Green & Clean: Making Your Own Earth-Friendly Cleaners

earth day


Wednesday, April 22, is Earth Day! Today’s post offers tips to help you live a little greener while saving money!

Making your own earth-friendly cleaners isn’t just good for the environment; it’s good for your wallet! The chemical-laden cleaning solutions sold at the stores can be expensive, even when buying them on sale with coupons. It’s a lot easier than you think to make your own cleaning solutions, and you’ll only be spending pennies on the dollar over what you’re buying at the store. Not only that, the majority of these homemade cleaning solutions are non-toxic! Too good to be true? I decided to find out for myself!

The two websites where I found my cleaning “recipes” are MomsBudget and the blog YoungHouseLove. I decided to choose some cleaners that I frequently use and test them to see if they really do save money and clean effectively. I can say with confidence, that you’ll be impressed with these “green & clean” recipes below!

Glass Cleaning Spray

A bottle of Windex can easily cost $3.00, and the dollar store versions don’t seem to do as good a job as the name brand. For the homemade version, take a clean, empty spray bottle (32 oz.) and add 1/3 cup of vinegar and fill the rest with water. The vinegar scent fades quickly and my mirrors and windows were shiny and streak-free!

  • Cost per bottle = about 10 cents!
  • Savings = $2.90!

Dishwasher Detergent

This one is my favorite! 1 cup of borax (found in the laundry aisle), 1 cup of baking soda, 2 small packets of unsweetened lemonade Kool-Aid. You must by the unsweetened Kool-Aid and it MUST be the lemonade flavor. I mixed this in a small Tupperware container and use two tablespoons per load. It works as well as the name brand for me! Now, I am one of those people that gives my dishes a decent rinsing before putting them in the dishwasher. If you’re not, let me know how it works for your stuck-on food. (I still use the Jet Dry rinsing agent with it.)

  • Cost per use = 8 cents per load!
  • Savings = almost 70%!

Antibacterial Spray

Did you know that grapefruit oil has natural antibacterial properties? I didn’t either until recently! It also smells fantastic, too. I’m using this spray for my kitchen counter tops, replacing the Method All-Purpose Spray in grapefruit scent ($3.50 per bottle). Here’s the “recipe”: In a 16 oz. spray bottle, put 2 tsp. of borax, 1 – 2 tsp. of Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap (I used the Citrus Orange scent), 10 – 20 drops of grapefruit essential oil, and fill the rest of the bottle with hot water. The borax will settle on the bottom, so give it a gentle shake before using.

  • Cost per bottle = less than 50 cents!
  • Savings = at least $3 per bottle!

Gentle Scrub Cleaner

This is great for all of the areas you’d normally use Soft Scrub Cleaner, such as the bathtub, kitchen sink, etc. ¼ cup of baking soda, 2 Tbs. white vinegar, 2 Tbs. liquid dish detergent (make it 100% “green” by using a dish detergent like Seventh Generation or Method). The solution will start to fizz when you add the vinegar to the baking soda. Less is more with this cleaner. (I learned that the hard way – I had to rinse my bathtub three times to get all the suds out!) The good news: the soap scum just melted right off the tub with hardly any scrubbing!

  • Cost = 6 cents per ounce!
  • Savings = 19 cents per ounce!

Just one quick note: although borax is a natural cleaning product, it has bleaching properties so it should be kept out of the reach of children and pets. I hope I’ve inspired you to try one or two of the “Green & Clean” recipes to benefit both the environment AND your wallet! Happy Earth Day!

Christine Luken is a Coupon Queen, Financial Coach, and author of the e-books, “Confessions of a Coupon Queen: Secrets Retailers Don’t Want You to Know” and “The Coupon Sisters Get Cooking: Discover the Magic of Meal Planning.” She has a passion for helping families save money so they can build up their savings and pay off their debt. Christine lives in the Greater Cincinnati area with her husband, Nick, and two cats, Peanut and Little Tiny. In her spare time, you can find Christine on the golf course, at the mall shopping for shoes (coupons in hand!), or at home watching cage fighting with her husband. You can reach her by email or on her website.

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