If you have these 6 items, there’s nothing you can’t clean:
Dawn dish soap
Many of us have spent our valuable dollars buying the latest in cleaning supplies. What we’re really paying for is harsh chemicals (some of them carcinogenic) and artificial fragrances (many of which are also unhealthy). Instead, consider stocking up on these basic items, which will allow you to make any household cleaner you might need. Most of the time you can purchase these items on sale or in bulk quantities. As well, they all serve other purposes besides basic cleaning, which maximizes your storage space.
- Remove coffee and tea stains from mugs by soaking them in baking soda and hot water.
- Deodorize garbage cans by sprinkling baking soda in the bottom.
- Remove burnt-on food from the bottom of pots by covering the bottom with a layer of baking soda, topping with about 2 inches of water and bringing to a boil. Immediately remove the pot from the heat and leave overnight, covered.
- Clear clogged drains by pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down them, followed by boiling water.
- Removed stains from the tub with a scrub made from a thick paste of baking soda and water.
- Use a rinse of baking soda and water to remove pesticides from food.
- Add 1/2 a cup of baking soda to laundry when using bleach – this intensifies the effects of the bleach.
- Sprinkle baking soda in a stainless steel sink, then scrub with a damp cloth or sponge for a clean shiny basin.
Bleach is the only item on the list that is highly toxic – consider bleach the “big guns” when it comes to cleaning.
- Mix bleach and water in a spray bottle. Spray liberally on bathroom tile to remove mildew in grout.
- Use bleach and water to clean wooden or butcher block cutting boards, especially after cutting up meat.
- Sanitize secondhand kitchen items by soaking them in bleach and water.
- Disinfect garbage cans by soaking them in bleach (outdoors) and then rinsing them well.
Borax is a natural mineral compound. It can be used as a mold inhibitor, a deodorizer and an insecticide.
- Sprinkle it in your toilet bowl over night for quick easy cleaning in the morning.
- Make a thick paste of borax and water and apply it on mold. Leave overnight, then rinse well to remove.
- Make all-purpose cleaner by mixing 1/2 cup of borax with 1 gallon of hot water in a spray bottle. Shake well.
- Sprinkle borax in vegetable drawers and leave over night. Rinse well – this will remove any smells from the drawers.
- Sprinkle pets bedding with borax – leave overnight and vacuum the next morning. This will kill flea eggs.
- Neutralize urine odors by sprinkling the stain with borax, leaving for a few hours, then vacuuming or washing the item.
Dawn dish soap
The classic blue Dawn dish soap is a slightly different formula than the other varieties.
- Use Dawn to remove oil or petroleum jelly from hair.
- A drop of Dawn dissolved in water can be used in a spray bottle to rid your garden of mites and aphids – simply spray the leaves with the soapy water.
- 3 drops of Dawn in one gallon of water can be used to clean windows.
- When used as a pet shampoo, it kills fleas on contact.
- Remove grease from tools by washing them in Dawn.
- Pretreat oily stains on laundry with Dawn dish soap.
- Sprinkle on spills in the oven – allow the oven to cool then wipe out.
- Scrub cast iron cookware with a paste made from salt and cooking oil.
- Wash enamel cookware with salt and vinegar.
- Clean wicker by scrubbing it with salt, then allowing it to sit in the sun for the afternoon.
- Repair mars to wood with a paste made from salt and cooking oil.
- Mix 1 cup of vinegar with a bucket of warm water to clean kitchen floors – this will cut through the grease.
- Add vinegar to the rinse water for dishes to get glasses crystal clear.
- Make glass cleaner by mixing 1/4 cup of vinegar with 2 cups of water and a squirt of dish soap.
- Get rid of fruit flies by putting out a small dish of white vinegar.
- To kill germs, spray vinegar full strength on door knobs, remotes, etc.
- Remove stickers and price tags by soaking them in white vinegar.
- Dampen a cloth with vinegar to get sink taps and faucets shiny.
- Soak citrus peels in white vinegar to make a pleasantly scented spray cleaner.
The best thing about these cleaners is that they are real multi-taskers. I live in a small house, so my storage space is limited. It helps me make the most of my space when I can use an item for many different purposes.
As well, my daughter is very sensitive to chemicals. I use the bleach very sparingly (and mostly outside). The rest of the items are non-toxic and cause no issues whatsoever. It is a far healthier way to clean than filling your house with petroleum based chemicals.
You can find some recipes for excellent home-made cleaning products HERE – the recipes use many of these 6 ingredients!
Do you make any old-fashioned cleaning products to keep your house sparkling? Please share your secrets below!
Excellent article,this will also save you money on cleaning supplies.
Thanks Daisy for the reminder, I need to boost my stock on several of these items. Sure enjoy your website, I learn something from every article.
Phosphoric acid, although a scary sounding chemical, is excellent for removing rust and for cleaning the hard water deposits from water fixtures. Phosphoric acid is also found in coca cola, put there on purpose to give flavor. It is great stuff!
I use all of these exclusively for cleaning. Very little clorox is used. I use the baking soda on drains, followed by vinegar, and THEN the boiling water.
Baking soda, borax, and salt are a good substitute when I am out of dishwasher detergent.
I also use washing soda (sodium carbonate), for washing and cleaning as well. In my laundry I also use sodium percarbonate for hard stains. I also like soapnuts for general washing and use gall soap to handwash washable nappies. Tea tree essential oil to sanitize, e.g. toilet seat. I make a washing liquid from laundry soap. Instead of artificial fabric softeners I use essential oils and 20% vinegar.
i like soap nuts too! they are so versatile. tea tree is great, i use it for medical purposes too. eucalyptus oil is another one, great for cleaning floors and greasy areas, and also plenty of health benefits. 🙂 Never heard of gall soap before. Thanks for your post. love learning new things!
Hello, I was wondering what nappies are. Also, how do you use Tea tree oil and what are the steps in using the oils and vinegar for fabric softeners? Thank you for teaching me something new and useful! ~ Corinne
Nappies = diapers 🙂
Agreed! These are all good basic supplies to stock, with many uses – for cleaning and with many other uses too.
Thank you. Great article!
I dig the article, thanks. Can also use lemon juice for much of the white vinegar purposes (it’s the acid that does the trick).
Did you know that white vinegar will do all the jobs listed here, in place of the bleach? Bleach is a little innefective with mold/mildew i was lead to believe, because it doesnt always get rid of it, plus stains, but rather just bleaches it white. Thanks heaps for these posts!
citrus peel is great for “cleaning” unfinished or worn wood. a friend of mine swore by rubbing the outside of the peel to polish wood, and i use this method on an heirloom table from great grandma. also vinegar mixed 1:1 with water is a great tool for removing nits from hair i recently (thankfully) found!
vinegar in the rinse cycle is great softener, especially if you’re line drying (learned that cloth diapering- also odor reducing and disinfecting)all vinegar is incredible stuff…
Good to know about the nits! I learned much about nits and cooties the hard way when my girls were in city schools. HORRIBLE! I like the wet-combing method. My youngest is highly allergic to all of the chemical headlice treatments so it’s good to know other natural remedies!
I would add hydrogen peroxide to the list. It gets out protein stains like blood and also can fix burned food in stainless steel or aluminum pots and pans. Just put enough peroxide in your pot to cover the scorched/burned area and boil slowly on low-med heat. Do not walk away! In a few minutes the blackened bits will float off the bottom of the pot and the pot will look like new.
I think this is a great list of “must haves” that offer a lot of versatility on the home and in a SHTF scenario. I would also suggest Fels Naptha bar soap. It can be cut up and used in the old washing machine or with a laundry scrub board in a field situation. Also, it is great if you have been afflicted with poison ivy or poison oak.
I noticed in the picture an Arm & Hammer baking soda box. NOT!! Most people do not know that many baking sodas are made from by-products of aluminum manufacturing plants. Aluminum, of course, has been shown to have a high correlation with alzheimer’s disease. One should buy ONLY “aluminum free” labelled baking soda. I love Bob’s Red Mill baking soda. Baking soda is also great for brushing teeth and alkalinizing the body. I make a daily tonic of baking soda, honey, apple cider vinegar (organic) and lemon.
Amelia – Thank you for that information! I didn’t realize that! The A&H will be relegated to cleaning while I look for an aluminum-free source!
I love the smell of vinegar! It’s nostalgic as well…in high school and college I ran a window washing company and couldn’t afford Windex so I switched to a vinegar & water mix with newspapers and the job became so much easier.
From a usability perspective several of my testers have indicated that the liquid detergent does a very nice cleaning job. One reported that it worked well on a blood stain. The laundry detergent works well in HE machines. The consensus is that the testers liked the added smell put in with Downy Unstopables as suggested. Unfortunately adding unstopables contributed roughly 2 cents per load more than doubling the cost.
Changing to Purex Complete Crystals lowered the cost of scent to about a cent per load along with 1 cent for other ingredients making each load about 2 cents. This compares very favorably with using Purex laundry detergent at 9 cents.
The effort needed to make this laundry detergent is almost negligible. Buying the basic ingredients container sizes provides a very long time of making and using detergent!
3 Tablespoons Borax
3 Tablespoons Washing Soda
2 Tablespoons Dawn Dish Soap – the blu8e stuff
2 Tablespoons Purex Complete Crystals (for scent)
Mix Ingredients in a gallon jug. Pour in 4 cups hot tap water. Slosh around to dissolve and mix ingredients. Fill jug with cold tap water. Some sudsing will occur at this step.
A couple of my testers are now saving screw top gallon jugs for this laundry detergent. I guess that can be taken as a positive compliment.
Excellent article. I found your site through Survival Sherpa. You guys are both great.
I’m allergic to Dawn dish soap and have concens about the product ingredients. It contains methylisothiazolinone that according to EWG is of high concern for acute aquatic toxicity and some concern for skin irritation/allergy/damage. The fragrance is also a concern and the company won’t disclose the ingredient. There are several other chemicals that are of concern. I use safer dish soap and don’t miss Dawn. Here is the link to the EWG rating for Dawn http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/2448-DawnUltraConcentratedDishwashingLiquidOriginal
These are the same things I use. They never fail me.
Apple Cider Vinegar makes an excellent deodorant.
I splash a bit on my armpits after a shower. It drys quickly and the “salad smell” is gone
Cheap and eliminates aluminum which is found in nearly every commercial deodorant.
Borax plus some table sugar on a small wet sponge will kill the ants that come foraging. They take it back to the nest (wherever it is) and kill the nest.
If you buy fruit (esp. from Costco and Sam’s), a very dilute mix of bleach and cold water to kill off surface bacteria, then rinse in tap water, dry and store.