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DIY household cleaners you can make in 5 minutes or less

Pinterest has spoken: DIY cleaners are one of the biggest home trends the visual bookmarking site expects for 2015. And we're here to help you hop on the bandwagon, which is a good idea for more reasons than just being trendy. 

Not only can DIY cleaners be more cost effective, but they are also free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) often found in traditional cleaning products. 

"VOCs can cause shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing in healthy children and adults," said Dr. Rachel Taliercio, pulmonologist with Cleveland Clinic Asthma Center. "These symptoms are worse for people with chronic respiratory conditions like asthma.” 

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To save cash and reduce VOCs in your house, try these DIY cleaners from cleaning expert Leslie Reichert, author of "The Joy of Green Cleaning." 

Concentrated all-purpose cleaner

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  • 3 drops liquid castile soap
  • ¼ cup washing soda, not baking soda
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • 4 drops tea tree oil (available at most drug stores)
  • 8 drops essential oil for scent (optional)

Microwave vinegar until boiling. Add washing soda and stir until totally dissolved. Add castile soap, tea tree oil, vodka and essential oil. Then shake. 

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Place mixture in a closed container for storage. When ready to use, mix one part cleaner to four parts water. This mixture is great on counters, sinks and more.

Bathroom powder scrub

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  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • ½ cup sea salt (If using scrub on fiberglass tubs, omit salt to prevent scratching.)
  • 6 drops essential oils for fragrance, optional

Mix dry ingredients. 

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Add essential oils for fragrance, if desired. 

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Store in a shaker container, like an empty cheese container.

Apply using a sponge or scrubby. Disinfect sponges after each use by microwaving wet sponges two to three minutes.

Laundry soap

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  • 2 cups soap flakes
  • 1 cup baking soda or soda crystals
  • 1 cup borax powder
  • 1 cup washing soda, not baking soda 

Soap flakes are available online, but it’s easy to make your own. Simply grate a bar of soap on the large-hole side of a grater or cut into chunks and grate in a food processor. 

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Mix all ingredients thoroughly. 

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Place in a plastic or glass container with a lid. This soap works best with hot water.

For top-loading washing machines, use ½ to 1 cup or 2 cups for very heavily soiled clothing

For front-loading and high-efficiency machines, use 2 tablespoons

Glass and mirror cleaner

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  • 1 teaspoon dish soap
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 3 cups distilled water

Place all ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray directly onto windows and mirrors.


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