How to make your own cleaning products with ingredients in your pantry: Kitchen edition

I’m always looking for ways to make my household more “green” so over the last year I’ve slowly started replacing my old cleaning products with more eco-friendly versions. There are definitely a lot of good non-toxic products available like Mrs. Meyer’s or Better Life, but I wanted to experiment by making my own in an effort to save money and know exactly what’s going into my products. Also by making my own products, I’m reducing packaging waste. One, because most of the ingredients in these recipes are in recyclable containers, but I also get to reuse the containers I keep the finished product in. This week I want to share the recipes I use for laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and stainless steel cleaning solution. For more homemade cleaning ideas check out this post.

A note on the ingredients I used: if you have any trouble finding some of the ingredients listed above you can find all of them on Amazon. I was able to find washing soda at Walmart by the other laundry detergents, but I couldn’t find citric acid anywhere so I ordered online. Castile soap was pretty easy to locate and I’ve used two different brands and was happy with both; Kirks (what you’ll see in the pictures below) and Dr Bonners. Some castile soaps even come in different scents. I found castile soap by other body washes in the grocery store. Some brands come in three packs and some are individual. So the nice thing about buying these ingredients is that you’ll have enough to make several rounds of your homemade cleaning solutions, and a lot of the ingredients overlap.

Laundry Detergent Pods

Ingredients:

  • Half bar castile soap
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • Drops of essential oil of your choice (optional)

Steps:

  • Using the smallest side of a cheese grater, grate half a bar of unscented castile soap into a bowl. You may find castile soaps that are scented and you are welcome to use those if you choose, but unscented is my personal preference. 
  • Add 1 cup of washing soda to the bowl. I have found that not all grocery stores carry washing soda so you may need to search online to find a store closest to you that has it available. Washing soda is also different than borax which is another common detergent ingredient. 
  • Add ½ cup of white vinegar to the soap and washing soda mixture and stir until combined. During this step you may also add essential oils if you prefer to add scent to your laundry detergent. 
  • Once all the ingredients are mixed together add 1 tbs of your homemade detergent mix to one ice cube slot at a time. You will want to do this step somewhat quickly as the detergent will begin to harden. 
  • After you have filled each cube with detergent you will then use the tips of your fingers or the back of a small spoon to lightly press the detergent down into the mold. 
  • When you are done set the ice cube tray aside to allow the detergent to dry completely (about 2-4 hours). 
  • When the detergent is completely dry, carefully turn the tray upside down and lightly tap on the bottom until all of the detergent cubes have been removed from the molds. 
  • This laundry detergent does not have to be stored in an airtight container so anything you have on hand will do.

A few tips I’ve come up with since making this detergent: place a towel over the ice cube tray before you flip it over to remove the detergent. That way you don’t risk dropping any and making a mess. Also I’ve noticed this detergent does not dissolve completely when used with cold water, so it may be a good idea to keep a store bought detergent on hand for cold loads and in case you run out of detergent pods before you are able to make another batch.

Dishwasher Detergent Pods

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup salt
  • ¼ cup citric acid
  • 1 cup water

Steps:

  • Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • Add water to dry ingredients and mix
  • Using an ice cube tray add 1 tablespoon to each mold and press down lightly with fingertips or the back of a spoon. 
  • Set aside and allow to dry overnight
  • When the detergent is completely dry carefully turn the tray upside down and lightly tap on the bottom until all of the detergent cubes have been removed from the molds. 
  • Store in an air-tight container. I used an old mason jar for mine.

You may also add white vinegar to the rinse aid spout if you desire.

Stainless Steel Appliance Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 1 part water

Steps:

  • Mix 1 part distilled white vinegar and 1 part water in a spray bottle and shake to mix
  • Spray mixture on stainless steel appliances and wipe off with a towel

This is without a doubt the simplest and cheapest cleaning product to make for yourself. Stainless steel looks beautiful in kitchens but it can be very difficult to keep the fingerprints off of. This cleaning solution has made it so much easier to keep my appliances sparkling.

I’ll let these photos speak for themselves! 

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