Home > Personal Finance > Make Nice Smelling Cleaning Products at Home

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DIYCleaningSolutionsLately my wife has been complaining about the awful smell of home cleaning products. I agree with her; the harsh chemical smell is off-putting. So I bought a book called Make Your Place, by Raleigh Briggs, which has recipes for nice-smelling cleaning solutions, as well as skin care products, and home health remedies.

After deciding on the products I wanted to make – window cleaner, soft scrub, and all-purpose cleaner, I went online and ordered all the necessary ingredients and equipment: funnels, plastic squeeze bottles, spray bottles, vinegar, borax, castille soap, baking soda, and oils of peppermint, tea tree, lavender, and eucalyptus. Most of the ingredients were inexpensive, except the oils, which were quite costly. Fortunately, the recipes called for just a few drops of the fragrant oils. A little goes a very long way. I estimate that home-made cleaning solutions cost about half as much as store bought products.

My two daughters (ages 7 and 13) and I made the all-purpose cleaner first. We combined water, castille soap, borax, the essential oils, and a bit of vinegar. It smelled good and I tested it on a sticky, crumb-covered countertop. The solution made short work of the mess.

Next, we made the window cleaner, which was mostly vinegar and castille soap. After mixing the ingredients, my younger daughter sniffed the solution and wrinkled her nose. “Yuck! She exclaimed. It smells gross.” I took a sniff myself and was nearly bowled over by the foul smell. My older daughter said it smelled like vomit. For some reason the vinegar, when combined with the odorless castille soap, produced a nauseously rancid stink. I poured the batch down the drain. As a substitute, we made the mirror cleaner, which included vinegar but not castille soap. The result was nice smelling and did a good job on a dirty window.

The final product, soft scrub, included baking soda, castille soap, fragrant oils, and a few crushed aspirin tablets. We poured it from the mixing bowl into a squeeze bottle and squirted a dollop into the sink to try it out. It took care of the mess with ease.

I’m going to get a few half gallon jugs so that I can make these three pleasantly scented products in bulk, so we can refill the spray and squeeze bottles without having to whip up a small batch every time we run out.

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  • Jess

    It seems to me what is always missing is the ratios

  • http://mtocleaningservicesreview.blogspot.com visit

    Great post and blog! I truly enjoyed this post, thanks for that. I look forward to reading your upcoming posts, thanks!

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  • David Merrells

    I recently saw the programe on making cleaning products cheaply but I could not get the details on how to make them quick enough. Could you please give me the details and ingredences so I could use them.

    Thank you,
    David M

  • http://fineoldfamly.blogspot.com Sally

    I use white vinegar and water, in a dollar-store spray bottle, for virtually every cleaning job in my house. The vinegar smell dissipates fast — at first my kids complained that our house smelled like salad dressing, but it lasts only a few minutes.

  • Window Cleaning Orange County

    I’ve never understood the essential oils aspect of making your own cleaning supplies. I just use straight/diluted white vinegar, baking soda, etc.

  • dan

    dilute! dilute! ok!

  • HikingStick

    Thanks for posting about this. I’ve dabbled with homemade cleaning solutions before, so I was excited to read about your experience and to learn about the /Make Your Place/ book. I think I need to check it out!

  • Pingback: Mark Frauenfelder (of BoingBoing fame) on Make Your Place | Revolution by the Book : The AK Press Blog()

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  • Tom

    Most cleaners don’t even need to be that complex or costly. I use a laundry detergent that costs only a few cents a gallon made of .5 cup borax, .5 cup washing soda and .33 bar of shredded cheap hand soap to 5 gallons of water. I’d skip the oils.

  • XeenMeen

    OK this makes a lot of sense dude.


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  • Andrew

    The Aussie equivalent http://shannonlush.com/ her ‘spotless’ book has lots of hints for cleaning using cheap ingredients.

    Good stuff.

  • R’Chard

    I haven’t used commercial window cleaner in 25 years – vinegar & water is all ya need, the soap really won’t improve the result. Spray it on, scrub a bit with a sponge or plastic scrubby, hose or squeegee it off. If you prefer to wipe, try balled-up ordinary newsprint.

    Nothing has ruined more tubs & sinks than commercial abrasive cleaners. Once the glaze is damaged, staining is GOING to happen. And only more abrasives will fix it. Neat racket, hunh?

  • http://twitter.com/ellyvanamstel Elly

    The oils can be put to use for lots of things. Tea tree is a great antiseptic.E.g mix four drops with 2 drops of peppermint, and two or 3 drops of eucalyptus in a bath, great cold reliever!

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