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When it comes to cleaning, frugality bodes well. Making your own all-natural potions and powders costs much less than buying that something straight off the supermarket shelf. Plus, the environmental impact of fewer chemicals is much milder, leaving the conscience a little cleaner as well. All you need is five easy ingredients and you’re in business!

1. Baking/Washing Soda

It’s nothing dramatic. All you do is take common baking soda and heat it up in the oven, which slightly changes the chemical makeup. Washing soda won’t clump together like baking soda, and it has a grainier (i.e. more abrasive) quality.

2. Castile Soap

Basically, this is soap made with oil (traditionally olive oil) versus animal fat. Dr. Bronner’s is the easy way to do this, and it comes with pleasing aromas to boot. However, it’s possible and supposedly simple to make your own castile soap. But, vegans be warned: Lye becomes problematic.

3. Borax

This is a mineral powder found in nature. Deposits are produced by the repeated evaporation of lakes. It is naturally occurring and has been used for years (especially for clothes), but take some caution when dealing with it.

4. Lemon Juice/Essential Oils

It’s nice to smell the cleanliness, and in addition to providing a pleasing natural aroma, lemon juice is handy for helping with problems like grease and mold. Another good option is an essential oil, either lemon or tea tree.

5. Vinegar

In the world of natural cleaners, vinegar is perhaps the most respected of all. There are so many uses for vinegar, and its effectiveness is so absolute, that it is simply boggling how other cleaning products ever got started.

And now for the elbow grease: use these ideas to help you with recipes and then start branching out on your own. Making your own cleaning products is a liberating, money-saving experience that goes down super impressively with unsuspecting guests. Everyone will be asking how you do it!

1. Cleaning Upholstery

Include carpets with this one and create your own stain remover with a mixture of water, castile soap, and vinegar.

2. Disinfecting

Keeping things sanitary is a must, but it doesn’t require chemicals. Water, borax, and vinegar can get the job done, perhaps nicely scented with some lemon juice.

3. Doing Dishes

Dishwashing liquid is one of those world pollutants we forget about, but to do it green is as easy as mixing up some water, castile soap, vinegar, lemon juice, and washing soda for DIY dishwashing detergent.

4. Doing the Laundry

It’s simple. Borax (2 parts), washing soda (2 parts), and grated castile soap (1 part) make a natural detergent.

5. Dusting

Technically, the best option for dusting, especially on wood, is to add a little olive oil, but a spray bottle with water, vinegar, and lemon will do the trick.

6. Freshening the Carpet

Again, smelling clean is almost as good as being clean, and the DIY way is sprinkling a little of baking soda spruced up with lemon before vacuuming.

7. Mopping the Floor

Why get complicated? It’s a floor. Mopping is as simple as vinegar and water, maybe a little borax for a crazy clean but probably not necessary.

8. Scrubbing the Tub, Toilet, and Sink

Equal parts castile soap (use a nice scent), baking soda, and washing soda do the job, providing a fresh smell and gritty clean.

9. Unclogging the Drain

Yep, you can even do this without those gooey blue chemical cocktails. A little baking soda and a couple of spoonfuls of vinegar will fix you right up!

10. Washing the Windows

Equal parts vinegar and water do it streak-free, and some folks say to use a newspaper rather than a cloth.

It’s incredible once you start. All of these products that seem so exclusive to certain tasks suddenly feel so interchangeable and overpriced. All you really have to do is buy these five ingredients and your house will be green and clean, your money can be spent on plant-based snacks, and people will suddenly view you as crazy smart. Seriously, try it and see.

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