There are so many good reasons to make your own household cleaners. It's cheaper and healthier and greener. These five homemade household cleaners do not contain chemicals. That means you can always count on them to be nontoxic.
The ingredients in each of these cleaners are specific. Follow the recipes carefully and make no substitutions.
BATHROOM CLEANER. This is heavy-duty and will sanitize and clean bathroom counters, floors, sinks, glass and mirrors. Get a clean spray bottle. Fill it halfway with rubbing alcohol and then up to the top with white vinegar. Label the bottle. The ratio is 50-50 rubbing alcohol to white vinegar no matter the size of the container. The great thing about this cleaner is there's no rinsing required. Simply spray, scrub with a sponge or cloth and wipe clean.
GRANITE CLEANER: Pour 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol into a 16-ounce spray bottle. Add 3 drops blue Dawn dishwashing liquid and 5 drops essential oil (this is optional but makes the cleaner smell great). Add 2 cups water to fill the bottle. Shake to mix. Label the bottle and keep out of reach of children. From now on, use this cleaner to keep your granite countertops beautifully clean and shiny without wrecking the sealant or causing any other harm. Note: Any size spray bottle will work. Simply adjust the proportions to accommodate.
TOILET CLEANER: This is made with 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup white distilled vinegar. To use, first remove the water from the toilet bowl by reaching down behind the toilet and turning off the water-input valve. This is easy. Just turn the handle clockwise until it will turn no longer. Then flush the toilet once or twice, or until all of the water disappears. (Because you turned the input off, no water will fill the tank.) Sprinkle the baking soda all around the inside of the toilet bowl. Next, pour or spray the plain white distilled vinegar into the bowl. You'll get a little bubbling show and a popping sound. Great! That's the reaction you want. Using a good toilet brush, scrub the toilet down, including under the rim. Last, turn the input valve back on by turning it counterclockwise until it stops turning. The toilet tank will fill. Flush the toilet to rinse. Repeat as necessary. You've just cleaned, scoured and deodorized that toilet, and removed mildew and odors.
TUB AND SHOWER CLEANER. Pour 1 cup blue Dawn into a 32-ounce spray bottle (1/2 cup Dawn if you are using a 16-ounce bottle; 1/3 cup for a 12-ounce bottle). Fill the bottle the rest of the way with plain white vinegar. Apply the sprayer top. Shake gently to mix. Label the bottle. To use: Spray liberally on the areas to be cleaned — tub, shower walls, doors, floors or fixtures. Let it sit anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight, depending on the amount of soap and scum built up. All of the offensive gunk and grime will break down and become soft and gooey. Simply rinse it away. For especially challenging situations, or if this is the initial treatment, use a sponge or brush to gently scrub the surfaces before rinsing. To maintain, spray down the walls and floor of the tub/shower once a week. Then rinse and admire.
WOOD AND LAMINATE FLOOR CLEANER. This is made with 1 part rubbing alcohol to 4 parts distilled water, plus a few drops blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. Mix this up in a spray bottle each time you clean the floors. Or if you want to make it ahead of time, be sure to label it well and keep it out of the reach of children. To use, sweep or vacuum the floor; spray the cleaner in a small area; scrub well with a cloth or sponge; and immediately wipe the area dry with a microfiber cloth. The secret is to spray, scrub and wipe dry immediately.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.