5 Easy Homemade Cleaners That Work Great

Updated: Feb. 14, 2024

Store-bought cleaning products might offer amazing results, but sometimes you have all you need in front of you. Check out these.

You can spend a lot of money on cleaning products at the store. But you don’t have to. With a minimal effort, you can make your own cleaning products with common household ingredients.

And while you still may find yourself in need of a specialized cleaning product or two for some jobs, these five recipes will go a long way toward avoiding harsh chemicals and saving a few bucks in the process.

What Is Cleaning Vinegar?

You’ll notice four of these concoctions are made with vinegar. Not just any vinegar — cleaning vinegar. It’s slightly more acidic than standard white vinegar, six percent acid versus five percent, though you’ll find white vinegar works for most cleaning tasks as well.

The acid in vinegar gives it its cleaning power, cutting through grease and grime as well as soap scum and sticky residues.

How to Use Cleaning Vinegar

You can use it straight out of the bottle or dilute it. Using it as-is can be advantageous for especially dirty jobs. But because of its acidity, take care to protect your skin. Wear gloves.

The recipes here that use vinegar all call for it to be diluted to varying degrees.

Note: Some things you should never clean with vinegar. Do not use it on cast iron, aluminum, natural stone or waxed wood. The acidity can damage the surfaces of those materials.

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natural cleaners
M. Show/Shutterstock

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

Try using this homemade all-purpose cleaner on bathroom and kitchen countertops and surfaces to disinfect and freshen your home. This recipe includes vinegar, which removes stains and odors, and anti-microbial essential oils to keep your home germ free.


  • Spray bottle;
  • Small funnel;
  • 1/2-cup vinegar;
  • Two tablespoons baking soda;
  • Tea tree essential oil;
  • Eucalyptus essential oil.


  1. Take the top off of an empty spray bottle, place a small funnel into the opening and pour in 1/2-cup of vinegar.
  2. Add two tablespoons of baking soda, and wait for the foaming to subside.
  3. Add in 10 drops each of tea tree and eucalyptus essential oil.
  4. Fill the rest of the bottle with water.
  5. Screw the spray top onto the bottle, and shake well before use.
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Homemade soft scrub cleaner
Paul Biryukov/Shutterstock

Simple Soft Scrub

Industrial soft scrub cleaners can contain strong chemical ingredients, but you can get your tub and shower just as clean with homemade cleaner. This simple soft scrub recipe will clean a bathroom faster and better, and uses a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, which will dissolve hard mineral deposits and easily cut through soap scum.


  • Empty dish soap bottle;
  • Small funnel;
  • 1-1/2-cups baking soda;
  • 1/2-cup liquid Castile soap;
  • Two tablespoons vinegar;
  • Two tablespoons water;
  • Tea tree essential oil.


  1. Take the cap off of an empty dish soap bottle. Make sure that you wash out the empty dish soap bottle well before using it to make soft scrub cleaner.
  2. Place a small funnel into the opening of the bottle, and pour 1-1/2-cups of baking soda, 1/2-cup of liquid Castile soap, two tablespoons of vinegar and two tablespoons of water into the bottle. Wait for the foaming to subside.
  3. Screw the cap onto the bottle, and shake it vigorously for around two minutes.
  4. To use, squeeze the simple soft scrub cleaner onto the surface, and scrub using a wet washcloth or cleaning brush.
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Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock

Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Many commercial toilet bowl cleaners use chlorine bleach, but not this natural toilet bowl cleaner. Instead, castile soap and baking soda get the job done. Plus, you won’t have to worry about accidentally exposing your pets or children to toxic toilet water.


  • Large squirt bottle;
  • Small funnel;
  • 1/3-cup liquid Castile soap;
  • Two cups water;
  • Two tablespoons baking soda;
  • Lemon essential oil;
  • Eucalyptus essential oil;
  • Lavender essential oil.


  1. Take the top off of a large squirt bottle, which you can find at most home improvement stores.
  2. Place a funnel into the opening of the bottle, and pour in 1/3-cup of liquid Castile soap, two cups of water and two tablespoons of baking soda. Wait for the foaming to subside.
  3. Add in five drops each of lemon, eucalyptus and lavender essential oils, which both freshen and disinfect.
  4. Screw the cap into the squirt bottle, shake well and squirt into the toilet bowl.
  5. Allow the homemade cleaner to sit for a few minutes, then use a toilet brush to scrub the bowl clean.
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Homemade cleaners Window Cleaner
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Homemade Window Cleaner

Forget using chemical cleaners to wash windows. They’ll look clean as a whistle with this all-natural homemade window cleaner, which uses vinegar and cornstarch to buff those fingerprints away.


  • Empty spray bottle;
  • Small funnel;
  • 1/2-cup vinegar;
  • One tablespoon corn starch;
  • Two cups water;
  • Lemon essential oil;
  • Grapefruit essential oil.


  1. Take the top off of an empty spray bottle, place a small funnel into the opening and pour in 1/2-cup of vinegar, one tablespoon of corn starch and two cups of water.
  2. Add in five drops each of lemon and grapefruit essential oils.
  3. Screw the spray top back onto the bottle,and shake well before use.
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Vinegar and cleaning sponges on wooden surface
Taste of Home

An Old-School Remedy

A little research will show you cleaning wood floors with white vinegar and water is highly contested, but it’s definitely worth a try if you’re looking to avoid harmful chemicals.

Depending on the strength of acetic acid (the chemical component in vinegar that breaks down oils and sugars) you’re looking to apply to your floors, go for anywhere from a half cup to a full cup of vinegar per gallon of water.

Another plus side? If you’re into natural remedies, you likely already have a variety of vinegars in your cabinet or refrigerator. (Best to avoid the red wine variety.)