Homemade Household Cleaners

**The essential oil in these recipes is optional. I like to use them in complementary scents and they're fairly cheap considering how long the bottles last. I only pay $3-$4 for them. I have 3 scents and I've had them for 2 years now.

**Always label your cleaners! I write the recipe on the outside, too, so it's handy for when I need to mix up another batch.
Glass Cleaner
Everyone knows this, probably, but regular white vinegar in equal parts with water works wonders! I add a few drops of essential oil because I like the smell, but it's not necessary.

Bathroom Cleaner
A clean 16 ounce flip-top bottle
1 2/3 cups baking soda
1/2 cup of liquid soap (I use Dr. Bronner's -- it's cheaper online, or at Kroger)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
Mix baking soda and liquid soap in a bowl. Dilute with the water and add the vinegar last. Stir until the lumps are gone. If you can pour it into the container easily you have the right consistency. If it's too thick, add more water. I use a funnel to pour it into the bottle. Shake well before using. For future uses, add more water if cleaner seems dry. A little of this goes a long way!

Furniture Polish
A clean 16 ounce trigger spray bottle
2 teaspoons olive oil
Essential oil
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
Hot water (enough to fill bottle)

Mix 20 drops of essential oil, olive oil, and vinegar with hot water in bottle. Gently shake mixture. Ready for use. You have to shake this occasionally as you are using it because the oil separates in the water. This is a true "polish" -- I spray it on, then buff the surface until it's shiny and dry. You can't just wipe it off!

All-Purpose Cleaner
A clean 32 ounce trigger spray bottle
2 teaspoons borax
4 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 cup liquid soap (Dr. Bronner's)
Essential oil
Hot water (enough to fill bottle)

Fill bottle 1/4 full with hot water then add borax. Shake to completely dissolve borax. Next add vinegar, home soap, and 20-25 drops essential oil. Fill the rest of the bottle with hot water. Gently shake mixture. Ready for use.

Laundry Detergent
1 bar (5.5 oz) Fels-Naptha soap, finely grated
1 cup washing soda -- I used Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 cup borax
1/2 cup OxyClean
essential oil (lavender in my case)

Use 2 tablespoons per load. Pour it in while the water is running to allow it to dissolve. I use cold water and have no problems!
Basically, you just mix all this together in a big bowl! That's all there is to it. I figured out that it's so much cheaper than buying detergent and it works great. I found everything I needed at Kroger. Wal-Mart didn't have the stuff, so if you decide to try it out for yourself, you might want to call ahead to make sure your store carries everything. Also, you don't have to use the essential oil, I just have it on hand from making the rest of my cleaning supplies. This recipe will make enough detergent for about 18 loads of laundry. Since I was just testing it, I made only one batch, but next time I'll do 2-3 at once.

Fabric Softener
I also decided to try vinegar as a fabric softener, because that's much cheaper as well. I bought a small jug of regular white vinegar and added about 15 drops of essential oil (again, not necessary). All you do is pour 1/2 cup of vinegar into a "Downy Ball" ($1.50 or so in the fabric softener aisle), seal it, and toss the ball into the washer on top of the clothes. Just don't put the ball in the dryer along with the clothes! :)

Dishwasher Detergent

1 part baking soda
1 part Borax
essential oil

Mix thoroughly, use 2-3 tablespoons per load. You can make this a liquid as well and store it in an easy-pour jug by adding 1 part water.

I use vinegar in the dishwasher's rinse agent dispenser. It works great! Now that I've used it many times, I have found that the homemade detergent works just as well as the storebought.