Common household products such as vinegar, ammonia and baking soda can be used alone or in various combinations to create effective cleaning solutions that are more environmentally friendly than come commercially available products. Home-made products may also cost less.
White vinegar
Vinegar is acidic and is useful in removing dirt, soap scum and hard water deposits form surfaces. Vinegar can be diluted with water to clean everything from bathroom counter tops and sinks to hardwood floors. Undiluted vinegar may be used to eliminate stains and odors from the toilet bowl, to clean soap scum from shower walls and to remove hard water deposits from kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Place vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it on surfaces then wipe with a microfiber cloth or combine vinegar with warn water in a bucket for mopping. The vinegar odor will go away when the solution dries. For a non-allergenic fabric softener, add a half-cup of distilled white vinegar to the washing machine's rinse cycle in place of fabric softener.
Baking soda
Used on a damp sponge, baking soda is mildly abrasive and can be used in place of harsh scouring powders for bathtubs and sinks.
Ammonia is an alkaline solution, so it is stronger as a window or all-purpose cleaner than vinegar. Sudsing ammonia is available, but choose a non-sudsing type to avoid having to rinse after cleaning.
Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
This makes a good base for cleaners that will evaporate from shiny surfaces.
Here are recipes for home-made cleaning products that use common household ingredients.....
Spray Cleaner
Mix the following in a spray bottle:
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 20 drops of essential oil (optional)
Use in any location where you would use a commercial spray cleaner. Wipe dry with a reusable cloth.
Glass Cleaner
Mix the following in a spray bottle:
  • 1 cup (isopropyl) alcohol
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
Spray on windows or mirrors and wipe dry.
Floor Cleaner
Mix in a bucket for use with a cloth or mop:
  • 2 tablespoons non-sudsing ammonia
  • 1 teaspoon clear dishwashing liquid
  • 4 cups water
No rinsing necessary.
Furniture Polish
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 20 - 30 drops lemon essential oil
Combine in a small container. Dip a clean, dry cloth into the mixture and rub onto real wood furniture in the direction of the grain.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl then add 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes then scrub the bowl with a toilet brush and flush.
For your safety -- Never mix ammonia-based cleaners or ammonia with chlorine bleach or products containing bleach. The fumes that are created can be extremely dangerous.