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Twelve Home Cleaning Recipes

Safer alternatives to hazardous cleaning products exist for nearly every type of household cleaner. Listed below are several do-it-yourself recipes for basic household needs. These recipes have been performance tested by the TURI Laboratory as indicated in the tables. The recipes included here performed best and ranked well for their safety. These alternatives to traditional commercial household cleaners are easy to make out of common household ingredients, will most likely cost you less than store bought products and can work just as well, or even better!

Performance testing procedures for each of the recipes listed here followed the Green Seal GS 37 method. Samples of materials similar to the surfaces to be cleaned (ceramic, glass, chrome, etc) were coated with a careful mixture of soil to resemble real conditions using a hand held swab and allowed to dry for 24 hours at room temperature.

All Purpose Cleaner recipes for use on counters, floors and other hard surfaces.

Recipes Performance
Dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 qt warm water Effective even without rinsing the surface
Mix 1.5 oz vegetable oil soap (ex: Murphy’s Oil) with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 oz water Effective even without rinsing the surface
Mix 2 tablespoons borax, ¼ cup lemon juice, and 2 cups hot water. Combine in a spray bottle Effective with additional rinse

Kitchen cleaners for use on kitchen appliances and surfaces.

Recipes Performance & Notes
OVEN CLEANER: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil soap (ex: Murphy’s Oil) and 2 tablespoons borax in a spray bottle with 6 oz warm water. Spray on oven and leave for 20 minutes and scrub of Effective on metal. Best with abrasive pad
POTS AND PANS: Soak in a 50:50 water and vinegar mixture for 15 minutes or over night and rinse. Effective on aluminum and copper. Use abrasive pad for extra scouring
FLOOR: ½ oz liquid soap (ex: Liquid Castile Soap), ½ oz baking soda, 1 oz water and a few drops of lemon juice Effective on vinyl composite tiles using reinforced paper towels

Bathroom cleaner for use on surfaces made of ceramic, plastic and metal.

Recipes Performance & Notes
TUB: Vinegar and baking soda will remove film buildup on the tub. Apply vinegar on a sponge and wipe tiles. Use baking soda as you would scouring powder. Rinse thoroughly. Effective
SURFACES: ¼ cup vinegar in one gallon of water to use on surfaces that have films or need more cleaning Effective on hard to clean surfaces
TOILET: Sprinkle baking soda in the bowl, then squirt with vinegar and scrub Cleans and deodorizes.  Also try 2 denture tabs  - drop into the bowl and scrub as usual
TOILET: Make a paste with borax and lemon juice. For a tough stain flush toilet to wet the bowl and then apply the paste to the stain and let sit for 2 hours. Effective on stubborn stains like toilet bowl ring

Window cleaner for use on chrome and glass. Works best if used with newspaper in place of paper towel to minimize lint.

Recipes Performance & Notes
½ cup cornstarch with 2 quarts warm water.  Apply with sponge and wipe with absorbent towel or cloth. Effective. Do not do on a sunny day or when windows are warm. Solution will dry and cause streaking.
Equal parts vinegar and water in a bottle Effective