My Cleaning Kit

My Cleaning Kit

By Erin Huffstetler | 02/17/2015 | 6 Comments
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As my mad scientist skills have improved over the years, I’ve been able to replace many of the store-bought cleaners that I used to buy with homemade cleaning solutions. Here’s a look at what I keep in my cleaning kit these days.

White Vinegar

White Vinegar

This is the star of the show. I use vinegar to sanitize surfaces, as a degreaser, to descale our coffee maker and humidifiers, to clean our chickens’ eggs, to clean and freshen drains (when paired with baking soda), to clean windows … and the list goes on. I buy vinegar by the gallon because it’s just so useful.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

I use baking soda to clean our oven, as scouring powder, to remove silver tarnish, as a deodorizer and as an ingredient in my homemade dishwasher detergent. This is my number two cleaning ingredient. I buy the small boxes for baking, but I keep a big box of baking soda in my cleaning kit.

Washing Soda

Washing Soda

I use washing soda in my homemade dishwasher detergent and in my homemade laundry detergent. It works as a solvent, breaking down stuck on foods and stains, and it also serves as a water softener, allowing detergents to work better.

Borax

Borax

I used to use Borax in my dishwasher detergent. Now, I mostly use it as a laundry booster. Just drop a scoop in the wash, and your laundry detergent will do a better job.

Fels Naptha Soap

Fels Naptha

A bar of Fels Naptha soap is the main ingredient in my laundry detergent recipe (still a work in progress), and it also works wonders as a stain stick. Just wet the bar, and rub it into the stain.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing Alcohol

This is my go-to ingredient when I have a price tag or label to remove, or when I want to remove permanent marker from a yard sale find. I also recently used rubbing alcohol to remove sap from my cookie sheets, after I baked a batch of pine cones (I was making fire starters).

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide

I use hydrogen peroxide to remove blood stains from laundry and to kill mold and mildew in the bathroom. My kids love to watch the chemical reaction that takes place, so they’re more than happy to treat their own clothing stains. Bonus!

Kosher Salt

Salt

I keep a box of Kosher salt in my cleaning kit because it happens to be a fantastic water softener. I use it in my homemade dishwasher detergent, and I’m experimenting with it in the toilet bowl tabs that I’m currently developing.

Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice

I use lemon juice in my homemade furniture polish. I also use it as a water softener in my homemade dishwasher detergent.

Olive Oil

Olive Oil

This is the other ingredient in my homemade furniture polish. Mix together one part lemon juice and two parts olive oil for a polish that smells nice and works well.

Essential Oils

Essential Oils

Orange, lavender, peppermint – I keep a variety of essential oils on hand for use in my homemade cleaners. Some kill bacteria and mold; others tackle hard water stains; still others cut through grease. And they all smell nice.

Have a question about how I use any of these ingredients to clean? Just ask.

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Comments

  1. I also use the items you mentioned to get out stains. My 2 sons work at a restaurant in addition to going to school. They often come home with grease based stains on their khaki pants. I use Dawn and Goop Hand Cleaner and have had great success in getting all the stains out. I let it sit for about 30 minutes and then put it in washer on the soak and run setting with a bit of borax in the load. Goop is designed for mechanics to wash their hands so it’s great for getting out grease stains. I buy it at Dollar Tree.

    My guys gave me the title “The Queen of Stain Removal” when they were little! LOL! When my youngest goes to UT Knoxville in the fall he will have a laundry kit that will include all of these!

    • Great tip. Like you, I use dish liquid to remove grease/oil stains. I hadn’t thought of adding Goop. Makes total sense.

    • Hi Gladys,

      Orange oil (any citrus oil, really) is great for removing grease and stains, so it’s a nice addition to kitchen cleaners. Tea tree oil is a great mold and mildew remover, so I use it in my shower cleaner. Orange, peppermint, lavender and tea tree oil all have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, so they work well (and smell nice) in so many cleaners. I’ll try to share some of my cleaner recipes soon. I’ve been working on a new toilet bowl cleaner (tabs), that I hope to have perfected soon.

  2. Hi Erin,
    I’m very new to your blog and I have already found so many helpful and money saving tips that I am putting into place in my home. My question is, have you shared your cleaner recipes anywhere yet along with the toilet bowl cleaner? This is one of my main areas of change and I would like to know the ratios for the cleaners and what they are used for. Many thanks and appreciation to you for sharing your knowledge with us all.

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