cleaning tutorial

Kitchen Cupboard Cleaning Products

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The ingredients are in your cupboard!


Handy sink set-up

For this season’s Kitchen Wisdom finale I want to leave you with another skill in your repertoire -homemade cleaning products.  Did you know the average American household spends $42 per month on cleaning products? (  7.13.2013)  I will show you how to set up a basic cleaning tote filled with homemade products from ingredients you already have around the house… vinegar, baking soda, essential oils, inexpensive dishwashing liquid, even  citrus peels.  

We’ll start with Bleach Sanitizing Spray, useful on kitchen and bathroom surfaces as well as during cold and flu season, and make Organic All-Purpose Cleaner from Citrus Vinegar.  Sparkling Glass Cleaner costs just pennies to make.  I have two Soft Scrub formulas to share, a Botanical Air Freshener, daily Clean Shower Spray, and scented or unscented Fabric Softener.

Hopefully you have been saving various empty containers that you can re-purpose for your cleaning formulas.  If not, now is the time to start!  There are several ground rules to keep in mind:

Do you see garbage?  Or possibilities…

1.  Be mindful of the chemical history of containers.  Don’t reuse containers that held caustic substances like bleach, toilet bowl cleaner, or pesticides.  Jam jars, hair spray pump bottles, food containers (like cottage cheese, Nutella, salad dressing),  tabasco bottles, etc. are suitable.

2.  Containers should be clean.

3.  Remove product label, or cover.

4.  Label containers clearly with name of product and ingredients.  This makes it easy to whip up a fresh batch of product, and in the case of accidental ingestion, you know exactly what you are dealing with.

5.  Never mix bleach with vinegar or ammonia –toxic fumes may result!

6.  Dedicate utensils such as a set of measuring spoons and funnel to the task of making cleaning products.  Label clearly:  ‘Not for food.’

7.  Keep all cleaning products out of reach of children.

8.  Program the number for POISON CONTROL into your cell phone, or post in an obvious place such as near the kitchen phone for immediate reference in case of accidental ingestion. 

Solve the soap scum riddle with Clean
Shower Spray.

For further inspiration, check out the following books:  The Up-With-Wholesome, Down-With-Store-Bought Book of Recipes & Household Formulas by Yvonne Young Tarr (out-of-print, but available used on, Natural Alternatives by Casey Kellar, The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier, and A Simply Homemade Clean by Lisa Barthuly. Angela Coffman at offers a list of easy-to-make cleaning products, and is a great resource for hundreds of money saving tips and product ideas — even laundry detergent!  (See Mom’s Homemade Laundry Sauce at

I hope you enjoy making and using your own cleaning products, and the money you’ve saved by doing so.




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