Saturday, July 9, 2011

Reader Requests: Homemade Cleaner Recipes

Happy Saturday! It's been a crazy week with the holiday weekend, Teddy Bear starting the Summer Academy at his school and a mid week bout of tummy issues for Mama. But we're raring to go for the weekend! While visiting with some friends at the Rec, we started talking about our livestock, etc., and a friend said she liked my blog. Somehow we got to talking about all the homemade cleaners that I make and everyone asked me to post my "recipes". So here they are! For some I'm going to give the link to the page where I found the recipe because there's more information than I feel up to (or capable of articulating!) writing.

Before I start, though, I wanted to let you know about my foray into homemade cleaners. For me, the first reason for making my own cleaners has honestly been a matter of finances. The detergents and cleaners I make at home are more cost effective than commercial products, even with coupons, sales, etc. I've never really done the math for some of my cleaners, but as most of them have the same ingredients, I'm not buying a lot of "ingredients". For instance, the homemade laundry detergent I make has borax and washing soda in it, which I also need for my dishwasher detergent, sink & tub scrub and multi-purpose spray cleaner. (By the way, tha laundry detergent is one of the BIGGEST money savers! Ive only made it 3 times in the last year and a half for a grand total of about $2 a batch!!!)

The second reason I like making my own cleaners is that they are better for my family and the environment. I don't have a lot of harsh chemicals, and I'm saving on packaging. For laundry detergent, i'm reusing 2 bottles for commercial brands, and I use a 5 gallon bucket to hold it in. I re-use sprayer bottles and for my sink scrub I washed out a parmesan shaker. For my dishwasher detergent I use a canning jar, and I've been saving my liquid dish soap containers for when I make my own.

So, now on to the recipes!
$Laundry Detergent from the Duggar Family$
Homemade liquid laundry soap
4 cups hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 cup washing soda
½ cup Borax
  • Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
  • Fill a five-gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
  • Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (It will gel.)
  • Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per two gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons. Top-load machine: 5/8 cup per load (approximately 180 loads). Front-load machine: ¼ cup per load (approx. 640 loads).
Powdered laundry detergent
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 cup washing soda
½ cup Borax
  • Grate soap or break into pieces and process in a food processor until powdered. Mix all ingredients. For light load, use one tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 tablespoons. Yields: three cups detergent (approximately 40 loads).
Inexpensive fabric softener recipes
Recipe No. 1: Add one cup white vinegar to rinse cycle. Works great. Removes residue and odors. Also helps to keep washing machine and hoses fresh and clean too.

Visit for more tips like these, or TLCfor more info on the family. Michelle and Jim Bob’s book, “The Duggars: 20 and Counting,” is out now on Howard Books.
Personal note: I use the liquid detergent. Use 1/2 to 1 cap full for every load, depending on how big the cap is. I've tried adding the essential oils and I didn't feel that the scent stayed on the clothes, so I don't bother.

$Dishwasher Detergent$

There is A LOT of controversy on the web about homemade detergents, how well they work, concerns about the machine and septic systems. As far as how well it works, you may need to tweak your recipe depending on how hard or soft your water is, and what type of dishes you put in the dishwasher. We have few glasses, using mostly Tupperware Tumblers. Here is the recipe that I use, slightly tweaked for our water needs. I'll copy and paste it from the blog I got it from, then add the link so you can read more yourself. She has a wonderful post about keeping your dishwasher clean and running properly.
Homemade Dishwasher Soap
{soft water recipe}

1/2 cup borax ($.18)
1/2 cup washing soda ($.33)
1/4 cup food grade citric acid ($.66)
* for hard water, try increasing the amount of borax or add 1/4 cup course kosher salt, not regular salt! Read more here and scroll to middle of the page where it says "Dishwasher Salt".

Combine ingredients and use sparingly. I use only about 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. per load. (For hard water, you may need more.) Keep in a handy container near your appliance.
From Amy over at Homestead Revival
Personal note: For the citric acid component, I used 4 packets of Koolaid Lemonade. (the kind you have to add sugar to.) Because we have so much Tupperware going through, I put a small squirt of liquid dishwashing soap in to help cut grease. I use 1 1nd 1/2 teaspoons in each dispenser and pour in about 1/4 cup of either lemon juice or white vinegar into the washer before running. I also use white vinegar in the rinse agent dispenser.
$Sink and Tub Scrub$
This is great for both a staineless steel sink, porcelain sinks and fiberglass tubs/showers. This recipe is actually a combination of 2 found in Linda Cobb's (aka the Queen of Clean) book How the Queen Cleans Everything.
4 parts baking soda
1 part borax
1 part washing soda
mix and store in a shaker container. It cuts grease and disinfects. I sprinkle it onto a wet sink/shower/tub and use a wet cloth to scub. Let sit for a minute or two and rinse with hot water.
$Homemade All-Purpose Spray Cleaner$
Again from Linda Cobb's book. I use this in the kitchen and bathroom. For genral counter cleaning in the kitchen, I spray, let sit and then wipe with a microfiber cloth that I use with only this cleaner. If I'm cleaning up from meat, then I use paper towels.
2 C. water
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. borax
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. liquid dish soap
mix and store in a spray bottle. Shake well to mix and shake before each use.
Well, there are some of my recipes. I have more, I'm just worn out! And I'm sure this post has gone on long enough! Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I'll post more cleaner recipes next week!


  1. These look great! I was looking for a sink cleaner because I am out of Comet and didn't want to go that route again. Thanks!!

  2. I've been wanting to make the laundry detergent, but I have a question. Does the grater clean up well? Can I still use it for food? Or would it be better to have one just for soap? Thanks!