Graphic. AgriculturesAgriculturesGraphic. Purdue University.

Summer 2000

Home safe home
by Jan Matthew

Spit-spot solutions from your cupboard

Making your own cleaners can save money and control the chemicals in your home. However, while the ingredients in homemade cleaners are safer, they are not all non-toxic. Extension educators recommend these guidelines:

  • Mix chemicals carefully. Some chemicals, such as chlorine bleach and ammonia, produce a toxic gas when mixed together.
  • Mix only a month's supply at a time. Chemicals lose effectiveness over time.
  • Mix in a well-ventilated area and store all cleaning solutions out of reach of children.
  • Store in unused, store-bought containers. Use permanent storage containers that will be put in a permanent location. Never store in old food containers. Chemicals may interact with food residue, or the container may be mistaken for a food or beverage.
  • Label containers carefully.

All-Purpose Cleaner
4 T. baking soda
1 quart warm water
Dissolve baking soda in warm water. Apply with sponge, and rinse with clear water.

Aluminum Cleaner
2 T. cream of tartar
1 quart water
To clean aluminum cookware, combine ingredients in cookware. Bring solution to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Wash and dry as usual.

Oven Cleaner
Baking soda
Very fine steel wool
Sprinkle water on oven surface. Apply baking soda. Rub using very fine steel wool. Wipe off scum with a damp sponge. Rinse well and dry.

Brass Cleaner
Lemon juice
Baking soda
Make a paste the consistency of toothpaste. Rub onto brass with a soft cloth. Rinse with water and dry.

Windows and Glass
(to remove extra-heavy soil and grease buildup)
1/2 cup ammonia
2 cups rubbing alcohol
1 gallon water

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Lemon juice
Mix lemon juice and borax to make a paste about the consistency of toothpaste. Flush toilet to wet sides. Rub paste on the toilet bowl ring. Let sit for 2 hours; then scrub thoroughly.

*Borax is a toxic ingredient. Handle with care and store safely.


© 2005 Purdue University School of Agriculture Link. Purdue University. Link. Agricultures magazine.