Monday, November 10, 2008

Vinegar, Baking Soda, and Homemade Cleaning Supplies

In my never-ending quest to be more frugal AND earth friendly, I have discovered a most magical combination... you guessed it...


I just have to say, WOW! Baking soda is a mild abrasive and can be used to clean pretty much ANYTHING from counter tops to toilets to floors, even teeth and hair! And vinegar is a killer of germs, bacteria, and mold, AND it's a deodorizer (as is baking soda), and a rinse agent.

Not only that, but a box of baking soda costs as little as $0.43 (at Aldi). Arm and Hammer is about $1.50, and then there's anything in between. One box usually lasts me about a week. A 1-gallon bottle of vinegar from Kroger is less than $1.50, and lasts me about a month*.

(*Edit: I was way wrong - a gallon of vinegar from Kroger costs $2.95! The way grocery prices have gone up lately, it probably WAS $1.50 the last time I bought it. Anyway, I did find it a little cheaper at Family Dollar - $0.60 a quart - you do the math! I'll check Aldi next time I go.)

Here is a list of everything I've tried recently...

Washing dishes: sprinkle some soda into the hot water, add a splash of vinegar (about 1/4 cup). No need for dish soap since the vinegar kills germs, and also cuts grease!

Cleaning counter tops, small appliances, walls, tables, and other surfaces: sprinkle some soda onto surface, spray with a solution of half water, half vinegar, wipe clean.

Bathroom: Same as above.

Stove Top: Same as above. (it even works for that sticky, dried-on grease that builds up)

Toilet: sprinkle soda into bowl, dump in some vinegar, scrub with toilet brush. Let sit a while to deodorize.

Floors: mop with a solution of soda, water, and vinegar (I don't have exact measurements, I just pour).

Teeth: put a little soda onto toothbrush, brush as usual. The taste takes some getting used to, but my teeth have never felt so clean! This is also supposed to help whiten.

Deodorant: splash a small handful of soda onto armpits. I found this works well for deodorizing, but I still felt a bit sticky. I heard that you can mix soda with some rubbing alcohol, and that's supposed to work better, but I never tried it. I just went back to regular deodorant.

Hair: I haven't tried this, but I guess you can rub baking soda into DRY hair, then rinse it out, and it's supposed to clean your hair. I've been meaning to try it, just haven't done it yet. It also works on pets!

I've found that this combination (soda and vinegar) actually works BETTER (in most cases) than chemical cleaners. Besides that, you're not ingesting the chemical poison whenever you spray, and it doesn't leave that sticky residue that some chemicals leave behind.

Here are some links to some information:

Vinegar for cleaning
Vinegar kills germs
Uses for Baking Soda

And links to:

Homemade Laundry Detergent
Homemade Liquid Hand Soap

These are two recipes I've used recently, and have been very happy with. They each use just one bar of soap (I use Ivory because it's mild and all natural). The laundry detergent has a couple other ingredients, but it makes about 4 gallons, probably costs less than a dollar, and lasts for months.


  1. hey neen!

    wow! i'm excited to try some of this. i get so tired of buying cleaners. and i'm all about cheap and safe.

    you use white vinegar for these, right?

    after i try some out i just might be adding a vinegar section to my recipes. with a nod to my friend jeanine, of course. *smile*

    did you read my stuff about apple cider vinegar? when you feel a cold coming on, mix a tsp or more apple cider vinegar, a Tbs or more honey and hot water. drink. you'll fend off the cold. or at least get rid of it much sooner. also, apple cider vinegar has osteoperosis fighting stuff in it. and it aids digestion - keeping your digestive system and you healthier. and a compress of apple cider vinegar applied to a wasp or hornet sting draws the venom out, reducing swelling and pain quickly. (maddie tried this out for us this summer - it's true!)

    yay for vinegar!

  2. wow! I didn't know all that about apple cider vinegar. Yes, I use regular white vinegar for all my cleaning.

  3. A low cost, green eco friendly, healthy natural way to make a homemade laundry detergent is from soapberry which grows on the Chinaberry tree and has been used for thousands of years. It works very effectively.