In an ideal world, all of my cleaning products and personal care products would be natural, organic, and toxic chemical free. The problem is, most of those sorts of products are really expensive. I’ve looked at replacing everything with a “green” alternative, but the price tag about made me swoon! So I set out to try making some of my own.

I go through a lot of spray cleaner. That seems to happen when you have four kids and a dog! I’ve swapped out regular all-purpose cleaner for a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. It works surprisingly well! I can use it on the table, the counter, the bathroom sink, the toilet, the mirror, and a whole bunch of other surfaces too. I add some lavender essential oil to cut the vinegar smell a bit. The same formula can also be used as a replacement for spray on “fabric refresher”. If you don’t know how a particular surface will react to the vinegar, then you might want to try it out on a small patch first just to be safe. It’s really cheap and it’s safe to use around my kids!

We also use quite a bit of lens cleaner. With three pairs of glasses, sunglasses, and the iPhone/iPod screen to clean it doesn’t take us long to use up one of those small bottles of lens cleaner from the optical store. We ran out one day and I did a quick internet search for substitutes. I wound up using a fifty/fifty mix of rubbing alcohol and water. Again, it works well and is so much cheaper!

Does anyone like scrubbing soap scum? Didn’t think so. We have hard water, so it seems to be particularly bad in our tub. This isn’t exactly a “green” cleaner, but it’s cheaper and at least I don’t have to deal with the awful fumes from some of the other cleaners I’ve tried on my tub. Heat up about half a cup of white vinegar and mix in half a cup of blue liquid dish soap. (The directions I came across specified Dawn, but I used a generic brand and it was fine.) Pour into a spray bottle and spray heavily on the soap scum. Walk away for about half an hour. Use hot water and an old washcloth to rinse it off. There will be a LOT of soap suds, but when I tried it out almost all of the soap scum literally melted off my tub! I had to spray one or two spots a second time, but the stuff works like magic!

I’m still trying out other cleaning product recipes. But so far, these three have not only worked well, but they’ve been real money savers too.

What frugal cleaning recipes or tricks do you use?