Homemade Cleaners

By Kristen
Updated November 24, 2007

Note: The cleaners listed on this page or not non-toxic. Before you use any of the cleaners listed on this page, check out my Safer Cleaning Solutions page. When using any of the cleaners listed on this page, please remember to keep them out of the reach of children, and use the products in a well ventilated area. When storing these cleaners, make sure you keep them in a HIGH cupboard (not under your sink) AND that you keep the cupboard locked even if you don't have children.

Instead of spending money on those expensive, specialized cleaners that you see advertised on television, you can save money and clean just as effectively by using basic cleaning chemicals:

  • Bleach
    It instantly makes most dyes disappear, so don't get it on anything that isn't bleach-safe and that you don't want colored white. Bleach is very powerful and will eventually break down fibers in fabric, so use it sparingly or your laundry will begin to rot. It can be deadly if swallowed by humans or animals. Never mix bleach with anything but water because it will produce deadly chlorine gas if mixed with anything too acidic of alkaline (so definitely don't mix it with vinegar or ammonia).
  • Isopropyl alcohol
    Evaporates quickly and more effective and less corrosive than ammonia. It can also be used to disinfect thermometers and (painfully) disinfect wounds.
  • Hydrogen peroxide
    It can also be used to disinfect thermometers and disinfect wounds.
  • Borax
    Probably one of the best choices for cleaning because it's the least toxic and most eco-friendly.


  • Mix just 1 tablespoon of bleach with 1 quart of water and use it as a disinfectant in kitchens and bathrooms instead of more concentrated and damaging cleaners. (Don't put extra bleach in your solution. It's not necessary.) The CDC recommends bleach as the ideal way to kill viruses, bacteria, parasites, and microbes.
  • Use isopropyl alcohol (full strength or diluted 1/2 with water), spray it on or pour into your cloth and wipe clean.
  • Mix 1/2 cup of borax with a gallon of water.

Windows, Mirrors, and Glass

  • Spray on isopropyl alcohol (full strength or diluted 1/2 with water) or pour it into your cleaning cloth and wipe clean. (Amazing how well it works and doesn't leave streaks)

Wood Polish

  • Mineral oil (add 1 teaspoon of an aromatic oil, such as lemon oil, for fragrance if desired).
  • Oil soap (follow directions on the package).

Mold and Mildew

  • Spray with diluted bleach.
  • Spray with a solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 2 parts water, and let sit one hour.