Clean Using Ingredients You Most Likely Have In Your Home (FREE Recipes)

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Clean Using Ingredients You Most Likely Have In Your Home (FREE Recipes)

It’s easy to clean your home using ingredients that you most likely already have … chemical free! (sort of)

A clean home is one of those things that most homemakers put at the top of their list. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s “spotless and immaculate” but as my mom used to say “the health department won’t shut us down”. I grew up in a home that was “lived in”. It was clean and tidy (most of the time) but it was a place that we enjoyed and used. People could stop by unexpectedly and we weren’t completely embarrassed and we didn’t feel the need to apologize.

It’s confusing to walk the cleaning isle at the store and wonder what’s safe and/or what even works. Many are desiring to have cleanliness without all the chemicals that have seemed to have taken over the cleaning industry. While researching household cleaners, even the “old fashioned” recipes sometimes included ammonia, bleach and borax.

So what is safe to use and what are things we should stay away from?

To answer part of this question, I went to my husband. Why? Because he’s a chemical engineer! If anyone knows chemicals, it’s him, right?

Here’s what he had to say –  (Note:  he wrote quite a bit of information so the following is a summary.  IF you would like his full document, click here).

In A Nutshell

These chemicals are inexpensive, readily available and are safe when used properly.


Before getting into specifics about this topic, always remember the mantra SAFETY FIRST!

ALWAYS use proper personal protection with household cleaning chemicals. Personal protection includes:

  • rubber-type gloves
  • protective eye-wear (if splashing can occur)
  • good work-area ventilation
  • Reading the product’s label  for guidance prior to use


Pure ammonia is a pungent, colorless gas (chemical formula: NH3) that has many industrial uses because of its availability and low cost. In household applications, pure ammonia is dissolved in water to make a solution. Grocery stores sell these solutions and label them as “Ammonia.” These products are typically 5-10% (by weight) of ammonia dissolved in water.

Uses: Household Ammonia is a strong antiseptic, meaning it kills many types of bacteria on contact during cleaning. It is also a very effective streak-free cleaner for glass, ceramics/porcelain and stainless steel; however avoid using Ammonia with any type of aluminum utensils.

**Fun Fact “From a time past”   For those of us prone to fainting, ammonia vapor is released by smelling salts to help revive us.


Household bleach is a chlorine-based chemical compound containing sodium hypochlorite (chemical formula: NaClO) dissolved in water .  Grocery stores sell liquid Bleach products that are typically 3-6% (by weight) sodium hypochlorite in water.

Uses: A strong cleaning solution is 1 part bleach to 2 parts water; an adequate solution against bacteria and viruses is 1 part bleach and 4 parts water. Suggested laundry machine uses result in bleach to water ratios around 1:20 (1 part bleach and 20 parts water). It is amazing how Bleach removes stains from fabrics (see precautions below) and hard surfaces.

**Fun Fact  Restaurants use a bit of Bleach in a sink full of water to whiten and freshen up their coffee and tea cups; try it!


Borax is a white powder; from a science perspective it is also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate or disodium tetraborate.  You may also have heard of boric acid, which is made by processing and refining Borax.  Borax and similar products are inexpensive, readily available and are used commercially in certain types of glass, fire retardants, insecticides and as a bleach-like additive in laundry detergents. You can find Borax in the grocery store’s laundry aisle.

Uses: Borax is used as a laundry booster to increase the effectiveness of laundry detergent with tough stains (check the product label instructions). You can also make your own laundry soap using Borax.

**Fun Fact — no fun fact, sorry! 

Then there are the ones that we know are okay to use (and can find in your kitchen) — baking soda, salt, vinegar and many more (there are few surprises on this list). Here’s some ideas on how to use them …

Baking soda –

A great abrasive so can be used for scrubbing tough stains on countertops, appliances, showers and tubs, floors, kitchen drains and even clothes.

As an odor eliminator, use baking soda on carpets, luggage, sport bags, refrigerators, and garbage cans.

Vinegar –

Mix with water and use to wash windows — NO STREAKS!!! This mixture also works on mold and mildew … spray, let sit for about 15 minutes and then wipe clean.

Place in bowls around your home to eliminate unwanted odors.

Pour vinegar into the toilet and let sit for several hours or overnight. Flush. Done regularly will keep hard water stains away.

Salt –

Removed tea or coffee stains from coffee cups.

Salt and water down your drain will eliminate odors and break grease deposits.

Clean your drip coffee maker by running vinegar and water through a couple of times (be sure to run just water through at least ones to get all the vinegar out).

Remove hard water stains on glass by getting wet, sprinkle with salt and then wipe clean.

Cream of Tartar –

Yes, you read that correctly — I was surprised too. Cream of tartar is a mild acid called Potassium Bitartrate. It is used in baking powder and cosmetics but has home cleaning uses, as well.

  1. Bathtub stain remover: sprinkle cream of tartar on the stain and then rub with lemon wedges
  2. Remove spots from aluminum cookware: mix 2 Tablespoons of cream of tartar and 1 quart water in the stained item. Bring solution to a boil and simmer about 10-15 minutes. Wash and dry item like you normally would.

Receive these recipes and many more HERE.

Multipurpose Cleaning Solution

1 tsp dishwashing liquid (Dawn was recommended) OR borax

Splash of Vinegar

1 quart warm water.

Keep solution in a clean spray bottle and label. Shake before each use.

All Purpose Cleaner

1 tsp borax

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsps. vinegar or lemon juice

1/4 tsp dishwashing liquid

2 Cups hot water

Mix and store in labels spray bottle. This can probably replace most of the commercial cleaners that you have in your home.

(Be sure to wear rubber gloves when working with this mixture)

Window Washing Solution

1/2 Cup vinegar

1/4 Cup isopropyl rubbing alcohol

Enough water to fill spray bottle

Spray on windows or glass and wipe with paper towel.

(I use old cloth diapers or cotton rags)

Homemade Toilet Bowl Cleaner

1 Cup baking soda

1 Cup powdered laundry detergent

Sprinkle 1/4 Cup of this mixture into the toilet each time you clean. Let sit for about 10 minutes or so. Scrub and let sit another 10 minutes. Brush again and rinse.

Carpet Freshener

Basic Recipe

1 Cup crushed, dried herbs (rosemary, lavender)

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

Combine ingredients and sprinkle on the carpet. Let sit for a few minutes and vacuum.

Happy Cleaning!


P.S. Would you like some variations of these recipes and many more? Sign up for emails from Old Fashioned Homemaking and receive these and other recipes for FREE!

Note: Much of this information was gleaned from a series of recipe booklets put out by Publications International, Ltd. The rest is out of my head or found in my grandmothers items.

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