Written by Taylor, Contributing Author
It’s back to school time around my house, and it may be around yours too. Each year as I get the kids back out of the house (well, the older ones anyway) I feel the need to do a big cleaning session for my home. After a busy summer when the house was always full of kids, full time, it needs a bit of sprucing up to get the school year off to a good start.
If you feel the same way, I say go for it while you’ve got the urge. To make cleaning more fun and pleasant (and less toxic) why not try whipping up some of your own cleaning supplies to use?
If you’re new to making your own cleaning products it can seem overwhelming to gather all the supplies suggested. Some of the lists I’ve seen include some kind of far-fetched ingredients that I certainly can’t find in my local grocery store. While eventually you may want to try some of them, you don’t need much when you’re first starting out.
Instead, here are my top 5 ingredients for your starter homemade cleaning supplies kit that will allow you to clean the majority of your home, and one of the items on the list is optional!
5 Essentials For Your Starter Homemade Cleaning Supplies Kit
Baking soda is both natural and cheap, and is used for all types of cleaning tasks. It is mildly alkaline so it can cut grease and oil, its powdered form makes it a gentle abrasive when made into a paste, and it can also deodorize.
I could go on and on about the cleaning uses for baking soda around your home, but suffice it to say this multi-tasker definitely earns its spot on my short list of essential supplies.
Distilled white vinegar is about as inexpensive as it comes, and if you begin using it in both your cleaning and laundry recipes, I guarantee you’ll start buying it by the gallon at the store like I do.
Vinegar is the perfect foil to baking soda, since it is mildly acidic, and can therefore remove hard water build up and cut soap scum. In addition, when combined with baking soda it effervesces, and this chemical reaction can be used to clean all kinds of things in your home, and even help clear slow moving drains.
Hydrogen peroxide is normally found in the first aid aisle of most stores, and is another ingredient which is quite inexpensive. It is a natural bleaching agent (often found as an ingredient in color-safe and oxygen bleaches, for example), as well as a disinfectant. It can also inhibit the growth of mold.
What would a cleaning kit be without some soap, which is what many of us grab everyday to clean ourselves and our homes? This is also a real workhorse within your kit, and will clean up lots of dirt and soil from all types of surfaces.
If you’re trying to be especially earth-friendly make sure you get a natural or plant-based variety, such as Dr. Bronners Castile soap, which is derived from olive oil. If this is outside your budget regular dish soap can also work well in your homemade recipes.
Essential Oils (Optional)
Last, but definitely not least on my list are essential oils. These are optional because I know some people’s allergies just can’t handle them. However, if you enjoy scented products adding a couple of drops of one of these plant-derived oils can definitely elevate what appeared before to be a simple cleaning solution into something wonderful to smell, and provide you with some aromatherapy while you clean.
If essential oils just provided scent, and nothing else, they still would be fun to add to your homemade cleaners. However, many essential oils themselves have special cleaning properties. That means when they’re added to the recipe it improves its cleaning power. For example, citrus oils are great degreasers, and other oils, such as tea tree, can help you disinfect certain surfaces. To learn more about the cleaning and other properties of essential oils, be sure to check out this chart on how to use essential oils for cleaning.
You don’t have to start out with many essential oils to begin with either. I suggest you start with a maximum of three, such as your choice of your favorite citrus oil, such as orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit for example, tea tree oil, and then one flower scented oil that you’d just enjoy smelling (one of my favorites is geranium).
Once you’ve gathered all these ingredients into your homemade cleaning supplies kit, you’re armed with everything you need to clean the majority of your home, and you didn’t have to spend a fortune of time or search to the ends of the earth to find what you needed to get started.
I’ll be sharing green and homemade cleaning recipes here on the site each month as one of the new contributors, many of which recipes will contain these very ingredients. However, in the mean time check out Christine’s awesome list of cleaning recipes to get you started.