Did you know your pantry holds everything you need to clean your home? This is especially helpful to know because there are times when it is inconvenient or unsafe for you or your family’s health to shop for household cleaners. Don’t sweat it! These are the secrets our grandmothers and great-grandmothers used in bygone eras, and you can too!
First, check your pantry and broom closet for the following key items:
- White vinegar and apple cider vinegar
- Ball canning jars — I LOVE these blue Ball canning jars!
- Empty glass spray bottles
- Washing Soda
- Hair conditioner (preferably toxin-free)
- Pumice stone
- Essential oils – lavender, tea tree, lemon, orange, lime, Thieves, etc.
- Lemon, lime, or orange peels
- Whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, or anise
- Sponges, scrub brushes, old rags, and paper towel
- Distilled or boiled water
TIP: Be sure to work in well-ventilated areas and follow the recipes precisely for powerful yet gentle household cleaners that will rival anything you can get in the store at a fraction of the cost!
DIY Disinfecting Sprays
Did you know there’s an essential oil blend that is perfect for a simple disinfecting spray? Fill an empty glass spray bottle with water, add Thieves essential oil blend, and voila! Get the secret, simple recipe for Grandma’s Go-To Spray.
If you don’t have Thieves essential oil on hand, you can always make a quick spray of 1-part white vinegar to 4 parts water. It works great as a disinfecting, degreasing, polishing bottle of awesome! Even gently shines granite countertops.
Simple Multi-Purpose Cleaners
This Lemon-Lavender Multi-Purpose Cleaner takes a few weeks to make but it smells ahhhhhh-mazing so it’s totally worth the wait. It’s a combination of white vinegar, organic lemon peels, and lavender essential oil.
If you need something sooner, you can try making this Floral Citrus All-Purpose Spray, which smells like Fruit Loops.
When you need to whip up a quick cleaner for your house, try this spray with items you most likely have in your pantry, and it also smells like Fruit Loops.
- 1 tsp Borax
- ½ tsp washing soda
- 1 tsp liquid castile soap
- 2 cups distilled or boiled water
- 4 drops each of lavender, chamomile, and lemon essential oil
- 5 drops each of orange and lime essential oil
1. Place Borax, washing soda, and soap in a spray bottle (preferably glass).
2. Add 2 cups of warm distilled or boiled water.
3. Add essential oils.
4. Cover bottle and shake well. Use on bathroom and kitchen surfaces.
Learn more about essential oils here.
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Amazing DIY Laundry Detergents
For Easy-Peasy Laundry Powder, you’ll need Borax, Washing Soda, a bar of Castile soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s lavender bar), and essential oils. The full recipe is so easy to follow you’ll wonder why you’ve never made it before.
If you prefer Liquid Laundry Detergent this six-step recipe is cost-effective and simple to make with all the same ingredients and a cheese grater! It makes 2 gallons, so be sure you have big enough containers to hold all of it.
Non-Toxic Homemade Fabric Softener
You may not need it if you switch to homemade laundry detergent, but if you still want a non-toxic homemade fabric softener, try this fantastic recipe that uses white vinegar, hair conditioner, and optional essential oils.
Super Simple Carpet Stain Remover
Gather some baking soda, white vinegar, water, a spray bottle, a scrub brush, and your vacuum cleaner. Sprinkle a thick layer of baking soda all over the stain. Fill the spray bottle halfway with white vinegar, then fill the rest of the way with water. Spray the mixture onto the baking soda covered carpet. It will bubble up for a few minutes. Let it soak into the stain for a minimum of three hours, then scrub with a natural scrub brush—but carefully so you don’t damage the carpet. Let it dry overnight, then vacuum up the powder in the morning. If anything still remains, gently scrub with a clean, natural sponge for great results.
No-Fuss DIY Toilet Deodorizer & Drain Declogger
Too many commercial toilet cleaners are full of harsh, toxic chemicals that not only corrode plumbing but are harmful to humans and pets. You can keep your children and fur babies safe by making your own industrial-strength toilet cleaner from natural ingredients.
Toilet: Simply mix 1 cup of vinegar and 10 drops of tea tree essential oil in a glass spray bottle. Spray it all over your toilet, inside and out. Next, sprinkle with ½ cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl and scrub with a toilet brush. You can use a pumice stone if there are rust stains or hard water mineral deposits but use it in a spot that might not be noticed first, to be sure it won’t leave a scratch. Finally, wipe the areas on the outside of the lid with a paper towel.
Drains: Pour a few shakes of baking soda into a clogged drain, then add a cup or so of vinegar. It will create a bubbly reaction that cuts through the clog and degreases the pipes.
Fantastic Homemade Glass Cleaner
Combine 2 cups of distilled water (for no residue), 2 Tbsp white vinegar, and 10 drops lemon essential oil (optional, but helps cut the vinegar smell) in a glass spray bottle. Pair with a natural, recycled paper towel for the ultimate shine!
TIP: If you’ve used commercial window cleaner in the past, mix a couple of drops of liquid Castille soap or liquid dish soap in this mixture the first time you clean the windows to remove detergent residue.
Or try this powerful, non-toxic glass cleaner & disinfectant that kills influenza, norovirus, staph, and coronavirus as long as you use 60% or higher isopropyl alcohol. To use it as a disinfectant, spray liberally on the surface, spread around with paper towel but don’t wipe off. Let it air dry.
Gentle All-Purpose Cleansing Wipes
Using a handsaw, cut a thick, cloth-like paper towel roll in half so it becomes the size of two toilet paper rolls. Place in a sealable food storage container and remove the cardboard tube from the center. Add ¼ tsp liquid dish soap and 1 ½ cups isopropyl alcohol. If you are using these to disinfect, make sure to use at least 60% isopropyl alcohol Boil 2 ½ cups of water, pour over the paper towel. Close the lid and allow all the moisture to absorb into the paper towels.
You can also make this into homemade baby wipes—omit the isopropyl alcohol, swap the dish soap for 1 tsp baby shampoo/wash and a few drops of lavender or chamomile essential oil. Or try making your own reusable all-natural baby wipes.
Room Fresheners & Potpourri
Place orange, lime, or lemon peels into a small saucepan with enough water to cover. Simmer on the stove over low heat for a couple of hours for a lovely smelling home. Don’t leave unattended! Alternate simmering combinations: cinnamon sticks with orange peels, rose petals and lavender buds, or fresh basil and lime peels. Poke whole cloves into an unpeeled orange and hang in it in the kitchen to keep it smelling fresh.
Now you know the secret behind your grandmother’s shining kitchen—DIY pantry cleaners, elbow grease, and love. No need to make an inconvenient trip to the store or risk exposure to germs in stores during cold and flu season. It’s up to you whether you share these easy, homemade recipes for a sparkling, healthy home or keep them a family secret!