea you could use mayonnaise to remove a water ring on wood. Share your tricks with us in the comments.—MEGHANN MARCO

Non-toxic Solutions [Eartheasy via Dumb Little Man]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Bob says:

    Windex works wonders on carpet for pet stains. It’s better and cheaper than Resolve, and it can even get out old stains.

  2. Kos says:

    Use Pledge or a similar cleaner to clean your bike frame. Fantastic is too strong. Also, Orange Juice makes an excellenet degreaser and several companies use a citrus-based degreaser for bicycle chains.

    What does this mean? If you end of getting your hands all oily or greasy from anything, pour a little OJ in your hands over the sink (pulpy kind works best b/c of the texture) to get rid of a lot of the dirt.


  3. Jesse McBesse says:

    -a little bit of watered down fabric softener miraculously removes dried up hairspray from bathroom counters, floors, etc.

    -used dryer sheets are GREAT for cleaning mirrors and glass.

  4. TheUpMyAssPlayers says:

    What am I chop liver?

    Ok so since Consumerist is not impressed with my question perhaps you guys can help.

    How does one get rid of smoke smell in an apartment. I live in a tiny attic studio and I smoke cigs. I’m trying to quit and am quite keen on bringing home a beautiful man who doesn’t happen to like the smell of smoke.

    Help a sister out! How do I get rid of the smell? :-)

  5. TheUpMyAssPlayers says:

    And it might help someone else, i.e. getting a security deposit back ya know?

  6. Little Miss Moneybags says:

    I’ve never heard of hydrogen peroxide for removing mold from tile grout. I’ll have to try that one!

    A mixture of vinegar and water sprayed on sweaty clothes will remove that baked-in sweaty smell that your gym clothes start to carry.

    In general, there’s not much that vinegar, baking soda, bleach, and elbow grease can’t clean as well or better than commercial cleaners.

  7. ElizabethD says:

    I use toothpaste for cleaning my silver jewelry before I wear it. Shiny!

    If you like this kind of stuff, you should find the “Dear Heloise” column online somewhere.

  8. Lyn Never says:

    Microfiber cloths and warm water. I have nothing against chemicals or anything, but I’ve had the most amazing success with just a wet microfiber rag. My varnished wood vent hood cover was covered with a cooking funk that had to be a decade old. Nothing got it off, not 409 or simple green or vinegar. Wet rag and a slight bit of pressure and it’s squeaky clean.

    I clothespin one over a sponge mop head now. I’ll spray some all-purpose cleaner on the floor if there are muddy pawprints, but water is enough otherwise.

  9. edwardoneill says:

    This ‘formula’ is the bunk.

    Mixing vinegar and baking soda results in a lot of foam: one is acid, the other base. They neutralize each other. The resulting liquid will clean nothing.

    Do you folks do any research before you publish this stuff?

  10. Uurp says:

    Lightly rub mineral oil on your stainless steel surfaces (make sure to buff with a clean cloth afterward). Cleans and polishes better than the expensive “wipes” or special solutions.

  11. skeleem_skalarm says:

    TheUpMyAssPlayers: I had the same problem and used a vanilla-scented candle in each room of my house (not the special smoke candles). My daughter-in-law asked if I had quit smoking in the house when she came over.

    After vinegar and all the commercial preps had failed, I used baby oil to clean my glass shower doors of years of hard water stains. I would imagine cooking oils would work, but baby oil smells better. Ashes (at least from cigarettes) clean silver jewelry nicely, just make sure you rinse off the piece(s) and dry them before wearing. Liquid fabric softener helps remove wallpaper – just score the paper, spray the softener on and peel away.

  12. BMR says:

    much like yesterday’s glorious “How to Open a Jar” post…how is this in fitting with the mission of the Consumerist? Household hints are not what this site is about, right?

  13. yalej says:

    Re edwardoneills comment:

    Well vinegar is 5% acetic acid by volume, and of course baking soda is pure NaHCO3, so there will obviously be neutralization, but the resulting solution will be basic. Not worth it to me to check molar ratios, frankly. Additionally you will have some sodium acetate in there (a buffer). Does this work? Who knows, but it’s easy enough to try and see if it be good or wack.

  14. etinterrapax says:

    On Real Simple’s recommendation, I ordered a set of these microfiber towels. They’re so great that I ordered more. Much better and thicker than the kind they have at Target, with a deeper pile on one side for picking up crumbs and debris. Very absorbent, too. My only complaint is that once they get saturated-wet, they won’t dry out if you hang them. You have to wash them after that, or they start to smell musty. But if you use them dry with cleaner, like in the kitchen or bathroom, they’re good for several uses. I also use one to clean/polish my glass cooktop, and they polish a mirror like magic with just a little water.

    I like their microfiber mop with the washable pads, too. Great for hardwood.

    Disclaimer: this is the kind of website with a lot of shilling; I am not paid to shill for them. Just a happy customer.

  15. TheUpMyAssPlayers says:

    Well if the formula mentioned in the post wasn’t bunk, then it would have saved you, the consumer, money eh?

    And I think that’s part of what the site it about no?

  16. TheUpMyAssPlayers says:

    And thanks Skeleem!

  17. @ElizabethD: Heloise has all KINDS of this stuff!

    @edwardoneill: Baking-soda-and-vinegar is little different from the stuff you pay $6 at the store for, except that they’re much fancier formulations with much more toxic chemicals.

    And if you actually TRY the baking-soda-and-vinegar, you might be extremely surprised. Cleans 90% of everything in the kitchen. Grease is the holdout, but lemon juice takes care of that.

  18. rdm says:

    One more – for pet odors I found this homemade recipe:
    1 cup hydrogen peroxide
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 drop dish soap
    Mix together the first two items and let them blend until the soda is all dissolved. Then add one drop dish soap and mix again. Soak the carpet with the mixture. In 24 hours or so, bring up any white residue with paper towel or a rag.

    My cat has a real problem and this is the only thing that has ever helped. Even that $20 Urine Gone stuff doesn’t work this well.

  19. Jim C. says:

    Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda

    I’ve seen this in many cleaning recipes and I just don’t understand it. Vinegar is an acid, baking soda is a base, and those chemical properties can aid cleaning. But combining them neutralizes them, and what you’re left with is no better than table salt.

    If anybody has any hard evidence that combining them has some advantage, I’d like to see it.

    Water deposit stains would be more effectively dissolved by vinegar alone. If somebody feels this is too strong, they could just dilute it with water.

  20. x23 says:

    i generally use a mixture of :

    1 part Ammonia
    1 part Chlorine Bleach

    it’s like the ultimate super cleaning product. the smoke tells you it’s working.

  21. Her Grace says:

    Their reccomendations for how to clean silver are baaaaaaad for the silver. I don’t know about the rest of the stuff.

  22. GiselleBeardchen says:

    My remembrances of mixing vinegar and baking soda as a child, is that it causes a violent reaction–is this a joke?

  23. bhanu143143 says:

    thanks for the tips but i think that this is good but has chemicals and this may be harmful to children, but now a days in market they are number of products that are non-toxic Clean products that are safe and remove all their toxic store-bought cleaning and be safe and believe that your home are the safest place on earth. and will be…

  24. @TheUpMyAssPlayers: Eh, scented candles are covering the smell, not getting rid of it.

    Best damn deodorizer in the world is Apple Cider Vinegar. (Raw is best; the stuff they strain out to make it pretty is part of what makes it work so well.) Just setting out a few cottonballs soaked with it will get rid of most hanging-in-the-air odors, or you can spray a diluted solution of it around like Febreeze (well, like Febreeze without chemicals, outrageous price-tag, or stinky perfume).

  25. orionblue3 says:

    I once went to the “International Vinegar Museum” in the tiny town of Roslyn, SD. It was pretty interesting. The founder has a lot of vinegar facts on his website: http://www.vinegarman.com if you’re interested